Paradise on a Budget: Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta

by Sasha Savinov

When we tell people that we’ve lived in Bali and are currently living in Puerto Vallarta, we often get the same question over and over again – “How do you afford it?!” Many people assume that because these are touristy places near the ocean that it must be expensive to live in them. I’ll let you in on our little secret. We’re not independently wealthy. We don’t have trust funds. In fact, we’re just a couple of part-time English teachers and bloggers. By hunkering down in these places for a while and trying to live more like a local than a tourist, we’ve been able to live in paradise on a budget.

The Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta

To give you a better idea of how you could do the same, we’re going to share some tips and stats on the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta in US dollars. Since the dollar was stronger during our first few months, we actually paid a bit less than the prices listed here.

The best part about Puerto Vallarta that it suits any budget.

You can find apartments, homes, and other accommodation for very little or you can pay well into the thousands of dollars. Street tacos are readily available for less than $3 or you can get the red carpet treatment at one of the many fine dining establishments.

You don’t need a car in Puerto Vallarta because there are public buses with routes all over the Bay plus there are plenty of taxis and Uber is around. However, if you do have a car, there are plenty of places to park and the traffic isn’t too bad.

We’ve spent a year total living in Puerto Vallarta, split into two 6-month segments. We first arrived in February 2016 and rented an apartment in the more residential area of the city. Then we went traveling around South America for 7 months. We missed PV so much that we returned for another 6 months after that big trip. Now, we’re back on the road for a few months before heading back to PV in May 2019.

I’m going to show you our costs from both times so you can see the difference.

*Puerto Vallarta is located in Banderas Bay, one of the biggest bays in the world! So, that’s what I mean when I write “the Bay”.

Before we get into all these costs, have a quick look at this video we made on just why we love living here so much. It’s less about money and more about just how awesome Puerto Vallarta truly is and we filmed it while sitting on our rooftop enjoying the sunset.

Cost of Accommodation in Puerto Vallarta

Your accommodation is going to be your biggest expense.

Our modest and super cheap apartment.

You might find it hard to believe, but our first 2-bedroom apartment here only cost us about $250 per month. That included fast internet (10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload), Netflix, and all other utilities.

The only extra things we paid for were the gas to cook and heat the water (a huge tank costs under $30 and lasts over a month) and drinking water (a 10-gallon jug is a buck and lasts about a week). We originally booked one month through Airbnb for $320 after fees and were able to negotiate a discount by extending our stay and paying for a few months up front.

This place was in a very local neighborhood about a 20-minute bus or cab ride away from downtown and the beach which is why is was so cheap. We’ve had some other friends pay $300-$400 per month for small, furnished houses and apartments. It takes some digging but you can find budget housing if you sign a 6-12 month lease.

With how cheap this place was, it was a no-brainer to stick around for a few months and save money. We really didn’t expect the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta to be so low, so finding this place was a pleasant surprise.

cost of living in puerto vallarta apartment

Our apartment in Centro

Now, we’ve moved to a place in Centro only 6 blocks from the beach. It’s one of three 1-bedroom units in a house up on a hill. We have a beautiful balcony with an ocean view and a shared rooftop complete with a plunge pool, bar, and barbeque.

The rent is around $750-$800 per month, depending on the exchange rate. That includes a weekly cleaning and fast wifi. Our electricity costs for 2 months are about $18. We don’t have A.C. which helps keep costs low.

We also found this gem through Airbnb!

Not on Airbnb yet? Sign up with our link and get $40 off your first booking!

Typically, it seems that 2-bedroom, furnished apartments in a more desirable location go for $600-$800 per month and require at least a 6-month deal.

A friend of ours had a 1-bedroom apartment in the Romantic Zone (Old Town) that she paid $400 for, then she moved to a small house in Centro for about $300 per month. Both were only partially furnished and she had to sign a 6-month contract. Now, she lives in a 2-bedroom apartment in Centro, also partially furnished for $600 per month.

Another friend got a sweet 3-bedroom house in Centro by the beach for $1100 per month but had to sign up for a year and bargain pretty hard for that.

Where and When to Look for Housing in Puerto Vallarta

Craig’s List is still widely used in Puerto Vallarta and Mexico at large. There are lots of listings for homes with a wide range of prices.

Many people post their listings in Facebook Marketplace. That’s how my friend found her $600 per month apartment.

There are also lots of PV Facebook groups. This group is a general group about life in Puerto Vallarta but I’m sure you could find someone who can point you in the right direction. I would suggest trying this group which is all about finding rentals for long-term visitors. If you’re interested in buying real estate then this group is for you.

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to book an Airbnb or a hotel for a week or two, meet with people in person and see the places you’re interested in.

To get the lowest prices and avoid agents, you can wander the neighborhoods you’d like to live in looking for signs that say “Se Renta” outside the home. That means “For Rent” and the family is attempting to rent it out privately. This will require a bit of Spanish or a translator that can help you communicate. Most of these places won’t be furnished.

