Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Mostly set on tropical rainforest-covered hills, overlooking the waters of Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta's upmarket neighborhood of Conchas Chinas has a lush, exotic setting and is renowned for its ocean views. A stone's throw from hip spots in the Old Town, it is close to the action, yet retains its tranquil and sophisticated vibe.
Located at the southern edge of Banderas Bay, its northern tip is the start of Playa de Los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta's most famous beach. Banderas Bay lies to the west and the Sierra Madres Occidental Mountains are located to the east and the south.
Conchas Chinas has two main parts. Upper Conchas Chinas lies in the hills above the Conchas Chinas beach and Lower Conchas Chinas is positioned at the bottom by the beach. The two areas are divided by Barra de Navidad highway.
Santa Barbara, a street in Lower Conchas, is known as millionaires' row, according to Wayne Franklin of Tropicasa Realty. "Prices have risen so much that billionaires' row is more accurate now," he said.
Mr. Franklin noted that houses cost more in Lower Conchas. They range from $2.5 million to $15 million (real estate in Mexico is sold in U.S. dollars), he said. "Properties in Upper Conchas are more affordable, with prices starting from $800,000 for a small house and rising to the $3 million mark."
Graciela Zamudio Conde, general manager and broker at Guadalajara Sotheby´s International Realty in Mexico, gives a slightly different estimate for Conchas Chinas prices. "Homes start from $6 million and rise to $20 million, and apartments cost between $500,000 and $2 million."
The homes and condo blocks positioned north of the Barra de Navidad highway on the jungle-covered steep cliffs have outstanding views of the bay. The wide, cobbled streets are lined with trees and set among forests of palms trees and lush tropical vegetation.
An established area with homes dating from the 1940s, most properties in Conchas Chinas have traditional colonial-style architecture. More than half of them date from the 1950s and 1960s. Those are intermingled with more modern-style homes, and a few contemporary ones.
Most residences are large and many homes have 15 to 20 bedrooms, according to Mr. Franklin. Most come with gardens and swimming pools while some have tennis courts and a maid's quarters. Most households in the area employ domestic staff, such as driver, a maid and groundsman.
However, homes typically come with relatively small plots of land, ranging from 600 square meters (0.14 acres) to 1,000 square meters (0.2 acres). The houses themselves are built into the slopes of the hills, are three to four stories and range from 4,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet, according to Mr. Franklin.
Some homes are occupied full time, but most are used as holiday homes. The area commands some of Puerto Vallarta's highest rents. Some homes have facilities akin to a boutique hotel and can cost tens of thousands of dollars per night.
A number of new homes have just been launched to the market and there are more in the pipeline. Sayan Beach on Santa Barbara is a new deluxe development, with 36 one-, two-, three- and four-plus bedroom condos, as well as a cantilevered pool over the beach. Only three condos remain at the building, which was built about four years ago.
New-build condo buildings are being constructed on existing plots as new land is in short supply. Homes dating from the 1940s and 1950s were demolished to make way for the condos, much to the chagrin of some local residents, Mr. Franklin said.
However, he notes that new beachfront developments are increasing the area's desirability. "They are popular because they appeal to a wider market," he said. "Not everyone has $5 million to spend on a house but lots of people want to invest in the area."
Since 1997, Wayne Franklin and his team at Tropicasa Realty have been a trusted name in Puerto Vallarta real estate. Tropicasa Realty is the region's representative for "The Leading Agents of the World" and with over 100 years of combined experience in real estate, all agents of the company are affiliated with AMPI. Wayne Franklin or any member of his knowledgeable team can be contacted in-person at their Romantic Zone Office - Pulpito 145-A at Olas Altas. While in PV they can be reached at (322) 222-6505 or by calling 866-978-5539 (Toll-Free) from the U.S.
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