Saturday Market PV
D.G. Kaye,  Fun stuff,  Mexico,  Savvy shopping,  Travel reports

Mexican Tales – Part 3 – Observations and Commercialism

I’ve been spending part of the winter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the past few years now. It’s a beautiful port town with friendly natives and Mexican charm, gorgeous weather, and good value for our Canadian dollar. But I’ve also noticed commercialism making its way into the way of life there.

 

Like everywhere else in the world, prices have gone up in PV across the board – food, taxis and housing. As many tourist destinations hike prices I noticed that PV seems to be going in that direction. Typically, the average working Mexican could not afford to eat or shop in the tourist zones as their earnings are on par with their cost of living. The tourist areas have been growing in price. Similar to how Cancun has become so Americanized in recent years that some say it’s lost its Mexican charm, but not quite there yet. I hope it doesn’t lose its Mexican charm. But it’s definitely the North American expats – both Canadian and American that are surely driving up the prices with all the growth PV has been enduring, particularly in buying up real estate there.

Bartering on the beach or market has become more of an educated procedure rather than a fun past time. It used to be sellers would start a bit higher on pricing, knowing they had to leave room for haggling, which is something they expect. But there seems to be a new theme now in educated guessing if you’re a savvy bargainer – which I am. Seems to be the trend for these items when you ask the price they will charge double the price they’ll ultimately accept, plus maybe a few hundred Pesos on top for good measure. Since I love to go to markets and look at price tags, I have a good idea of how much I should be paying for something. For example, I’d bought a beautiful silver elephant pendant encrusted with colored rhinestones inlaid, at a pop-up market for something like $25 Canadian dollars. The asking was equivalent to $35. A week later I saw the same pendants at another market asking for $80 equivalent. I said thanks and walked away, and the seller was snarly when I told him I already had one for way less money. I couldn’t help but notice how the market sellers  have raised prices on everything, leaving me feeling as though something in the art of markets has been lost. Mexican prices are fast becoming North American prices, taking away part of the allure of market shopping. But it’s fun to visit the various markets just to see some of the wonderful artists and their creations, regardless if I’m purchasing or not.

I realize that everyone has to make a living, but hiking the prices more than double on items you can find cheaper elsewhere is a tad greedy. I find the fair pricing system I abide by when buying from those sellers is to offer half of what they ask. maybe even 100 or 200 peso lower than asking with leaving negotiation room. And that’s what we should be paying.

Below are some pictures of some the artwork downtown on the Malecon (Boardwalk)

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

 

art broom

donated art bench
You will find several of these beautiful mosaic art benches donated

Heart exhibit

Heart love

Cactus sandals

Cold beer humor

 

As far as taxis and restaurants, they’ve gone up a bit too, but not drastically. For example, If you ordered a beer at the pool last year it was 20 Pesos, about $1.25, now it’s 30 – $2. Mixed cocktails at the pool were 50 Pesos – about $3, are now 80 Pesos, now more like 5 bucks and change. Short taxi rides remain at 50 Pesos, but rides to downtown or marina have gone up a buck. You can’t blame them, besides cost of living inflation, when it’s the tourist area, this is where they make their seasonal bucks. But real estate has gone up 20% since last year!

In the last few years North Americans are buying up condos in PV. The construction is ongoing. Pre-sale construction is hot. Here you can purchase a property (if any left) before they’re built with 20-30% discounts. Hub and I looked at a few with my new friend Gabe from Boardwalk Realty, who I connected with when I started looking at real estate online and signed up to receive MLS listings a few months before we got there. He showed us around the trending areas and we found a lovely location we would love to buy in, only that’s on hold as the economy is in a global tailspin and our already crappy Canadian dollar has nosedived to disgusting value. But, I have no doubts that this global declining economy will be just that – global, especially after this Corona madness, and I don’t plan on doing any real estate transactions till our dollar gets healthier and the housing market gets hit again as it seems to be on its way.

As the end of our vacation neared and my husband was unwell, along with the growing threat of the Coronavirus, I was anxious to get home.

DGKaye
In our lobby going to the ‘last supper’

I always miss the most beautiful sunsets.

sunset nite

orange sky sunset

sunset

 

Stay tuned for the last post on my Mexican Tales. Yup, it’s the travel log of our journey  home!

