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.

In our lobby going to the ‘last supper’

I always miss the most beautiful sunsets.

sunset nite

orange sky sunset



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


#Taxi Wars, #Uber and the Cost of Living — My Two Cents

My two cents

The battle of the taxis are going on in Toronto. The taxi companies want to get rid of Uber. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Uber, they are an alternative taxi service whereby, you download the app on your phone, fill out your info, insert a method of payment, and when you need a taxi you go to your app and order someone to pick you up, and pay a lot less than you would for a regular taxi. There are also bonus promo codes which can get you free rides. In fact, at the end of this post, I will advertise my coupon code if anybody would like to look into signing up for the service (available in many countries), and you can plug in my code and get $20.00 free added to your account.

I drive my own car, so I don’t find these Uber wars particularly bothersome, although Uber comes in handy for quick jaunts to the subway – cheaper than parking my car there. But I thought I’d offer my two cents about the situation.

Let’s face it my fellow Torontonians here, the cost of living here for everything from food to housing is getting out of control. The price of food, which I can justly speak out on, has gone up so much in just this past year alone. Some products (such as my favourite, almond butter) HAS DOUBLED! It makes me wonder, is there suddenly a shortage of almonds? I don’t think so! But people are learning about getting healthier and almond butter has been given a lot more publicity in the last few years, so of course, the greedmongers have to capitalize on it.

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Contents of groceries have shrunk dramatically, yet the prices keep rising. Foreign investors have driven up the prices of real estate here so much that they aren’t even realistic. Starter homes are a thing of the past, or one would have to move to the far north outside the city to find something for under a half a million dollars! A new couple just starting out in life together, barely have a chance to get involved in the housing market. The banks have been very cautious, holding off from raising mortgage rates for an unprecedented amount of time, oddly, for a city with everything going up, up, to avoid a situation like what happened to the United States, not so long ago.

At a ridiculous rate of under 2%, mortgage rates fluctuate, depending on lock in term. That is the enticing feature for those who have managed to get into the market. People have stretched themselves to the max just to jump into the market and have a home at a half decent rate. The banks know very well, that many people are at their max budget currently, to enable them to keep their homes. If rates even double to 4% or less, which is still ridiculously low, for an average person paying $1000-2000 dollars a month, their payment will double! Many would have to sell their homes, which in turn would create the overdue bursting of the real estate bubble, and the banks would have to start owning many homes, all of which they are avoiding doing by leaving the rate alone. But seriously, it can’t go on much longer, and once again we will have a housing crash.

And so, now we have the taxi wars.


Taxis are ridiculously expensive, our streets are over-populated with cars, not enough highways to accommodate them, construction closings on a daily basis, which leaves an overflow of traffic scouring for alternate routes and therefore cluttering so many streets. These taxi meters click away at lightning speed as they endeavor to take us to our destinations at a snail’s pace. Enter Uber. In many cases, a fare will cost almost half of the price of a regular taxi. I say Uber is a smart commodity available to those drowning in expenses and have to get around.



Greed has taken over so largely in this city, it’s almost as though we may soon have to pay for the polluted air we breathe. If corporations don’t want to stop gauging consumers, we have every right to get the best bang for our buck and if I need a taxi, I too will be using Uber.

It’s not up to us struggling tax payers to worry about corporations making enough money. It’s up to our government to stop the greed. They need to stop taxing companies to the max, so they in turn can stop gauging the consumers.

Anyone like to add their two cents?


PS: My promotion code for Uber is debbyg44ue if anyone signs up to Uber and uses my code, they will get $20 added to their account. As well, once you sign up, you will get your own promotion code that you can share, and the people who use your code, you will in turn get $20 added to your own accounts for every person who joins and enters your code!

Now that’s what I call good business sense!