2018 Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Food, Drinks, Airbnb, Coffee, Uber, and More!

in #travel4 years ago

Before diving into the logistics of living costs in Puerto Vallarta, I want to clarify that this city is quite large. My boyfriend and I explored as much of it as we could during 2.5 weeks. Our perspective is mostly from the south side of PV, close to the malecon.

We visited here during the busiest time of the year, which means that (to our understanding) prices at restaurants, rentals, and services are higher than at other times of the year. We also understand that going north in PV is much less expensive than the touristy parts of town. Even still, we’re doing our best to describe the full range of prices we experienced in the city, both close to the ocean and “off the beaten path.”


Low: $60 pesos ($3.23 USD) some include coffee or tea, fruit, and toast
High: $120 pesos ($6.46 USD)

One of our favorite breakfast spots in the city was Fredy’s Tucan. There, you can have a budget-conscious meal (with giant portions) around $80 ($4.31 USD) pesos. The more expensive menu items are above $100 pesos ($5.38 USD).

For more information on affordable breakfast options in PV, check out this post.


Our breakfast at The Green Place (180 pesos for 2 people with 2 coffee drinks).

Cup of Coffee

Average: $25-30 pesos ($1.35-1.62 USD)

Coffee was more expensive here than in most Mexican cities we’ve visited. The absolute cheaptest cup of black coffee was $23 pesos ($1.24 USD). A shot of espresso was usually about 10 pesos more than coffee.

Lunch/Dinner (without drinks)

High: $280 pesos ($15.08 USD)
Low: $130 pesos ($7.00 USD)
Extra Low: $80 ($4.31 USD)
taco stands, food trucks, and “hole in the wall” restaurants farther away from the ocean.


$350 peso (meal for 2) at Archie's Wok

If you’re trying to keep costs low, staying far away from the ocean/malecon is how you gotta grub! In our experience, the food trucks and restaurants off the beach have the lowest prices (shocker, I know) and the vast majority of them pack an incredibly flavorful punch. Eating at a nice restaurant in the Romantic District of Puerto Vallarta is going to run you upwards of $200 pesos ($10.77 USD) per person, not including cocktails.

Uber (Cab/Taxi Ride)

Minimum charge: $37 pesos ($1.99 USD)

We decided to walk most places while in PV to keep costs down, but the few times we did use Uber, it was almost always the minimum charge or slightly above it. We never used local taxis and were told by a few different people that the prices have gone up quite a lot in recent years. You’ll be tempted to take a non-Uber taxi, though, as they relentlessly ask you if you need a ride when you walk by them on every street and corner.

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Alcoholic Drinks

Low: $16 pesos ($0.86 USD)
High: $145 pesos ($7.81 USD)

You might be wondering if the low cost of drinks is a typo. Nope! You can get $1 USD margaritas (or pay less in pesos) all along the malecon. We thought they would be syrupy or be skimpy on the tequila, but that was not the case. After doing a self-guided $1 margarita tour, we can assure you that they are just as tasty as their high-priced counterparts and muy fuerte (very strong).

If you’d like to have a drink on the beach, you can find lots of 2-for-1 specials and pay around 80 pesos ($4.31 USD) for two drinks. At the fancier spots with tables/lounge chairs in the sand, it’s more like $145 pesos ($7.81 USD) per drink, and sometimes you have to pay a minimum to reserve your spot.


$145 peso drink at El Dorado Beach Club

Take our advice: enjoy the penny-pinching 16-peso margs at Oasis Bay. They’re just as good as the expensive ones. Plus, 3 of the 4 locations have a great ocean view.

Airbnb Rental

Budget-Friendly: $30 USD/night (less than optimal location or lower-end accommodations​)
Moderate: $50-100 USD/night (Good location in Old Town renting an entire apt/condo)
Luxury: $300 USD/night (Gorgeous home in a great location)


This is the dining area of our Airbnb. It was a gorgeous home, but in a less-than-optimal location.

