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Living in Puerto Vallarta has been one of the happiest chapters of my life. Endless sunshine, beautiful beaches, water spots, friendly people, and fantastic food – you can’t wipe the smile off my face here.
If you’re thinking about moving to Puerto Vallarta or just curious about what it’s like living in this beach paradise, this post will answer all your questions.
Why live in Puerto Vallarta?
Puerto Vallarta may be touristy, but there’s a reason so many people move here.
Puerto Vallarta offers a unique blend of modern city life and traditional Mexican charm.
With its beautiful beaches, accessible amenities, rich Mexican culture, and vibrant nightlife, it’s an ideal destination for those looking to experience the best of both worlds.
Puerto Vallarta has excellent infrastructure, a low cost of living, and a welcoming atmosphere that makes it an attractive option for those looking to relocate.
The city is filled with modern amenities such as shopping centers, chain stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues that make living here easy.
Furthermore, the city is very safe and has a strong expat community, making it an ideal place for digital nomads to move to. Here’s some reasons why you’ll love life in Puerto Vallarta!
Puerto Vallarta is on Mexico’s Pacific Coast on the Bay of Banderas, meaning it’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
Nearby you can visit one of the most Insta famous beaches – Hidden Beach on Isla Marietas.
If you love the outdoors, you’ll love Puerto Vallarta. You can go on coastal hikes, swim in hidden waterfalls, zip-line through the jungle, or ride ATV’s up the Sierra Madre mountains.
With the Pacific Ocean right there, it’s got incredible opportunity for water spots such as kayaking, diving, surfing, and swimming. You can even spot whales and dolphins during the winter season!
Great digital nomad base
For digital nomads in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta hits all the boxes.
It has fast internet, many cafes and coworking spaces, and a growing digital nomad scene. In addition, you’ll find it easy to make friends in Puerto Vallarta with regular meetups hosted in the city.
The nightlife in Puerto Vallarta is fantastic. I’m not going to lie; it’s got a party atmosphere.
The city is famous for its wild parties and big clubs along the Malecon, where you can dance until the early hours of the morning.
However, if you want to lay low, you can do that too.
Puerto Vallarta has a large spiritual community, and there are ways to live a healthy, active lifestyle here, without getting caught up in the party scene. But I wouldn’t say Puerto Vallarta is a quiet place to live.
Easy to get around North America
Puerto Vallarta makes a great base to explore other parts of Mexico.
It’s easy to take day trips to small towns nearby like Sayulita and San Pancho via bus or road trip. Or you can take a quick flight from the airport and explore an entirely new part of the country for a weekend, such as Mexico City.
Puerto Vallarta also has an international airport with direct flights to major cities in Canada and the United States, so it’s a good base if you need to regularly travel back home.
Friendly for LGBTQ+ travelers
If you’re an LGBTQ+ traveler, you’ll be happy to know that Puerto Vallarta is one of the top gay destinations in Latin America! One of the best things about living here is the welcoming community.
Of course, you get all the other benefits associated with living in Mexico, like the incredible cuisine, a low cost of living, and a rich culture.
Have I convinced you to live in Puerto Vallarta yet? Okay, let’s get into the logistics of moving here!
Do you need a visa to live in Puerto Vallarta?
Short answer, no. If you work remotely, moving to Puerto Vallarta as a digital nomad is relatively easy because many nationalities (including Canadians and Americans) are given a six-month tourist visa on arrival.
That said, immigration officers in Mexico (particularly if you’re flying into Mexico city) have been cracking down on this, with many travelers reporting only getting 30 days (or even less) when they arrive. However, those landing in Puerto Vallarta don’t seem to have this same issue.
You can get another tourist visa by leaving and re-entering the country. Many digital nomads will do a visa run to a neighboring country like Belize or Guatemala.
I also know many people who overstayed the six months and paid a fine when they left, although I don’t advise doing that as they seem to be cracking down on this, too.
If you are interested in living in Mexico for more than six months without worrying about doing visa runs, you can apply for the Mexico Temporary Resident Visa.
The visa is initially approved for one year and can be renewed for another 1 to 3 years. After living in Mexico for four years, you can apply to be a permanent resident.
Most of my friends in Puerto Vallarta have the temporary residence visa. It’s the best option if you’re planning to come back frequently.
Puerto Vallarta cost of living
One of the most attractive reasons to live in Puerto Vallarta is the low cost of living.
It’s not as cheap as some other parts of Mexico, but still far below what your expenses would be in Canada or the U.S.
So if you’re working remotely with a salary from abroad, you can live a pretty lush life in Puerto Vallarta and even save some money.
The exact cost of living will depend on your lifestyle.
I know some budget travelers who got by on less than $1000/month and others who spent 4x that.
I’ve written a more detailed post about the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta here that breaks it down by category but generally speaking; you can comfortably live in Puerto Vallarta for $1,200 – USD 2500 per month.
Your most significant expense here is likely to be rent. I find the prices of apartments on Airbnb to be highly overpriced.
You’ll save a lot if you can find a place outside of it, either through Facebook groups or by talking to locals. Here’s more detailed information on finding long-term rentals in PV.
If you aren’t sure where to start, book a place online for your first week and look for something once you’ve arrived. There are many boutique hotels to stay in while you’re searching.
If you plan to move here for the long term, you can also look at buying real estate.
Mexico is very friendly to foreign investments. While property prices have increased in recent years, the real estate market is still quite attractive compared to what you would pay in the U.S. and Canada.
I’m not an expert in this area (yet), but there are plenty of real estate agents around who can help you.
