Whether you plan to retire in Puerto Vallarta, purchase a vacation home for your family or an investment property you can use to get a tan, there are a lot of things you need to know. Let's take a look at some of them.
Puerto Vallarta is a vibrant city with 21st century lifestyle mixed with old world values and traditions. The city's population is made up mostly by the Mexican baby boomers, young adults of 30-35 years or younger, educated and capable with good work ethics.
The city is also home to a large number of American and Canadian expats and snow birds of the baby boomers generation. They are thriving and loving their local lifestyle. But there are things to learn of course. Speaking Spanish is desirable, but speaking a little would be good. An important must for Americans is to learn the metric system. It's easy  to learn and makes food shopping and understanding recipes much easier. There are excellent charts available on the internet you will learn it in no time.
Make sure you check out our
Retiring in Vallarta
Activities in Vallarta
pages. More great info.
Shopping for food is not much different then back home. Costco, Walmart, Mega, Soriana, Le Lay and Chedroui are the major food stores with everything from food to clothing, footwear, sporting goods, automobile items, cosmetics, bakery, special import items, wine, patio and small size furniture, liqueur... If I have forgotten to mention something you can be sure you can find it in one of these outlets. At the till you'll see the cashier and a person packing the merchandise for you. The packer is a convenience for you but they are not paid by the store. Shoppers show their appreciation for the service with a tip. Most cashiers will greet you with a smile and a simple hola. The smile will make parting with your money a pleasant experience.
Stores are mostly self serve but friendly clerks are walking the aisles, ready to help you find what you're looking for. You'll also find Home Depot  and other building supply stores. You will find small family owned tiendas (corner grocery stores) and OXO - Mexico's version of 7-11 everywhere. There are many elegant shopping centres in Vallarta with large department stores. They sell everything from fine furniture to china, decorator items, the latest fashions for women and men, just like in the US or Canada. Elegant boutiques, footwear and handbags stores, spas, restaurants and many other businesses offer convenient shopping for locals and visitors.
Local Transportation
Bus service is very organised. In the hub stops dispatchers keep everything on time and organized. They are also responsible to help the passengers with directions and all they need to know to get to their destination. Buses run about every 5-10 minutes depending the route. The fare inside the city is 7.5 pesos but as you travel longer distances outside of the city the fares increase. You can ask the dispatcher or driver what the fare will be.
Taxis are everywhere and very inexpensive. The rates are fixed by destination in the city, you let the dispatcher or the driver know where you're going and they tell you how much will it cost. The price is fixed and tips are not allowed.
Professional Services
Most doctors and dentists speak some English and some are fully bilingual. Visit prices are a far cry from US or Canadian doctors. A private visit is longer than 30 minutes and cost $25.00 on average. Charges for lab work and dental work are also very reasonable. Upon  receiving your resident status and if you are 6o years of age or more you are eligible to apply for health care and other benefits. For detailed information read our "Best place to retire in 2017." You will be surprised at the number of benefits that are available to you.
Spa Services
They are available in neighbourhoods stores and shopping centers. Spas offer manicures, pedicures, gel nails, brow and lash tinting and all of the other services you are used to. You may choose from modest locations to elegant pamper me spas for a day of service.  Prices are 40-50% less than what you are used to paying.
Hair Dressing Services
Just like the spas, they are found in the same locations and offer the same services as you required in the past.
Dry Cleaning and Laundry
Called a tintoria and lavanderia in Spanish, they are usually found in locations with groups of small stores.
Maid Service
The best information is by word of mouth. Ask your new friends or your neighbours.
They are on almost every corner and they range from taco places, modest priced to elegant dining, beach side bars and sport bars to street vendors. Food is safe and delicious regardless of whether it is a taco stand or fine dining.
The water in Vallarta is safe to drink and is very soft. It is considered to be among the best in Mexico but depending on where you are living and how much pipe it has gone through, it might not taste so good. Unless you have filtered water in your home buy the water. You can get delivery to your door or you can buy it in most grocery stores. Tap water is good for cooking but I use bottled water for cooking and for coffee. It tastes far better than tap water, even if you boil it.
Garbage Pick Up
This is usually three times per week in the suburbs, but if you live in a condo ask the property manager and also ask where you will get your utility bills.
First you need to know the name of the banks in the US and in Canada that is affiliated or working with a local bank In PV if any. To open a bank account you must be a temporary or permanent resident. You need to take your card to prove your status, your passport, your phone number, and a gas or electric bill with your name and address on it. If you are renting then you can prove your address by any utility bill. You will also need to take your lease. Take pesos or a cheque given to you in pesos for your initial deposit. You will receive an ATM card and you will pay 120 pesos for a second card for your spouse if necessary. You will need to immediately activate your card at the ATM. It is that simple but plan on spending up to two hours to open your bank account.
Purchasing a Car
The buying part is same as back home, buying from the dealer of your choice. All of the major manufacturers have dealerships here and the prices are much less than what you are used to. Some used dealers will offer a three month warranty, but not all. Dealers won't bargain on the price but you can sometimes get extras added in. In Mexico, the price must include everything so unlike back in Canada and the US where you have to add delivery charges, local and state taxes etc., the price you see is what you pay. I love that.
For the transfer of the ownership you will need the following: bill of sale from the dealer, permanent or temporary residents card, passport and an electric or any other utility bill with your name on it to prove your residency. Your dealer will take care of the  licence plate and registration. Your drivers license from home is valid until it expires. If you're a resident after your license expires, you will need to get a Mexican drivers license
Traffic flow and speed is monitored and if you run a red light or drive too fast or any other infraction, ,you will be sure to be stopped. The traffic cop will greet you very politely, but you will be given a ticket and your drivers licence will be confiscated. But don't worry. You'll get it back when you pay the ticket. You will have to personally go to pay you're ticket but there is a silver lining. If you pay the fine within 5 or 10 days (it varies by the municipality where you received the ticket) you will only pay 50% of the fine. Please do not offer money or try to pay the ticket on the spot. There is no mordita and won't get any points, just another fine.
Glenn Ferguson local cell - 322-197-1306
Contact Homes Vallarta Canada and U.S.A. - 1-403-770-6164