My boyfriend and I stayed in two different rooms of the same house while we were in Puerto Vallarta. The larger of the two had a private bathroom, patio, and living area. It was about $40/night after fees. The other room was much smaller with no patio and had a promotion so it came to about $20 a night. We looked at dozens of other options on Airbnb and the average price was about $30/night for budget-friendly rentals slightly outside of touristy malecon area. It’s possible you could find more inexpensive Airbnbs in the off-season.

New to Airbnb? Get a $40 travel credit when you sign up!

1-Hour Massage

Without negotiation: 400 pesos ($21.54 USD) at a brick-and-mortar shop in Old Town Vallarta.

Note: Cost is significantly higher if you’re paying the USD price. If you’re paying in pesos, it’s a much better deal. You’ll find that to be the case whether you’re paying for food at a restaurant or a service like a massage.

Let me repeat:
If you’re getting quoted a USD price, it will be significantly higher than what you’d be paying in pesos. For instance, while we were sitting on the beach, a woman came by offering 40-minute massages for $25 USD. Frankly, we were insulted at that price. You can find full hour massages in the US for less on Groupon.

Although we didn’t ask what she wanted in pesos, we feel confident saying the only reason this person was asking that amount is because it seems reasonable by US standards. In no way would anyone paying pesos find 464 pesos agreeable.

Chiropractic Adjustment at the Saturday Market

Adjustment: 300 pesos ($16.16 USD)

We didn't check into the prices of any nearby chiropractors, but this was a weekly, on-site promotion offered by a doctor at the Saturday Market in Old Vallarta. You get an adjustment in the chiropractor's tent in front of anyone walking by at the market.

Full Service Laundry

We checked out a few “lavanderias” while in PV. The cheapest of the full-service laundromats was $11 pesos per kilo (~$0.27 USD per pound). The most expensive was $15 pesos per kilo. That includes washing, drying, and folding the clothes by the end of the day after dropping them off in the morning. A week’s worth of my boyfriends and my clothes cost $4.46 USD.


Fresh-Squeezed Juice

15-50 pesos ($0.81-2.69)

If you want a fresh juice from a restaurant, it's probably going to run you about 50 pesos. We were fortunate enough to find a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant that made freshly-squeezed juice right in front of you. Pictured below is "Jugo Verde" for 18 pesos ($0.97 USD), but they also have a red juice variation for 15 pesos.


We hope this post gives you a better idea of what it will cost to live in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico during peak season (winter). Of course, you can always spend more or less than these prices, depending on your tastes and habits. Keep in mind, if you're sweating it out during the summer months, you'll probably find yourself paying a little less for everything, even in the areas we visited during March 2018.

If you have any questions about our experiences, please ask in the comment section below!

If you missed it, also check out our 2018 Cost Of Living in Mazatlán, Mexico post.


Until next time,
@sharingeverybite (Maddie)
@shenanigator (Jordan)
(and Laska the Siberian Husky)


If you enjoyed this post, follow us @TangerineTravels


You sometimes walk? Wow! Well...i guess it is easier with the sight seeing, right? I really wish i can try some of those. Looking tempting and tasty. Well done

We actually walk most places! We're trying to travel on a budget and when taking a few taxis each day, the costs really start to add up.

We do have a car here, but we like to drive as little as possible, mostly because driving here is far different from what we're accustomed​ to.

Exactly, driving in another country with a set of dos and donts could be somehow. I get it. I really respect that, working on a budget and still using the walking, to see more places you might have missed while driving around. It's a win-win situation for you. I enjoy watching you have fun. I look forward to more. Well done.

Hola, good to see both of you are still traveling in Mexico...Good breakdown of the cost of living in Puerto vallarta area which I would like to visit someday too.
My middle brother's wife's parents are living there right now over the winter season Nov to April every winter.

Thanks for continuing to follow along @hanamana. :)

What a small world! Do they own the place or are they renting?

They owned a house for like 20 years and they have been go there winter time for 20 years.

I wanted to go there stay with them the last year n this year but I did not take advantage yet.

