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7 Best Places To Live in Puerto Vallarta [Expat Guide]

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Wondering what the best places to live in Puerto Vallarta are? Let me help you! I’ve been living in PV for the last three years in several different neighborhoods. In this guide, I’m sharing the best areas to live in Puerto Vallarta for expats and digital nomads.

Puerto Vallarta has long been a popular destination for expats from the United States and is quickly becoming one of the best places in Mexico for digital nomads, with its high-speed WiFi, serene setting in nature, and growing community.

As one of Mexico’s most desirable beach towns, you may be thinking about making the move and wondering where the best areas in Puerto Vallarta are.

In this guide, I’ve rounded up the best neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta for expats and digital nomads to live in. I’ve also suggested an apartment in each neighborhood that you can book directly through VRBO, my preferred website for booking long-term apartments.

Best areas to live in Puerto Vallarta

Here are the best places to live in Puerto Vallarta from north to south.

1. Marina Vallarta

boats in the marina in marina vallarta mexico

For those seeking a more upscale and modern lifestyle, Marina Vallarta is an excellent choice.

This upscale Puerto Vallarta neighborhood is centered around a beautiful marina, offering stunning views of yachts and boats. With its world-class golf courses, luxury hotels, shopping centers, and fine dining establishments, Marina Vallarta provides a refined and tranquil living environment.

Its name comes from the nearby cruise ship port that welcomes thousands of visitors annually.

It’s also just a 5-minute drive from the airport, which is convenient if you have to travel often. It’s also near shopping centers and Wal-Mart, making it easy to get everything you need.

Overall, Marina Vallarta is one of the safer areas to live in and is popular with families in Mexico.

Of course, living in this exclusive area comes with a cost. But if you’re after a high-end apartment or luxury condo, there’s plenty to choose from here.

As a digital nomad in Puerto Vallarta, Marina Vallarta wouldn’t be my first choice. It’s further away from the best nightlife, and not many other nomads live around here. But if you’re looking for something quiet and luxurious, the Marina is a great place to live.

Apartment pick: This sunny modern condo sleeps four and is only a few minutes walk away from the many beach resorts. It also has a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool and sun loungers on the balcony.

2. Hotel Zone

aerial view of the beach and hotels in the hotel zona puerto vallarta

The hotel south zone (zona hotelera) is predominately made up of luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts, so it’s packed with tourists and not the most ‘liveable’ neighborhood in this guide.

That said, if you want to live in a hotel – go for it! I know a guy who got a great deal living in the Sheraton long-term during COVID.

Most hotels have beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, direct beach access, and on-site security, making this area a very safe choice.

Since the area is built for tourism, you can find everything you need easily around here.

There are also some residential areas to live in the hotel zone. I spent my first winter living in Puerto Vallarta in Las Glorias, the neighborhood behind Secrets Resort at the end of the south hotel zone.

I shared a 3-bedroom apartment with two other girls for 800 USD/month with an outdoor pool and a cleaner that came twice a week – talk about a great deal!

It was just a 5-minute walk to Las Glorias beach, and Versalles is just five minutes away.

This ocean-front apartment is in the luxurious Grand Venetian Residence, right on the beach in the Hotel Zone.

3. Versalles

car on cobblestone street in versalles

If you’re looking for a more affordable area with great restaurants, Versalles is one of the best areas to live in Puerto Vallarta.

It’s become known as the foodie area of Puerto Vallarta in recent years, with some of the best restaurants the city has on offer. You can find anything from Caribbean to Greek here, and of course, plenty of Mexican options – including a taco stand in a car garage!

What makes Versalles so charming is that it is a traditional residential area that boats many old-world Mexican homes. I love walking around the cobblestone streets here, exploring all the independently owned shops and cafes.

I lived in Versalles in 2022 and loved it – so much that I decided to buy a pre-build apartment here! I’ll be moving back to the neighborhood soon, and I can’t wait.

Versalles is also close to many grocery stores like La Comer and Costco, which makes it super conveinent. Believe it or not, you can get sick of eating street tacos.

This beautiful boho ocean view apartment is a great choice. It has modern appliances and features a rooftop pool with gorgeous mountain views.

4. Fluvial Vallarta

Fluvial Vallarta is a residential area rapidly gaining popularity among expats and digital nomads.

This modern neighborhood provides a comfortable and convenient living experience, with easy access to shopping centers, schools, parks, and fitness facilities. You can find major stores here, such as Costco, Walmart, and La Comer.

Fluvial is just a 10-minute walk from Versalles and is one of the more affordable places to live in Puerto Vallarta.

