Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - According to InternationalLiving.com editors, Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher, if you're thinking of retiring overseas, or buying a vacation home in a culturally rich city with modern amenities and absolutely gorgeous beaches, there's no better place than Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
In fact, there are few cities in the world where you'll find this combination. Plus, there are more than three dozen direct, and relatively short, flights and charters from Puerto Vallarta to destinations in the U.S. and Canada.
"You can bird watch, you can be involved in the PV Garden Club or the Vallarta Botanical Gardens," one expat told the Huffington Post. "You can be involved in ecology things. You can do as much charity work as you want ... you can sit on the beach and drink beer. You can go for long walks on the Malecón. It's almost overwhelming. When you live here you really have to kind of pick and choose or you can overdo it."
And it's not just expats moving into the Vallarta area. Mexican nationals are coming here, too, for work and/or to buy vacation and retirement homes. (It's a big draw for locals from Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city and just a few hours away by car.)
What's daily life like? You won't give up a thing when you live in Vallarta or along the Riviera Nayarit. We've already mentioned the shopping - along with Costco, Sam's Club and Walmart, you'll find all the Mexican-brand big-box stores, too.
And you'll find excellent healthcare facilities, including several top-notch hospitals, laboratories, rehabilitation centers, and clinics. AmeriMed, San Javier, and Medasist are some of the most popular.
Expat Pamela Thompson-Webb, who helps foreigners navigate local health care options through HealthCare Resources Puerto Vallarta, says, "We have brand new hospitals and fabulous physicians. They place stents, they do microsurgery, you name it ... Obviously someone has to pay for the equipment, but it's much less than prices in the U.S. Outpatient services are unbelievably less expensive. Many people travel here for dental work or to have a colonoscopy or such because the prices are low but really state-of-the-art."
It's easy enough to find reasonably priced rentals. In the popular Zona Romantica, for instance, you can expect to pay $1,000 to $1,500 a month and up for a long-term furnished apartment just a few blocks from the beach. You'll pay about that same amount to rent a vacation property for one week in the high season. If you choose to buy, you'll find considerable options in all price ranges, but with beachfront prices at a premium. Look farther inland for the bargains. Click HERE to learn about some of Puerto Vallarta's most popular neighborhoods.
What about the cost of living? Like elsewhere in the world, your cost of living will totally depend on your lifestyle. If you frequent upscale restaurants and nightclubs and have expensive hobbies like golf (which you can enjoy to your heart's content in this part of Mexico) you'll spend more, of course. But expats say that for all this city has to offer, it's remarkably affordable.
"I think you could live on $2,000 a month," says Pam Thompson-Webb. "It depends on how much your rent is and if you live here year round and are going to run your air conditioner all the time and you want to go out to eat a lot ... There are a lot of things you can do here that don't cost a lot of money. To walk the Malecón or just enjoy the beach ... those kinds of things are free."
Definitely this is one of Mexico's most beautiful regions ... and for expats it comes with all the comforts of home and it's close to home. And right now (as of this writing, the dollar buys you an extraordinarily high 18.3 pesos) it delivers over and over when it comes to bang for your buck.
According to International Living, the world's leading authority on how to live, work, invest, travel, and retire better overseas, if you're looking for affordable Pacific Coast living with all the amenities of a world-class city, there's no better place than Puerto Vallarta.Read the full article on HuffingtonPost.com.