What is the Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

What is the cost of living in Puerto vallarta

What is the Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

We have written a lot lately about Puerto Vallarta including what to do, where to eat, and all of our other favorites. We have briefly touched on how cheap it is in Puerto Vallarta, but we have not delved deep into what the exact costs of living really are.

So—here you go!

We will be following this post up soon with our exact monthly expenses in Puerto Vallarta to provide an even better idea of what it costs to live in Mexico.


First and foremost, you need a place to stay. This is where we usually spend most of our money. We typically rent an apartment on Airbnb and pay between $800 and $1,000 USD per month. This rate will get you an apartment in El Centro that is close to restaurants, the beach, and with views. This rate is pretty high by local standards. If you want to stay in an apartment that is not as “Americanized” (no fancy rooftop terrace, balcony, and upgraded kitchen), you can find apartments for half this price! However, with Hillary’s work, we need an apartment with high speed internet, so Americanized it is.

If you look on craigslist, airbnb, or know people that live in PV, it would be reasonable to find a nice apartment to rent for $600 USD a month (or less)!


After accommodations, the next biggest expense is everyone’s favorite: food. Though, we will admit, this expense is largely self imposed. We are too busy lazy to cook for ourselves. Plus, trying different restaurants is so fun! So what does a typical meal cost in Puerto Vallarta? We have provided a few different examples of what to expect-

On the high end is La Palapa. La Palapa is a fancy restaurant situated right on the beach. The views are amazing, the service is fast, and the food is impeccable. However, these luxuries come with a price. You can order a delicious appetizer and entree for around 300-400 pesos or $15-20 USD. Those are Olive Garden prices! And let us tell you, the view and the food is quite a bit better than Olive Garden!

In the midrange option is Fredy’s Tucan, a local breakfast restaurant. Fredy’s is one of our favorites and we make sure to take all of our guests there for breakfast (at least once)! It ranges from 70-140 pesos per meal. At the current exchange rate of around 18-1, you are looking at $3.50 to $7 per person. Fredy’s is a great bang for your buck (pow para tu peso?!) You definitely will not leave hungry as the portion sizes are typically huge.

On the low end of the spectrum are the street taco stands. We can both eat from a taco stand and get a large flavored water for $5 USD or less. Total! Do not misunderstand here—just because they are cheap does not mean they are lacking in taste or quality-not even the least bit!  Some of the best food we have had in Puerto Vallarta was from the street taco stands.


If you are not one to eat out every meal (you are our heroes), you can check out the local markets or even head to Walmart or Costco. I pulled some prices from the Puerto Vallarta Walmart.com site to give you an exact idea of how much food costs.  

As you can see, things are really cheap! In our future post where we detail our monthly expenses we will lay out our grocery bill in detail so that you can see the true costs of groceries per month.


Like most everything else in Puerto Vallarta, transportation costs are minimal. Most taxi rides will cost between $4 and 10 USD. The ten dollar route can get you clear to the other side of the bay! Check out this post for the exact rates from point to point.

The city buses are even cheaper. Although, they are much slower. At 9 pesos per ride (50 cents), you can get anywhere in the area. It is not the fastest mode of transportation, but in my experience, it is reliable! I took the bus from El Centro to Walmart several days a week when I was volunteering and never had any issues. Besides having to share my seat with a few chickens once…

If we were both going somewhere together, such as walmart to get groceries, then we typically take a taxi. They are much faster and simply more feasible to carry our groceries home. However, if just one of us was going somewhere, we would take the bus.


Now for the fun stuff, entertainment! The best things in Puerto Vallarta are free, or close to it! In our opinion, the beach is some of the most fun you can have and the only costs are transportation to the beach (if needed) and any food and drink you may buy when you are there. But some other free things we enjoy in PV are walking around the Malecon, going to the Isla Cuale, or just watching sunsets from our balcony. We typically opt for these lower priced adventures, and have compiled a complete list of our favorite things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

If you are up for losing a few dollars, you can also go to the local casinos!  We do this on occasion and typically spend a few hours there while only managing to spend/lose ten dollars or so. Bonus: it is a great way to say out of the heat for a while too! Another cheap option is going to the movies. This will cost you around 30 pesos ($1.50 USD) per ticket! What does it cost to see a movie in the States now? Eight, nine, ten dollars a person? $1.50 is hard to beat!

Then, there are the more expensive activities. Vallarta Adventures has a ton of cool looking excursions as do other travel companies listed here on Tripadvisor. However, we have found that you can usually charter your own boat right from the beach to go snorkeling or whatever else you are into for way less than some of these official tours. Sure, you may not sign a waiver or really know the guy operating your vessel, but hey, you are in Mexico!

So—what’s the takeaway here? Puerto Vallarta is cheap. Really cheap. It is about half the cost of living as in Dallas, Texas. If you are from LA, New York, or any other more expensive areas of the United States, Puerto Vallarta will seem that much cheaper! You can live like a king when you have American money in Mexico. However, we have found that when you have good food, friends, and a beach, you do not really feel the need to live like a king. Being able to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean has the calming effect of reducing the “keeping up with the Jones’” effect.

Accommodations- $600-$1,100 USD

Food- Mid range meal $3.50-$6.00 USD


Entertainment- Free-$100 USD


Keep it Kinetic,


Hillary and Greg

cost of living in Puerto vallarta

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