Is Puerto Vallarta the best digital nomad destination in Jalisco, Mexico?
This Puerto Vallarta digital nomad guide was written by Rachel and Sasha, two full-time traveling digital nomads since 2016. When they’re not teaching or working on their digital nomad blog Grateful Gypsies, you can find them chasing their favorite band Phish around the USA.
Reader Mail: Hi Trisha! I am a silent follower of yours since 2012. I loved how you’ve grown and I am really excited that you are in Mexico. A little about me – I am a California girl who is currently living in Austin. I have been forced to work from home because of COVID and I am thinking that I do not need to be in the USA to work. I can easily go to Mexico as it looks like. Can you tell me a little about Puerto Vallarta Digital Nomad?
How are the people there? I have a friend from Colorado and said a lot of good things about PV. I know you live there at the moment. Hope you can help! Also please do not publish my name. I would like to remain anonymous. I saw that you are putting reader names out there but my employer does not know I have plans to relocate to Mexico. Thank you!
Thank you so much for constantly following this journey – I really appreciate it! I understand the privacy concerns. I have lots of friends and readers who are actually relocating to Mexico without their employers knowing. Honestly, it doesn’t make a difference if you’re here or there. Unless you have to physically show up for some work stuff.
I currently live in Nuevo Vallarta (about 20 minutes from Puerto Vallarta) but I do frequent PV. However, I do not have that much experience with Puerto Vallarta digital nomad yet – I just moved here in October 2020!
But don’t worry – I called for reinforcements. Rachel and Sasha are full-time traveling digital nomads since 2016. They are still in Puerto Vallarta at the moment so I asked her to write a guide for you.
If you want to know more about places to visit in Mexico, just send me a message. I hope you’ll make it to PV – I would love to meet you!
Hi! I’m Rachel. Sasha is my husband and co-founder of our blog Grateful Gypsies. We’re both from the USA; Tennessee and Michigan respectively. We both teach English online, run our travel blog, and Sasha writes for a couple of other travel blogs. We’ve been using Puerto Vallarta as a temporary nomad base since 2017.
Puerto Vallarta digital nomad: personal experience
We landed in Puerto Vallarta just a month into our first international trip as digital nomads. What was supposed to be a one-month stay turned into six. We left after those six months and continued our travels, only to return again seven months later. We’ve now spent a year and a half in Puerto Vallarta and plan to return for a few months every year for as long as we can.
Our reason for choosing Puerto Vallarta isn’t really that sexy. I had read about how beautiful it is in a book and decided I had to see it for myself. Sasha, unfortunately, needed a root canal. In fact, he needed so much dental work that it was going to take longer than a month so we extended our stay and wound up falling in love with the city.
Puerto Vallarta digital nomad guide: costs, Internet connection, and more!
The Digital Nomad scene in Puerto Vallarta
While it’s often touted as a spring break or retirement destination, we realized Puerto Vallarta is actually a great city for digital nomads. When we started making plans to go there, we read on Nomad List that they had really slow internet.
However, we found the internet to be good enough for us to teach English online at the same time. During our first 6-month stay, they began installing fiber-optic connections in several of the neighborhoods and have been continuing to install it in other ‘hoods.
Then I discovered the co-working space. It had some of the fastest speeds I had ever seen anywhere so I joined as a member. It helped me meet even more people and expand my network. It seemed like living in Puerto Vallarta was actually a great idea.
Now there are two co-working spaces and plenty of cute cafes with delicious coffee and fast WiFi. It’s super easy to connect with other digital nomads through Facebook groups. My two favorite groups to connect with people are Puerto Vallarta Digital Nomads and Young Expats in Puerto Vallarta.
Vallarta Co-Work also plans a variety of events like a Friday lunch meetup and even a video game hangout. I’ve been able to meet so many amazing people who come and go like us or live in Puerto Vallarta full-time. The community is a big part of why we keep coming back for more.
Internet speed in Puerto Vallarta
It’s relatively easy to come by fast WiFi speeds living in Puerto Vallarta. Although some may not think this is fast enough, we get 10 Mbps to download and 2 Mbps to upload at home. It’s good enough for us to both teach English online through video lessons, which are quite demanding on the internet.