The best time to rent an apartment is during low season from May to October. Agents and landlords will be eager to get their place off the market and will, therefore, be more willing to negotiate a price. November to April is the high season when all the snowbirds come back and it can be really difficult to find what you want within your budget.

Accommodation Prices Around the Bay

Since we’ve been based here, we’ve also taken a few trips to the other towns up and down the coast.

We shared a house with my brothers and their friend in Sayulita for just $40 each for two nights. The hostel in Bucerias set us back about $20 for our overnight trip there and included breakfast.

Best of all, we stayed at a stunning oceanfront guesthouse in Yelapa for just $65 a night (during the off-season)! It’s called MiraMar if you want to look them up. Tell ’em the Grateful Gypsies sent you!

Read More: 31 Kickass Things to do in Puerto Vallarta

cost of living in Puerto Vallarta Yelapa

Yelapa – a small beach village an hour-boat ride from Puerto Vallarta

A Note on Studying Spanish

When we first got here, we took a 3-week Spanish course at Spanish School Vallarta. It was a group class that met three times a week for three hours each time, and with the materials, it cost us about $250 each. There is another school in Centro called Spanish Experience Center. We didn’t study there but I do know their prices are a bit higher.

If you’re serious about moving to Puerto Vallarta, you could jump-start your Spanish abilities by getting a phrase book. Lonely Planet makes some of the best language dictionary and phrase books out there. Click here to check it out.

If you really want to improve your conversational Spanish skills and want to get started right away, you should check out Live Lingua. Their tutors are all native speakers and the lessons happen through Skype. You can even take a free trial class to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Cost of Transportation in Puerto Vallarta

For the first time ever, we are totally without wheels. When we lived in China and Bali, we always had either e-bikes or motorbikes. Those are expensive to rent here and there’s really no good place to park one at our apartment, so we decided to forget it and just stick to public transport.

The local buses go everywhere in the city for about $.50 cents.

For another $.50 cents, we can hop another bus and get down to the towns in the South Zone such as Boca de Tomatlan or Mismaloya. For just $2-3, we can head to the towns of Bucerias or Sayulita; a ride time of about 30 minutes and 70 minutes respectively.

Uber is here and it is slightly cheaper than normal cabs but cab drivers here are not out to rip people off. The cost is determined by the zones. Each cab driver has a list that you can ask to see if you’re skeptical. You should always ask for the price before agreeing to the ride. It’s usually only $4-5 per ride.

Water taxis are an option when going to the remote beaches down south and they’re also quite affordable.

Our total transportation costs are around $70 for one month.

Cost of Utilities/Bills/Laundry in Puerto Vallarta

At our first apartment, we’re fortunate to not have to pay utility bills as they’re included in our rent. Since the bills actually came to the apartment, though, we know that it costs about $20 per month for our internet and phone service.

Electricity and water were only $5-6/month. The electric bill went up in the summer as we were using the A/C more often. A/C is the biggest contributor to higher electricity bills. The less you use it, the lower your bills.

Our first 6 months living in Puerto Vallarta, we both got local SIM cards through Telcel when we arrived in Mexico. We usually paid $27 each for 40 days of service plus a few gigs of data. Quite often we’d burn through the data and add another $5 worth.

We didn’t have cable and we don’t pay for any subscription services. Our landlady has a Netflix account set up on the TV which we use and other than that we usually just watch YouTube.

In our new apartment, we have to cover our electricity costs at our new place. We don’t have A/C so it’s very cheap; only $18 for two months. However, I believe our hosts plan to add an A/C unit to the bedroom so we’ll keep you posted on the difference in cost.

The cable, internet, and cleaning services are included in our rent.

We now have cell phone plans with T-Mobile in the US because there are no roaming charges for using our phones in Mexico and their data plan is very generous. This saves us the trouble of having to get a new pre-paid plan every time we go back to the States.

All our laundry done for $2.50.

Much to Rachel’s dismay, we don’t have a washing machine at our apartment here. We get it done once a week at the Lavanderia right next door and usually pay about $3. I hate doing laundry so that’s fine with me!

Cost of Shopping in Puerto Vallarta

One awesome thing about our local neighborhood in town was that everything we needed was in walking distance.

There was a little market nearby where we could get things like fresh fruit, veggies, eggs, tortillas, and juice. We would usually spend $10-15 there per week to stock up on the basics.

All this only set me back about $15.

For bigger grocery shops we would go to Walmart or a Soriana a few blocks away. Generally, we’d spend $65-$85 each time we went to one of those and that would last a bit more than a week.

In our new neighborhood, there are also small markets and a grocery store called Ley. The costs are about the same, but we usually buy less at the grocery store and eat out more now that we have more restaurants nearby. A full shop at Ley usually costs around $45-$60.