I doubt I'll ever visit PV, but I am extremely happy you wrote this post! The pictures are nothing short of stellar. Will you be doing breakdowns of other cities like this? I got a lot of value from this, even though I have no desire to go there. I didn't even know that Uber was running in Mexico. I drove here in Los Angeles for Uber/Lyft for 2 years and moved on to Postmates from there.

I'm all about disruptive technologies. More please!

Thanks for the compliment! You may have seen that we already did a cost of living post for Mazatlán, which we linked to near the bottom of this post. And we plan to write a cost of living post for every city that we spend enough time in. If we can get a good gauge of the cost of things there, we'll write a post about it.

If you read the Mazatlán post, you'll see that Ubers are even less expensive there. 75% of our Mazatlán Uber rides were $1.18 or $1.19, depending on the exchange rate.

So glad to hear you got some value out of it! We're hoping to do this type of write-up for every city we visit because, honestly, both of us would find the same info valuable if someone else wrote it for a place we hadn't been before.

You can always try to look up this information online, but it's not necessarily accurate. Would you like to see any other details in future posts? We've already gotten some feedback that we should include grocery store prices like perhaps a gallon of milk or produce.

As for Uber, it seems to be available in just about every city we've been to with a few exceptions (i.e. San Blas where we currently are.) Lyft hasn't made it yet, though! And everything is so walkable, we haven't even checked for something like Postmates. This morning, we noticed the Mexican version though... a restaurant owner bagging up some grub and delivering it on his bike! The OG Postmates ;)


The juice looks good, I hope it tastes same.

How is the lodging experience?
Sounds like a nice place to blow off some steam. Long term vacation plan.

Absolutely! That place makes delicious juice. We're pretty sure the produce is all local, too.

Other than the 30-minute walk down a big cobblestone hill whenever we wanted to go to a restaurant, it was a gorgeous house with the most kind, generous host we've encountered in Mexico.

To be totally honest, it wasn't our favorite place to visit in Mexico, but that doesn't mean it's not a gorgeous vacation spot. And if you don't speak Spanish, it's totally fine since almost everyone speaks English.

I almost asked about the language barrier. Guess what, I actually love Spanish assent, i'm actually taking online Spanish classes, not helping though cos I barely have time.

So glad you posted this ! been meaning to post something similar ... people just don't know how far your 💰dollar can go in certain areas, such as Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco - have noting but good things to say about these destinations! A relaxing getaway doesn't have to mean breaking the bank! Thanks for this info , look forward to more 😊

Glad you found this information useful! Thanks for the comment @daxillix. Compared to the US, Puerto Vallarta is still a bit cheaper but we'd recommend other destinations like Mazatlan if you really want to stretch your dollar on vacation. ;)

Thank you for this information. I really like the idea of being able to get a chiropractic manipulation even in the market place. My experience from travelling has been that ones back often aches, sleeping on different beds and lugging weight on ones back as you sight see.

We totally feel you there! Long days of sitting in the car, sleeping on lots of less-than-ideal beds, a bunch of walking, and of course carrying the heavy luggage... the body takes a toll! It's nice to have the option to get an adjustment.

I thought its only here in my country things got hike during seasons

Were do you live? And how much of a price difference is there between "peak" seasons and other times of the year?

Depends on how people patronize. Times 2 at times or more

2018 - Rent from people in Boca de Tomatlan, Mexico from $20/night. Find unique places to stay with local hosts in 191 countries. Belong anywhere with Airbnb.

Taste delicious :)

Ooh its so dilicious and yeami

looks delicious and seductive @tangerinetravels

Thank you very much for the information. I think to visit Mexico

It's a pretty cool place to visit. There's a lot of culture, much history, and great food!

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvote this reply.

The prices are acceptable from my point of view!

Thanks for commenting, @jwolf. Believe it or not, this was the most expensive city we've been to yet!

Life there looks so cozy! Would like to spend my next vacation there

It was actually our least favorite city in our travels so far, but that doesn't mean it won't be a good vacation spot. It is a very popular city for tourism!


Great informative for travel..thank you so much for sharing your post.

Our Cost Of Living In Mazatlán post was one of our more popular, so we plan to do this for more cities as well. Thanks for reading and commenting :)

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