There are several neighborhoods that have fiber optic cables installed and a friend of mine had a speed of 40 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload. The co-working spaces have similar speeds. Getting a SIM card is relatively easy and painless. The best provider is Telcel.
They have the most subscribers and the best coverage. You can get a prepaid SIM card at any Oxxo, which is like 7-11. They’re on almost every corner.
They have several packages on offer. It’s possible to get up to 6 GB of data with unlimited calls and texts with several social media apps included for around $25 USD for 30 days. Their 4G speeds are quite fast with download speeds up to 16 Mbps. Topping up is also easy as there are multiple options; pop into an Oxxo, pay online or use their app.
There are a plethora of options for getting internet access. It’s totally possible to find homes with fast WiFi speeds. As a digital nomad, you likely won’t be setting up the internet in your Airbnb but in case you get your own place and wind up staying for a while, the most widely used company is Telmex.
If you can’t find an Airbnb or other accommodation with your desired speeds and you need something faster, you can easily find it at cafes and coworking spaces in Puerto Vallarta. The WiFi is generally better than SIM cards but having a SIM card is a solid backup plan.
Puerto Vallarta cost of living
One of the best parts of living in Puerto Vallarta is the inexpensive cost of living. There is something for every budget. There are plenty of apartments, houses, and villas available for short and long-term rent.
During our first stint in Puerto Vallarta, we were pretty broke, so we found a really cheap apartment. It was a little far from the center of town for around $250 per month with WiFi and utilities included. We did a lot of cooking at home and had to pay for the gas, which cost around $20 for a huge tank that lasted a month.
If we did go out to eat, we tried to stick to $3 street tacos or go to small, local restaurants. The best way to save money on eating out in a restaurant is to eat where the locals eat. It’s often the most delicious option as well.
Our cost of living in Puerto Vallarta for one month during that first summer was around $1,898. In the last two years, our monthly budget has been about $2,250.
As our income has gone up, so has our budget. We moved from that first cheap apartment to an Airbnb very close to the center and only six blocks from the beach. We can only stay there in the low season (May – October) because the hosts have regular high-season tenants.
But it’s the perfect digital nomad agreement. We’ve developed a great relationship with the hosts. They don’t ask us to sign a contract or pay a deposit. The internet is all set up and it’s beautifully furnished with everything we need. We simply show up and put our backpacks down and pick them up when it’s time to hit the road again.
The rent is lower in the low season. It’s around $750-$800 per month depending on the exchange rate. This is on the high end of rental prices in Puerto Vallarta, but we have access to a shared rooftop with a pool. It also includes weekly cleaning so it’s a pretty good deal. It’s possible to find similar deals at this time of year. It gets more difficult in the high season but not impossible.
See also: Countries with digital nomad visas
The best way to find accommodation is through Facebook groups, Craigs List, and using Airbnb. Many Airbnb hosts are open to long-term tenants so that’s a good starting place for gauging prices. Another option is to walk around looking for “Se Renta” signs and communicating directly with the landlord, but you’ll need a high level of Spanish as most landlords don’t speak English.
Transportation is also great. There are plenty of public buses that will take you all over the city. Each ride is 10 pesos. Uber is also there and the minimum cost for a ride is 45 pesos. Taxis are also plentiful. Puerto Vallarta is divided into zones and the cost for a taxi ride varies depending on which zone you’re going to. The rides start around 60 pesos. Our personal cost for transportation is around $70 per month.
Buying food in grocery stores and markets is very economical. For dining out, you have a wide range of options from street tacos to multi-course, fine dining experiences. We usually cook at home on most weekdays (with the occasional lunches out) and treat ourselves to dinner and drinks with friends on the weekends. Our monthly cost for food and drink is around $700 per month.
As for other miscellaneous costs such as gym memberships, co-working space memberships, electricity, and laundry we usually spend around $280 per month.