There are also a handful of weekly local farmers markets that operate in high season.

Of course I’d buy these things…

Other than groceries, we don’t do a whole lot of shopping. We’re hitting the road again soon so we don’t feel the need to buy a bunch of stuff. Aside from a few silly souvenirs – a Lions Lucha mask, a Spartans skull, and a silly fish bottle opener – we haven’t bought much.

We did buy some furniture for our first apartment, but because it was so inexpensive, we were able to put it towards the rent. A bed frame and a desk plus a chair was about $200 total.

Cost of Food and Drink Puerto Vallarta

All the tacos!

At the first apartment, we just ate at home for the most part.

Since we get up at 5:30 am to teach online with VIPKID, breakfast had to be small and easy.

Most days we would just have all our meals at home as we didn’t do anything but teach English online, work on the blog, and go to the gym. We were ballin’ on a serious budget back then.

When we did go out to eat, it was usually very affordable.

Here are a few examples:

  • Street tacos for $0.50-$1 each
  • Huge quesadillas for $2
  • Meal of the day at local vegetarian place for $3.50
  • Fresh ceviche or aguachile for $6-$7
  • Tuna salad and coffee at a nice cafe for $10
  • Fancy 3-course dinner with a cocktail for under $30

things to do in Puerto Vallarta

Enjoying a delicious dinner at Cafe des Artistes

You can join a street food tour if you’re wary of taco stands. The tour will take you to the cleanest and most delicious street food stands in the downtown area. They’ll teach you how to order and the names of the different toppings and sauces in Spanish.

Our food costs per month including grocery shops: $535 ($17 per day)

It’s no secret that we enjoy an adult beverage or two from time to time.

We can buy a 6-pack of Pacifico or Corona from the corner store for $5-$6. At certain times of the year, they sell 12-packs of Tecate for the same price ($6) on the weekends.

Even at bars downtown and on the beach, you can get a cold one for $1.

Happy Hour Heroes!

Los Muertos Brewery has pints during Happy Hour for around $1.75 and we usually take advantage of that.

Coco Tropical, another place we like on the beach, has 2-for-1 everything for their Happy Hour. We’ve enjoyed several margaritas and mango daiquiris for $2 or less. Monzon Brewery is the newest addition to our repertoire. They have a different deal every day of the week as well as a happy hour that includes food and beer.

Thanks to our early wake-up calls, we don’t party too hard here. By mostly buying cheap beers and being Happy Hour heroes, we don’t spend a ton on going out.

Cost of Health and Wellness in Puerto Vallarta

Since we love to eat tacos and drink beer, we have to exercise often.

We got a gym membership in our first neighborhood for $25 each. That included the sign-up fee and was good for two months. Their power went out – we don’t know why – but we signed up for two more months for only $14 each as a result. It was sweaty, but it kept us in shape.

Our local jogging/cycling path.

We also discovered a good path for walking or jogging and went there once a week or so. There’s a big staircase that gives a pretty decent view of that part of town, so it was nice to just go hang out up there and talk sometimes.

Mexicans love group fitness like Zumba, and there were classes in the park across the street from our place twice a day. We never joined in but it’s an option! There are a couple of places to do yoga in town. There’s one studio that does Yoga teacher training!

Now that we live downtown, we joined The Fit Club. They have the best equipment in town. Plus, they’re the only gym with A.C. which is crucial in the summer months. They have a great deal for the low season, the sign-up fee is $26 and the membership fee is $34 per month – almost half of what it costs in the high season! The great thing about the discount is that you’re locked in as long as you don’t have a lapse in membership.

I’ve spent a lot of time here already.

One of the big reasons we chose PV as a temporary base is because I desperately needed a root canal and crown.

Dentists back in the US quoted me at around $2,500 to have that done. I got it taken care of – plus a deep cleaning and x-rays – for only $570 here. And it was the nicest dental office I’ve ever been to, no joke. Rachel also needed a crown and got it for just $350, so she went ahead and took care of some fillings as well.

Look them up at DentoAmerica if you need some work done. We’ve sent several friends there and they all rave about it.

When Rachel got sick and needed to see a doctor and get meds, she was only out $20. The money we saved on medical and dental bills alone more than covered nearly two months of living here. Not a bad tradeoff if you ask us.

Rachel has now visited a Gynecologist, a Dermatologist, and a Chiropractor and paid out of pocket for all of it. Their offices were also very high-tech and super clean. The doctors are professional and speak English very well. The Chiropractor is actually American.

Cost of Activities in Puerto Vallarta

When we first arrived, we had to skip out on a lot of the popular activities here due to our budget constraints. We didn’t do any fishing or snorkeling tours. Nor did we take a ride on the pirate ship or see the Rhythms of the Night show.

Strolling the Malecon is free!

