After Puerto Vallarta found its way onto the international tourism map following the release of â€œThe Night of the Iguana,â€ the city became a meeting place for artists, musicians and anyone seeking a cosmopolitan destination amongst incredible natural beauty. As a result, numerous festivals have developed in Puerto Vallarta, celebrating everything from independent film to haute cuisine. Throughout the year, these events welcome awestruck visitors from throughout the world and add to Puerto Vallartaâ€™s standing as one of Mexicoâ€™s premier destinations.
Inspired by the legacy of director John Huston and his film, â€œThe Night of the Iguana,â€ the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival of the Americas brings together the best independent films and documentaries from North and South America each year. Similar to the Cannes and Sundance festivals, the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival of the Americas features more than a week full of screenings supported by lectures, workshops and parties. The festival takes place each year during the first or second week of November, immediately before the beginning of peak tourism season. Families visiting Puerto Vallarta on a strict budget should consider traveling during this period as travel costs are lower, the weather is great and there is certainly plenty to experience.
Families visiting Puerto Vallarta in the weeks before the beginning of high tourism season can also participate in the cityâ€™s acclaimed Gourmet Festival. For 14 years, the Puerto Vallarta Gourmet Festival has brought together some of the worldâ€™s best chefs and the finest fare Mexico has to offer. Often, Michelin-star chefs collaborate with local restaurants to create unique menus inspired by the culture and scenery of Puerto Vallarta. Most of these dinners, along with the cooking classes and tasting events, are open to the public. The Puerto Vallarta Gourmet Festival usually takes place during the second and third weeks of November, occasionally overlapping with the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival of the Americas.
The May Cultural Festival has become a prestigious tradition in Mexicoâ€™s Jalisco state, reaching towns such as Zapopan, La Barca, Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. Though a number of the headline performances take place in Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta puts on a number of exhibits and performances by international artists. Each year, the festival honors a foreign country by welcoming the visual artists and musical performers that represent the finest each nation has to offer. This yearâ€™s festival was dedicated to Germany and featured concerts by the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and gallery exhibits by up-and-coming German artists. Though the schedule for next yearâ€™s festival has not been announced, visitors will have a chance to experience the cultural sites of Puerto Vallarta, accompanied by the finest music and art from another unique culture. The May Cultural Festival takes place each year during the entire month of May with most major events scheduled during the final two weeks.
Puerto Vallarta is also home to the worldâ€™s newest contemporary art festival. Known officially as Puerto Vallarta: Arte Contemporaneo, the festival is designed to bring together the work of Mexican and international artists. This year, the festival focused on artists from the United States and Mexico and featured panel discussions on issues as diverse as globalization, extended borders and the cultural identities of Mexican artists working in the United States. Many of the artists featured in this yearâ€™s festival exhibited work at prestigious venues such as the Whitney Biennial and the Tate Modern in London. Puerto Vallarta: Arte Contemporaneo plans to return next year during the final weekend of May with larger exhibits and more special events.
The local art scene is celebrated each year in November during the Festival de las Artes. During the final week of the month, nearly all of Puerto Vallartaâ€™s art galleries stage elaborate openings and events that welcome art aficionados and curious travelers alike. As much of the work on display belongs to Mexican artists, including many Puerto Vallarta residents, many of the artists are on hand at the events to discuss the trade with art lovers. Now entering its 12th season, the Festival de las Artes is one of the best ways for tourists to experience the vibrant art scene of Puerto Vallarta. Best of all, most of the events during the festival are free of charge.
Though all the events mentioned here take place in either November or May, there is no shortage of similar events throughout the year in Puerto Vallarta. When accounting for Puerto Vallartaâ€™s incredible scenery and cosmopolitan flair, it is no wonder that the worldâ€™s best flock to the city each year. When you come to Puerto Vallarta, plan on visiting some of these festivals where you can interact with remarkable artists, chefs and filmmakers while enjoying the lush backdrop of one of Mexicoâ€™s premier destinations.
Mexico is such a profound country. Beaches and top tourist destinations are all over the area but each has its own story to tell. A travel in Mexico wouldnâ€™t be complete unless all possible escapades are done especially those that can only be found or can happen in a certain area. The beaches, of course, are among the worldâ€™s finest but those who venture inland are rewarded with the true soul of Mexico, which has always resided firmly in the interior. It is also worthwhile not to settle for anything less like traveling only to a certain area. The kingdom is meant to be distinct from one area to the other to make it more pleasant by giving a collection of expectations for tourist to savor his worthwhile vacation.
Having a taste of its own, Puerto Vallarta is Mexicoâ€™s second great Pacific playground next behind to Acapulco. This resort city is situated on the Pacific Oceanâ€™s BahÃa de Banderas. The area has an area of 502.19 square miles. It borders the southwest part of the state of Nayarit to the North, the municipality of Mascota and San SebastiÃ¡n to the east and the municipalities of Talpa de Allende and Cabo Corriente to the South. Puerto Vallarta is named after Ignacio Vallarta, a former governor of Jalisco. English speakers call the city P.V. for short and Vallarta for the Spanish blood. Puerto Vallarta has a appealing downtown area designed typically to cater tourist across the globe.