Medical tourism is huge as there are many snowbirds and retirees living in Puerto Vallarta for part of the year. It’s easy to find high-quality, affordable medical care and dental offices. Sasha’s root canal that originally kept us in Puerto Vallarta only cost about $550 in the end as opposed to the $2,500 he was quoted in the US. I have visited many doctors’ offices for various health checkups and the most I’ve ever paid was $150 for one visit.
Mexico visas, entry/exit requirements, etc
Tourist visas for Mexico are given on arrival and are valid for 180 days for people from over 160 countries. That’s one of the reasons why living in Puerto Vallarta is so great. To renew your tourist visa, you simply need to leave Mexico and then you can come right back. It’s not necessary to get another type of visa unless you wanted to open a local business or stay longer than 180 days at a time.
Puerto Vallarta cafes with strong Wifi
The Green Place Cafe
This cafe has lots of yummy coffees to choose from. It’s also a vegan restaurant with lots of different menu options. They have really fast WiFi speeds; 47 Mbps download, 8 Mbps upload. There are some plugs but you have to be sitting at a table near the wall to use them.
They also have a separate room with air conditioning (necessary in the summer months) with a couple of plugs. It can get busy in the mornings as it’s attached to a hotel and provide breakfast for the guests, but it’s very quiet in the afternoon. I usually budget around 200 pesos to come work here and rarely spend more than that.
This is a cute little coffee shop with a hipster vibe. They make flat whites which can be hard to find. Their WiFi speed is 13 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload. There aren’t that many plugs and it’s rather small so I wouldn’t recommend planning to stay for longer than an hour. They are usually playing music but not at a level that’s distracting. It’s not very busy, either. I usually budget around 50 pesos to work here.
This is more of a restaurant as they have a full menu and bar but that’s one of the reasons I love working here. I can come for lunch and have a nice cocktail or beer while I work for a few hours. Their AC room is a nice respite from the heat in the depths of summer.
I don’t have their WiFi speed written down but it’s quite fast. There are plenty of plugs and it’s usually very quiet unless you’re there at the height of lunchtime. I usually budget 200 pesos to come work here. It’s at the higher end of food and beverage costs.
I love the Choco Museo because it’s the only cafe I’ve found with an ocean view. The top floor has a little cafe serving drinks, coffee, and several different chocolate dishes. The WiFi speed is 10 Mbps download, 2 Mbps upload and there are a few plugs available. It’s usually very quiet. I budget around 150 pesos to work here.
El Sofa Cafe
The owner of El Sofa is very friendly. She has several breakfast and lunch options on the menu and everything I’ve tried is quite delicious. The WiFi speeds are 17 Mbps download, 5 Mbps upload. There are several comfortable sofas (hence the name) and several tables so it’s a very comfortable place to work. It can get busy with customers but it’s not distracting. I budget around 150 pesos to work here.
Co-working spaces in Puerto Vallarta
At the moment, there are only two co-working spaces in Puerto Vallarta. Find more information below:
This was the first coworking space in Puerto Vallarta. They charge 2500 pesos per month, 2000 pesos for a 15-day pass to be used in 30 days, 1000 pesos per week, and 240 pesos per day. These prices are for a hot desk in the common area. They also have plans for dedicated desks in both the common area and the dedicated area.
I love this coworking space because of the location and the community. It’s right in the middle of downtown and you can see the ocean from the common room. It’s close to lots of restaurants. They have both weekly and monthly community events that are great for meeting new people.
Read: Is Puerto Vallarta safe?
This coworking space is attached to a little cafe with yummy coffee and sandwiches. They have two different monthly membership options. One is 2700 pesos per month and you get 5 hours of boardroom access, 20% off in the cafe, and you can bring a guest for 2 hours per week.
The other option is 1900 pesos per month which gets you 2 hours of boardroom access, 10% off in the cafe, and one day pass to give to a guest. The rate for a day pass is 195 pesos. I love that there is a cafe attached to the coworking space. It makes it easy to grab lunch and coffee. It’s also close to many restaurants.
I hope you’ve found this guide useful! If you’d like to learn more about what it’s like living in Puerto Vallarta check out our YouTube video that goes deep into our favorite restaurants, bars, gyms, favorite beaches, and more. Also, feel free to reach out if you have any specific questions!