The Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta

Let’s keep on moving and talk about the cost of living in American Living Large in Mexico with Bill the Geek.

The cost of living in Puerto Vallarta  is……….the only word I can think of is crazy, crazy. For you people that smoke cigarettes, sure it’s a filthy terrible habit, and I was going to quit when I first got to Mexico I was going to quit smoking altogether because at that time cigarettes were about 8 dollars a pack. And I’m not encouraging smoking, but I just want to talk about a substantial cost differential between the United States, Canada and living here in Guadalajara. When I got to Puerto Vallarta, in Columbus at the time cigarettes were like 8 dollars a pack. When I got to Puerto Vallarta cigarettes were 2 dollars a pack and you could smoke anywhere you wanted to smoke: restaurants, movie theaters, bars. I mean in San Francisco you spent half your life out on the sidewalk in downtown San Francisco, but 2 dollars a pack…And because now in Guadalajara the cost of a pack of cigarettes is like 2.50 dollars.  In other words, the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta, or Mexico in general is great.

Speaking of the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta, let’s talk about beer, not that you guys would want to drink beer. I walk half a block down the street to 7-Eleven. Well, I’m going to call it 7-Eleven, but the name of the place is really Oxxo. And there are 15.000 Oxxo-s throughout Mexico. They’re very clean, they’re cleaner than any 7-Eleven you’re going to find in the United States, but you know, when you go to 7-Eleven everything is about 10 times more than which you’re going to pay for at Walmart. The average per capita income down here is 9,000 dollars a year. So everything has to be really cheap.

Now, as we talk about the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta, let’s go further into that per capita income situation. If you have a decent job as a Mexican national down here you’re making about 180 dollars a week. Let’s recap on that. A hundred and eighty dollars a week and you don’t work five-day weeks, you work six-day weeks, usually ten hours a day. That’s restaurant people, people at Burger King, you’re talking construction workers, they don’t have unions down here, so construction workers might only make like 10 dollars a day. So you can’t have items in 7-Eleven that cost way more than what the public can afford to pay. When you go into Oxxo, which is like 7-Eleven, everything is really cheap.


Okay, I was talking about beer and the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta. I went in there and yesterday I got 2 six packs of 16 ounce Heinekens. Okay. Let’s say that again. Two 6 packs of 16 ounce Heinekens for 7 dollars. Then I throw in my 2.50 dollars for a pack of cigarettes and I’m walking out of there with 12 huge beers and a pack of cigarettes for less than 10 dollars. I go down there and get a half gallon of milk. A half-gallon of milk is going to cost me about 80 cents. I get little packets of spaghetti, you know, those little packets of spaghetti, that is going to cost me 3 cents. All kinds of little things to eat, you know, a little corn in can, hostess cupcakes, those are going to cost you like a dime or 20 cents. I mean, when the conversion rate comes down, of course, everything down here is in Pesos.

When you talk about the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta, specifically produce cost, avocados, bananas, lettuce, there’s all kinds of Mexican vegetables and fruits that we don’t have in the United States, these are delicious. And for those things you go to the open markets where it’s ridiculous…You can buy 12 avocados, bananas, all different kinds of peppers that are really hot and spicy. They have the little peppers and you have the big red, yellow or green peppers and you can walk out with two or three bags filled with fresh clean produce for like 10 dollars. It’s ridiculous. Every time I go to get produce, I just walk out laughing. And throughout Puerto Vallarta, as well as Guadalajara, and most of Mexico, there are open fish and meat markets. And the fish is right from the ocean.

When you talk about the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta and buying fish, you’re talking about shrimp, marlin, all types of exotic ocean fish that is just an unbelievably inexpensive. You get a kilo of shrimp for like around 4 dollars. Every time you go shopping at the Mexican markets, you will walk away laughing. So all your food is really cheap, unless you go to Costco. I do have a Costco card and I go to Costco to get coffee and detergents, stuff like that, big purchases, maybe a refrigerator, but all of your food and beverages are going to be really cheap.