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

57 Comments

  • Toni Pike

    Hi Debby, You look stunning in these photos, and it was very interesting to read about bargaining and shopping in PV. I would need you with me! I had a brief visit about 9 years ago on a cruise, and thought it was gorgeous. It was so good you were able to get your trip in before the current crisis, and hope you get back there next year. Toni x

    • dgkaye

      Hi Toni. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Seems like a lifetime ago already we were there and only been home 3 weeks, lol. Yes, we were blessed to get home in time before the crazy broke out. I do hope we get to go back next year. If there is no vaccine by then though, I won’t be traveling anywhere. <3 xx

  • Norah Colvin

    Interesting observations about the changes in pricing, Debby. It’s a good thing you are a sharp shopper. I’m sorry to hear that your husband was unwell and that the coronavirus hunted you home. I hope Hub is feeling better now and I’m pleased that you were safely home before the pandemic hit with full force. Stay well.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Norah, yes, tender mercies for sure. We did make it home just in time before the madness opened up here. Staying tucked and masked when venturing out! Stay safe! <3

  • Marian Beaman

    I’m an armchair traveler these days, like most in the world.

    Thanks for taking us on a virtual travelogue. This virus will pass, and we can travel “for real” one day! I’m glad you and hubby made it home and didn’t get stranded for weeks like some.

    Photos are the best souvenirs! Thank you, Debby!

    • dgkaye

      Hi Marian. Happy to entertain. Yes, we’ve all seemed to settle into an armchair view of life. Glad you liked the photos. Stay safe!! 🙂

  • Jim Borden

    The prices for beer and drinks sound pretty good. Too bad about putting the real estate possibility on hold, since it seems you love PV so much. Hope all is well.

  • Pete Springer

    Your post reminded me of one of my first jobs, Debby, working as a stock boy for JCPenney. My job entailed getting merchandise off the truck, checking to see that all of the contents were there, and then pricing each item. One of the eye-opening things for that naive eighteen-year-old was learning the amount of greed and price gouging that took place. After pulling an invoice, I could see what the item cost to make, the suggested retail price, and what the company was charging for it. People a lot smarter than I determined all that. It was staggering how much some items were marked up. There was always plenty of wiggle room, such that when the merchandise was marked down, the company was still making a healthy profit.

    Since I’m a lot older, and hopefully a little wiser now, none of this surprises me. I can remember thinking at the time, “What a bunch of greedy bastards!”

    • dgkaye

      Greed makes the world go round Pete, for sure. Yes, I worked quite a few years in the retail clothing biz, I’m well aware of ‘those invoices’. This is why stores throw on a good sale once in awhile – of course they’re still making money. You have to be a smart shopper. I’m a great shopper of many things, and when I see something I like that I don’t really need, I save it to my favorite sites and keep check for when it goes on sale. Nobody is getting top buck from me LOL 🙂

  • John Maberry

    No real estate for me–in PV or elsewhere. Prices may be dropping soon, but then so is available income for most folks–wherever they live. Not a great time for shopping either. Oh well. I remember walking along the Malecon with you and the hubby. An interesting place with all the wares and the Dali-like sculpture.

  • sally cronin

    Very interesting Debby and reminds me very much of Southern Spain in 2002 when there was a lot of building with off plan buying of appartments, villas springing up and an influx of British and other European tourists. Things were very inexpensive, then shot up and then crashed and burned within five or six years. The good news for those buying is that when this coronavirus subsides there will probably be some bargains in Mexico and in Spain… I have reblogged for tomorrow… great insight…hugs ♥

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for another generous share Sal. Like I said, after this mess is over and the economic crash that will come because of, it will be that time again that buyers rush up for other’s misfortunes. Seems to be the way of the world. <3

  • Olga Núñez Miret

    It seems you enjoyed the experience, even if it isn’t what it used to be (I visited Cancun over 20 years ago and was very americanised and commercialised even then). I finish the course tomorrow, so I hope to catch up on the rest of your adventures. I’m pleased to see you’re safe and sound. Take care.

    • dgkaye

      Thank you Olga. Yes, Cancun had been a hot spot for so long and it went full Americanization. I hope PV doesn’t follow suit. Stay safe Olga! 🙂 xx

    • dgkaye

      I think the world will be changed and who knows what will be by the time this year ends. Funny, the condo lady hasn’t been on me for money! Lol 🙂

  • Balroop Singh

    Hi Deb, nice to hear that you guys are doing good and were home before this pandemic grew so serious.
    Thank you for sharing little details of shopping and bargaining, it’s interesting to note how you could see through the tricks of those trying to fleece the tourists. Love those pictures that you’ve shared, you are looking gorgeous in that orange dress and matching nail polish 🙂 Stay blessed and stay indoors.

