Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - With the US media often opting for ratings rather than facts, the 'mediated reality' presented to Americans is that all of Mexico is ridden with violence and unsafe to visit. That's why we decided to re-release the 'Simply Puerto Vallarta' video series that was created in 2010 to highlight all of the great people, places and things our safe and beautiful city has to offer.
A steadily growing number of Americans and Canadians are packing their bags, heading to other countries and settling permanently. According to Boomers Abroad, that number may double in the next 10 years.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is one of the top destinations for baby boomers. The affordable real estate, wonderful weather, inexpensive health care and an overall superior quality of life continue to attract thousands of people. Some even sample other places to live before making Puerto Vallarta their new home.
The call of the open sea was irresistible to a couple from Minnesota when they retired in 2004.
"We wanted to continue to travel and we have always liked boats," says Mike Wise, "We had researched different kinds of boats that could theoretically circumnavigate the world and we didn't know much about trawlers but my wife was talking to a fellow, who owned a trawler at a hotel in Turkey one night and we really got into it with him as far as where they could go and it was interesting. So we looked further into it and we found a boat that would be suitable for our purposes and we decided that that would be the next chapter of our life."
"We got on our boat and we cruised from Dana Point, California to Alaska and as far north as Glacier Bay," says Sara Wise, "And then we came south all the way along the Pacific coast past Mexico and Central America to the Panama Canal and up through the eastern Caribbean, along Mexico and Belize to Florida, and then back through the islands to Venezuela and South America, Columbia and then back to Panama."
They thoroughly enjoyed that city and lived on their boat for around one year but encountered more than a few deterrents, which kept them from settling down.
"We thoroughly loved Panama," says Sara, "It was a unique city, very vibrant, growing and we liked everything we saw and we tried to buy several homes and it just did not work out and the one thing that we noticed was the longest anybody was in Panama was three years, and then everybody decided to leave. There was nobody there that we knew that were there 10 or 12 years."
Sara and Mike decided to go back to Alaska for the season, because they really enjoyed cruising there. But they made a fateful stop in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, first.
"We had no intention of staying here in Puerto Vallarta," says Mike, "But we had our boat in the marina and got to looking around the town and exploring a little bit and liked it and decided that this might be a pretty neat place to live."
Many have the same feelings about Puerto Vallarta and this is why it is the number one retirement destination abroad for Americans according to AARP magazine's September/October 2010 edition.
They found Puerto Vallarta to be a comfortable place, it was on the water, which was important and they found that the real estate structure and industry is more up front and more recognizable to them than what they called the convoluted system in Panama. Sara goes on to say, "We love the weather, we love the people more than anything and it's just a fun city, there's a lot going on, it's just neat."
Puerto Vallarta also offers many comforts and conveniences familiar to expats.
"When we first got here, we were very impressed with all the things that Puerto Vallarta has to offer," says Sara, "We had been cruising for a number of years and you become accustomed to hauling your things from a grocery store or buying your groceries from the back end of a truck and Puerto Vallarta has Sam's and Wal-Mart and they were building a new Costco and Home Depot had just opened and to us, those things were very important."
In the spirit of adventure and having lived land-locked in the midwest for years, Sara and Mike broke from retirement tradition, shocking their family. They offer advice and encouragement for those seeking something more.
"Oh we had done a lot of traveling and different things over the years but it was a surprise to them and they didn't think we would actually do that," says Mike, "It's a pretty big step to sell the house and the company and make that kind of a break and do something that dramatically different than what we had done during our working lives. I think they honestly thought we were nuts."
"My recommendation is to come down, rent a place, try it out and find out if you really do like it, and if you do like it, buy a place, and join the groups down here, there's so many wonderful people to meet," says Sara.
Today, this couple is living out their golden years under the golden sun in Puerto Vallarta.
Simply Puerto Vallarta is a multi-media promotion campaign that highlights the richness and diversity of Mexico's premier coastal tourist town. Unlike traditional PR efforts, the video series was designed to put the media message back into the hands of those it most affects - area residents.