It’s not in the center of the action, but it’s an okay place to live if you have your own vehicle or don’t mind taking the bus/Uber, which are affordable here. You’ll make up the cost in cheaper rent anyways.

There are also a lot of pre-construction buildings here, so if you’re looking to invest in the real estate market, this is an excellent place to find deals and get a good return on investment.

This luxury house in Fluvial features a private pool, luxury finishes, a private garage, and three bedrooms, each with AC and its TV.

5. 5 di Diciembre

drone photo of the Puerto Vallarta 5 de diciembre neighboudhood
A look at 5D. Photo by Sasha Savinov

Located between the Hotel Zone and El Centro, this centrally-located neighborhood is one of the best areas to stay in Puerto Vallarta for digital nomads.

5 di Diciembre (5D) is a great choice if you want to be close to downtown but not too close. It’s quieter than El Centro or Zona Romantica but within walking distance of many of the best bars when you want to head out.

It’s a great place to enjoy the local taco stands and has many cafes for coworking. I love working from The Green Place and Calmate!

The closest beach is Playa Camarones, where you can find many beach bars and beautiful sunsets. The neighborhood extends up from the beach through hilly cobblestone streets, so many apartments come with stunning city views.

You can’t go wrong with living in 5 di Diciembre – it’s an ideal location for experiencing all Puerto Vallarta offers.

This charming 2-bedroom condo offers an ocean view, a spacious terrace, a fully stocked kitchen, and a dedicated workspace. Enjoy the incredible Puerto Vallarta sunsets from the balcony every evening while enjoying your favorite cocktail!

5. El Centro

drone photo of El Centro Puerto Vallarta
El Centro | Image by Sasha Savinov

El Centro, aka downtown Puerto Vallarta, is a great place to live if you want to be in the center of the action. It’s where you’ll find many boutique hotels, art galleries, and local shops.

The area has been a long-time favorite for expats after exploding in growth in the 70s from movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton came here. It’s even earned itself the nickname ‘Gringo Gulch’ due to the many expats living here.

The downtown area’s convenient location makes it an ideal place to explore some of the main attractions around the city center.

El Centro has some of the most beautiful historic buildings and cultural attractions, like the Guadaloupe Church in the main square.

You won’t ever find yourself getting bored living in El Centro. Step outside your door and the best of Puerto Vallarta’s activities and entertainment await you!

This newly furnished 1-bed, 1-bath condo boasts trendy decor, a full kitchen, large flat-screen Smart TV, and a private patio with ocean views. Plus, the beach is just three blocks away!

6. Zona Romantica Puerto Vallarta

pink and orange sunset over zona romantica puerto vallarta
Sunset from my rooftop terrace in Zona Romantica

Old Town, also known as Zona Romantica or The Romantic Zone, is one of the most popular areas in Puerto Vallarta. It’s the official gaybourhood, and where I am currently living.

If you don’t mind a bit of noise, it’s a great place to live, with many residential apartments alongside boutique hotels.

You’ll be within walking distance to many of the top attractions and best things to do in Puerto Vallarta, such as Los Muertos beach, the Malecon, and many of the top bars for nightlife.

There are activities to partake in every night; the only problem you’ll have here is going out too much!

It’s always a party here, so this isn’t a place to be if you want peace. But if you’re looking for a place to step out your door and find live music and dance floors, this is the place to be.

It’s popular among gay expats, as most of the gay bars are found here. Did you know Puerto Vallarta is one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly cities in the world?!

Another benefit of living in Zona Romantica is that you’ll be close to Los Muertos Pier, where you can take boats to secluded beaches like Quimixto and Yelapa.

One thing I don’t love about living in Zona Romantica is the lack of big supermarkets within walking distance.

This spacious loft is tastefully decorated, featuring a king-size bed, a fully equipped kitchen, and AC. It’s just a few blocks from Los Muertos and nearby restaurants and shops.

7. Amapas & Conchas Chinas

beach and apartments in Conchas Chinas puerto vallarta
Conchas Chinas

Located just south of Zona Romantica, Amapas and Conchas Chinas are upscale neighborhoods perched on the hillside, offering breathtaking ocean views.

They are great areas to live in if you want to be around some of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta.

Many homes here are perched high on the hills, offering spectacular views over the Bay of Banderas. Conchas Chinas is an ideal place to take in the stunning sunsets over Mexico’s Pacific coast.

You’ll find gorgeous hiking trails in the Sierra Madre mountains in the surrounding area, making this a great choice to live in if you want to partake in some of the great outdoor activities Puerto Vallarta offers.

It’s a bit further away from the action, but still, just a quick 5-minute drive to Zona Romantica when you’re ready to hit the town.

