Can you imagine life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico? Well, imagine this: it’s a warm Puerto Vallarta spring afternoon, and you are walking downtown, along the boardwalk (“Malecon” in Spanish) with your family. Suddenly you hear a humpback whale “blow.” All around you, tourists are hustling by, not paying any attention to a priceless spectacle right in front of them.
This is the experience of Mike Green, member broker of the TOPMexicoRealEstate Network for the Puerto Vallarta Real Estate area. He was the one person who noticed, despite the fact that this whale was only about 50 yards off the beach – with her new baby. This is part of the beauty of making the important step from being a “tourist” to becoming a resident, and in many ways a local; on top of noticing all the tourist attractions designed to catch your attention (which are great in their own way), you begin to notice the wonderful little gems of life that begin to define Puerto Vallarta as your home, a place you love and that you will never want to leave.
So, how can you go about making this dream come true? First, find out about living in Puerto Vallarta. If you’ve already been here as a tourist, you will know one part of life in the city, but as Mike realized, there is so much more to discover. Then, start your search for that Puerto Vallarta Condo or home perfect for you.
Life in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is located on Mexico’s Pacific coast, on the Bay of Banderas, only a couple of hours away from the United States by plane. It has a population of about 300,000 and combines all the conveniences of a city with the atmosphere and relaxing lifestyle of a small, provincial Mexican town. Large, modern, luxurious resorts share Puerto Vallarta with red tile roofed homes, cobblestone roads and narrow alleys; international airports, cell phones, and streets that now show up in Google Streetview (so you can go online and take a virtual tour, if you like) are as much a part of Puerto Vallarta as the local farmers you can still find arriving to the town center on mules, or with their farm animals. Mexico is a land where seemingly contrasting phenomena can coexist happily, and this true in Puerto Vallarta more than anywhere else.
Besides the “best of both worlds” in terms of the modern world and Mexico’s rich traditions and lifestyle, the natural surroundings provide the beautiful contrast of awe-inspiring views of the Bay of Banderas on one side, and the beautiful Sierra Madre mountains on the other. For many real estate buyers here, a hillside view of the bay is as attractive as a beachfront property – and excellent properties of both types are readily available.
The weather is as close to perfect as it gets. The heat of they day is balanced by comfortably cool nights, providing pleasantly warm weather all year round. The rainy season starting in July is one of the most inspiring times of year; heavy rains that last for only a couple of hours cool the air, and the sun comes out again to warm things up, just as it does every day of the year.
Lifestyle in Puerto Vallarta has come to be defined by sophisticated expats (mostly Americans and Canadians), who take advantage of the combination of modern convenience and Mexican tradition, enjoying the luxury of having yachts sail right to their front door, fine international dining, luxury spas and top-notch services, combined with local Mexican food, traditional music – Mariachis who wander the streets performing in restaurants, on the street, or even in buses – and wonderfully colorful handicrafts and artwork.
Puerto Vallarta also has a lively nightlife, with excellent clubs and bars along the “Malecon” and in the area just south of the old town known as “Olas Altas;” these areas also include excellent restaurants and trendy cafes. The Hotel Zone includes some discos and bars of its own.
Sports are also thriving in Puerto Vallarta, with a choice of just about an water sport – sailing, windsurfing, parasailing, water skiing, surfing, snorkeling, body boarding, kayaking, jet skiing, deep sea fishing, to name only a few – or in the surrounding mountain area nature lovers can enjoy horseback riding hiking, biking, camping, swimming, rafting, four-wheeling, climbing, bungee jumping, and much more. Those who enjoy tennis will always be close to a tennis court, and golf lovers can test their skills on a different golf course for every day of the week, including several world class courses.
Of course, Puerto Vallarta’s superb lifestyle hasn’t gone unnoticed. The city is already home to a community of about 50,000 Americans and Canadians. These expats are the kind who love the very things about Puerto Vallarta that will make you fall in love with the city and never want to leave. On the other hand, each of these expats has also found their own special magic in this town, an experience that is unique to them, and has created their own Puerto Vallarta.
Perhaps you could imagine some of the following memories residents have mentioned:
- Taking a speed boat to a secluded cove south of town where there is just one small, rustic, boutique hotel on a beautiful sandy cove
- Having a beautiful beach all to yourself to sun, snorkel, and relax in the crystal clear water
- Taking a walk along the river back into the subtropical rainforest and getting a massage accompanied by the sound of wild birds
- Having a candlelight dinner on the beach
- Playing tennis under sunny skies; within minutes thunderclouds roll in, the sky opens up, it is raining harder than you have ever seen in your life. You run to the open air palapa and thunder and lightning rains down from above. Streets flood and kids come out to dance in the rain and play. About 15 minutes later, the clouds move off into the mountains, it clears back up and people go on about their business.
- Seeing an amazing, unbelievable fireworks show on New Years! The entire bay lights up from the south side all the way around to Punta Mita in the north; you watch this whole show from high up in the hills above downtown.
Properties in Puerto Vallarta
Does any of this sound like something you could enjoy? Now, for the next step: researching and buying real estate. Within Mexico Real Estate, Puerto Vallarta is one most established markets for Americans and Canadians, offering a broad range of luxury properties where you can enjoy the town’s excellent lifestyle. Some of the most desired properties in Puerto Vallarta are in town, with the draw of being within walking distance to the Malecon with its restaurants, bars and cafes, Olas Altas and the other attractions of downtown. Beachfront is especially sought-after, as well as hillside properties with a view of the ocean and mountains.
