2018 Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Food, Drinks, Airbnb, Coffee, Uber, and More!
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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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.
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!
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.
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.
(and Laska the Siberian Husky)