Puerto Vallarta is a beach vacation destination that has it all. Top beaches of the area are Boca de Tomatlan, Garza Blanca and Destiladeras. Boca de Tomatlan is a small sandy cove at the edge of the jungle three miles south of Mismaloya. Garza Blanca on the other hand is a small city beach located off the Barra Navidad road at Km 6 on the way to Mismaloya. It haswhite sand beach framed with palms and crystal clear water. It is notorious with the locals on weekends who pack a picnic as there are no amenities while Destiladeras is the favorite with many Vallartans, especially by families. On Sundays, they flock here to appreciate the wide white sand beach and fresh seafood at its outdoor palapa-shaded restaurants at the edge of the water.
In Puerto Vallarta youâ€™ll find a wide collection of restaurants. La Palapa is located on Playa los Muertos ans is one of the areasâ€™ finest places to dine in. Here you can appreciate the great food in an elegant atmosphere. Tikul Pacific cuisine is a grill of great taste and superb dining. The restaurant reflects a culinary version of pacific cuisine. The area is made of a stone named Tikul which can only be found in Mexican villages while the River Cafe is located on the River Cuale Island. It is notorious restaurant offers gourmet dining with a great Mexican and International menu in an elegant atmosphere.
One of the finest features of Puerto Vallarta is the vast jungle that surrounds it where you can have your finest jungle and safari escapades. Exploring the jungles of the Sierra Madre is one of the top activities youâ€™ll find here. Over 350 species of birds calls the jungle home with countless other species of animals including iguanas, monkeys, jaguar and more. The area welcomes travelers who want their vacation to be more wild and exciting by having bamboo rafting experience on a white rushing river and elephant riding in the jungle.
Nowadays, the area is not just about its highly urban city with mainly beach and shopping as its attractions, its rural side has delight and plenty spots that provides chance for memorable jungle experiences as well. There are also fantastic photo-taking opportunities as you stumble across beautiful waterfalls and ancient preserved temples along the way as you travel.
A mere couple of decades ago, sophisticated, expensive Puerto Vallarta was just a quaint little fishing village on the magnificent Bahia de las Banderas. Movies, however, changed all that. In the wake of The NIght of the Iguana, and the arrival of luminaries such as Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, condominiums, timeshare, luxury hotels and villas have given Puerto Vallarta a new attitude to life. Some of the old buildings in the original town have been altered to become fashionable restaurants, art galleries and souvenir shops, while the sandy central beaches along the 150km (93-mile) shore of Bahia de las Banderas have become favourites for daily cruise excursions.
On either side of the Rio Cuale, old Puerto Vallarta is the commercial centre of this pretty town. A lovely malecon, or promenade, provides a focal point each evening for strollers and itinerant vendors. There are galleries, cafes, shops and a small Museo Arqueologico. The shady Plaza de Armas is the main square or zocalo. Here the Palacio Municipal houses the tourist office, while a block to the east is the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe with its unusual tower. The annual fiesta of the Virgin of Guadalupe is particularly riotous here, with more than ten days of celebrations. Other notable dates include the Semana Santa celebrations, the annual fishing tournament in November, and the biennial Regatta between the Marina del Rey and Puerto Vallerta.
Mariachi, indeed all music, is big in Puerto Vallarta, and there are a number of local restaurants where live mariachi music accompanies dinner. Catering to the diner who wants a touch of Mexican culture with a buffet, the long-standing La Iguana offers nightly shows, as do many of the luxury hotels.
After a lifetime of hard work, isnt it about time that you enjoy the fruit of your labor? By now, you should be ready to start living large, living like a king, living the life of Riley, or just plain living in luxury!
James Whitcomb Rileys poems depicted the comforts of a prosperous home life, while those using the term living large are referring to living with an extravagant or self indulgent lifestyle; able to pay for and enjoy a very wealthy lifestyle or as they say south of the border, able to enjoy the sweet life, la dolce vida. If you are now ready to live in luxury, youve got only one small hurdle to jump; that is affordability! Herein lies the solution to your problem.
First, you pack your personal items and your dog into the SUV and you drive to Mexico. As long as your car remains in Mexico, youll never need to renew your license plates nor will you ever again pay any taxes on it. As soon as youve crossed the border and get on one of the super modern toll roads, you aim directly for the Mexican Riviera on the Pacific Ocean with Puerto Vallarta being your destination.
When you arrive in Vallarta, where the average daily temperature is 73*F with virtually no chance of rain from November through May, youll find your dream at an affordable price. As an example, a beautiful condominium with a million dollar view, which would cost $1,000,000 in the States, will cost $350,000 in Vallarta. With the mortgage financing that is now available in Mexico, you can purchase this condo for as little as 30% down or slightly over $100,000. Next, lets consider property taxes on the million dollar condo that you paid $350,000 for. Annual property taxes in Vallarta are .12% of purchase price or about $400 per year for your condo.
Now that youve moved into your luxurious condo, youll need a maid to keep it tidy and perhaps prepare your meals. Remember, kings dont clean their own castles and seldom cook their own meals! A neat, honest, and loyal maid will cost you about $20 per day. If youd rather prepare some of your own meals, you can share your maid with the neighbor, so that each of you pay $10 per half day for cleaning and tidying up. For about $250 per month and without lifting a hand, your condo will always look like a million dollars.
