what is it about Puerto Vallarta that captivates
so many visitors that they feel compelled to
buy property and live here? What exactly is
it about the Bay of Banderas that draws people
to it's shores? Is it the land and the sea or
is it some kind of magical mystery? These are
the questions that Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine
put to some new homeowners that purchased property
this year along Costa Vallarta.
Liz Miller, a former publisher form Los
Angeles, has been visiting Vallarta since the
mid 1970's, dreaming of the day when she could
make her escape to PV.
"I am extraordinarily happy with my decision
to live here year round. Puerto Vallarta has
retained the elements that I first fell in love
with, the jungle, ocean, mountains, and the
sweetness of the people here. However, with
the new infrastructure of restaurants, gourmet
foods, shops, cable TV, computer access…these
make all the elements of the good life without
the smog and traffic," said Miller.
Miller bought a three bedroom, three
bath, hacienda style condominium in Alta Vista
with sweeping views of the city and bay, which
she appropriately named Casa Orquidea Blanca
for the exotic pure white orchids that bloom
just outside her living room windows.
"I fell in love with the building, the
lush tropical plants, the funicular, the view.
I knew what I wanted was what I found to exist
in Vallarta 30 years ago this building encompasses
that feeling. Yet, I also wanted a streamlined
house, so I gutted the interior to make my own
space and create my own signature style," said
Her now finished unit has an open, breezy,
patio, living concept. She feels the condos
new openness works well for her growing collection
of paintings and sculpture from local artists.
"I believe baby-boomers have been traveling
to Mexico for 30 years, so it's not a difficult
decision for them to choose Puerto Vallarta
for a future home. I have noticed an uptick
in prices, however real estate here is still
an amazing value when compared to the U.S.,
especially when you factor in lifestyle. I don't
see living here as running away from something
so much as running toward something; a life
of art, culture, community and friends, being
here is about as close to paradise as I can
imagine being," said Miller.
For Richard and Susan Schmidt of Portland
Oregon it was a "climatic escape" from the rainy
weather of the Pacific Northwest. After a five-day
visit they decided to purchase a condo in a
building where they have other family members
as neighbors. Perched above Playa Conchas Chinas
is their turnkey, fully furnished, two bedroom,
two bath, Villas Banderas condominium with uninterrupted
views of the bay and shoreline.
"We were just so taken with the whole
atmosphere of Puerto Vallarta, the city itself,
the tremendously nice people, the ambiance.
It is a real city not a created destination;
a functioning city. We like this area of town
because it reminds us of Italy and is not a
huge development that could be anywhere in the
States, we like it here because we know here
we live in Mexico," said Susan.
An innovative purchase agreement has
the Schmidt's and two other partners possessing
full ownership in their own "timeshare" like
arrangement. Each owner has the unit every other
month. For the Schmidt's this is a perfect fit
as they own a geosynthetic construction product
company and are still working full time. While
they are here they use computers, faxes, land
and cell phones to keep in contact with their
business. They believe this part time ownership
will eventually lead them to full time ownership
of another property, but this way it gives them
the opportunity to own a home while commuting
back and forth.
"It's a very easy flight from Portland
and since we pick up a couple of hours when
we go back we can arrive at a reasonable time
for work the next day. Puerto Vallarta is much
more convenient than Hawaii or the Caribbean
for that reason; it is easier to get here. We
have a car here and are still road connected
and could drive home if we wanted or needed
to," said Richard.
"We also enjoy the ability to drive up
and down the coast to all the small beach towns
for the day as well as traveling to the colonial
towns in the interior of Mexico and to Guadalajara,"
Being a business owner, Richard Schmidt
was not concerned with his investment, feeling
even more secure with the change in land use
clauses and trust ownerships.
While the Schmidt's don't think anything
of a 6-hour flight, the Rabago family makes
their way to their PV home via a 6-hour drive
from Guadalajara. Lic. Miguel and Gabriela Uriarte
Rabago purchased a 3 bedroom, 3 bath Bay View
Grand ocean front penthouse this year. When
asked why they chose Puerto Vallarta over other
areas in Mexico their reply was that they enjoyed
the local people, the lush vegetation, the variety
of restaurants and because they own a sail boat;
The Rabago's have visited Puerto Vallarta
all their lives and plan to own a home here
"siempre", forever. The strong sense of community
as well as all the activities, the versatility
of the city and of it's many facets, that according
to the Rabago's draws diversity, are just some
of the reasons they decided to make Puerto Vallarta
the place for their second home. The couple
also confesses strong confidence in their investment
"We appreciate the large variety of options
and the huge sense of security you feel in the
city. Compared to other cities with similar
characteristics Puerto Vallarta is an excellent
option, besides having the access to an easily
rent-able property," said Miguel.
Lic. Miguel Rabago has a business as
a public notary whose associates handle many
real estate transactions and practice family
contract law in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.
"We were contacted about the project
by a friend and came to see it. I felt it was
an excellent opportunity, we picked the unit
that worked the best for us and purchased it.
We feel that we have indeed escaped to Puerto
Vallarta, we treasure the time we get to spend
here in our new home and we are both are happy
with our decision," said Miguel.
One of the most important factors to
all of the people interviewed was the wide variety
of real estate options from one end of the bay
to the other. From villas to mega resort communities,
high-rise oceanfront homes to marina locations,
in the jungle, along the water or the more arid
areas north of downtown, buyers found that Coasta
Vallarta offers a wealth of residential lifestyles.
When Michael Carlson, Robert Dry and
their daughter Stephanie Marie first decided
to purchase a "piece of paradise" for themselves,
they set out upon several "shopping trips" to
become familiar with the unique neighborhoods
and the amenities that each area had to offer.
"Our search took us to Punta Mita and
Mismaloya which while beautiful were [not] what
we wanted. It took us to Nuevo and Marina Vallarta.
However, when we found Conchas Chinas, we knew
that we had to search no longer and when we
walked into Casa de Los Angeles for the first
time, we knew that we were home," said Dry.
Casa de Los Angeles is a private villa
with panoramic views of the bay and jungle.
The villa has three ensuite bedrooms with private
balconies, a rooftop terrace with palapa, a
pool and a 4-story entry and all of the amenities
one would expect.
"We are owners of Prudential California
Realty in Marin County, California, so we are
not strangers to the purchase of real estate.
The real estate market in Vallarta appears good
and shows superb appreciation. The added security
of our owning the property in trust with the
bank only strengthens our feeling of security
in owning property outside the U.S.," said Carlson
Carlson and Dry also manage several properties
for vacation rental in the U.S. They see their
P.V. Villa as an extension of that management
business. As they become more and more comfortable
with life in Mexico they both can see themselves
living here full time.
"The opportunity for business seems strong
with an economy that can only improve. In Puerto
Vallarta opportunities abound without the structured
environment of the U.S. We also find P.V. to
be alive with cultural diversity representing
a variety of lifestyles and tastes," said Dry.
"For us it's a convenient location is
a short flight from San Francisco and we have
the luxury of last minute departures. Vallarta
is a town that we are proud to say is our second
home," said Carlson.
Apparently then, it's not one magical
thing but rather a host of impressive choices
that keep people intrigued with Coasta Vallarta
enough to purchase their dream vacation or year
round home here on the shores of the Bay of
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