There are numerous new developments that combine great views with Contemporary architecture and state of the art amenities. One example is Avalon Residence and Spa with its contemporary, glass design to provide wide, beautiful views of the bay. With jungle views in the back of the units, these Puerto Vallarta Luxury Condos truly combine highly modern sophistication with close contact to natural beauty. Another example is Paramount Bay, which offers sophisticated elegance with the best of European, Asian and Mexican design. These condos also provide some of the most beautiful ocean, jungle and town views you as a real estate buyers could possibly imagine.
These two luxury condo developments are located in the established neighborhood known as Amapas, which is catching a large amount attention from buyers. It is set on the hillside and is growing an astounding speed. The majority of Americans and Canadians are currently choosing to buy real estate in Amapas; the neighborhood is a short walk to downtown, or a fairly cheap cab ride away (the walk uphill going back can be tiring, so the cab ride can come in handy.)
Another established favorite for Americans and Canadians is Nuevo Vallarta, which boasts two excellent resorts, each with a professional championship golf course. The neighbourhood is only 30 minutes north of downtown, and is also growing quickly, offering beachfront villas and amazing luxury condo developments. There is one shopping mall, and many other choices in the nearby Marina Vallarta. The price range in Nuevo Vallarta starts around $250,000 US for a two bedroom golf course condo to a starting price of $450,000 for beachfront condos, and goes up from there.
As for a “hidden gem” that is just in the process of being gentrified, Alta Vista is a small neighborhood in the southeast part of town, very well located and with great views of the town and the bay. Alta Vista is located just south of Rio Cuale, on the very beginnings of the hillside. The walk to town is short, and the population is a mix of expats and Mexicans; two bedroom condominiums start in the $200,000 US range, which are well worth the price. Homes and villas are in shorter supply, and start in a higher price range around $500,000 US. “Fixer-uppers” are available for the handy man, starting at about half this price.
The “5 de Diciembre” / “El Cerro” area, a community just north of town, is in a similar process. Located at the point where the streets of the old town begin to rise on the hillside, the neighborhood is currently a mix of old, traditional Mexican homes with cobblestone streets, and local, working class areas. While the romantic feel of the nicely kept up areas has already found appeal for young Americans and Canadians looking for great deals on well maintained home, several new condo developments further up the hill are just starting to appear, with a more sophisticated appeal, balancing very close access to the old town with its shops and vibrant life, with amazing views and elegant design; prices for these condos start around $200,000 US.
In this hilltop neighborhood savvy buyers are beginning to notice great new projects, such as “Los Altos Villas” condominiums. In addition to excellent views, unique individuality for each unit, Los Altos offers a rustic-contemporary stone-design central court yard. The prices start just below $200,000, and reach $358,000.
These are only a few examples of some “spotlight” neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta; of course, there are many, many options in neighborhood and development styles, and the accompanying lifestyle. But, as you can see from the neighborhoods and developments mentioned here, in Puerto Vallarta you will enjoy the “best of both worlds” – the luxury and sophistication of the high-quality condo lifestyle and the traditional Mexican charm of the old town; on top of this, you will experience the magic of living on the famous beaches on the Bay of Banderas.
Your Puerto Vallarta Agent – The key to Your Purchasing Process
Now for the question, what should you do next? Every expert, professional and experienced buyer will be able to tell you:
“Before you buy anything, find a good, experience Realtor; allow them to guide you, ask lots of questions and do your homework.”
These are the direct words of Mike Green, member of TOPMexicoRealEstate Network (as mentioned above), and a leading Puerto Vallarta real estate agent. Part of what makes an agent the right choice for you as a buyer is their knowledge and experience from carrying out MANY real estate transactions, giving them the ability to analyze, find suitable information and carry out correct processes for each individual transaction. Another point is that they realize how important it is to use this knowledge to minimize risks, and make your purchasing process as smooth as possible.
Now that you are ready to start in your search process, take this VERY important first step; do your research, contact the agent that will best represent your needs.
Conclusion – Could Puerto Vallarta Be Your New Home?
This is just a very brief introduction to Puerto Vallarta real estate and life in this city. When you choose to make Puerto Vallarta your new home, you will be starting something new, something exciting – something with new challenges, and new opportunities, both in the real estate purchase process, and beyond.
“It is a different country, it has different laws, language and culture,” says Mike. “Try to learn the language, it helps you understand the culture. Find something positive to give back to the community, there are lots of good causes here. Do not continually compare it to ‘back home.’ Things are different here, they will not change. That means you have to.”
The best part about this is that you will have one of richest experiences in your life doing it, in one of Mexico’s most loved beachfront cities. As you experience your own personal side of Puerto Vallarta, you will quickly begin to feel the same as Mike:
“I love it here, I would not want to live anywhere else.”
About the Author:
Thomas Lloyd, Founder and President of TOPMexicoRealestate.com
Originally from Indiana, and a graduate of Purdue University in the Krannert School of Management, he holds a degree in management with a speciality in finances. Lloyd has several diplomas and certifications in Mexico Real Estate topics and is one of only a few professionals to hold Mexico’s new degree in real estate. This degree is accompanied by a Professional Identification Number, “cedula professional,” which is issued for trained professionals such as those in the medical field, or in law. He has over 15 years of direct experience in Mexico’s business culture.
About Puerto Vallarta’s TOPMexicoRealEstate Member:
For 13 years Michael Green has dedicated himself to providing the highest quality service to American and Canadian real estate buyers, gaining the experience and knowledge necessary to become a leading Puerto Vallarta agent and gain a strong reputation. Green’s credentials include a Realtor’s license in Washington State, membership in AMPI, NAR, ICREA, and state and local Real Estate boards, the CONOCER Real Estate course, and ongoing classes on key Mexico real estate subjects. As a published author, he writes the weekly Real Estate column in local English language newspaper. He has also assisted in preparing the course content of introductory classes for new agents.