After youve settled into your beautiful and tidy condo with its panoramic view of the Banderas Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and the Sierra Madres, its time to venture into El Centro or downtown, where there are virtually hundreds of fine restaurants offering every type of cuisine imaginable. The cost of dining in Vallarta is about the same as in the States. You can pay as little as $10 for a fine dinner or you can pay as much as $50 for the same dinner in a tourist oriented restaurant with the high society ambiance. Alternatively, you might just decide to tough it out like a commoner by going to one of the many modern supermarkets where the food selection, quality, and price are comparable to the States, and buy your own groceries. All food products, including water, and of course all restaurants, are closely regulated and quality controlled.
Daytime activities such as golfing on any of the seven beautiful courses, playing tennis on any of the hundreds of courts, or enjoying world class deep sea fishing, will cost about the same as back home. To conserve cash, you might consider joining any of the hundreds of clubs, societies, organizations, or even take a class in some subject youve always wanted to learn. There are so many things to do that youll never get bored living in Paradise and you can spend as much or as little as you feel comfortable spending while still living a life of luxury.
Next, as much as we hate to think about it, lets assume you develop a medical problem or toothache. There are two new modern hospitals in Vallarta with all of the latest in sophisticated equipment. There are a number of modern dentist offices, clinics, etc., all staffed with English speaking professionals. The main difference between these facilities, doctors, and dentists, and those in the States is price. You can assume that medical care will be about one half to one third of that back home.
If you need mechanical work done on your car, painting or maintenance work in your condo, repair of your TV or CD player, or any other kind of service work, the cost should be slightly less than youre accustomed to paying.
In summarizing, excluding mortgage payments, a couple can live in luxury on their social security income in Vallarta. Keeping in mind that condo prices are expected to continue to appreciate at a rate of at least 10% per year, your million dollar condo should increase in value by $35,000 per year, which when added to your social security income, should more than cover all of your living expenses and mortgage payments while living like a king in Paradise.
By: Jim Scherrer www.pvreba.com
Puerto Vallarta Real Estate is one of the best investments you can make in the Mexico real estate market. The beauty of the surrounding beaches combined with the opportunities for exciting cultural events, fine dining, and world class shopping makes any property in this beautiful location an investment in your future. There are a wide number of property choices available including Puerto Vallarta villas, condos, vacation homes, and rental properties that can all be the perfect solution for anyone who wants to purchase a property in the Mexico real estate marketing. Condos are a great choice for singles or couples with no children since they are a bit smaller than traditional homes. You’ll have all the space you need without paying for additional space that’s going to waste. Villas are the ideal choice if you want to have a lovely vacation property to visit on a seasonal basis. A larger vacation home or rental property is ideal if you have a family with children who need room to exercise and play. Depending on your needs you can find a number of properties that match what you’re looking for and also match your price range.
If you are overwhelmed by all the choices available to you, it is wise to consult with a Mexico realtor to find out the inside information you need to know to make a wise purchase. Puerto Vallarta realtors will help you to choose the best piece of Puerto Vallarta Real Estate based on your needs and desires. In addition to helping you find the best properties, a realtor can do the initial work of finding a list of matching properties and making arrangements for you to view each property with the owner. Instead of doing all of that legwork, you’ll be able to let the realtor take care of it so all you have to do is meet with each property owner and view the properties you are considering. Working with a realtor can also help you get a better price for the property you eventually purchase since they are experienced in negotiating with property owners. Once you’ve purchased a piece of Puerto Vallarta, Cancun Real Estate or Playa del Carmen Real Estate, you’ll be able to set out to decorate your home in the style you prefer. If you’ve always wanted to invest in the Mexico real estate market, purchasing a Puerto Vallarta vacation home is one of the best ways to make your dream come true.
Your beachfront condo in Puerto Vallarta is within your reach. Check out the listings of Puerto Vallarta Beachfront Condos, plan correctly to Finance Puerto Vallarta condos and homes, and plan for a beautiful future today. Contact Tom Budniak for insight into this booming market.
As you can see, Puerto Vallarta Real Estate has many excellent property investment oportunities like Beachfront Condos, Rental Villas, Apartments etc. If you have any questions, requests or need any advise regarding Mexico Real Estate, feel free to contact Tom Budniak. Deals Property in Mexico including Playa del Carmen Real Estate as well.
Many people who visit Puerto Vallarta to evaluate it as a potential retirement destination ask about the transportation available in Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta has a viable mass transit system, and the buses run through the jungle up and down Highway 15. If thatâ€™s not what you had in mind, you can get taxi service or shuttle service to and from major destinations like the airport. The ease with which you can get to and from Puerto Vallarta is just one of the advantages of building in Mexico.
Major car rental firms operate in Puerto Vallarta, and renting a car for the day is an easy option. There are plenty of bike paths, if you enjoy bicycling. Many people in the Puerto Vallarta area still travel on horseback! For horse lovers, this is just another advantage of building in Mexico.