However, this year Rachel’s parents came to visit and they did a lot of those activities. They saw the Rhythms of the Night show, went on a sailboat tour around the Bay with an open bar, and went on a day trip to San Sebastian del Oeste.

She said everything was amazing and well worth the price! I was busy traveling in Europe on my way to the World Cup in Russia but I was kinda jealous that I missed out on the fun. She’s working on a post all about those tours so stay tuned!

An awesome mural in our ‘hood.

There’s a ton of awesome street art around Puerto Vallarta, so we always enjoy going out with our cameras and looking for it. We’ve even made friends with some pretty amazing graffiti artists, and we can point out their work to you if you come to town.

Another great free thing to do here is the hike up to the cross downtown. It’s a pretty easy hike that only takes 10-15 minutes, and you get incredible views as a reward.

Check out this show-off doing handstands up there.

Speaking of hikes, you can hike from Boca de Tomatlan to some secluded beaches for a great day-trip. You can end at Las Animas where there are a dozen or so restaurants to choose from for lunch.

The Vallarta Botanical Gardens are also just a bus ride away and cost about $8.50 to visit. They make for a great afternoon out of town and we highly recommend them if you visit.

Exploring the botanical gardens.

On a couple of Friday nights, we checked out the Southside Shuffle downtown. A bunch of art galleries stay open late and pour free drinks to encourage people to come in and browse. We’re not exactly art collectors, but it’s sure nice to look at it with a free glass of sangria!

Art + free sangria = a good Friday night.

There are lots of fun activities in Puerto Vallarta that are reasonably priced. Rachel learned how to SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) this summer and got pretty into it. You can rent a board for $10 and paddle to your heart’s content.

Don’t worry if you’ve never tried. My friend Felix can teach you! He does a SUP tour to Los Arcos, a National Marine Park, where you can paddle out to the granite cliffs and snorkel in the caves. Check out his Airbnb experience.

These things only scratch the surface of all the awesome activities in Puerto Vallarta. Check out our guide on things to do in Puerto Vallarta for more activities like SUP and sunset watching!

teaching English online

Curious how we’re able to live in Puerto Vallarta? Read more here: How to Teach English Online and Travel the World

Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta

Sunsets don’t cost anything and they rock!

One Month of Expenses in Puerto Vallarta

We use the fantastic app Trail Wallet to track our expenses and highly recommend it. It allows us to set a budget and input our expenses by category so they’re very easy to track.

Here’s the breakdown of one month for our first stay in Puerto Vallarta in 2017:

  • Accommodation: $253 (one month’s rent in PV plus one night in Bucerias)
  • Food & Drink: $765
  • Transportation: $31
  • Entertainment: $66
  • Misc.: $223 (includes the gym, phone, laundry, pharmacy, etc.)
  • Dental Work: $560
  • TOTAL: $1,898

That’s right, folks. One month in Puerto Vallarta for the two of us came in at under $2,000. I don’t know about you, but we know plenty of people in the US who pay substantially more than that just for rent. This includes over $500 worth of dental work and plenty of days at the beach, evenings out for dinner and drinks, and an overnight stay in another town.

Thanks to our awesome jobs teaching with VIPKID and blogging, we managed to pay for all that and still save $2,000 that month. By searching hard for an apartment, sticking to public transport, and eating plenty of street food while drinking street beers, we’ve proved that budget living in Puerto Vallarta is totally possible.

However, now we’re in a more comfortable financial situation. Since we live in Centro now, our costs are a bit higher because we go out more. We also take more Ubers and cabs. Plus, we joined a coworking space. It’s really nice and they have A/C so it gets us out of the house and helps us be productive.

Here’s a breakdown of our cost of living in Puerto Vallarta for 2018:

  • Accommodation: $800
  • Food & Drink: $715
  • Transportation: $70
  • Entertainment: $150
  • Coworking Space: $220
  • Misc.: $287 (includes the gym, phones, laundry, pharmacy, etc.)
  • TOTAL: $2,242

So as you can see, even with the added expenses of a coworking space and US-based cell phone plans, we still have a lower cost of living than we would in the States.

My goal for this post was to show you that it’s possible to live on just about any budget in Puerto Vallarta. If you’ve found it useful I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a comment and let me know.

