Puerto Vallarta is the perfect place to settle down for a month, a year, or forever. It’s one of those places where travelers come for a week then end up staying for years. Puerto Vallarta is the perfect home for digital nomads, remote workers, retirees, or slow travelers who want to chill out for a bit.
I moved to Puerto Vallarta two months ago as a digital nomad and absolutely love it. I first settled into a private room at a hostel, then moved into a 3-bedroom condo (with a pool!!) located in Las Glorias neighborhood for only $266/month.
This guide will cover what I wish I knew before looking for a long-term rental in Puerto Vallarta, the perks to living here, the best neighborhoods to live in PV, tips for finding Puerto Vallarta condos and long-term rentals, and more!
Why Puerto Vallarta is the perfect place to live
Like I said Puerto Vallarta has everything: beautiful beaches, mountains and waterfalls, city life, shopping malls, nightlife, excellent restaurants, art and culture, street tacos, affordable housing, and more. I mean, what more could you ask for?
As an LGBTQ+ traveler, I was originally drawn to Puerto Vallarta for its thriving gay community. After living in Puerto Vallarta for two months, I’ve fallen in love with its “hidden gems” like the elote en vaso (corn in a cup) in the Walmart parking, the bumpy bus rides to surrounding towns, and the many late nights spent watching the sunset on the beach.
In the USA, I felt like I was surviving. In Puerto Vallarta, I’m living and thriving. My skin is burnt, my belly is full, and my soul is alive. I love it here and if you’re reading this, I hope you do too.
A place could be absolutely stunning, but if the energy is not there, I’m not interested. The energy in Puerto Vallarta is amazing. The locals are friendly and welcoming. Everyone says “buenos dias” and “buenas tardes.” The front desk person at the gym knows my name. The server at the cafe I frequent knows my order. People here are genuinely kind and warm. It has a home-y feel.
Disclaimer: there are vendors on the beach selling shrimp on a stick, textiles, jewelry, etc. It is a resort town and as I’m sure you already know, this is how people provide for their family. It’s annoying at times, but luckily they are not aggressive. If you say “gracias” and shake your head, they will leave you alone.
Workers on the malecon are also….vocal. A man will hollar about taking shots in his tequila shop, someone will say you dropped something (you didn’t), Señor frogs employee will follow you, a restaurant employee will wave around a menu encouraging you to come try their restaurant, someone may offer you drugs. Again, those people are paid to do this. A firm “gracias” goes a long way. (tip: do NOT give excuses or long answers, it will lead to more attention!!!)
Whatever you’re in the mood for, PV’s got it: tamales, tacos, Indian food, sushi, pad thai, good Italian pizza, and the list goes on. The food scene is diverse and tasty. One of the best neighborhoods for food is Versalles. I suggest wandering around and buying street tamales ($1) and tacos (usually $1) whenever you run into them. I also recommend going to the Olas Altas Saturday market in Zona Romantica (9am-12pm) and the Sunday market in Mojoneras (9am, you can take the bus that says “Mojoneras”).
Mexico in general is super affordable for expats. My apartment is $266/month. My monthly expenses range from $500 to $1,000 depending on how much I travel. A cup of coffee is $1. A meal is around $3-7. Puerto Vallarta is a place you can live super cheaply or lavishly. With that said, you can live like a queen and you still won’t spend anywhere near the amount you would spend in the states.
There is a huge community of expats of all ages and backgrounds. The city seems big at first, but eventually, you get to know everyone. If you come here alone, you will not be lonely. It’s possible to find something to do every night of the week.
Plenty of things to do and see
Puerto Vallarta is a great hub for explorers. There are so many great day trips you can do that are only an hour or two bus ride away. I recommend checking out Sayulita, San Pancho, Bucerias, El Tuito, La Cruz, Mayto beach, and Boca de Tomatlan.
The best thing to do in Puerto Vallarta is walking around in each neighborhood. You’ll discover street art, art galleries, local restaurants, small shops, and more.
For a little adventure, hop on a bus heading north or south and get off in a random town or beach. For safety, make sure to have a SIM card and emergency cash.
Great place for digital nomads to live
Puerto Vallarta is increasing in popularity among digital nomads for its cafe culture, co-working spaces, and stable wifi. There is an active Digital Nomad Facebook group filled with remote workers and entrepreneurs who are here long-term.
Shopping + big-box stores
One of the not-so-great parts of traveling is lack of “conveniences” like vegan face wash, western clothing stores, and Trader Joe’s. Luckily Puerto Vallarta has two Walmarts, many large supermarkets (with vegan cheese, tofu, GF products, etc), and two shopping malls (one indoor and one outdoor). There’s an Apple Store, H&M, Forever 21, and even MAC cosmetics.