Jalisco and Nayarit are in negotiations right now to develop and operate a local water-taxi service around Banderas Bay. The taxi service would permit easy-in and easy-out transportation to and from Puerto Vallarta, as well as destinations up and down the coastal waterway.
Puerto Vallarta is home to the Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Major worldwide carriers fly in and out of Puerto Vallarta every day. You can usually find a direct flight to and from most major US cities daily. In addition, Puerto Vallarta welcomes a host of domestic carriers that fly all around Mexico. The domestic carriers offer very economical flights to destinations around the country. Thatâ€™s a great option if youâ€™re looking to travel within Mexico, and another advantage of building in Mexico.
Those same discount domestic carriers have applied for permission to run flights between Puerto Vallarta and some major cities in the southwestern US. Those heavily discounted flights will begin as soon as the carriers receive regulatory approval.
You can also bring your own private vehicle in to Mexico. Youâ€™d register it at the border as part of your visa. Once the vehicle is registered, you can use it in Mexico for as long as your visa is valid. This is a great option for people who only plan to stay in the country part-time.
With low gas prices, youâ€™ll find that transportation in Puerto Vallarta is easy and inexpensive. If youâ€™d like more information about transportation options, please contact a Select Mexico Properties sales representative today.
he small city Puerto Vallarta was established close to 1850 and used as a harbor for the silver transports of the close mines. The name â€œPuerto Vallartaâ€ is derived to honor the governor Ignacio L. Vallarta. With Hollywood, came the success to Puerto Vallarta.
Puerto Vallarta is close to Banderas Bay that adds to its ecological beauty. This is where the big sea turtles come to deposit their eggs in the hot sand, the whales make a stop with their young children and the dolphins also like to stay in the area.
For travelers who want an excellent beach vacation with a touch of class, Puerto Vallarta is a perfect choice. Its attractions vary greatly appropriate to the excellent natural like setting white sand beaches and rainforest jungles which offer plenty of things to do in Puerto Vallarta.
Scuba diving tops the list of things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Whether youâ€™re a seasoned diver or wish to make your very first plunge, Puerto Vallarta will have a scuba diving tour that suits your needs. Seeing the underwater ecosystem of the Pacific without having to come up for air is something to behold. Snorkeling is a great alternative for those to who wish to keep their head above water. Try Los Arcos, one of the great Puerto Vallarta attractions that dedicates in this enjoyable activity.
Certainly, lying on the beach for simple relaxing should be a part of your Puerto Vallarta vacation.
For a more serene vacation to Puerto Vallarta, visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This cathedral is renowned for both architecture and its peaceful, reverent atmosphere. A break in your journey to this cathedral will be a fulfilling one.
There are tour companies in Puerto Vallarta that focus in taking you on a day or night cruise that features pirate lore, food, snorkeling, and fun of all kinds. Similarly, for kids and adults, a pirate cruise in Puerto Vallarta is fun.
Eco Tours are exceptional ways to enjoy the natural setting of Puerto Vallarta. Whether you want to make the most of sea kayaking, whale watching, scuba diving, bird watching, or many other ocean adventures, this is one of the most educational and fun things to do in Puerto Vallarta Mexico.
Additionally, Puerto Vallarta is great for anyone who enjoys a variety of beach activities such as jet skiing, scuba diving, windsurfing, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing. Maybe you would enjoy bungee jumping or parasailing over the splendid blue Pacific or whale watching in season. The activities are never-ending like the one hundred miles of seashore.
If youâ€™re like most vacationers, finding accommodations at a low price allow them to spend more on excursions, food, activities, treasures to bring home. A lifetime luxury travel club membership is one day to do just that. There are several resorts in Puerto Vallarta that offer 7 nights, 8 day accommodations for as low as $298 and no more than $799. There are many listed in the membership registry, but hereâ€™s just a sampling of what youâ€™ll find. Sunterra Resorts Vallarta Torre, Flamingo Vallarta Hotel & Marina, Costa Club Punta Arena Hotel and Resort, Mayan Palace Puerto Vallarta. This membership offers locations worldwide and members find that the small investment is worth the savings and becomes priceless over their lifetime of use.
As you can see, things to do in Puerto Vallarta ranges from golf to windsurfing and bungee jumping or just relaxing and enjoy the beautiful tropical climate and glorious ocean scenery. Once a small fishing village and now a first class world resort, Puerto Vallarta offers something for everyone. Truly, Puerto Vallarta is a treasure of Banderas Bay.
Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexicoâ€™s most fascinating and charming destinations. Unlike most other resort towns, Puerto Vallarta travel offers something special: sophistication. Set along a beautiful cove in Jalisco, Mexico and bordering nearby Guadalajara, this amazing destination is a modern city with old world charm. This beautiful and lively town is famous for both its amazing attractions and thrilling native culture. Whale-watching, shopping, surfing, amazing restaurants, and that great beach all wait for you in charming Puerto Vallarta.
There is no limit to the fun to be had when you purchase Puerto Vallarta travel. With that in mind, planning your vacation should be just as enjoyable. At Cheap Caribbean the best tools are available to book the vacation that is the right destination, at the right time, for the right price!