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47 comments

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47 comments

Lacy R October 30, 2019 - 3:48 pm

I feel like your blog is the first that has really helped me in my search regarding PV! My husband and I went to PV about 5 years ago for a 10 day trip. We really liked it! We are wanting to go back this year and spend the winter there. December 10th- March or April. We’ve spent a lot of time abroad but in areas not so developed. I am getting a little nervous about actually finding reasonable accommodation. I’ve always been of the mindset that you can find cheaper things once you get there. I do usually book a few nights airbnb and then go from there but I’m honestly not finding very many options for monthly stays that aren’t exorbitant. Do you think showing up in December and expecting to find a place to stay for less than 1,000 is reasonable in say PV, Bucerias, or San Pancho? I would be so appreciative of your advice! Best, Lacy <3

Reply
Rachel Story October 30, 2019 - 10:26 pm

Hi, Lacy! Thanks for your comment! It’s getting pretty difficult and competitive to stay in Puerto Vallarta during the high season. It’s also getting harder to find something for less than $1,000 for a month. I think the best place to look is in the Facebook groups or on Facebook marketplace. You can also try Craigs List. A friend of ours in PV recently wrote a guest blog post about finding long-term rentals in PV. It might give you some ideas. It also has links to the best Facebook groups for finding accommodation. Here is the link: https://www.gratefulgypsies.com/long-term-rentals-puerto-vallarta

I think you’ll find the same prices in Bucerias but we’ve never looked there so I could be wrong. San Pancho isn’t in the Bay and over an hour away from PV so you’ll likely find cheaper prices there but we’ve never been there before. It’s been on our list of places to go. We just haven’t made it yet. I hope this helps! Good luck 🙂

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Mihaela October 11, 2019 - 11:01 am

Hello, Rachel. Great video – I actually loved your spending categories and they helped me to make a budget for us for when we move to Merida (or PV?) in a couple of years. Our budget will also be around 2K a month.
I have a tangential question – I am a teacher too but for math (high school). It is harder to do math tutoring online – I wrote down the pc you used thinking it may help with writing on the screen etc. My question is: would I be able to find math tutoring in person, in English and do you have any idea what that could cost in Mexico? I can tutor all levels of math up to calc BC, ACT, SAT etc. I am very good at it too – so once I find 1-2 kids it will grow organically.
Thank you!

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Rachel Story October 12, 2019 - 4:48 pm

Hi, Mihaela! Thanks for the kind words!

I’m not really sure about that. There is an American school here so there may actually be a market for math tutoring in English. But I have no idea what you could charge for it. I would imagine not very much just based on average wages in Mexico. The cost of living is pretty inexpensive, as you can see. Accommodation does seem to be going up and the buses now cost 10 pesos per ride. Most of them have AC now, though. Everything else is pretty much the same. Hope this helps! 🙂

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Christina Ristau September 12, 2019 - 11:24 am

Hello! The Budget and Accommodations/Neighborhoods info. in this article are invaluable! Thank you for being so specific!!! I am wondering, since Sasha has taught and lived in, (I believe) both China (Beijing?) and the Middle East if he would ever consider doing a parallel article providing the same information for those locations? Or, if you know of someone who is teaching on the ground in China or the Middle East right now who would be willing to help me out by providing me with the specifics of teaching in those places, would you ever be willing to email me their contact info.? The reason I’d love to see it come from you guys is just because I love the way you have this article organized/laid out and the information is perfectly specific. That’s what I need! Thank you so much and happy travels!

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Rachel Story September 14, 2019 - 6:44 pm

Hello again 🙂

Sasha has not lived in the Middle East so we can’t personally offer advice about the cost of living there. One of my good friends just moved to Abu Dhabi with her husband who is teaching in a school there. I can reach out to her and see if she wouldn’t mind answering your questions. I’ll get back to you about it soon!

Reply
Casayvonneka July 16, 2019 - 5:01 am

Great post you have shared. I am really inspired with your post that I am getting lots valuable tips about Maxico. Thanks a lot!

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Rachel Story July 17, 2019 - 5:10 pm

Thank you for reading! I’m glad you’ve found it to be valuable 🙂

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Tea July 10, 2019 - 5:13 am

Great Article! thanks so much! I’m right now traveling in Europe and was thinking about staying in Mexico for a few months, maybe even eventually to settle down! 🙂 I never been to Mexico! I assume you traveled within Mexico quite a bit. Would you suggest best coastal towns in Mexico: beautiful, affordable and SAFE! 🙂 also, would you say Puerto Vallarta is safe (low crime)? Also, is the weather great and warm all year round? not boring in PV? Also, after 6 months of living, is it easy to get a permanent visa? thanks a lot for the info and have a happy summer!

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Rachel Story July 15, 2019 - 5:19 pm

Hi, Tea! Thanks for reading the post and reaching out!

I haven’t been to that many coastal towns in Mexico but I can definitely say that Puerto Vallarta is definitely one of the safest, if not the safest. You only need to worry about petty crimes. Playa del Carmen and Tulum are also nice. There is more violent crime in that part of Mexico but that is because of gang violence. It’s not directed at Gringos but they can get caught in the cross-hairs sometimes.

In Puerto Vallarta, The weather is nice and dry in the winter months and hot, humid, and rainy in the summer months. No, it’s not boring. There are nice beaches. You can walk to a lot of places and there’s also a very efficient and affordable bus system as well as taxis and Uber. I don’t walk around by myself late at night. I think 5 de Diciembre and Zona Romantica are the nicest areas to rent and be close to the beach. The beaches are great, in my opinion!

