Finding the right place to call home is tough. When thinking of doing it in a foreign country, it's the ultimate expat puzzle. Here's how I did it in Mexico...
In the quest to become an expat, the question of “where” often stops people dead in their tracks. Where to go? Mexico? Barcelona? Paris?
To Be an Expat is a Question "Where?", Mexico?
Choosing a continent, let alone a country, state, city, or neighborhood – for some, this is overwhelming enough. I get it. There are so many great options and lifestyles to experience, but so little time (and money).
I landed in Bucerías, Nayarit, Mexico.
It wasn’t an easy choice. I had envisioned living in all kinds of wonderful places, within the United States, and abroad.
There was luxurious France where I had studied abroad. There was Italy, with its delicious cuisine. I even considered Chile, Egypt, New Zealand, and Japan. I was a very open-minded individual at the time.
I thought, to be an expat, it doesn’t matter where I am!
That isn’t very practical nor convincing. In fact, being so open made it harder at first.
After some thought, I found myself looking for work in Mexico (and by the beach would be a plus). These were simply my search parameters.
When I was presented with the real opportunity to head to Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, for work, I was excited. It was a dream to work abroad… how could I say no?
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - When, Where, How?
I had been there on vacation twice. I liked it, but it wasn’t my dream of Paris or Barcelona… but I said, okay. Why not? I wasn't about to let the chance to be an expat with a work-sponsored visa slip through my fingers.
Staying in Valle Dorado for One Month
When I got to Puerto Vallarta, I stayed in a subdivision north of the airport called Valle Dorado.
It’s adorable. The houses are small and close together. They’re more like condos in the design of single-family homes. Good food, pleasant parks, and good people set this area apart from the rest. It's the best brunch in the entire region.
Valle Dorado was a little noisy and not on the beach, so I was open to new options.
I rented via Airbnb, and it wasn’t long term. I had to find a new place that would be up to my standards.
How I Chose to Live in a Mexican Beach Town
Price: I am a money-minded individual. I have to count my dollars and my pesos. I set an honest budget and determined there were some areas that wouldn’t come through without a miracle. This is Nuevo Vallarta. It’s a subdivision that feels like an enchanted garden with a marina – but it’s pricey!
Style: I won’t lie. I like the style, ambiance, and feel of some neighborhoods over others. I am somebody who loves diversity. Let’s live in harmony. For me, that ruled out some towns that seemed to be overly focused on just one type of crowd, like Sayulita and Punta de Mita.
Entertainment: Another town, La Cruz, a quaint fishing village, is really lovely. It was my second choice, but there wasn’t much to do other than taking in a fancy cocktail or munch on tacos by the expressway.
At the end of my traveling, after riding many buses and chatting with countless agents and landlords, I found Bucerías, Nayarit. The seaside pueblo is diverse. It’s centrally located. The town has many cultural events, markets, and of course, beautiful beaches.
For me, Bucerías just seemed to feel like home. It's everything I've ever wanted and more. How did you decide where to settle: Continent, Country, Region, House? Let me know below.
by: Dale Hanstad