With some of the most romantic and cutting edge resorts in all of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta offers both a great location and great places to stay. The nightlife is one of a kind, safe in one of Mexicoâ€™s friendliest destinations, and lively, with an amazing array of activities and party hotspots. With lots of cultural attractions, jungle tours, and guided diving, this destination offers one of the best experiences in terms of location, attractions, and fun. Travel to Puerto Vallarta and experience the rich Mexican countryside for yourself.
What we can establish as being â€œa successâ€? Well, in 2000 Puerto Vallarta had roughly $50 million in resort real estate sales (â€œresort real estateâ€ is defined as real estate purchased primarily by retirees or second-home purchasers). There were rarely homes selling for more than $1 million and few large real estate developments. In 2007, there was more than $500 million in resort real estate sales, with condos selling for over $2 million and homes in excess of $5 million. There were more than 100 developments spread out around Banderas Bay, allowing Puerto Vallarta to lead in sales volume for resort real estate in Mexico, ahead of major markets such as Los Cabos, Acapulco and Cancun.
So what happened? How did Vallarta become so successful?
Actually, it wasnâ€™t planned that way. Puerto Vallarta was more of an accidental success story. While Cancun and Los Cabos were planned as resort destinations from the beginning, with FONATUR, the tourism resort development arm of the Department of Tourism, actually building planned resort developments, FONATUR was not involved in Puerto Vallarta. There was no plan; it was more of a mosaic of different thoughts, ideas and inspirations of some unique individuals, people who came not just from Mexico but from all over the world for a little bit of paradise.
Real estate development in Puerto Vallarta began simply enough in the â€˜50s and â€˜60s, with small-time Mexican builders putting up homes for Americans on the hillside behind Vallarta. There were enough Americans living there that the area became known as â€œGringo Gulch.â€ The most popular builders of this time were Freddy Romero and Guillermo Wulff. Romero was known for planning the layout of the homes with a stick, drawing out the rooms in the dirt of the property. The style they incorporated, including the introduction of the cupola, would become what is known today as Puerto Vallartaâ€™s architectural style. At this time, there were a couple of three-star hotels but no condominiums. It was a simple market built on the desire of Gringos to have a home here.
In the â€˜70s, as Puerto Vallarta became more popular, largely because of two of its most famous residents â€” Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, demand was created for four- and five-star hotels, primarily in the Hotel Zone. Gringo Gulch was filling up, so builders such as Wulff, now joined by others such as Bernardo Applegate, started building farther south, on the hillside of Conchas Chinas. Homes became larger and more stylish as homeowners and Wulff tried to outdo one another with each home built. Small condominium projects were introduced, but they were just that â€” quite small, with less than 20 units.
As the demand for real estate in Puerto Vallarta increased and Vallarta entered the â€˜80s, larger condominiums developments were built. Los Muertos beach became popular for both hotels and condominiums, Rosalinda Perez building one of the first large condo projects along this beach. Guillermo Wulff expanded his construction business by moving into hotel and condominium development. Because financing was difficult to obtain and Wulff always seemed to be short on cash, he built by granting units to those involved in the project. The electrician, plumber, window supplier, etc. would all end up with condominiums â€” an easy way for Wulff to finance his ever larger real estate developments.
It was in the â€˜80s that the Martinez Guitron brothers came from Guadalajara and developed a piece of land between the Hotel Zone and the airport that, at the time, locals thought was too far from town to ever be popular, called Marina Vallarta. This was the beginning of Grupo Situr, which would have similar developments and hotels throughout Mexico by the mid â€˜90s. One of the first to build in Marina Vallarta, really helping get the development going, was Guillermo Wulff. This time, he got old friend Liz Taylor to help with the marketing of his latest and largest development to date, Club de Tenis, Puesta del Sol. He had built homes for both Burton and Taylor over the years and informed her if she bought one of the units, heâ€™d give her a second one free. Liz arrived in town with George Hamilton, and a picture was taken with Liz, George and Guillermo. It was a brilliant marketing move, and after that, everyone wanted a condo in the same place as Liz Taylor. Marina Vallarta offered larger sites for developers along the oceanfront and inside the marina. Soon, five-star and Gran Turismo hotels were built, moving Vallarta in a new direction. Nuevo Vallarta, a similar development in the neighboring state of Nayarit, was also developed around this time, but it was having difficulty getting going; it was just too far out of town. Vallartaâ€™s first gated community, Sierra del Mar, also was introduced at this time by the Osuna family, situated just south of Vallarta on the hillside of the Sierra Madre foothills.
As Vallarta moved into the â€˜90s, development continued in Marina Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta, primarily condominiums and large hotels. As Vallarta continued to grow, people started looking at smaller communities to the north, such as Bucerias, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Sayulita and San Pancho, to build their homes. Oceanfront property in Vallarta was becoming expensive and limited, so they moved farther north.
In 1994, however, Mexico began to run into problems. Interest rates shot up, credit was impossible to come by, and many large developers, such as Grupo Situr, did not survive. These were tough years for real estate development in both Mexico and Puerto Vallarta. Development slowed down and did not really recover until the beginning of the next century, in the 2000s.
