When we first arrived in Vallarta, it was clear that there were many expatriates who lived here, few compared to the current amount, but it was still a large crowd. So we started asking them how long they had lived here and we started listening for 10-12-15 years. Also, they had no intention of leaving. The people here were very relaxed and took the time to talk to us. They certainly were not in any hurry. We liked that because we were looking for stability.
Professionalism in Real Estate
After watching and talking with many people for a week or more, we began to get very excited to maybe live in Vallarta, so we contacted a couple of real estate agents and observed some properties. In a short time, we both noticed a great deal of professionalism that we had not noticed in Panama, the only other place we had searched.
When we requested the procedure to make an offer, we were shown a blank purchase agreement, explained how to use an annex, explained that the initial payment was made with a deposit, etc. It was a big difference with respect to Panama, where real estate agents said that the first step was to issue an advance check to the seller and then, if he accepted and kept the money, we had to hire a lawyer to draft a purchase agreement and we would have to pay for the lawyer. This was something we would never do, so we never went through the negotiation stage.
Excellent Medical Care
When we lived in Minnesota, we went regularly to the Mayo Clinic to perform physical exams. Every year, Sara complained of a sinus problem, and several times she had the problem while we were in May, and even then they could never find the problem and they were never able to help her. Shortly after arriving in Vallarta, she had another episode.
We were surprised to make an appointment the same day with an ear, nose and throat specialist. After a 10-minute test, he said: “I think I see the problem, but I’m going to need an MRI to be sure.” Sara asked how long it would take. His response was “follow me”.
He took her to the X-ray department, she had an MRI and he explained the problem and told her how he could fix it. He underwent outpatient surgery the next morning and has not had a single problem in the last 10 years.
We both had other medical problems, including cancer, that were taken care of so well that the Chief of Surgery at MD Anderson in the United States was very impressed with the work done by Vallarta specialists. Withso many expats here now, we hear of all sorts of medical issues that are dealt with quickly and professionally in Vallarta and for a fraction of the cost in the US.
When we were sailing, we traveled north, to Alaska, and then south, to South America, to find the ideal tropical place to live where it was not too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. We believe that we found it in Vallarta and we have lived here for approximately 10 years. Usually, we only use the air conditioning in our room for a few hours at night in the heat of summer and close the windows at night for a month or so in the winter.
We believe that this is as close to perfect as we can find. Specifically, Vallarta’s climate is tropical and humid, with a high average daily temperature of 86 ° F, a low average daily temperature of 70 ° F and an average humidity of 75%. The rainy season is from mid-June to mid-October.
Even during the rainy season, the rain tends to be in large storms. Hurricanes rarely come close to hitting Vallarta but they have arrived on some occasions. The last to cause damage was Hurricane Kenna in 2002, where that hurricane could not reach land due to the Sierra Madre mountains. Winter is the driest season of the year.
Speaking Spanish Is Not Necessary
There are many Spanish teachers in Vallarta and many expats attend. We have not attended any of them and we just learned Spanish for most situations. I am sure that if we had more fluency, we would feel more comfortable in more situations. However, we must bear in mind that many Mexicans have also taken English classes because there are many expats here now and more are moving here all the time. A little fluency in Spanish makes living here a bit more comfortable.
Year after year, Puerto Vallarta’s drinking water is among the purest in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta uses well water with advanced purification and distribution systems. We drink water in our house and many people we know also do it. Most condominium buildings have modern purification systems as backups, just like we do in our home, so it really depends more on the plumbing system of the house or condominium than on Vallarta’s water. In addition, companies like Coca Cola distribute large bottles of water for home dispensers, so it’s up to you.
From our experience in the United States, we believe that buying in Vallarta is the closest thing to the United States that we have seen anywhere, except in Panama City, which has three main supermarkets, but none like the Comer chain in Vallarta. They just opened their second big new supermarket, right next to Costco. Mega y Soriana are other great, excellent Mexican grocery chains and merchandise in general. But, in addition, Vallarta also has Costco, 3 Walmarts, 2 Sam’s Clubs, Home Depot, and many excellent stores that sell all kinds of things we had in the United States. The other very beautiful cities, countries and islands that we visited had much, much less.
Lower Living Cost than in Other Places
From our many conversations with expatriates who have moved here much more recently, and from our regular visits to the United States, we believe that the overall cost of living here is significantly lower than in the United States and Canada. But it’s really hard to put a percentage because we all live differently. Some people spend much more than others. However, we believe that the overall costs here are much cheaper.
It’s a Safe Place
We feel very safe here. We walk and drive everywhere at night and don’t worry about anything. And we are not alone feeling that way. Many people walk at night without problems. We have heard from many expats and we agree that in general it is safer than many places in the United States. Every time we are outside and anywhere, we try to keep our “smart brain” turned on and not slip into the “holiday brain” anywhere today.
It’s Really Easy to Get Here
It is very easy to get to Vallarta either by air or by car. All major US and Canadian airlines fly a large number of flights to PVR, as well as AeroMexico (image) and many other Mexican airlines and now even some European airlines.
PVR is a very modern and busy international airport with all the shops and restaurants that could be found at any major airport. We have also driven back and forth five times, crossing both Laredo and Nogales. Both are approximately the same distance from Vallarta and both take two days driving from the border. We are in favor of crossing through Nogales and heading south on the highway. Vallarta is also a reasonable placefor visits from family and friends and it is definitely a place they will love to come to.
The construction is now completed, after several years, in the first and hardest section of the highway that crosses the mountains between Vallarta and Guadalajara. That new 4-lane section is located between Jala, NW of Guadalajara on Highway 15 through some beautiful mountains up to Compostella on the coast side. There is a shorter section and a longer section that are still under construction. When completed, it’s projected that the new highway will cut the current 5-hour trip to Guadalajara to 2 and a half hours. We have driven that route several times.