My name is Jamie Coates and I sell real estate in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This is my new real estate blog. Welcome!
To tell a little about me, I moved to Puerto Vallarta 26 years ago from Kelowna, Canada. I had started my real estate career there after obtaining my British Columbia real estate license in Vancouver.
Kelowna and Puerto Vallarta have similar features and attractions including being situated on a large body of water, a mountainous backdrop, and both are popular retirement communities.
Always a big fan of Mexico, I moved to Puerto Vallarta in October 1993 after visiting the previous month scouting out the idea. I found the city charming, its people friendly and I felt welcomed. But move here?!
It was ultimately the climate that drew me. Whenever visiting Puerto Vallarta in September you’re likely to experience rain of the tropical kind. Upon my return to Kelowna, we landed during a cold and rainy pre-wintery day and I thought while peering through the plane’s passenger window, “Heck, if I have to put up with rain, make it the warm tropical variety and not this bone chilling kind.” Within a month of visiting Vallarta I was back here living!
During this past quarter century the city has grown dramatically and its population has doubled. Yet, it really hasn’t lost its core identity and attraction. Newcomers today tell me the same thing I felt when I first arrived, and what I’ve heard from other newcomers through the years: What a lovely, charming and friendly city Puerto Vallarta is. And what great weather, too!
My first decade and a half living here was in the south side of downtown. Colonia Emiliano Zapata is its formal name. Old town, as some refer to it. Zona Romantica as it eventually became identified and marketed and how it’s better known these days.
The growth was already underway when I arrived and much of it was focused on the south side of downtown. I recall around the turn of the century, the millennium, people were concerned Puerto Vallarta was growing too fast. Going the way of Acapulco, they would say. Whatever that meant.
I think it meant overgrowth and runaway crime. Something scary. Even today, I still sometimes hear the same sentiment.
Except our reality isn’t Acapulco. While we’ve experienced steady growth, which is arguably better than stagnation, we don’t experience much crime. Probably because we’re not a drug cartel distribution center and shipping port as Acapulco is.
Yes, our city is growing faster than some would prefer. Some questionable city hall deals resulted in the approval of new developments in particularly odd locations or of questionable design.
Despite these occasional head-scratchers or the sentimental disappearance of yet another landmark being replaced by yet another modern development, the city does remain charming.
Those who have been around miss the opportunity to grocery shop at Rizo’s for it also meant catching up with friends you might bump into at the public bulletin board or at the magazine rack. Or miss catching a movie at the Bahia theatre complete with its pre-made cold and stale popcorn. Or ponder what may happen to Rita’s house if she were to ever finally sell it.
Well, she did! And Rizo’s and the theatre are gone! But those who discover Vallarta now really couldn’t care less of these and other relics. They simply love the city for what it is. For what it has become. Its friendliness and overall cleanliness.
Before moving to Puerto Vallarta from Kelowna, I lived a year and a half in Vancouver’s west end. A lovely, charming safe area of Vancouver that’s very enjoyable to walk around day or night despite the density of the area.
To me, today, south side Vallarta is feeling more and more like Vancouver’s west end, though I doubt it’ll ever get as dense or populated. During this period of growth the streets have been repaved, sidewalks have been evened, widened and made handicap accessible, overhead wiring has been put underground. Its transformation continues but it’s become a modern safe city not unlike Vancouver.
There are infrastructure issues to be sure. Much of Puerto Vallarta is only a few feet above sea level so the summer rain runoff is one of its biggest challenges. The storms often produce several inches of rain in a very short period of time. Handling that runoff as it makes its way to the ocean is challenging.
During these storms streets turn into rivers. Shoppers get stuck wherever they may happen to be. Kids, being kids, splash and dance in the rain.
Those storms are entertaining. The electrical rainstorms we experience in July and August are breathtaking. Huge downpours of rain along with great claps of thunder and a sky lit with lightning that not only strikes vertically but shoots sideways. Turn off the TV, pull up a chair on your balcony and be mesmerized.
For the last dozen years or so, I’ve taken residency on the north side of downtown in Colonia 5 de Diciembre. Growth is happening on the north side, too, but not nearly at the clip occurring on the south side.
The original attraction of the south side was its “off the beaten path” feel, an area to where many tourists didn’t venture. Over the past 20 years, though, it’s become the beaten path for many and, ironically, 5 de Diciembre has become the quieter, more authentic area of downtown.
In future blog posts, I’ll cover more of these areas and other communities throughout the city and region along with their real estate opportunities, and write about the processes involved purchasing real estate in Mexico. This is a lovely area of Mexico providing plenty to write about!
Please join me for future postings. Meanwhile, I look forward to any comments.