And did it ever recover! The existing mega-developments of Nuevo and Marina Vallarta finally began to fill up, with sub-developers picking up whatever remaining lots were still available. In Nuevo Vallarta, where Canadian Graciano Sovernigo had moved to develop Paradise Village, this sleeping development was now in hot demand for home, condo and hotel development. Two golf courses were added, as well as a marina. To the north, another major mega-development, Punta Mita, was created, along with Flamingos next to Nuevo Vallarta. These projects were in development at the end of the â€˜90s or beginning of the 2000s, but were having difficulty finding investors. However, what they did do was offer choice development properties with all the infrastructure in place, so when the market really kicked off in 2003, they were ready.
So, what happened to start the incredible growth the region saw begin at this time? It was a combination of the 9/11 disaster in the United States and its economic recession after the tech bubble burst. Hardworking Americans had a wake-up call and started rethinking their lives, how much they were working and if they were really enjoying themselves with their families, as they should be. They had been burned by the stock market and thought that real estate would be a good place to have their money this time. And it was when Baby Boomers were just starting to retire. Mexico was temperately warm, friendly and very close by. The Mexican economy was doing well, and the country and government were stable. But most importantly, with mega-developments already offering prime real estate ready for building, the region was ready.
Condominium projects and expensive home developments took off around the bay. Today, there are five mega-developments, with more than 100 projects under construction. There are seven golf courses, with three more in the planning or development stage. There are three marinas, with more boat slips than anywhere else in Mexico. And Vallarta, or Costa Vallarta as the region is now known, continues to offer myriad real estate options and price points. Although there are now million-dollar homes and condos available up and down the coast, there are still properties available for around $100,000 USD â€” you just wonâ€™t be on the beach.
Puerto Vallarta has a number of advantages over other resort destinations in Mexico. An important advantage is the hills of the Sierra Madres that surround the bay. This has allowed for homes on the hillside to be nearly as valuable as beachfront because of the spectacular views they can offer. This is something that Cancun, and Los Cabos to a certain extent, canâ€™t provide. Puerto Vallarta also has the downtown central area, which has retained its charm and character. There is the Malecon boardwalk, unique to the town, along with a river running through the middle of town, creating the Cuale island â€” the townâ€™s â€œCentral Park.â€ To the south, it is rich in tropical foliage, whereas to the north it becomes semi-arid. There are numerous rivers flowing into beautiful Banderas Bay, a bay perfect for boating, offering wind for sailors nearly every day of the year. Vallarta is close to major markets in the USA and has excellent airlift from major airlines servicing the region. Although there was no major plan established for the destination, all the pieces necessary to create a successful resort real estate destination were in place when the demand built up in 2003.
When you lay it all out like that, itâ€™s actually quite easy to see how Puerto Vallarta became a successful resort real estate destination.
Transition from Sellers to Buyers Market
Between 2002 and 2007 Puerto Vallarta experienced five years of an incredibly active market, certainly a sellerâ€™s market for as anything that came onto the market, sold. The latter half of 2007 was a time of transition as sales slowed down but inventories continued to increase. The MLS inventory grew and new development projects continued to come on line. So far, as we reach the halfway mark of 2008, the number properties listed in MLS has begun to stabilize and for the first time in five years, we are not seeing the announcement of new developments. Some have even scaled back the project, put it on hold if they havenâ€™t yet broke ground, or decided to release units in phases rather than all at once.
For the past five years, for many developments, there was a sense of urgency on the part of prospective purchasers. This, for the most part, is now gone. Prospects are now taking their time before making a buying decision. In most cases, the unit they may be interested in, unless developers/owners start discounting, will still be on the market next month so they donâ€™t have to make an immediate buying decision.
This, then, has completed the transition from a sellerâ€™s market to one which is now a buyerâ€™s market. How long will it last? It is our perception that this is just a minor market adjustment. The USA credit crises will pass, the USA election will (finally) end, but in the meantime Canadians and Mexicans will continue to buy real estate. The fundamentals and the advantages of Vallartaâ€™s real estate market are still there, this hasnâ€™t changed. Actually in some cases, as in the rise in the price of oil, these fundamentals, as we mention in this article, become stronger.
USA Credit Meltdown, Shoulder Year with USA Election
The primary reason for this slowdown has been the economic meltdown in the United States that started over a year ago, and as well, the fact that this is an election year. It seems that there is still some adjusting that needs to take place in the economic and credit markets, hopefully by the time the election is over at the end of the year, the worst of this credit crises will also be over.
This all began with the now infamous sub-prime mortgage crash in the USA, something Mexico missed as there is no existing sub-prime mortgage industry, there is barely a mortgage industry. However, it effected real estate tourism in Mexico indirectly for although many people were purchasing in â€œcashâ€, for many the funds we being obtained through the equity in their homes in the USA, through re-mortgaging, second mortgages, or home equity loans. It still remains to be seen how this will all play out in Mexico, if people who did refinance begin to experience negative equity in their homes in the USA, something that will certainly happen to some the way the home prices have been falling, especially in states such as California, which is traditionally a very strong market for home buyers for Vallarta.
