What’s the Real Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta?

When potential homeowners come to our agents to start their search for a second home in Puerto Vallarta or Riviera Nayarit, they frequently ask not just about the cost of housing in the Banderas Bay region, but about the real cost of daily living here.

Cost of living can be a very relative concept depending on the type of lifestyle one is searching for and Puerto Vallarta is certainly a much more affordable option for most Canadians and North Americans  when comparing comparable lifestyle in their countries of origin. And that is one of the reasons that Puerto Vallarta is consistently mentioned by expat magazines and in surveys as a top destination for Americans and Canadians to purchase a second home.

But, let’s get down to numbers about what things really cost in Puerto Vallarta. We’ll use USD as our currency based on the exchange rate at time of writing, which is 21 MXN to 1 USD. All costs are based on approximations of our real-life experiences living in Puerto Vallarta and are considered per couple but can vary depending on personal lifestyle preferences.

Dinner Dining Out

Fine Dining including two appetizers, two main courses and two glasses of wine: $65 to $80

Casual Dining including two appetizers, two main courses and four beers: $30 to $45

Street Food like two orders of 3 tacos and 2 soft drinks: $7 to $10


The cost of electricity for a two-bedroom condo unit, assuming responsible usage and averaging over the span of the year, is around $100 to $150 per month, with higher usage in the summer months for air-conditioning and lower usage in the winter. But this number is very dependent on the appliances in your home and how often you use them. Many homeowners in Puerto Vallarta opt for installing solar panels, which is not only a great eco-friendly option which adds value to your real estate investment but can also lower your electricity bills to virtually nothing.


Most homes in Puerto Vallarta use gas stoves and gas for their water heaters and clothes dryers. For a couple, around $15 to $20 per month should cover the gas bill for your home. For some condo owners, the HOA will include the cost of gas as part of the monthly maintenance dues.

For your vehicle, a 4-cylinder, mid-sized SUV costs about $45 to fill up from empty, on average.


Many condo buildings include water in the Homeowners Association maintenance fees, but if not, a couple would expect to spend about $12 per month on water for home use.


For a high-speed connection that will allow for multiple screens to stream simultaneously without lag, expect to pay about $25 per month.

Cell Phone

For a single cell phone that has a large data package, free unlimited social media platform access (generally Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Twitter), and unlimited calls throughout Canada, the USA, and Mexico, an average plan costs about $25 per month.


Again, this number is very dependant on your particular diet, but an average couple would expect to spend about $325 to $375 per month on groceries and small household items.

Puerto Vallarta is both a great place to live economically and to really stretch retirement income or income gained by working remotely, but it is also a fantastic destination to live a much more luxurious lifestyle for less – but no matter what your needs, living well begins here.

Click here for more Puerto Vallarta real estate and lifestyle tips from Tropicasa Realty.