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)
|Internet / phone||$61.00|
(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:
- 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 🙂
- I don’t drink or smoke. Liquor is pretty cheap though, so it probably won’t make much of a dent in your budget.
- 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.