We haven’t personally tried to get a permanent visa so I don’t have any advice about that. I have been told that it is easier than in other countries.

I hope this helps! 🙂

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Tea July 16, 2019 - 2:14 am

thank you! you were very helpful! 🙂 awesome! i hope to see this part of Mexico soon! happy summer 🙂

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Rachel Story July 16, 2019 - 10:40 am

Same to you!!☀️🌸😎

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Brett Pavel June 27, 2019 - 2:50 pm

Wow, I am so grateful to find your blog! Love this post. My wife and I are planning on retiring in three years with PV as our base. We haven’t really had a chance to see the rest of Mexico besides the Yucatan area, but on a half dozen trips to PV we have been smitten. Your research is very much appreciated.

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Rachel Story July 1, 2019 - 11:59 am

Hi, Brett! Thank you so much! I’m glad you found the post to be useful. Puerto Vallarta really is a great place. We stay longer and longer every time we come. Who knows, we may end up with our own place here someday. Thanks for the very nice comment! Feel free to reach out if you ever have any questions 🙂

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Tea July 10, 2019 - 5:17 am

P.S. and is everything in walking distance? (I can walk pretty farrr) 🙂 And are beaches in walking distance? Nice beaches? Is this town safe at night? What area is best to rent to be close to the beach and shopping/center and safe but affordable? Thanks again!!!

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Paul June 3, 2019 - 1:01 pm

Spent 6 weeks in PV when I was 21 – 32years ago. Never forget how awesome the sunsets were. Great town! There was a place called Andeles maybe 2or 3 blocks up from the beach. Down in the old town. by chance is it still there.

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Rachel Story June 3, 2019 - 4:31 pm

Hey, Paul! That’s so cool! I bet it was a different world back then in many ways but the sunsets are still amazing and yes, Andele’s is still there!! So when will you make your grand return to PV?!

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Virginia Davis February 23, 2019 - 1:07 pm

sounds like a interesting idea
i am going in one month to check it out

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Rachel Story February 28, 2019 - 4:03 pm

Awesome, Virginia! Let us know how it goes!

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Liz November 25, 2018 - 1:47 am

Hi! Thanks for sharing this information. I lived in Mexico City and Playa Del Carmen and want to now check out the west coast! Since y’all work remotely, I’m assuming that internet wasn’t an issue? Were there any coworking spaces or cafes with good wifi in PV? I take a lot of video calls and would love a place to get out of the house everyone once in a while.

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Rachel Story November 26, 2018 - 11:58 am

Hi, Liz! Thanks for reaching out! The Internet has never been a problem for us in Puerto Vallarta. Fiber optic is slowly making its way across the city making it even faster. There are two coworking spaces! The one we go to is Vallarta Cowork and it’s awesome. We haven’t been to the other one yet but we plan to check it out when we get back in a few months. There are also lots of cafes to choose from. I’m working on a post right now all about the best cafes in Puerto Vallarta. I’d also like to maybe pick your brain about Playa del Carmen. We’ve got a place booked for a month to check it out. We went in 2012 but we only stayed for 2 nights and that was before it blew up as a digital nomad hotspot. Let’s keep in touch!

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Judith L Aussem July 29, 2018 - 12:36 pm

Hi Rachel and Sasha,
I’ve been teaching online for 10 years after living/teaching in China for 5 years, then teaching and travelling to The Gulf for another 6 years. It’s fabulous work! I’m headed to PV in November for 6 months and my housing is sorted. My plan is to move to Bali for permanent retirement if the political climate remains stable – and the volcano.
My question is a little off-topic but is something I’m grappling with currently: what kind of laptop do you use? I’ve been using a Dell All-In-One with a 27″ screen for over a year here in Toronto and thought about buying an Apple since my iPhone and iPad would be compatible however I have to say that, at 65 yrs old, I’m not looking forward to transferring all my files over to Mac or the steep learning curve that I would have so I’m thinking I’ll stay with a Windows 10. I use Zoom for my lessons, being able to share my textbooks and homework with the students but I’m considering checking out VIPKID. Any advice you could provide regarding laptops would be much appreciated. I also just started a video making company too.
I’d love to meet for a beer but I believe you’ll be gone by the time I arrive. I’ll keep track of your travels for another opportunity.
Wishing you safe and happy travels, Judith

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Rachel Story July 29, 2018 - 10:17 pm

Hi, Judith! Thank you for such a nice comment! No, we won’t be here in November, unfortunately. As for computers, Sasha uses a MacBook Pro for video editing and a Chrome book for teaching. I use a Toshiba Satellite that’s a 2-in-1 touchscreen. It’s similar to this one made by Lenovo, which will be the next computer I buy at the end of this year as this one is now pretty old and starting to slow down. I love the touchscreen for teaching VIPKID because you can easily write on the PowerPoint lessons which is easier than trying to use the trackpad or a mouse. Too bad we won’t be here when you arrive! Otherwise, we’d love to meet up for a beer. We’ll be back, though. We love it too much!

