Rent For $575 a Month in This Lively Mexico Beach Town


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By Don Murray, International Living

“The town is overflowing with charm and beauty,” says Jack Bramy, who has found his ideal retirement spot in Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific coast. “It’s everywhere, from tiny local bistros to the narrow cobblestone streets climbing up the hillsides. And the live entertainment is everywhere. Local bands play in many of the nightspots.”

Working in Silicon Valley provided Jack with a nice lifestyle. But the job came with more stress than he wanted. When it came time to retire, he was thrilled to bid the corporate world farewell.

“When I was working and earning good money, it was no problem living in the San Francisco Bay area…but it was very expensive,” says Jack. “Once I retired, and with only my Social Security check coming in, staying there wasn’t an option.”

So Jack decided to retire overseas to take advantage of the lower cost of living and an upgraded lifestyle. Among the golden beaches and stunning hillsides of Puerto Vallarta, he has found his retirement Shangri-La. “I really love it here,” he says.

This eclectic coastal city has been popular with international travelers for years. Hollywood first discovered Puerto Vallarta in 1964, when Night of the Iguana, starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner, was filmed here. Tourists and expats have been flocking to the beaches, narrow cobblestone streets, and towering hills overlooking Banderas Bay ever since.

Puerto Vallarta’s affordability is a big aspect of its appeal. “I really love my apartment here,” says Jack. “It has two bedrooms, a great modern bathroom, and a nice kitchen. I also have a large terrace overlooking the pool. I’m only half a block from the beach and a modern supermarket is right next door.”

The cost of this comfortable, convenient apartment? Just $575 a month, including cable and internet. “A place like mine back in San Francisco would run about $3,000 a month or more,” says Jack. “My only utility bill is electricity, and it’s about $30 monthly without using the air conditioning.”

Jack estimates his total monthly living expenses come in between $1,500 and $2,000 a month. “I could live for less,” he says, “but why? I go out a lot, almost every night. There are great restaurants and tons of cool bars on the promenade. It’s a wonderful way to meet people.”

Living in Puerto Vallarta, Jack also has its golden beaches at his doorstep. “The entire beach is wonderful and a great place to people watch. When I do get my feet in the sand, it’s usually down by Los Muertos Beach, by the pier. There are lots of great restaurants nearby. I very much like the Margarita Grill in the Romantic Zone. It has a great outdoor bar where I can enjoy dinner and talk to fellow expats and tourists.”

With an active theater and arts scene, Puerto Vallarta has attracted a host of retired actors, artists, musicians, and stage performers.

“I never get bored here,” Jack says. “I can go just about anywhere, and if I don’t know someone, it’s very easy to meet people. That’s important to me as a single guy.

“I absolutely love my new life here in Puerto Vallarta. In fact, I think it’s perfect.”

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