Everything you need to know about buying and selling real estate in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, and the Banderas Bay region

Choosing a New and Different Lifestyle

Benefits and Challenges of Living in Puerto Vallarta

“The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education.”
– Henry Drummond

Climate and Lifestyle

One of the main benefits of living in the Bay, has been the easy pace or life-style and the weather. Warm weather is always on the list as an important benefit and reason to live here.  Without sunny days, blue skies, and other positives; one might not consider other benefits.  A slower pace, a more leisurely life-style, the presence of kind and friendly people, would not be the same in a cold, overcast place.

We know our choosing a different direction in life does not mean our family, friends or the public will agree with our choice.

We have chosen to live a different lifestyle instead of staying in the familiar routine of a former life.  All of us have family or friends, even strangers who express great concern for our personal safety and health.

Safety and Security

Countries use their viewpoint to effect how “good” and “bad” news is circulated through different forms of media.

The political climate and the relationship among North American citizens and residents have changed. We are not in a place yet where differences and compromises have come to a satisfactory conclusion.

However, the majority of expats I have talked to feel safer in the Bay of Banderas, Mexico than in their former homes in California, Michigan, or New York.  If 52 people were killed over a weekend in a USA or Canadian city, why would living in Puerto Vallarta, Bucerias or Punta Mita be thought of as a death wish?

What are our biggest challenges living here?

With the construction of new condo buildings throughout the Bay, important issues exist from a lack of infrastructure; particularly clean water, water pressure, and sewer. Town streets are difficult to drive down, and there is a shocking lack of parking spaces. Community organizations are trying to address these issues with the city government. It is difficult to reconcile the interest of the local citizens with the desires of the expat community.

Quality of life should include safety, cleanliness, services, green areas and transportation for both locals and foreigners. All contribute to the collection of sales taxes, as well as property tax.  There is a separation between those who can and cannot vote in elections for local, state and federal officials. Politicians in all societies, listen to constituents or voters in their district.

Adjusting to Life in a Foreign Country

On a personal level, newcomers personally face the need for a guide or friend to help with the adjustment of moving to a foreign country.  It is stressful moving anywhere until we are familiar with how to deal with everyday routines.  Concerns include asking directions, learning how to drive in local traffic, finding repair persons, doctors, places of worship, and being eligible to vote absentee. Learning the language and local customs can take a long time and requires patience, but it is well worth the effort.

The lack of an efficient mail system between Mexico and the US and Canada can be an inconvenience, but the internet and friends bring in items which expats want.  Amazon and other internet giants, supply almost any items delivered to our local address. We can also learn to use local products as substitutes for almost anything we want or need.

Health Care in Mexico

Health care is of great interest for expats. Some private hospitals are beginning to accept medical insurance in addition to Mexican insurance. USA and Canadian national medical care are not accepted here at this time. Expats can receive their social security payments directly into a Bancomer account. Medical customs are different: for example, the patient is expected keep his own x-rays and medical records. I recommend you cultivate a local doctor who you trust, and when you have injuries or illness, contact your doctor first to arrange what hospital and ambulance you use.


This article is based upon Flex MLS reporting, legal opinions, current practices and my personal experiences in the Puerto Vallarta-Bahia de Banderas areas. I recommend that each potential buyer or seller of Mexican real estate conduct his own due diligence and review. If you have any other questions, contact me through my website.

Harriet Murray



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