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)
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.
I always miss the most beautiful sunsets.
Stay tuned for the last post on my Mexican Tales. Yup, it’s the travel log of our journey home!