Canadian Purchases Increasing
The Canadian dollar has now been on par with the USA dollar for the better part of a year. As well, the Canadian economy is relatively healthy. The province of Alberta, rich in oil sands, has experienced incredible growth and wealth, especially with the rise in the price of oil. Many realtors and developers have expressed that they are now working and selling to Canadians much more today than they have in the past. In the past, they have tended to purchase in the middle to lower end of the market, but realtors are reporting sales at all price points. Canadians have money, they also have baby boomers that are looking for a warm place to have a second home, and Vallarta looks attractive. And Vallarta has traditionally been a favorite with Canadians. Other strong Mexican markets such as Los Cabos or the Cancun region, are seen as just extensions of California or Miami Beach, they prefer something more Mexican. And, as the slogan for Puerto Vallarta goes, Puerto Vallarta is where â€œMexico comes aliveâ€. This is an advantage Vallarta has over other destinations and it will certainly help real estate sales while the Americans work out their economic problems and work through their election.
It is not just the Canadian economy that has done well, Mexico as well has shown strong growth over the past few years and, along with Canada, has not experienced the credit crisis that the USA has. Their mortgage market is not overextended, its actually still in its infancy as mortgages have just recently become available for Mexicans to purchase real estate. Vallarta is a strong market for the Guadalajara (second largest city in Mexico) and â€œEl Bajioâ€ (industrial heartland of Mexico). Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta are the closest beach destinations for these two strong markets. This, again, is something that the other two strong tourism real estate destinations, Los Cabos and Cancun, lack. They donâ€™t have a strong national market to draw from, as for both destinations, they are far from major Mexican cities and for the most part, you need to fly to get there.
An interesting national trend is seeing INFONAVIT, the Mexican governmentâ€™s housing program that offers financing for national home buyers, recently has become involved in the second-home market. While traditionally they have just been offering financing for primary home buyers, they are now tapping into the demand from middle-income Mexican who would like a second home at the beach. Homex, a very large home builder in Mexico, whose stock is traded on the New York stock exchange, recently also made the move to start offering tourism real estate products as well.
So as the American purchaser has pulled back, Mexican purchasers, along with Canadians, have continued to be strong buyers for this region. This will certainly help Vallarta weather this slowdown, at least better than other destinations. And this has certainly been the case in previous slowdowns, such as in 1995 and 2001. Puerto Vallarta is a more diversified market, drawing from both national, Canadian and USAbuyers.
High End and Low End are Strong, as is Wholesale
Realtors and developers are reporting that the upper side of the high end of the market is still relatively strong, as is the demand for the lower end of the market. Its in between, from $250,000 to $2 million that has been most effected. That is obviously, a large part of the market. Developers that saw this coming, and there were a few, and who made changes to their product offerings by offering a lower-priced product, are still selling relatively well. With the higher end, over $2 million, sales have never been that active as that is a high price point for Vallarta. But sales activity is still relatively strong here, although any sense of urgency, as mentioned, is no longer applicable.
Realtors who work with large, raw land tracts say they are still busy and that there is still a demand. Purchasers of land are looking more long term, what will be happening as the current downturn in the USA ends and when the market picks up again, they want to be ready. This is still taking place, which is positive â€“ very large investors are still very bullish about Mexico and the region for the future.
Need for Administrators and Property Managers
With all the real estate that has come onto the market these past five years, it has been a boon for the home decoration industry as all these homes and condominiums come unfurnished. The number of furniture outlets has increased dramatically, as has the demand for interior designers.
Another growth sector, often overlooked, has been the need for quality, professional property managers and administrators. The traditional condominium building in Vallarta was a relatively no-frills type operation. There were relatively few amenities and services offered. Administrators were basically bookkeepers with some maintenance experience. Today, with condominium developments being sold with rental programs, spas, business centers, etc., administration has become much more complex and demanding. Just the number of new projects alone has created a strong demand for good administrators.
This is an important and integral part of the buying process and for the overall satisfaction and happiness level of new home buyers in Vallarta. For many they will only be here part of the year. They want to know their unit will be taken care of while they are gone and that everything will be working properly when they arrive. For those that have chosen to rent out their unit, they need to be sure the units are ready for arriving renters.
Many developments prefer to separate common area and private area demands and expenses. The administrator of the HOA concentrates on the common areas. This has created the demand for property managers, who take care of the needs of the individual owners. Rather than being onsite, like the administrator, they are offsite and often take care of units from multiple projects. It is not uncommon to have four or five property managers working in one particular project, each for individual owners. Their services range from basic services, just making sure everything is functioning well when the owner arrives, to full rental service. They pick up or meet the renter, supply food provisions, massage service, tours and activities. The industry has had to learn to find a way for these two entities to work together. Again, both are essential for a healthy real estate market.
For administrators, they now need to be much more experienced in all facets of property management (common areas), bilingual, and function in many ways more like a hotel manager rather than the traditional condominium administrator. This has created a demand for highly qualified people in the industry.
Developments: Whatâ€™s Your Unique Selling Feature?
