Discover the Hidden Gems of Retiring in Puerto Vallarta

Retiring in Puerto Vallarta

Are you dreaming of retiring in a tropical paradise? Look no further than Puerto Vallarta, a stunning coastal city in Mexico that has become a haven for expat retirees. Puerto Vallarta, or PV as it's often called, is located on Mexico's Pacific coast. 

Puerto Vallarta is a city where the jungle meets the beach which adds to its beauty and charm. It has swimmable beaches and a bustling old town.  

PV started out as a small fishing village and became famous when Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton spent time there and purchased their own little love nests. Today, the two homes are combined to form the romantic hotel, Casa Kimberly

Mr. Rover and I love PV and it's now on our list as a possibility for when we retire. So let's explore the captivating world of Puerto Vallarta, a hidden gem for retirees.

Pros of Retiring in Puerto Vallarta

  • Affordable Healthcare - Puerto Vallarta is known for its high-quality, low-cost healthcare services, a huge draw for expat retirees.
  • Cost of Living - In PV, you can live well on $2500 to $3000 per month. This is exciting because Puerto Vallarta is a thriving city with amazing views. 
  • Tolerant City - Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone is a welcomed haven for those in the LGBTQ+ community. PV's laid back vibes and welcoming culture make this city a wonderful place to live as an expat. 
  • Food - The food scene in PV is amazing. The city has attracted talented chefs from all over who have settled and opened small eateries. The only rivals are the amazing, local restaurants serving up affordable Mexican dishes that are to die for!
  • Location - For U.S. and Canadian expats, Puerto Vallarta is very convenient. It has a lovely international airport and many of the major cities in the U.S. and Canada have direct flights to and from PV. It's also in Central Standard time which is also a plus. 

Cons of Retiring in Puerto Vallarta

  • Summer Humidity - If you're looking for a place to live full time, the summer heat and humidity can be brutal. It also rains a lot in the summer which makes sense since this is a jungle area.  
  • Natural Disasters - Puerto Vallarta does get the occasional hurricane which usually aren't as bad as other areas in Mexico like Cancun. However, Puerto Vallarta is a hot spot for earthquakes. 
  • They recently had a 7.8 quake hit in September 2022. Only one building in the city sustained structural damage. But if you don't like the idea of the earth shaking and possible tsunamis, this could be a big con. 
  • Tourists - PV is a tourist town. Spring breakers as well as other types of tourists enjoy vacationing in Puerto Vallarta. If you dream of living in the Romantic Zone, know you'll have to share the local establishments and beaches with a steady stream of tourists. 
  • Drugs - This isn't a huge con but when you're walking along the Malecón or the busy parts of the Romantic Zone, you may be approached by someone who asks if you want weed or mollies. Just politely say, no, gracias and be on your way. 

Fun Fact

Since the 1964 movie, Night of the Iguana, was filmed in PV, it's become a popular location for filming. Some of the movies filmed there include Predator, Kill Bill Vol 2, Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Apocalypse Now. 

Best Neighborhoods for Expat Retirees

Marina Vallarta
A tranquil area with a luxurious marina, upscale residences, and stunning ocean views. This area is ideal if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Romantic Zone. The beaches in this area are MUCH less crowded which means romantic walks along the beach are possible. 

Romantic Zone (Old Vallarta)
A charming, walkable neighborhood filled with galleries, boutiques, and traditional architecture. Perfect if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture. But beware, this is where all of the action is happening. You'll be smack in the middle of all the restaurants, bars and clubs. If you're looking to be in the middle of the excitement and nightlife then this is the area for you. 

Nuevo Vallarta
A modern, planned community with pristine beaches and numerous amenities, including golf courses and shopping centers. Great for retirees looking for a resort-like lifestyle.

View of Puerto Vallarta Romantic Zone

View of Puerto Vallarta Romantic Zone

Embracing the Culture of Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta's culture is an interesting mix of traditional Mexican heritage and international influences, which comes from the city's popularity among expats and tourists. Expect fun celebrations, such as the Day of the Dead and local festivals, as well as a thriving art scene with tons of galleries.

However, the thing we love most about PV culture is that the people are friendly and welcoming!

Can I Get by with English Only? can definitely get by with just English. Due to the large expat community and tourism industry, many locals speak English, making it possible to live there without knowing Spanish. But do you really just want to get by?