Puerto Vallarta is a normal big city with all the conveniences of living in a city. With that said, the big-box stores do not take away from the natural beauty of Puerto Vallarta. You can still wander off on a waterfall hike or escape to small pueblo magico.
Best neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta to live
Most affordable: Versalles
Versalles is known as “the foodie neighborhood” of Puerto Vallarta located a few miles outside of downtown (10-minute bus ride or 30-40 minute walk). Versalles is perfect for those who want an affordable spot outside of town that’s near the beach.
Best location: 5 de diciembre
If you want to be close to the action, find a place in 5 de diciembre. This neighborhood is home to bars, restaurants, cafes, live music, and it’s close to the beach as well.
Most popular: Zona Romantica
Zona Romantica, the LGBTQ+ neighborhood of PV, is filled with cobbled stone streets, colorful buildings, restaurants, bars, and rainbow flags. It’s no surprise The Romantic Zone is the most popular place to live in Puerto Vallarta. For those who are not a part of the alphabet mafia (LGBTQ+), you will love it as well.
Other places to look for rentals: La Marina ($$$), Las Glorias (close to the beach near Versalles), Nuevo Vallarta (another city nearby with less people), and Bucerias (another city popular among Canadian retirees)
How to find Puerto Vallarta long-term rentals, apartments, and houses
Join Facebook groups
One of the easiest ways to find an apartment in Puerto Vallarta is through Facebook groups. The best Facebook groups for finding a long-term rental in Puerto Vallarta are:
- Rentals In Puerto Vallarta for Locals and Long Term Visitors
- Puerto Vallarta Today’s Real Estate and Rentals
- Puerto Vallarta – Affordable Yearly Rentals! (even if you aren’t staying for an entire year, you can negotiate)
- Puerto Vallarta: Everything You Need Or Want To Know (this is the main Facebook group for Puerto Vallarta)
- US EXPATS in PUERTO VALLARTA (for information specific to Americans)
- Puerto Vallarta Digital Nomads (to network with other digital nomads)
Facebook Tip: if you have a question, use the search function within the Facebook group. Most of the time your question has already been asked, you can save time by searching for the answer.
Use a realtor
An easy way to find long-term rentals in Puerto Vallarta before you arrive or if you don’t speak any Spanish is through a realtor (most speak English). While I can’t personally recommend a realtor, here are some that are highly recommended by other expats in Puerto Vallarta:
- Dana Scapa, Re/Max Puerto Vallarta: “I recommend Dana Scapa as a realtor . We used her when we bought our home . We ended up buying in the Bucerias /La Cruz area. We love it.”
- Ryan Donner: “We just bought in the Romantic Zone. Ryan Donner was great to work with. Honest, fun and knows all the areas. Everyone in his office speaks English and I recommend them all.”
- Taniel Chemsian: “We’re working with Taniel Chemsian at Timothy Real Estate Group. Great guy!! Extremely knowledgeable! We’re in process of buying in the 5 de deciembre area, up in the hills.”
Craigslist Puerto Vallarta
Craigslist is a great resource for discovering what’s out there. Click here for Puerto Vallarta apartments and housing for rent.
Find a place on foot
If you speak decent Spanish and are on a tight budget, I recommend looking for a place AFTER you get in town. Look in popular neighborhoods like Versalles, 5 de Diciembre, and Zona Romantica for “se renta” signs with phone numbers. Message or call the numbers to set up viewings. It’s easier to negotiate in person after seeing the place.
Last bits of advice (READ THIS!!)
- I recommend renting an airbnb or booking a hostel (El Sunset Hostel is great) and come look at places in person.
- Take your time, you will find what you are looking for in your price range. It might take some time but it’ll be worth it.
- While the views are amazing, I don’t recommend renting a place on the top of the hill (5 de Diciembre and Zona Romantica). It’ll take 10 hours to get an Uber.
- NEGOTIATE! It’s normal to negotiate prices especially during low season or if you’re staying for 6 months to a year. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
- You do not need a car in Puerto Vallarta. Ubers are $2-5/ride and the bus is $0.50.
Apartment Hunting Video
I hope this post was helpful in some way! If you have any questions, comment below or send me a DM @courtneytheexplorer on Instagram. Cheers!
Check out my other Puerto Vallarta resources:
- What to Know Before Traveling to Puerto Vallarta
- One Month Living in Puerto Vallarta
- Apartment Hunting in Puerto Vallarta video
- One week living in Puerto Vallarta video
- Puerto Vallarta apartment tour (3-bedroom condo)
- Why I Moved to Puerto Vallarta
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