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Why We Choose to Live in Puerto Vallarta
Marla Hoover - PVNN
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Just what is it about Puerto Vallarta that captivates so many visitors that they feel compelled to buy property and live here? What exactly is it about the Bay of Banderas that draws people to it's shores? Is it the land and the sea, or is it some kind of magical mystery? These are the questions that Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine put to some new homeowners that purchased property this past year around Banderas Bay.

Liz Miller, a former publisher from Los Angeles, has been visiting Vallarta since the mid 1970's, dreaming of the day when she could make her escape to PV.

"I am extraordinarily happy with my decision to live here year round. Puerto Vallarta has retained the elements that I first fell in love with, the jungle, ocean, mountains, and the sweetness of the people here. However, with the new infrastructure of restaurants, gourmet foods, shops, cable TV, computer access . . . these make all the elements of the good life without the smog and traffic," said Miller.

Miller bought a three bedroom, three bath, hacienda style condominium in Alta Vista with sweeping views of the city and bay, which she appropriately named Casa Orquidea Blanca for the exotic pure white orchids that bloom just outside her living room windows.

"I fell in love with the building, the lush tropical plants, the funicular, the view. I knew what I wanted was what I found to exist in Vallarta 30 years ago this building encompasses that feeling. Yet, I also wanted a streamlined house, so I gutted the interior to make my own space and create my own signature style," said Miller.

Her now finished unit has an open, breezy, patio, living concept. She feels the condos new openness works well for her growing collection of paintings and sculpture from local artists.

"I believe baby-boomers have been traveling to Mexico for 30 years, so it's not a difficult decision for them to choose Puerto Vallarta for a future home. I have noticed an uptick in prices, however real estate here is still an amazing value when compared to the U.S., especially when you factor in lifestyle. I don't see living here as running away from something so much as running toward something; a life of art, culture, community and friends, being here is about as close to paradise as I can imagine being," said Miller.

For Richard and Susan Schmidt of Portland Oregon it was a "climatic escape" from the rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest. After a five-day visit they decided to purchase a condo in a building where they have other family members as neighbors. Perched above Playa Conchas Chinas is their turnkey, fully furnished, two bedroom, two bath, Villas Banderas condominium with uninterrupted views of the bay and shoreline.

"We were just so taken with the whole atmosphere of Puerto Vallarta, the city itself, the tremendously nice people, the ambiance. It is a real city not a created destination; a functioning city. We like this area of town because it reminds us of Italy and is not a huge development that could be anywhere in the States, we like it here because we know here we live in Mexico," said Susan.

An innovative purchase agreement has the Schmidt's and two other partners possessing full ownership in their own "timeshare" like arrangement. Each owner has the unit every other month. For the Schmidt's this is a perfect fit as they own a geosynthetic construction product company and are still working full time. While they are here they use computers, faxes, land and cell phones to keep in contact with their business. They believe this part time ownership will eventually lead them to full time ownership of another property, but this way it gives them the opportunity to own a home while commuting back and forth.

"It's a very easy flight from Portland and since we pick up a couple of hours when we go back we can arrive at a reasonable time for work the next day. Puerto Vallarta is much more convenient than Hawaii or the Caribbean for that reason; it is easier to get here. We have a car here and are still road connected and could drive home if we wanted or needed to," said Richard.

"We also enjoy the ability to drive up and down the coast to all the small beach towns for the day as well as traveling to the colonial towns in the interior of Mexico and to Guadalajara," said Susan.

Being a business owner, Richard Schmidt was not concerned with his investment, feeling even more secure with the change in land use clauses and trust ownerships.

While the Schmidt's don't think anything of a 6-hour flight, the Rabago family makes their way to their PV home via a 6-hour drive from Guadalajara. Lic. Miguel and Gabriela Uriarte Rabago purchased a 3 bedroom, 3 bath Bay View Grand ocean front penthouse this year. When asked why they chose Puerto Vallarta over other areas in Mexico their reply was that they enjoyed the local people, the lush vegetation, the variety of restaurants and because they own a sail boat; the marina.

The Rabago's have visited Puerto Vallarta all their lives and plan to own a home here "siempre", forever. The strong sense of community as well as all the activities, the versatility of the city and of it's many facets, that according to the Rabago's draws diversity, are just some of the reasons they decided to make Puerto Vallarta the place for their second home. The couple also confesses strong confidence in their investment value here.

"We appreciate the large variety of options and the huge sense of security you feel in the city. Compared to other cities with similar characteristics Puerto Vallarta is an excellent option, besides having the access to an easily rent-able property," said Miguel.

Lic. Miguel Rabago has a business as a public notary whose associates handle many real estate transactions and practice family contract law in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.

"We were contacted about the project by a friend and came to see it. I felt it was an excellent opportunity, we picked the unit that worked the best for us and purchased it. We feel that we have indeed escaped to Puerto Vallarta, we treasure the time we get to spend here in our new home and we are both are happy with our decision," said Miguel.

One of the most important factors to all of the people interviewed was the wide variety of real estate options from one end of the bay to the other. From villas to mega resort communities, high-rise oceanfront homes to marina locations, in the jungle, along the water or the more arid areas north of downtown, buyers found that Coasta Vallarta offers a wealth of residential lifestyles.

When Michael Carlson, Robert Dry and their daughter Stephanie Marie first decided to purchase a "piece of paradise" for themselves, they set out upon several "shopping trips" to become familiar with the unique neighborhoods and the amenities that each area had to offer.

"Our search took us to Punta Mita and Mismaloya which while beautiful were [not] what we wanted. It took us to Nuevo and Marina Vallarta. However, when we found Conchas Chinas, we knew that we had to search no longer and when we walked into Casa de Los Angeles for the first time, we knew that we were home," said Dry.

Casa de Los Angeles is a private villa with panoramic views of the bay and jungle. The villa has three ensuite bedrooms with private balconies, a rooftop terrace with palapa, a pool and a 4-story entry and all of the amenities one would expect.

"We are owners of Prudential California Realty in Marin County, California, so we are not strangers to the purchase of real estate. The real estate market in Vallarta appears good and shows superb appreciation. The added security of our owning the property in trust with the bank only strengthens our feeling of security in owning property outside the U.S.," said Carlson Carlson and Dry also manage several properties for vacation rental in the U.S. They see their P.V. Villa as an extension of that management business. As they become more and more comfortable with life in Mexico they both can see themselves living here full time.

"The opportunity for business seems strong with an economy that can only improve. In Puerto Vallarta opportunities abound without the structured environment of the U.S. We also find P.V. to be alive with cultural diversity representing a variety of lifestyles and tastes," said Dry.

"For us it's a convenient location is a short flight from San Francisco and we have the luxury of last minute departures. Vallarta is a town that we are proud to say is our second home," said Carlson.

Apparently then, it's not one magical thing but rather a host of impressive choices that keep people intrigued with Coasta Vallarta enough to purchase their dream vacation or year round home here on the shores of the Bay of Banderas.

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