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Retiring to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

By Kathleen Peddicord

Summary: Puerto Vallarta is more expensive than places like Panama City, Panama and Salinas, Ecuador, but this highly developed stretch of Mexico's Pacific coastline offers a world-class lifestyle for expats.

Retiring Abroad - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is neither the cheapest retirement choice in the world nor the cheapest option within Mexico. Our correspondent includes a series of detailed monthly budgets for living in this part of the world in this month's issue of my Overseas Retirement Letter, which features a complete report on expat life and retirement in P.V.

Here, anecdotally, I can tell you that Puerto Vallarta is more expensive than Panama City, for example...which is to say you aren't going to find it a bargain compared with the cost of living Stateside.

In Puerto Vallarta, though, that's not the point.

This isn't developing-world living. This stretch of Mexico's Pacific coastline has already been developed to a high level. Life here can be not only comfortable, but easy and fully appointed.

There are no tax or doing-business advantages to retiring to Puerto Vallarta (as there can be to beachside options in Panama, to pick up the comparative line of thinking I suggested yesterday). What this region does offer, however, is a world-class Pacific coast lifestyle, more developed than you'll find in most of Panama and light years ahead of what you can buy today in Nicaragua.

Note that I didn't say world-class Pacific coast. You find that many places that I report on. What you don't find often is the lifestyle to support it.

You can't compare the cost of retirement in P.V. with the cost of retirement in Salinas, Ecuador, for example, or in Las Tablas, Panama. Salinas, especially, is an emerging region, a back of beyond, frankly, where, sure, someday, maybe, there will exist international-standard amenities. Frankly, though, I wouldn't bet on when that day might be, and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.

In Puerto Vallarta, you aren't buying for someday. In Puerto Vallarta, you have the opportunity to buy a world-class lifestyle in a region with world-class beaches and ocean views that is supported, right now, by world-class golf courses, marinas, restaurants, and shopping.

This is a lifestyle that is available only on a limited basis worldwide, a lifestyle that is truly (not metaphorically) comparable to the best you could enjoy in southern California...if you could afford it.

And my point is that this enviable lifestyle, some might even call it a lifestyle of the rich and famous, is not some property developer's vision or speculator's dream.

I was first in P.V. more than 15 years ago. Back then, developing this coast into a world-class destination was the talk of so many developers and speculators. I returned recently, 15 years later, to find that this region is one place in the world where the developers and the speculators have actually succeeded in creating something.

The Pacific coast in and around Puerto Vallarta has been invested in, over decades, not only by developers and speculators, but also, importantly, by the Mexican government. All along, the government has supported private investment, and now it has refocused its attention on this region, specifically on the stretch of coast running for about 100 miles north from Nuevo Vallarta. As a result, this isn't a place to plan for a fully appointed retirement at the beach someday. This isn't a place to invest based on the pretty watercolor drawings of a savvy marketing group. This is one of the best places I can think of to embrace a fully appointed Pacific beach retirement lifestyle right now.

And the best part is that, here in P.V., not only can you plug into a fully developed retirement lifestyle...built, furnished, landscaped, and within minutes of the fairway or the yacht club if those pastimes interest you...but, unlike in southern California, you can also afford it.

No, probably not on a Social Security-only retirement income. But if your retirement budget is a bit bigger, and you've dreamt your whole life of retiring ocean-side in comfort, I'd say this could be your number-one right-now choice.

Kathleen Peddicord
Publisher Live and Invest Overseas

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About the Author

Established in 2008, Live and Invest Overseas is the vision of Publisher Kathleen Peddicord.

Kathleen Peddicord has covered the live and invest overseas beat for more than 25 years and is considered the world's foremost authority on overseas retirement. She has traveled to more than 50 countries, invested in real estate in 17, established businesses in 7, renovated historic properties in 6, and educated her children in 4.

Click here to peruse Live and Invest Overseas publications, conferences and more.

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Comments about this Article

Jul 27, 2013 00:34

I still say that articles like this are focused on an assumption that buying real estate is a must and what much of the "cost" is based on. I can rent a comfortable apartment minutes from the beach for $5-700 hundred dollars and YES two can live comfortably on Social Security....not on the golf course or Oceanside--but hey walking is good for you! don't let this "it costs more than..." push you from a beautiful, safe, fun location! yes--I love PV! And I am a RENTER.

Feb 10, 2014 20:31

I like Peddicord's fine and usually accurate publication, but on this one she is misleading for once probably trying to adapt her advise to her anglo saxon client's majority basic attitude towards life. I beg to disagree about the no social security bit. It depends on your mentality. If you want to live like a closed mind typical gringo you then will definitely find it difficult to afford the region on a small budget. However, you can find a decent place to live in the P.V. region for as low as $200 (I pay $184 for a small 700 sq foot 2 bedroom air conditioned house in a development about 20 minutes from El Centro in a modern Mexican non tourist development) and with that out of the way, another $400 to $500 will suffice to cover all of your normal expenses. If you receive $1000 per month, you will have $300 o more to spare. Rolf.

First Published: Aug 18, 2011

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