beach scene in Puerto Vallarta

Cost Of Retiring In Puerto Vallarta

This post was most recently updated on August 20th, 2020

More and more people have been discovering the beauty of Puerto Vallarta every year. And with the increase in popularity has also come an increase in the cost of retiring in Puerto Vallarta. Anyone who has been travelling to Puerto Vallarta for a while now, will notice how rent has at least doubled in the last 5 years.

Although the cost of retiring in Puerto Vallarta has increased, it can still be a much more affordable option for retiring than Canada or the U.S. To be honest, the cost of living in Canada has increased significantly in the last 5 years. And I’m sure other countries are the same story.

Since we are searching for places where you can retire for $2000 U.S. a month or less for a couple, we wanted to see if living in Puerto Vallarta was an option.

What we found as far as living in Mexico is that Puerto Vallarta is not going to be one of your cheaper options. But as many people have already discovered, it is one of the best places to retire in Mexico. And for a number of reasons.

rocky beach area in puerto vallarta


Puerto Vallarta continues to be one of the safest cities in Mexico. Certain parts of Mexico still have cartel violence. But so far, that is not a problem here.

We felt totally safe walking around anytime of the day or night. Although like any place, the occasional incident does take place. Bribery and corruption are their two biggest problems to look out for.

In general though, the crime rate is very low. And the city persists to be one of the safest places to live in Mexico. This would be one of the biggest draws for us in moving to Puerto Vallarta. Since safety is a high priority on our list. And I’m sure has helped with the increase of expats in Puerto Vallarta over the years.

Cost Of Living In Puerto Vallarta

The time of year you decide to live here makes a big difference on your cost of living in Puerto Vallarta. If you are planning on moving or retiring here permanently, then it won’t matter.

But from November to May is considered high season, and the price of rentals increase significantly. If you’re staying for six months to a year, you can usually negotiate a better price.

The costs of rentals vary greatly depending on the location. If you want air conditioning I’ll be even more. We found our apartment on Airbnb. And in order to keep our costs down, we looked for one farther back from the water.

The one we found ended up being only 5 blocks in. Even still it was only about a 10 minute walk to the Malecon. Click here to receive up to $129 off your first booking with Airbnb.

inside our airbnb in puerto vallarta

A couple could easily spend $3000 – $4000 a month living in Puerto Vallarta. For this you could have a beautiful 2 bedroom condo right on the water, complete with a pool, gym, house cleaner, and most gorgeous sunset over the ocean. But our intention was to stay under $2000.

Here Is Our Monthly Cost Breakdown

  • Rent including utilities – $1000
  • Groceries – $349
  • Restaurant – $200
  • Bus – $160
  • Cell phone – $20
  • Entertainment/Attractions – $250

Our total expenses living in Puerto Vallarta for one month came to $1979. So it is doable. But for a longer term you might have to add in health care costs, and possibly vet care.

Another option would be to stay even farther back from the water, or in a more local neighbourhood where less expats live. It all depends what your comfort level is.

We found we had to skip certain attractions like the Rhythm of the Night tickets. Which cost $140 – $160 a person in order to stay in our budget. And we took the local bus everywhere. Planned our own tours. Like our hike from Boca De Tomatlan to Las Animas. You can read more about our hike here.

The longer we were there, the more we discovered the best and cheapest places to eat. Puerto Vallarta has all the big box stores like Walmart and Costco. But searching the local grocery stores and markets was where the best deals could be found.

Puerto Vallarta Climate

One of the biggest draws to Mexico is obviously the weather. Puerto Vallarta weather in June, July, August, Sept, and October averages 92 F (33C). Which might be a little hot for some people. Plus it is also the rainy season. Where the rest of the year typically gets no rain.

November to May has a more comfortable temperature of 86F (30C) for averages. But this is also the busiest season with a lot of foreigners escaping their own cold climate. And where you’ll have to pay close to double for accommodations.

Puerto Vallarta Food

There is no lack of food choices in Puerto Vallarta. You can easily find Chinese, Greek, Japanese, Indian, and Irish restaurants besides all your Mexican options. There are also plenty of burger joints and pizza places. Even Vegetarian and Vegan options are easy enough to find.

Whether you’re looking for a fancy high end restaurant or food truck on the street, they are all there.

Some of the foods to try that are known to this area are Ceviche, Mahi-Mahi, Birria, and Pozole. Taco stands are everywhere. Go out after 6 pm and even more will have popped up on the side streets. And it’s not uncommon to see vendors selling fresh oysters, and fish or shrimp on a stick along the beach.

food on a place

Medical Facilities

Puerto Vallarta offers excellent health care. Being a well known beach resort, a lot of highly skilled doctors have made it their home.

Puerto Vallarta has 4 main hospitals as well as various medical centres. You won’t have a problem finding top notch medical or dental care in this city. As well as finding an English speaking doctor to assist you.

Health Insurance

In order to be eligible for Mexico’s Healthcare System, you have to become a resident. Always get health insurance in your home country before you travel and check to see what it covers. In certain incidences you may have to pay upfront and get reimbursed later.

World Nomads is one option for travel insurance.


Another reason why Puerto Vallarta is one of the best places to live in Mexico is because of the abundance of activities it has. With being situated along the Bay of Banderas, you have a choice of never ending water sports.

Deep sea fishing, snorkelling, cruises, parasailing, renting sea-doos and enjoying the beautiful beach are just some of the activities available. 

On land there are plenty of tours, day trips, shopping, bike rentals,  theatres, night clubs, and just walking the malecon sightseeing to keep you busy. 

Click here to read our post on additional Puerto Vallarta activities. 

booths at a street market in puerto vallarta


Local transportation is mostly by bus. Even to the surrounding areas and cities. Parking a car is very difficult in the city because of the lack of parking spaces. And just outside the central area, the roads aren’t paved and in pretty rough condition for driving a car. 

Getting a Taxi or Uber is no problem. But taking a bus is your cheapest option. And most of the city buses have switched over to the newer air conditioned ones. So they’re much more comfortable. 


All foreign visitors are issued a tourist permit on arrival to Puerto Vallarta. The cost is $24 U.S. But if you’ve arrived by cruise ship or air, the cost will have already been included.

It is valid for up to 180 days. If you want to stay longer than that, you’ll have to leave the country and re enter under a different type of visa.  Make sure to keep your tourist permit in a safe place, because you’ll need to show it when you leave the country. 

Citizens of China, India, Russia, and South Africa are required to get a visa. 

narrow streets of puerto vallarta

Helpful Sites For Retiring In Puerto Vallarta

Pros and Cons Of Retiring In Puerto Vallarta


  1. Decent cost of living
  2. Beautiful weather
  3. Plenty of expats 
  4. English is widely spoken
  5. Safe community
  6. Abundance of activities
  7. Plenty of food options
  8. Great hospitals


  1. Occasional water pollution problem
  2. Puerto Vallarta population around 245 000
  3. Poverty is at 10% 
  4. Rental costs have soared 
  5. Can be very noisy at night with dogs barking, music blaring
  6. Internet can be spotty (especially up in the hills)

As for us, retiring in Puerto Vallarta likely won’t happen. While it has plenty of the requirements we are looking for, we found it too big of a city. I know we have the population size as a con, where a lot of people this would be a pro. Probably one of the outer lying towns would suit us better.

Even though it wasn’t for us, it will continue to be a favourite of many expats. I can only see it growing by leaps and bounds over the years. There will always be plenty of people that lose their hearts to Puerto Vallarta.