This beautiful one-bedroom condo features a well-equipped kitchen, panoramic views from the rooftop, and a covered lounge and BBQ area.

When is the best time to live in Puerto Vallarta?

rocks in ocean in puerto vallarta

The city enjoys a tropical climate year-round, so there’s no bad time to live here, but most people prefer the dry/high season.

High season runs from mid-October to March when you’ll experience the best weather (and whales) and the highest prices.

If you come during the shoulder season from April to June, you can get some fantastic deals on accommodations. This was when I lived in Puerto Vallarta for the last two years, and the rain doesn’t typically start until late June.

And honestly, the rainy season is kind of magical. It’s when the waterfalls become full again, and the trees bloom in shades of green.

The worst time to live in Puerto Vallarta is September/October, as this is the biggest risk of hurricanes, although Banderas Bay does a pretty good job of sheltering the city.

For more information about each season, check out this guide on the best time to live in Puerto Vallarta.

What is the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta?

lora in puerto vallarta mexico

The cost of living in Puerto Vallarta can be very affordable, especially compared to what you would pay in major North American cities. That said, a big part of your monthly expenses will depend on what type of place you get.

If you want a fully-furnished apartment with modern amenities by the beach, you’ll pay quite a bit. But you can get fantastic deals if you’re willing to have a more outdated apartment a few blocks from the beach.

Check out this guide on living costs in Puerto Vallarta for a detailed breakdown of what I spent living here.

Finding long-term rentals in Puerto Vallarta

outdoor pool in an apartment
An apartment I lived in Versalles

We have another guide for finding long-term rentals in Puerto Vallarta.

If it’s your first time here, a good place to start is VRBO or Airbnb, but the best deals are found outside these platforms. Most owners are willing to negotiate off of it if you message them.

The best way to get an affordable apartment is by networking once you’re here. Or calling landlords when you see apartments with ‘se renta’ signs (that’s how we got ours in 2020).

FAQ: Best areas to stay in Puerto Vallarta

Which zone is the best in Puerto Vallarta?

The best zone in Puerto Vallarta depends on individual preferences. Zona Romantica is popular with the LGBTQ+ community, while Marina Vallarta is for digital nomads.

What is the wealthy area of Puerto Vallarta?

Amapas, Conchas Chinas, and Marina Vallarta are considered wealthy areas of Puerto Vallarta due to their luxurious properties and upscale amenities.

What is the safest part of Puerto Vallarta?

Generally, Puerto Vallarta is considered safe for residents and tourists alike. Marina Vallarta and the Hotel Zone are known for their safety and active community.

Is Puerto Vallarta a good place to live?

Yes, Puerto Vallarta is a highly desirable place to live, especially for expats and digital nomads seeking a warm climate, beautiful scenery, and a welcoming community.

What is the downside of Puerto Vallarta?

One downside of Puerto Vallarta is the rainy season, which occurs from June to October, bringing more frequent showers and humidity.

Where not to stay in Puerto Vallarta?

While Puerto Vallarta is generally safe, it’s recommended to avoid staying in remote or poorly-lit areas at night and exercise usual precautions in unfamiliar surroundings.

Where do rich people live in Puerto Vallarta?

Wealthier residents often reside in exclusive neighborhoods like Amapas, Conchas Chinas, and Marina Vallarta, where luxury properties and upscale amenities are prevalent.

Where do the expats live in puerto vallarta?

Expats in Puerto Vallarta tend to live in popular neighborhoods such as Zona Romantica, Versalles, and 5 de Diciembre due to their appealing amenities and vibrant communities.

Final thoughts: Best places to live in Puerto Vallarta

That’s it for the best places to live in Puerto Vallarta.

And the good thing about Puerto Vallarta is that it’s not a huge city, so you’ll be able to get between them all easily, regardless of where you choose to live.

Whether you’re drawn to the energy of Zona Romantica, the sophistication of Marina Vallarta, the serenity of Amapas & Conchas Chinas, or the convenience of Versalles, Puerto Vallarta has a neighborhood to suit your lifestyle and preferences.

Each area offers its unique charm and attractions, making it a perfect destination for expats and digital nomads seeking a fulfilling and enriching experience in this captivating Mexican paradise.

Planning a move to Puerto Vallarta? Check out these guides!

best areas to live in puerto vallarta pin


  • Lora Pope

    Lora Pope is a travel content creator who’s been wandering solo for over a decade. In 2021, she moved to Puerto Vallarta and fell in love at first sight. After visiting 70+ countries, she decided to make it her base and now helps travelers like you make the most of your time in PV.

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