This was mentioned in last yearâ€™s trends article, but is even truer today. With so many new developments in construction, there has never been so many options and choices available. This is going to make it more difficult for developers â€“ they need to have an edge on the competition or they arenâ€™t going to sell, or at least not as quickly as they would like. We have seen developers offering extended short-term financing and special property amenities, such as gyms and spas, clubhouses, even a new vehicle with the purchase of a home or condo!
These can certainly sweeten the deal, but it really comes down to who can best offer the style of life, the â€œlifestyle,â€ that prospective purchasers are looking for. People want more than a condo or home, they want special services to go with it, services that you traditionally would find only at a luxury hotel. In-project concierges are becoming popular and very appealing for homeowners who are only using their properties for short periods of time. The concierge can arrange restaurant recommendations and reservations, as well as tours and activities. Personalized service is becoming more and more important; itâ€™s not just about the home or condo anymore; much more is taken into consideration. Some projects have taken to offering this type of service in-house or contracting it out.
High-end hotels noticed this trend early and many are now offering a real estate option on their properties. The Four Seasons at Punta Mita has the Four Seasons Villas and fractional ownership; the new St. Regis also will have real estate available; and smaller boutique developers, such as El Banco, are offering a similar package of a boutique hotel with upscale real estate and the option of having all the services the hotel has to offer. Itâ€™s a strong trend and we suspect we will be seeing a lot more of this going forward.
So how does the price of oil effect real estate tourism? Well, the price of oil is certainly going to effect the cost of flying. People are going to be looking for places closer to home where the cost to visit frequently wonâ€™t effect them as much. That could be a place within the USA, or at least close by, such as Puerto Vallarta. The increase in the price of oil will effect more the recently emerging real estate tourism markets such as Panama, Costa Rica and South American countries. So the rise in oil can actually be seen as a positive for Vallarta. Again, being so close to major USAmarkets, and the closest alternative outside of the USA for Canadians, is a much advantage for Mexico.
Infrastructure Catch-up Time
Anytime you have the growth we have experienced in Vallarta, going on for a prolonged period of time, infrastructure will always have a difficult time keeping pace. Currently there is work being done to establish strategic town plan, one that has gone through many changes over the years as the region continues to evolve. There are plans currently in place, on a state and federal level, to improve the highway system in Nayarit to the north leading into Vallarta and to the south to Costalegre. As well, a perifÃ©rico, or a by-pass around the city, is also plannned. This would eliminate traffic that is just passing through Vallarta. This would also alleviate traffic congestion along the South Shore for neighborhoods such as Conchas Chinas and further souch to Mismaloya. This would become a secondary road, primarily for people that live in this region. Improvements in highways to the north and south will also make access to developing regions better as well. Sayulita, San Pancho and Lo de Marcos will all be within an hourâ€™s drive, and Costalegre will be ready for future development. There is already major work being done on the road from El Tuito to the coast. With the by-pass, highway improvement and this road, The Costalegre coastine will be only an hour away as well from the airport.
Need for Industry Conciliation
At the recently Vallarta Lifestyles Real Estate Conference, much of the discussion revolved around how the real estate industry needs to become more united, to work with all market sectors. Developers and realtors need to work closer together and understand better their wants and needs, their problems and challenges. As mentioned, professional management and administration is essential for a healthy market. Purchasing real estate doesnâ€™t end with a sale, in many respects it just begins. People want their investments to be taken care of and at a higher level of management than has been traditionally asked for. This is a demand that needs to be met and realtors and developers need to work with this sector to ensure their clients will be taken care of. So there are three important entities here; developers, realtors and administrators. Currently, for the most part, they are working independently. Although there is an association of realtors (AMPI) and for administrators, there is nothing for real estate developers. And there is little dialogue taking place between these three entities. For the industry to be healthy and successful, this needs to be addressed. Whether this will, through AMPI (probably the most logical solution) or through a new entity, remains to be seen. Perhaps with a bit of a slowdown in the market realtors, developers and administrators will have the time to address these issues.
As a united industry, they could work on issues such as marketing and public relations for the industry and region as a whole, lobbying with local governments regarding development issues, and ongoing training and education for both realtors and property administrators.
Primary Benefits and Advantages still Strong
Although 2008 will certainly be slower than 2007, the prospects for 2009 are strong. Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit have a lot going for it. The fundamentals are still there and they are strong advantages that offer excellent benefits. I think they are worth going over once again:
1. Vallarta is well-positioned geographically for American, Canadian and Mexican second-home buyers markets. Its easy to get here with service from major airlines, in just a few hours.
2. Vallartaâ€™s weather is exceptionally good, offering temperate waters, mild temperatures, sun most of the year with rain concentrated primarily in the off season.
3. Baby Boomers, their wealth and the transfer of their parentâ€™s wealth to their lifestyle, is still a reality. And looking for a second home somewhere warm is a high priority on their list.
4. Although prices have risen over the past five years providing strong appreciation, prices are still competitive to other beach destinations. And Vallarta offers a wide range of pricing and product availability. There are $100,000 condominiums up to $5 million dollar homes. There are homes, condos, townhouses and fractionals situated on the beach, hillside, golf course, marina, downtown or on an isolated stretch of coastline. The variety of production, location and pricing cannot be matched.
5. The cost of living is still well below that of the USA or Canada and property taxes are much less expensive.