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Mexico

Cost Of Living In Bucerias

I thought I’d share some of how much it costs me to winter here in Bucerias for others who might be thinking of doing the same. The short answer is: about $1, 000 a month for everything! (For those who don’t know, Bucerias is 20 minutes outside of Puerto Vallarta on Bahia de Banderas, Nayarit – also called the Mexican Riviera)

Before I get into details, here’s a little on Bucerias as a town and why it’s worth living in. It’s a beach front community, and the beach is just as gorgeous as the ones in Vallarta. As a bonus they are much less crowded, there’s less noise pollution, fewer peddlers, far fewer drunks, no druggies, no prostitutes and less litter. The cafes and restaurants are just as good as the ones in Vallarta, although there since it’s a smaller place there are fewer options. However, they’re also much more reasonably priced than along the malecon.

Bucerias has a large and involved ex-pat and permanent resident community that takes pride in their town and organizes clean ups, has a community centre, etc. There is also a small but thriving art scene here and many nifty festivals (like the recent fire dancers, very cool!) There is good bus service, lots of taxis, and all the basic amenities.

I don’t have the urge to live as if I’m in an American McMansion – my needs are quite modest, and so are my costs. I live on the other side of the highway from the beach (a fifteen minute walk). This means my rent is very low. I live in a neighbourhood with an amazing mix of housing ranging from new, high end structures with modern amenities to brick shacks with no water or power. Everyone is very nice and friendly, and I haven’t heard of any crimes in the area since I’ve been living here. The ex-pat communities closer to the beach seems to have more property crime. I assume this is because there’s a high density of rich pickings there, with all the richer folks living so close together.

To sum up, the town is well worth living in! Having said that, how much does it cost to live in Bucerias per month, then? Here’s my breakdown:

Rent (950 ft2
furnished 1 bdrm)
$350.00
Gas $8.00
Water $9.00
Power $37.00
Internet / phone $61.00
Groceries $400.00
Gas $40.00
TOTAL $905.00

(all costs are in US dollars, which as of today is 11.5:1 for the peso)

There was also one time cost of car insurance, and I got the expensive kind: $450 for six months (would have been $500 for a year). Some other costs might be kitchen appliances, which range from the same to twice the US price.

So how much does it cost to live here? WAY lower than in the US, that’s for sure! Three caveats I should mention:

  1. I’ve never eaten much in the way of prepackaged foods or drink sodas often. If you do that, expect your grocery bill to be about 40-60% higher as US imported products cost the same or more as in the US. I do most of my own cooking and I eat lots of fresh caught fish and fresh vegetables, often with a little pasta or rice. Cheese, yogurt and other dairy is surprisingly cheap, and I eat a lot of that too πŸ™‚
  2. I don’t drink or smoke. Liquor is pretty cheap though, so it probably won’t make much of a dent in your budget.
  3. I love the heat, so my AC power bills are very low; I keep the temperature around 78 or 80. If you want to have a casa with huge windows and lots of sun exposure at 70, you’ll be paying a lot more for power.

What about things to do? Well, for low cost entertainment there are lots of free festivals, the weekly art walk, and of course hiking and swimming. I do a lot of swimming myself, and next year I think I will try out paddle surfing. You can also go on horse back tours, fishing trips, ATV’ing, whale watching, snorkeling, etc. I eat once or twice a week and depending on where I go the bill is anywhere from $7.00 for some quesadillas to $30.00 for a fancy three course Greek dinner. So overall entertainment is pretty inexpensive as well.

So with a little common sense, living in Mexico can definitely be very low cost indeed! I’d certainly recommend it!


You can see my casa on Google Maps Street View, and I’ve added some pictures of my own below.

30 Comments

  1. Paul Cushman 2011-03-06 10:17

    Useful information. Thank you for the effort. Stumbled over here from reddit while looking for guidance on a quiet place to stay for a week in the PV area. Bucerias sounds pretty good.

    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. We are two: Jane and myself. Not partiers. Active and athletic. Mostly spend time together (married 8 months!). Modest means, so around $1000+ for a week.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Tyler Style 2011-03-06 10:27

      Hey Paul, glad you found the info useful! And congrats on your marriage πŸ™‚

      Before I could make any recommendations, I’d need to know more about what you’re looking for?

      • If it’s an all inclusive resort kind of thing, Nuevo Vallarta (next door to Bucerias) is your best bet.
      • If it’s a bed and breakfast thing, I don’t know any off hand but would be happy to stop by and check one out for you if you have something in mind.
      • If you’re looking for a small apartment or the like, all the ones I know are booked up til the end of the season. Again, though, I’d be happy to check any out for you.

      If you give me more details, I can keep an eye out while I’m about town and make some recommendations later πŸ™‚

  2. P Cushman 2011-03-06 13:41

    Thanks Tyler. Could we move this offline to e-mail? You have, I trust, my address.

  3. Paul Cushman 2011-03-07 21:12

    Hi Tyler,

    We were looking for a 1 bd. condo type on the beach. Do our own cooking, That sort of thing.