The idea of learning a new language can be scary to some. But...doing so is so rewarding. Start by learning a few key phrases. Not everyone you encounter will speak English so why not try to speak the native language?

The Tropical Climate of Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta has a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round. This is great news for those of you who are looking to escape the cold and snow of norther climates!

The dry season runs from November to May, while the rainy season lasts from June to October. Expect hot and humid weather during the summer months. Oh...and I must mention that mosquitoes do come out in higher numbers during the rainy season. So, be sure to bring some repellant if you travel to PV in those months. 

Fun Fact

This tropical paradise is also a great place to see whales! Humpback whales can be seen in PV from about mid-December to mid-April. They come from the Arctic with their babies to enjoy the warmer waters. 

Safety Considerations for Retirees

Puerto Vallarta is generally considered safe for expats and tourists. It's a major tourist town and there is a large law enforcement presence. From the Tourist Police to fully armed Federal and State police, you'll see a wide range of law enforcement patrolling the streets. 

As with any city, it's important to take common-sense precautions and stay aware of your surroundings. Pickpocketing can be an issue so pay attention to what is around you.

Transportation and Getting Around the City

A common question people ask who are interested in retiring in Puerto Vallarta is whether a car is necessary. Many of you don't want to drive in retirement. The good news is no, a car isn't necessary!

The city is quite walkable, especially in areas like the Romantic Zone. Public transportation, including buses and taxis, is affordable and easy to navigate. 

Also, Uber is a popular choice in PV. It's reliable and inexpensive. We preferred booking an Uber rather than using taxi service. We went from the Marina District to the Romantic Zone (about 30 minutes) for about $5. 

Puerto Vallarta Marina

Condos and Boats at the Puerto Vallarta Marina

Popular Activities for Expat Retirees

There's no shortage of activities to enjoy when retiring in Puerto Vallarta. From relaxing on beautiful beaches to exploring nearby jungles and mountains, there is literally something for everyone. Whale watching, fishing, windsurfing, golfing, and art gallery hopping are just a few other things you can do.

And don't forget the amazing nightlife. Or, maybe just sit on your balcony with a glass of wine and enjoy the view! With all of the options, you'll never get bored. 

Cost of Retiring in Puerto Vallarta

Here are a few of the major cost-of-living items for PV.



1 Bdr Apartment in City

$1200 per month

1 Bdr Apartment Outside City

$600 per month

Average Utilities: 1 Bdr Apt
electricity, heating, cooling, water, trash

$75 per month

Median Apartment Price in City

$232/sq ft

Meal for Two, Mid-Range


Navigating Visa Requirements for Retiring in Mexico

If you want to retire in Puerto Vallarta, you will need a visa. There are three main types of Mexican visas for expats looking to stay in the country short-term or long-term:

Tourist Visa: This visa allows you to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days, making it an easy choice for short-term visits. No special requirements are needed other than a valid passport, and this visa is typically granted upon arrival.

Tourist Visa Long Duration: This visa lets you stay up to 6 months. 

Temporary Resident Visa (Visa de Residente Temporal): For long-term stays and retirement, you'll need a Temporary Resident Visa. This visa is valid for one year and can be renewed annually for up to four years. To qualify, you must meet certain financial requirements, such as proving a steady income or having a specific amount of savings. After four years, you may apply for a Permanent Resident Visa (Visa de Residente Permanente) if you want to stay in Mexico indefinitely.

To get the most up-to-date info and detailed instructions, consult the Mexican consulate or embassy in your country.

Bottom Line - Is Puerta Vallarta for You?

Retiring in Puerto Vallarta can be a great option if you're looking for a tropical beach destination. PV has it all: city life, beach and jungle. It's easy to get to and has wonderful healthcare. It's also one of the more affordable retirement cities. 

If you're curious, why not check it out. You can rent longer-term Air BnBs which gives you a chance to get the feel of the cities and various neighborhoods. You never know..Puerto Vallarta could be your paradise. 

If you don't care about being near the beach and you're looking for something more affordable, why not try Mérida?

About the Author Mrs. Rover

Evelyn (AKA, Mrs. Rover) has a few passions in life: real estate, traveling and dreaming about retiring with Mr. Rover. She's excited to share her ideas, thoughts and experiences and hopes to help anyone else looking for their dream location.