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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Pros and Cons of Living in Puerto Vallarta

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 05, 2022

Summary: With a population nearing 300,000, Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico's fastest growing cities. Expats and retirees say that PV is much safer than the news reports. They love living in Puerto Vallarta and say that it's an easy place to live with a lower cost of living (private healthcare in particular), beautiful beaches and mountains. There are many different neighborhoods to choose from in the Puerto Vallarta region including the Hotel Zone (central PV); Nuevo Vallarta and Marina Vallarta to the north; and El Centro and Zona Romantica to the south. Biggest drawback: the summer heat and humidity.

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What are the pros and cons of living in Puerto Vallarta?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Puerto Vallarta responded:

"The culture shock has taken two years to acclimatize to, and it's not over yet for me. However, people here laugh more, smile more, and sing more than in the United States. The narco violence reported in the news is completely overblown. Private medical services, which is why we moved here, are superior to the US and are 1/20 the cost," explained one expat living in Puerto Vallarta.

"Great "starter" city for an expat, lots of available information, great community that allows you to integrate, lots of options, just plain "easy". That said, weather isn't for everyone, and a little dirty/trashy, plus choice of neighborhood makes a huge difference," said another in Puerto Vallarta.

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What do expats in Puerto Vallarta appreciate most about the local culture?

"I loved seeing how immaterial material things were. I became friends with a woman who lived in a 2 room dirt floored house. She and her family were happy and content. She had 4 children with her and they all slept in one room. It made me realize that in the US we have so much materially but it really doesn't help us be happier. I felt sorry for her in the beginning and yet ended up a little envious after getting to know her and her family," added another person living in Puerto Vallarta.

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William Russell Health Insurance

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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William Russell Health Insurance

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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What do expats find most challenging?

"The way there is nothing set when dealing with police. Or at least, what I experienced a few times. I got pulled over over something but there was an unsaid dictum that all I had to do was give the policeman some money and drive away," explained one expat.

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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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