    Do you happen to know this ?

    How the weather?

    • Tyler Style 2011-03-11 07:34

      Hey Paul! Sent you a couple emails now, but haven’t heard back from you. Are you receiving them?

  4. Dave and Maureen Leslie 2011-03-28 16:49

    We would love a 1 bedroom for 6 month Nov 2011 – April 2012. We do all our own cooking and would love to be within walking distance of the beach if possible. Love Bucerias or Zona Romantica.
    Any ideas Tyler? Really appreciate any input you might have.
    Thanks a lot

    • Tyler Style 2011-06-01 20:52

      Hi Dave & Maureen, thanks for saying hi! Sorry for the long time replying, I’ve been quite busy getting life on track now that I’m in Edmonton for the summer.

      Most of the places you’ll find online are kind of pricey. Generally Mexican rental owners aren’t very tech savvy and don’t have an online presence. If you’re looking for something nice & inexpensive, I’d just rent a hotel room for a week in advance and then walk around looking. You’ll find plenty of places for rent with signs on them, and lots of local rental agencies that you won’t find online.

      Another good resource is the Bucerias Yahoo group – lots of people there who’d be able to point you towards good places and landlords as well!

  5. Girly 2012-07-09 11:10

    Hello there. I am contemplating Bucerias and Sayulita…not sure which would be easier access to get to work to the Four Seasons Punta Mita and get my child to school probably in the San Francisco area….unless i find a good bilingual shcool in Bucerias. Relocation is a strong possibility (job related) moving from Philadelphia, PA. Any thoughts??? Thanks!!

    • Tyler Style 2012-07-09 11:17

      I don’t know where the Four Seasons is or what the buses are like relative to Bucerias and Sayulita, unfortunately – I drove everywhere myself.Β  If you’re driving, the roads to most of the resorts are really bad until they get them patched after the rainy season and still pretty bad even after that.Β  If you’re an aggressive but cautious driver you’ll be fine; otherwise prepare to be a nervous wreck πŸ˜€

      Sayulita is gorgeous, but Bucerias has a lot more amenities and is super close to PV if you need to do any major shopping or want entertainment.Β  There are boatloads of bilingual schools in PV and a couple in Bucerias itself, so if you lived in Bucerias you would have a lot more options that way.

      I am super jealous, it’s great that you have a job prospect there!

  6. David 2013-03-22 14:42

    Hi Tyler,

    Thanks for sharing this information on the cost of living. I’m currently doing a lot of research about living in Bucerias(that’s why I came across your blog) and looks like it’s a nice place to live. I was wondering if I can connect with you off this website via e-mail(which I’ve entered in this site) as I would be interested in sharing more with you what I’m up to and see if you could provide me more info about life there and looking for apartments. For instance, the pics from your apartment look nice and would like to know how I can get in contact with the strata and check out possible vacancies. Any info you may have on the distances to the common areas in Bucerias from this place, amenities and the like, would be appreciated.

    Hope I can connect with you soon.

    Cheers,

  7. jack Kambeitz 2013-04-23 08:44

    Tyler
    Thanks for the the effort you put into this. Like many prairie types we’re thinking of life in Bucerias. Your insights are very helpful.
    Jack

    • Tyler Style 2013-04-23 09:33

      Thanks Jack, I’m glad you got something out of it! Remember though that it’s a couple of years old now, so some things may be out of date. Overall it should still be a pretty accurate representation.

  8. Scott Gordon 2013-07-26 15:58

    Hi Tyler, just wondering how you found your condo to rent, any suggestions?

    • Tyler Style 2013-07-26 16:05

      Actually, I found it by asking for suggestions on the Yahoo! Bucerias group and getting the email for the landlady. That being said, if I hadn’t found it that way it would have been easy enough to just walk around and call the numbers on various “For Rent” signs. Looking online wasn’t a very good way to find decently priced places, as those tend to be the tourist traps; the average citizen in that area wasn’t very plugged in for that sort of thing when I was there.

  9. Nellie Molineli 2014-03-08 16:23

    Where is this one bedroom condo? And is it available to rent for the month of Feb2015?

    • Tyler Style 2014-03-10 12:13

      It’s in Bucerias, across the highway from the beach and up the high in the local’s section of town. Feel free to send me your contact info if you like, and I can forward it on to my former landlady.

      • David & Nellie Molinelli 2014-03-10 12:44

        Thank you Tyler….much appreciated!

        We have been in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico many times usually at an all inclusive resort.

        After spending the month of Feb/2014 in Bucerias, Mexico in Terralta 1, three bedroom, 2 bathroom, a gated community, about a 7-10 minute walk to the beach, restaurants, flea market and local grocery shopping. We have now decided its the only way to go!

        Our long term plans are as follows:
        February/2015 one month rental in Bucerias, Mexico. ($450-$675/mos CDN)
        February/2016 one month rental in Bucerias, Mexico. ($450-$675/mos CDN)
        Hopefully, if all goes well we should be totally retired by April/2016!!! This means we will want to spend Nov/2016 – April/May 2017 (5-6 months) in Bucerias.