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Elizabeth July 7, 2018 - 2:42 pm

Just stumbled across your wonderfully honest and comprehensive post and wondered, since you’ve been in PV for a while, which neighborhoods you would recommend for a family with young kids. We’d prefer to live like/with locals than in the touristy areas, and budget living is preferred. Any ideas for us to begin with? We’ll be visiting this fall/winter to check out PV and a few other cities to which we may move. Thanks!

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Rachel Story July 7, 2018 - 7:30 pm

Hi, Elizabeth! Thank you for such a nice comment! I think the neighborhood we lived in when we wrote this post would be the best. It’s called Las Aralias. We had an amazing mountain view. There was a great little park across the street called Parque Los Sauces and there was a Zumba class 6 nights a week that accepts donations. It’s super local, lots of families. Cheap restaurants. An indoor pool that I believe has swimming lessons. It’s about 20 minutes in the bus or a cab to get to downtown. It’s even better if you have your own car as it’s between downtown and Marina Vallarta which has several kid friendly places. There are two water parks!

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions!

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Denis Roberge July 23, 2018 - 6:53 pm

Hi, My name is Denis. I have just booked my flight to Puerto Plata for Nov. 24, 2018. I am desperately trying to find a way to find an apartment until March 31, 2018. There doesn’t seem to be any way for me to do this effectively online. I’d prefer a two bedroom funished apartment but would also consider a one bedroom. I’ve just retired here in Ottawa, Canada and am a little apprehensive about taking this adventure (actually it’s scary). Can you please, please help me.

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Rachel Story July 24, 2018 - 9:53 am

Hi Denis! Congratulations on your retirement!

I did a little research and found that Puerto Plata is in the Dominican Republic. We live in Mexico. So I can’t give you specific advice for finding a place in the DR but I would suggest booking a hotel or an Airbnb for about a week to ten days and then look around when you arrive there. You could try doing a search on Craigs List. Facebook groups are also a great way to find accommodation and connect with other expats living in the area who can answer your questions. Try searching for groups related to Puerto Plata. I hope this helps. Sorry, I don’t have better information! Feel free to reach out again if you have other questions.

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Elizabeth July 24, 2018 - 10:23 am

Thank you so much, Rachel! I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner – I missed the notification of your response. We will definitely look into your recommended neighborhood. We are toying with the idea of living further away in San Sebastiån for the mountain climate… so many beautiful options in Mexico that our heads are spinning a bit!

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Elizabeth July 24, 2018 - 10:38 am

Actually, upon closer inspection, San Sebastiån seems a little small for our blood 🙂 The search continues!

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Rachel Story July 24, 2018 - 12:23 pm

Yeah, San Sebastian is tiny. If you’d like to still be in the Bay but want something smaller than Puerto Vallarta, you could look into Bucerias, Sayulita, or San Poncho.

Cramer Lewis February 23, 2018 - 11:46 am

Enjoyed the post! Almost eerily useful to me as I’m also a VIPKID teacher AND I’m moving to PV in June to earn my tefl and teach English in brick n mortar schools (in addition to hanging out with Dino, PinkBall and the gang of course). I was wondering if you have any specific advice on where to look for affordable housing in and around PV (websites or orginizations) and any advice regarding price negotiations there. How flexible is price? Should I expect the first offer is a highball because I’m a gringo and push? My spanish is ok, I’d say intermediate in understanding and just below that when it comes to actually making intelligible sentences.

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Sasha Savinov February 24, 2018 - 2:56 pm

Hey Cramer, Thanks for the comment! We’ll have to have a VIPKID teacher meet-up when you get to town. We should be there in June as well. A good place to start is joining the Facebook group called Puerto Vallarta: Everything You Need or Want to Know. If you post what you’re looking for in there you’re sure to get tons of responses. Price totally depends on location and time of year. If you’re willing to sign up for 6 months or a year you’ll get a better price. We actually don’t have a ton of experience in that area. We got lucky with our place last year (well with the price at least) and we found it through Craigslist. We’re headed back and staying at a place where we took a short vacation to last year, as we kept in touch with the owners and worked out an agreement. One idea would be to find a decent place on Airbnb for 2 weeks-a month and then go see places yourself and try to cut a deal with an owner. It’s always better to do these things on the ground. Of course, having some Spanish always helps, but English is very prevalent in PV. Hopefully see you on the beach in a few months! Good luck to you! -Sasha

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Cramer Lewis February 27, 2018 - 4:50 pm

That’s really helpful, thank you! Ah, so cool. We’ll have to get together for sure.

