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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Moving to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 08, 2022

Summary: Moving to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: DATASENTENCE Expats, retirees and digital nomads talk about everything you need to know before moving to Puerto Vallarta.

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What do I need to know before moving to Puerto Vallarta?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Puerto Vallarta, they said:

"I suggest you begin by renting in the Versalles neighborhood--it is still affordable, well laid-out, and pleasant, and is central enough to give you good access to a variety of amenities and other neighborhoods. The deciding factor in choosing where to live will be whether or not you plan on owning a car. There are some gorgeous areas with spectacular views that you would probably not choose to live in without either your own transportation, a very nearby bus stop, or a willingness to use Ubers/taxis pretty much every time you go anywhere," mentioned another expat when asked about moving to Puerto Vallarta.

"Franvan, Versalles is reasonably priced. Las Gaviotas is reasonably priced. Vallarta Villas (gated condos) maybe comparable with Fluvial pricing. 5 Diciembre (There are some newer gated condo properties in some of this area. Most of Centro/downtown and the Romantic Zone will have electricity and water/flooding problems during the rainy season. Fluvial, a residential area has both homes & condos for rent & sale with some being newer (all electricity underground, including internet/phone with Telmex). The Marina area will have more condos than homes for rent and you'll pay more than all of the above most of the time," commented one expat who made the move to Puerto Vallarta.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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How do I find a place to live in Puerto Vallarta?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"I am currently happily settled in Puerto Vallarta, where I find there are more activities that I am comfortable joining than I found in Mazatlán. Though Vallarta is more "verticle" than Mazatlán (which is one of the features that appeals to former Vancouverites), there are also plenty of flat areas with nice homes and amenities and, personally, I rent 4 blocks from the beach (the last block before the hill)," mentioned another expat when asked about moving to Puerto Vallarta.

"Versalles, Aralias & Fluvial just to name a few. Rentals are found easy with boots on ground. You need to view in person and no deposits until you arrive. Otherwise, most likely, you will have a problem with your deposit and may never see it. In Zona Romantica (my opinion is that it’s for visitors/tourist) you will have fireworks almost every night, many tourist, road blocks for celebrations/water repairs, spring/winter breaks, flooding during the rainy season, and parties non-stop," commented one expat who made the move to Puerto Vallarta.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Puerto Vallarta?

"I live in an apartment/condo. This is typical housing when living in town. Condos were built around the older homes of the locals which are usually very poor, built for convenience rather than for comfort. If living out of town, or up on the hills surrounding Puerto Vallarta, villas and luxury condos are common and frequent. Some of latin America's most famous architects have designed villas in these areas," said another expat in Puerto Vallarta.

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What is the average cost of housing in Puerto Vallarta?

If you are thinking about moving to Puerto Vallarta, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Much lower. I moved here from New York where my rent was close to 3,000 USD for a loft. My rent now is around 700 USD for a very nice 1 bedroom. Inland, apartments start at $100-$300 USD for decent apartments. To be near the beach however, expect to pay no less than $600 for something decent, and around $1000 for something really nice. Utilities are unpredictable but inexpensive for the most part. I work for InsidePV.com so I have at least 2 computers running all day, and occasionally run the air conditioner. This runs me about $35 USD per month. If I run the air conditioner regularly, the bill can easily jump to double or triple," added another expat who made the move to Puerto Vallarta.

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What should I pack when moving to Puerto Vallarta?

We asked people living in Puerto Vallarta to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:

"I wish I had brought more electronics, books, and computer software. All are easily double or triple the price in the US. This includes computers and pc accessories, cell phones, stereos, tv's, books, and magazines, etc. I also wish I would have brought a dehumidifier- they are impossible to find here but absolutely essential. Quality cosmetics, beauty products, and health products are not available here and what is, is limited or made with locals in mind- for example, products for dark hair and skin tones or health shakes made from a local cactus. Linens here are often not as soft and comfortable as we are used to in the states and Egyptian cotton is impossible to come by. Comfortable furniture- beds, sofas, and chairs are usually hard as rocks here with rough fabrics. What I could have left are most of my designer clothing and high heels- cobblestone streets ruin shoes and humidity eats fine fabrics. It's not uncommon to go to your closet and pull out a shirt with mildew on it after even a week. If you're not too attached, there's no need to bring decor items- the art scene here is great and plenty of international decor shopping and boutiques," commented one expat who made the move to Puerto Vallarta.

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How are healthcare services Puerto Vallarta?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Puerto Vallarta, they replied:

"Be sure to have travel insurance... helps to speak Spanish to communicate more freely with the caregivers, however someone there will speak English," stated one expat who made the move to Puerto Vallarta.

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"As cash customers of healthcare services in both the US and Mexico, we have found that private system medical costs all across Mexico are 1/20 of what it used to cost us back in California. We have also found the quality of care to be better," added one expat living in Puerto Vallarta.

"Have to find equivalent medications or alternatives, but manageable. Have to find the right doctors, but that is the same as with the US," commented another expat living in Puerto Vallarta.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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