        Terralta 1, is the ideal place for us, but we are opened for suggestions! When retired we will be basically looking for a one/two bedroom, one/two bathroom, preferably a washer/dryer in this same area.

        We appreciate your input, ideas and suggestions.

        Thank you

        [personally identifying information removed]

        • Tyler Style 2014-03-10 13:00

          Hm… you may not like the place I stayed at if you find Terralta 1 ideal. It’s a nice casa, as you can see from the pics, and the parking is gated, but it’s designed with locals in mind rather than Western style living. It doesn’t have a washer/dryer either – I just took my laundry to the place down the street, where they wash, dry and fold it for you (cost is by the pound). Nonetheless, I’ve passed your info along πŸ™‚ Hope your retirement plans go smoothly – it’s a wonderful area!

          • David & Nellie Molinelli 2014-03-10 13:25

            Thanks Tyler,
            Just by looking at the photo’s, we love the place. Laundry, well that can be sent out to be done!
            We like to cook, therefore the kitchen looks soooo suitable! We love the locals, I think this place would suit us fine. Wish we were in Bucerias NOW!
            Really appreciate you getting back to us so quickly.
            How are things in Edmonton?
            Best regards,
            David & Nellie Molinelli

          • Tyler Style 2014-03-10 14:43

            You’re most welcome πŸ™‚ It was indeed a very nice place, I liked it a great deal – huge ceilings, ginarmous kitchen, big shower stall! And Bucerias has got some great people, certes.

            Edmonton is… well, Edmonton πŸ™‚ -30C and snowing one week, +10C and glacial melting the next. It’ll be a relief when it finally makes up its mind as to what season it wants to be!

  10. Karen Asquith 2014-07-19 12:20

    What about pets?

    • Tyler Style 2014-07-31 19:57

      What about pets, exactly? I like ferrets, myself.

  11. chuck 2014-09-17 11:41

    HEY TYLER, THANKS FOR YOUR BLOG ON BUCERIAS LOTS OF GOOD TIPS.
    MY QUESTION IS DO YOU DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE FROM EDMONTON WHEN YOU GO DOWN AND DO YOU WORRY ABOUT THE TRAVEL WARNINGS IN MEXICO OR DO YOU FEEL SAFE.WIFE AND I WOULD BE DRIVING DOWN FROM OAKVILLE ONTARIO.WHERE IS THE BEST BORDER CROSSING AND ROUTE TO BUCERIAS.
    YOUR RESPONSE GREATLY APPRECIATED. REGARDS, CHUCK

    • Tyler Style 2014-09-18 06:18

      I feel quite safe. It’s just like going anywhere, if you don’t go looking for trouble you’re unlikely to find it – especially if you stick to the toll highways. As for the best border crossing and route, that depends on where you’re starting from and what kind of sight seeing you might want to do on the way down πŸ™‚

  12. Ron Brown 2016-02-20 15:06

    Tyler: My wife and I have visited Bucerias many times while staying at the Royal Decameron Complex. We have decided to move to Bucerias live on a tourist visa. Can you tell us a little more about the cost of renting places that have a pool. We have a 600$ can. budget for rental.

    Thank You Ron Brown

    • Tyler Style 2016-03-03 20:03

      Hullo Ron! I haven’t lived in Bucerias for a few years now, so my info is likely out of date. But assuming things haven’t changed much, CA$600 is definitely enough to rent you a nice place so long as you aren’t fixated on having a Western style sprawling ranch home in the expat district. I lived in the native district myself, and was very happy there. I couldn’t speak as to a pool – I don’t think I ever saw one outside of a hotel myself, and I always just walked down to the sea for a swim.

      $2500/mo will go a long way in Bucerias, I would be confident that even with medical costs that would be enough to live comfortably.

      All in one vacations packages are cheap – I’d recommend just buying a 10 day package and wandering around taking a look for yourselves, and talking to the locals πŸ™‚

  13. Ron Brown 2016-02-20 15:08

    Tyler…Also We have a retirement income of approx. $2500.00. Will this get us a decent place to rent in Bucerias that has a pool?

    Thanks Ron Brown

  14. Zoe Sands 2018-01-30 10:19

    Hi Tyler, I am a single senior female who wants to move to Bucerias for financial reasons. I know you don’t live there anymore, but do you know anyone I can contact (in my situation) who I could talk to. I am planning on going down sometime this year to check it out. I was there 8 years ago and know things have changed, but I really love the area. Thank you, Zoe

    • Tyler 2018-02-18 19:13

      Hey Zoe! I don’t blame you for wanting to move there, it’s a great place to live IMO. There used to be a very active Yahoo discussion group for Bucerias, perhaps see if you can track that down? If not, there should still be lots of websites for small businesses and community groups out there that you could find – even if they aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, they could probably point you to the right resource.

      • Zoe Sands 2018-02-19 12:17

        Thanks Tyler…..I’ll continue my research!

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