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Kim Kristensen December 16, 2017 - 5:34 pm

Hi Rachel,

I really enjoyed your post and information. I was in PV a few month’s ago and I can see myself living there for a few months. You mentioned you teach English online. I am fluent in English and Spanish and work as an interpreter in the US in medical and social services. I grew up in Mexico as a child. I don’t have a teaching degree but I have a state certification in interpreting and 10 years experience. I could teach either language or be an interpreter for visitors in PV. I would love to know your thoughts on this. My parents did what you and your partner are doing back in 1969, Mexico was and still is paradise and I miss my culture. Enjoy your travels.

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Rachel Story December 18, 2017 - 10:46 am

Hi Kim! Thanks for checking out the post. I’m so happy you enjoyed the read. As far as working in PV goes, I don’t think it would be difficult for you to find work interpreting or teaching a language, especially this time of year. A lot of Americans and Canadians head there for the winter months and many of them could use some translation help or would like to learn Spanish. You could try networking in some of the PV Facebook groups. We loved Puerto Vallarta and fully plan on going back there at some point!

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Rose October 29, 2017 - 5:32 am

Hello! I loved your post, very informative 🙂
My husband and I are looking to move to Puerto Vallarta next year around April. My sister and her husband are already living there. We are currently living in Vietnam but we are about to start travelling full time and planning to stay in Bali for a month. Then a couple of months in Europe. We are also English teachers and going to start teaching online soon. Hope we would meet once we get to Puerto Vallarta! Enjoy Mexico, I love it! 🙂

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Rachel Story October 29, 2017 - 11:08 am

Hi, Rose! Thanks for reading! I’m glad we could provide some useful info. We’re actually not in PV anymore. We’re traveling around South America – currently in Colombia and leaving for Ecuador next week. We’ll be back to PV eventually. It’s such a cool part of Mexico. Teaching online is great. Let us know if you need any info about that, especially if you’re teaching for VIPKID! Safe travels!

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Rose May 22, 2018 - 2:00 pm

Hi Rachel,
We made it to PV a month or so ago, we are loving it! We are still staying at an Airbnb and looking for a long term place, we decided that we may stay here for a year or so. We are teaching online but not for VIPKid, I have heard great things about it but maybe get more experience with online teaching and the interview with VIPKid. I have already applied and they invited me for an interview and a mock class, but I’ll wait. Do you have to lesson plan? I know VIPKid is not an interactive platform like other online schools, what is your experience?
Are you still traveling in Central America? We are thinking of taking a short break of traveling and then travel as much in Mexico as possible, we had traveled in Mexico a lot in the past but there are still some areas that I will like to travel to and re-visit some 🙂
Enjoy your travels!

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Rachel Story May 22, 2018 - 4:42 pm

Hi, Rose! So happy you made it to PV! We are here too! We arrived about two and a half weeks ago. After South America we went back to the States for a few weeks and then came here. We’re heading back again tomorrow for a music festival but then we’ll be here until the fall. I’m excited about traveling to other places in Mexico and using PV as a base.

About VIPKID – no you don’t have to lesson plan which is why I love it! They do have an interactive classroom and they are slowly rolling out interactive lessons. All the lessons are powerpoints and you load them up as soon as you enter the classroom. It’s great! They are Forbes #1 work from home job for 2018 so maybe you should take them up on the invitation for an interview! I’m happy to answer any other questions you may have about it. Speak soon! 🙂

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Tyler J Kimbro July 28, 2017 - 4:19 pm

Gah! Always love reading your blog! Love you guys and hope to see you when you’re around!

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Rachel Story July 31, 2017 - 5:34 pm

Hey thanks, Tyler! We’ll be in Nashville in early August. Let’s hang for sure!

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Katie June 30, 2017 - 4:35 pm

Love this! I just got back from two weeks in Mexico and am already devising a way to return for longer. Puerto Vallarta seems like a cool and affordable place to set up shop. Thanks for all the tips!

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Rachel Story July 3, 2017 - 4:26 pm

For sure! Thanks for reading! Feel free to reach out if you ever have questions!

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Zoe June 30, 2017 - 2:19 pm

Great, comprehensive post! Sounds like you’re set up nicely in PV 🙂

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Rachel Story July 3, 2017 - 4:27 pm

Thanks, Zoe! We really like it here. I’m trying to convince more digital nomads to come!

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Carl Alves June 28, 2017 - 5:39 pm

The information on Puerto Vajjarta was very helpful, any information is helpful, thus is my first time renting a place in PV, I have always stayed close to a month in Hotels there in the past
Thank you, Carl Alves

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Rachel Story June 29, 2017 - 6:50 pm

Hey, Carl! We’re so happy you enjoyed the post and that we were able to help you. Let us know if there are other ways we can help! Thanks for reading 🙂

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