    • dgkaye

      Lol, thanks for the compliments Balroop. That was my grocery store coverup I bought, thrown over my bathing suit to brave the boiling hot sun at the market. And when it comes to pricing, oh ya, I’m on it! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • lisa thomson

    Very interesting, Deb. You look gorgeous in your poolside photo! Also love the one of you and your hubs. I also find local markets to be quite expensive. I guess we’re paying more for freshness and quality (supposedly) when it comes to the produce. Crafts and art, well I’m not sure about comparisons but I tend to pay more for those. PV is changing fast. I was there briefly over ten years ago. It was a cruise ship stop. The only cruise I’ve been on. It was beautiful!
    I hope you can revisit the idea of getting in on the real estate once this whole pandemic shakes out. I suspect the prices will have come down with the economic downturn.

    p.s a few of your pics are upside down? At least on my computer…not sure why.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Lis. Thanks for chiming in. Yes, I expect the real estate will be taking a tumble in the next 3-6 months with the way the world is now. I wouldn’t bite until the prices go down. And ya, 10 years ago, you can’t imagine how much PV has changed. And thanks for the compliments. Now, the upside down pics – weird. They are fine from my end, nobody else commented about them. But I always appreciate readers letting me know. <3

  • Robbie Cheadle

    I was interested in your comments about the markets, Debby. We have that here in South AFrica too in the touristy places. The local goods and art is much more expensive than in other places. When I last visited Cape Town I was shocked at some of the prices and agree it can be a bit of a rip off.

    • dgkaye

      The whole world have been on a greed ride for a long time Robbie. A lot of people will come down many pegs when this virus is done! 🙂

  • Stevie Turner

    We have a similar problem here in the West Country (Cornwall). House prices are beyond the means of locals and are mainly second homes for wealthy Londoners. Consequently in the winter villages and towns there are deserted.

  • Colleen

    I lived through this with you Sis. It’s all very interesting. I’m still waiting to see how this virus stuff changes the world. I’m just glad you made it home safe and sound. <3

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    I am so not a negotiator, Deb! But I have bartered for goods in Tijuana and did well. Although we haven’t been there in 4 years, our Baja windsurf location in La Ventana on the Sea of Cortez has gotten commercialized with the same Canadians and Americans visiting for board and wind sports. My hubby speaks Spanish so he does all the negotiating. You look wonderful and your post was full of good info and great shots of the area! Hope you and your hubby are staying well!

    • dgkaye

      Hi Ter. Thanks for all your kudos. And yes I know, bartering isn’t for everyone, but as you may well know, in Mexico, it’s to be expected. And given that merchants seem to be starting much too high at some places, if you don’t bargain you’ve paid too much LOL. We are hanging in here, getting out for a little walk almost everyday. I have lots of projects on the go so no time for bored whatsoever, just missing the freedom to dash out for an escape. Happy Easter to you and yours! <3

  • Hugh W. Roberts

    I think part of the problem with prices going up can also be put down to those places where cruise ships dock, Debby. Having been on a couple of cruises,I soon learned that places put up prices on the days that cruise ships were due to dock. I now hear that some places then leave the prices as they are on those days.

    Commercialism has leaked into all parts of our lives and the world. Once a place becomes popular, prices start to creep up. It can sometimes backfire, but while the people keep on coming, those prices will rise.

    I have to say that you always look so absolutely stunning in your photos. Your outfits are amazing. It reminds me of what my Grandmother would tell us all. ‘When going out (even when shopping), dress like you’re going on a first date.’ I thought you were pulling a suitcase in the ‘last supper’ photo, and then noticed it was your handbag (when I put on my glasses). 🤓

    Take care.
    xx

    • dgkaye

      Lol, you made me smile Hugh. Thanks for your lovely compliments – especially in my beach cover up sweating in the hot sun with my bathing suit underneath lol. But yes, I am from that old school – you’d never catch me going to the grocery store without lipstick and mascara, and because of my addiction to fashion and color – almost always something bright. Why not spread sunshine right? And you are spot on with the rising prices and cruiseships. Yes, funny you mention because where I’d bought the first pendant was at a temporary popup tent in town for a week only, the prices were great! Where I saw the other pendant was at the weekly Marina Market in the evening, always packed an fresh blood for the merchants, especially when a ship was in. So you do have to size up where you are shopping and when. But I believe when all is said and done with this virus taking ove the world, a lot will come out humbled and the greed game just may subside. We shall see. Happy Easter my friend to you and John. Hugs. <3 xx

