My First Year Living In Puerto Vallarta

My First Year Living in Puerto Vallarta

On January 2, 2019 I flew to PV from Portland, Maine with husband, dog and 5 suitcases in tow.

So now that I have one solid year of living here (yes, even through the summer), I’ll share some of that experience.

To be honest, I was a little lost when I arrived.  Having just left my job and landing in PV with not much to do, I couldn’t resist that my hamster wheel had stopped so suddenly.  I’m not retired but my identity about who I was and what I’d do was up for question.  So I busied myself with nesting in my new apartment, brainstorming about how I could earn money, working some details out with our PV Rental company and writing.

My brother told me that it would take 6-8 months before I eased into my new life.  I told him 6-8 weeks.  Turns out, we were both wrong.  I’m still working on it and it’s been a year.  Why so long?

Because I busied myself so that I was distracted about how this whole experience was for me.  There were parts of Mexico that I wasn’t adjusting to – why didn’t the blind repair guys show up with the correct tools to do the job, why did it take 2 trips and 3 hours to get gas delivered, how come my maintenance guy isn’t calling me back?  Those of you that have been living here are laughing at me right now and I’m finally in a place to laugh too.

I would explain to my friends in the US how long it can take to do things here and they would all say, ‘oh, that’s everywhere’…but then I’d need something from my insurance agent in the states and in one phone call it was handled.  Or I needed my glass lenses replaced and they were turned around in less than one week.  I still think it’s impossible to explain it unless you’ve lived it.  My mom used to live in St John, USVI – she understood island time – and listened to a lot of tearful conversations while Mexico taught me how it was done.

I learned to maneuver the bus – something I’ve never had to do back home because there pretty much is no bus system where I was from.  I had to start learning Spanish, something I was excited to learn but then quickly realized how important it was.  Then there was this whole thing of how to meet other people and connect because you can feel all alone when you don’t have your friends around you.  I also had to learn to live on a whole different kind of budget – far from the life I had back in the states.  If I wanted to live here, I’d have to budget very carefully.  I was no longer a tourist.

The summer was hot.  I spent about 6-8 weeks of being mostly inside and running my errands early in the day.  I am fortunate that I have AC to cool off, so I’d run that a few hours a day and take 2 showers to keep cool.  It was still really hot AND I didn’t hate it.  Honestly, from what people were telling me, I thought it would be way worse.  I enjoyed the slower rhythm that summer brought with it.

I would also have to learn about the culture here – what was acceptable and what was not.  For example, don’t show your anger because Mexicans don’t like conflict.  You can negotiate on just about anything.  This is a hard concept for North Americans – we just pay what the price tag says unless it’s a car or home.  Mexicans live in the present and this is a gift that I am learning a little bit every day.  Stop all the planning, put your phone down, sit and enjoy the sunset with a friend with few words.

I’m going to let 2020 be about slowing down even more.  Take a nap, watch a movie in the morning, cook all afternoon – get myself on a little more Mexican time.

About the Author

Picture of Charlotte Guptill

Charlotte Guptill

I fell in love with PV on my first trip in 2008 and came back to visit every chance I got. I moved here January 2019 - and I'm experiencing so many things that I want to share. If you feel like you can add to my posts with your own experiences, feel free.

You May Also Like...

Thoughts On This Article