Puerto Vallarta isn’t that big, so if you’re staying somewhere central, you’ll be able to walk most places. The Malecon boardwalk is a fantastic and scenic way to get around downtown.
There’s also a pretty good bus system, which only costs 50 cents per ride. Ubers are also very affordable (a couple of dollars for a 20-minute ride).
Food in the supermarkets is cheap, as are the street tacos (don’t be afraid to try them)! You’ll pay a premium to eat on the beach, but even that is relatively affordable when considering the quality of the food and the views.
What are the best neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta?
Determining the best neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta largely depends upon what you are looking for in a living situation.
From luxurious beachfront condos with ocean views to peaceful residential communities, there is something for everyone.
Here are some of the most best areas to live in Puerto Vallarta, with links to a guide on each area so you can learn more about them.
- Marina Vallarta – an upscale neighborhood on the marina, popular with families for its international schools.
- Versalles – up-and-coming foodie area of PV, becoming more popular with digital nomads in recent years.
- 5 di Diciembre – a great neighborhood that offers a good mix of cafes, restaurants, and bars. Close to the beach with many apartments offering great views of the city.
- El Centro – historic center of the city. Many beautiful buildings, art galleries, local markets, and restaurants are within walking distance.
- Zona Romantica (Old Town) – the official ‘gaybourhood’ of the city, famous for its wild nightlife, live music, and Los Muertos beach. This is a good place to live if you want to be in the center of the action, but prices tend to be higher.
- Conchas Chinas – nearby some of the most beautiful beaches in the city. Quieter area, will have to drive about 10 minutes to most shops and restaurants.
Puerto Vallarta isn’t a big city, and most expats live in a handful of different neighborhoods.
As the Romantic Zone and El Centro (downtown area) tend to have the highest prices, most nomads rent apartments in the hotel zone, Las Glorias, Versalles, or Fluvial, where rent tends to be cheaper.
Do you need to speak Spanish?
Short answer, no. – you can get by without it. BUT it will make your experience much richer if you do. Since Puerto Vallarta is a touristy place, many Mexican people here speak English (which can be frustrating if you’re trying to practice Spanish).
However, this doesn’t mean that all of them do, and they will certainly appreciate your effort to learn the local language. If you can speak Spanish, you’ll have an easier time integrating into the local community.
If you’re living in Puerto Vallarta, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn Spanish! I took group classes at Spanish School Vallarta, but private lessons are also available.
Is Puerto Vallarta safe?
When I told my friends and family I was moving to Puerto Vallarta, many questioned if it was a safe place to live.
Unfortunately, the media has made many people feel that Mexico is dangerous as a whole.
While there are some parts of the country with safety concerns, there are also plenty of places safe to live – with lower crime rates than major cities in the U.S.
Puerto Vallarta is one of those places. Just ask the five million+ tourists that come here every year!
Of course, you should follow some basic safety precautions like you would in any foreign city. I’ve written a more comprehensive guide here to safety in Puerto Vallarta with more tips.
When is the best time to live in Puerto Vallarta?
Puerto Vallarta offers an unforgettable stay no matter what time of year you come. That said, many people choose to leave during the summer months when it’s rainy season.
The rain typically starts at the end of June and goes until September. The high season (dry season) starts in October and goes until March, and is a perfect time to visit for those who are looking to escape the cold winter temperatures up north.
Temperatures rarely dip below 70 degrees, and there is plenty of sunshine and watersports to enjoy. From December, you can also enjoy whale watching as thousands of humpback whales migrate to Bahia De Banderas to feed.
Shoulder season (April to June) is also a great time to live in Puerto Vallarta, as the climate is still dry, but you’ll enjoy much cheaper prices than during the peak tourist season.
You can read more about the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta here.
Integrating into Puerto Vallarta
If you’ve decided to move to Puerto Vallarta, congrats!
One of your best resources for getting started on your move, or meeting people once you’re here, are Facebook groups.
This group is for digital nomads in Puerto Vallarta. It’s a great place to ask questions and network with other nomads. They also host regular coworking, networking, and happy hour events.
‘Young & Fun Expats of Puerto Vallarta‘ is a community of young people (20-40) who have moved to Puerto Vallarta. They host regular events, primarily party-oriented.
This group is for general questions about life in Puerto Vallarta. You can ask just about anything here, and someone will point you in the right direction.
The expat community is wonderful in Puerto Vallarta, and you’ll be quickly welcomed in once you get here. The city is full of friendly people to meet!
Health insurance for Mexico
If you’re moving to Puerto Vallarta, don’t forget to protect yourself with health insurance. The city has great medical care and hospitals, but it’s not free for non-residents.
I use and love SafetyWing, which is insurance built for digital nomads. It’s a subscription-based service that only costs 42 USD/month, and you can easily stop and start it for when you’re abroad.
I love living in Puerto Vallarta (there’s a reason why I made an entire website about it).
Puerto Vallarta is renowned as one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, but it is also an ideal place to call home. With its stunning beaches and vibrant culture, Puerto Vallarta offers a unique lifestyle with plenty of opportunities for exploration and adventure.
Living in PV can be quite affordable, depending on your lifestyle. Depending on where you choose to live, the cost of living can range from $1,000 to $2,500 per month. With careful budgeting and planning, it is possible to live comfortably and affordably in Puerto Vallarta.
Many expats choose to live in the old town of Puerto Vallarta, where they can enjoy the city’s traditional Mexican charm. While others prefer to stay in the more modern areas of the city, such as the Marina Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta. No matter what part of town you choose, Puerto Vallarta has something for everyone, making it an ideal place for expats to call home.