  • Sherri Matthews

    Gorgeous photo of you, Deb. And what a beautiful place and those sunsets…wonderful! You’re wise to wait until this crisis is over before making an real estate decisions. So much is on hold now. Again, so glad you enjoyed your time away and equally glad you are now back safe and sound and hope you and hubby are both much better now. I’m going to sign off WP until next week after the long Easter weekend, Deb, as I need to recharge and get out in the garden in the sun lol. Wishing you blessings for the Passover and Easter holiday…though none of us will be doing anything different this year… ! Big hugs and love to you, my friend and see you next week 🙂 <3 <3 <3 xoxo

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for all your kudos and praise my friend. Yes, wishing you and yours a Happy Easter – at least you’re all under the ame roof right? Beautiful. Enjoy a timeout in the garden, I wish I still had one. We will make the best of this! Holiday hugs my friend! <3 <3 xoxo

  • Deborah Jay

    Love the matching nail varnish with that first outfit Deb <3
    I can understand why you'd miss those sunsets, and also the warmth, but I'm nonetheless happy you made it home safely.
    As to the effect of tourism on PV, I think it's one of the saddest inevitabilities once people find an unspoiled spot. I grew up spending my summers in St. Ives, Cornwall (UK), when it was just a quaint fishing village with an embryo art community. By the time I was in my mid teens, it was unrecognisable – a tourist hot spot. These days when I watch the Antiques Roadshow, they often mention 'This is from the St. Ives art enclave' ( https://www.stives-cornwall.co.uk/inspire/arts-culture/). I don't think I could afford even the smallest bit of art there these days 🙁

    • dgkaye

      Wow Deb, thanks for the link! Yes, it is sad that so many good things wind up getting exploited and ruining of the lure and charm with the almighty dollar. Thanks for the compliments girlfriend. Ya, I love being a matchy, matchy LOL. And like most things in life, we have to remember gratitude and tender mercies. I literally got home just in the nick of time before the full madness hit here. Thanks again for the link, I’d never heard to the St. Ives art culture, now checking it out! Hugs and stay safe! <3 xx

      • Deborah Jay

        Lol, you would do well in my sport, where the fashion for ‘matchy, matchy’ has reached epidemic proportions. Every detail has to be colour co-ordinated (on the horse, saddle cloths, leg bandages, fly bonnets and sparkly brow bands, not to mention your own clothing, even down to toning coloured riding boots) or you aren’t up to date!
        I, of course, have been for years at the cutting edge of this trend… 😉

        • dgkaye

          Lol Deb, right up my alley! I’ve seen photos of you on your horses, looks to me you got it down pat. But any extra fashion advice, just ask! LOL 🙂 <3

  • Amy M Reade

    Hi, Debby,

    I’m sad when I hear that places are becoming Americanized. That can be a good thing in certain circumstances, but not when it means that culture is losing some of its uniqueness in an effort to be more attractive to certain residents of the North American continent.

    I always enjoy reading about your travel adventures, and I was sorry to hear that your husband wasn’t feeling up to par by the time you left Mexico. I’m glad you made it home before the pandemic hit with its full force. And I’m glad to hear that you and he are being smart and safe about protecting yourselves from illness when you go outside. It certainly is a strange new world.

    xo

    • dgkaye

      Hi Amy, thanks for reading, and for your lovely words. Yes, we did get home just in time, but in all fairness, I was reading and watching the news daily. I was getting anxious by the weekend before we left, with a foreboding feeling of what was coming. We are very diligent with protection as my husband is very vulnerable, and I wouldn’t want to be passing anything on to him, especially now that I’m the only one who goes out for groceries every week or so. So stay masked and gloved Amy. Stay safe! <3

  • Liesbet

    How did I miss your first two installments of this last visit to PV?

    It sounds to me that PV has become too busy and touristy. It’s not unusual (as you know) for locals to take advantage of tourists by charging them more money or by hiking the prices. I find it unfortunate that so many expat destinations are losing some of their charms as the environment changes into a more western and expensive one. It’s a trend that seems unavoidable. Finding a unique, tropical place to settle down that’s also comfortable and convenient enough is difficult. I hope you find something after all this is over!

    • dgkaye

      You said a mouthful Liesbet – finding a unique tropical place to settle in this universe is difficult. Maybe what’s happening to us all now will cause enough pause to re-evaluate the world. 🙂

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