Moving to Vallarta?

A reader writes:

Hello Everyone,

I love The Peoples Guide to Mexico! To start out my name is Robyn, I am 36 years old and I work as a Psychiatric Nurse in Denver, CO.  My husband, Michael, was in an automobile accident two years ago.  He was hit by an uninsured motorist two years ago and has not been able to work since.  He has gone through three major back surgeries and the cold Colorado weather just debilitates him 5 months out of the year.   We traveled to PV on vacation recently, and fell in love.  My husband could actually function; the warm weather was exactly what he needs to get back to work.  Alternatively, be the stay at home dad that can actually pick up his children and play.

We have always talked about leaving the states for a warmer climate.  PV may actually make us do it! We have two little girls, who are five and eighteen months.  We would love to give our girls the change to go to bilingual schools, learn Spanish as well as English and really give them an advantage in their futures.  In addition, give them a sense of culture we have not found in Denver.  I love the fact that the authors of this site reply to nearly everyone with honesty and friendliness, which makes it easy to ask the questions I cannot seem to find by a regular Google search.

So here we go with my questions…

  1. What are some good schools my girls can learn both English and Spanish, along with all the other elementary curriculum?
  1. Do you have any recommendations on good neighborhoods to raise our girls in?  I am working with a real estate agent, she suggested gated communities in Marina Vallarta, Los Olivos, La Primavera.

We are looking to pay cash for a home, town home or condominium that is at least 1300sf with 3 beds and 3 baths, that way we have no mortgage and can save our money for retirement and the girls schooling. Do you think that is even doable?

  1. What are my chances of working as a Nurse, RN, BSN in PV?  I have heard there is an overflow of RNs there and that chances of getting a job are slim. I know the government would have to approve a work visa for me, I have no idea of how to get that ball rolling, and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I was thinking of the growing trend of elective surgeries that American’s are having in Mexico.  I cannot help thinking that an English/Spanish speaking nurses would be in demand.  In addition, resorts must have MD’s on site for tourists that get sick while at their resorts; do they hire nurses at resorts to assist the MDs?

Let me say that I truly understand if I am asking too many questions or asking the wrong people, I just do not really know where to begin. On our vacation, we made some friends and got contact info so I am asking them these same questions.

Thank you a million times over for reading and responding to my post.  I hope this finds you all healthy and well!

Thanks again,

Love Robyn and Michael,

aka, Gringos looking to relocate to PV within the next year :)

Churpa responds: Thank you Robyn! I too love Vallarta, but I don’t live there. I could tell you where to find great tacos and good deals on tequila, but I can’t answer many of these questions. I will put this out to our readers in the hopes that some local expats can be of help. Check the comments. Also, for more information you might want to join some of the Vallarta facebook groups. I will say that if I were going to live in Vallarta, I’d want to live in Viejo Vallarta, in one of the neighborhoods that still has a Mexican feel and access to good taquerias. 

Puerto Vallarta at night.

photo courtesy of coolcaesar

5 Responses to “Moving to Vallarta?”

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  1. Jim says:

    1) Suggestion, do not immediately buy a place in PV. It’s right on the edge of the jungle and has very hot summers…muggy too. It’s always recommended that expats live in a town for a year before deciding to buy.
    2) If you are determined to emigrate, there are many resources online and IN RV PARKS. So fly or drive to a Mexican town to stay a few weeks, and go visit RV parks. Ask people who they would recommend to handle your immigration. BTW, you can get screwed over royally if you pick the wrong lawyers.
    3) Many Mexican medium sized and larger towns have an expat club of some kind. Lions, American Legion, etc. Go to their meetings and ask for advice. Yes, you’d be welcomed. They all have a breakfast meeting.
    4) Once you’ve officially emigrated, there would be plenty of job opportunities…or so I’ve read. But not before. It’s illegal for Mexican companies to hire you until after you’ve got your papers. I would never recommend working under the table. You’ll be kicked out of the country if they found out.

    Schools and stuff I have no idea…good luck.

  2. Tricia Lyman says:


    Let me start by offering you my blog that I write.

    I also run a Facebook group called Puerto Vallarta: Everything You Need or Want to Know. 5,000 members are waiting to answer your questions.

    You might also want to check out Mamas in PV on fb.

    I will say, I would most certainly NOT recommend that you buy here until you’ve lived here at least a year. Too many neighborhoods to choose from with all different types of personalities. Also, you may not want to stay here. Rent until you are sure.

    There’s the American School and the Briitish American School. Many choose to send their children to the local schools where they assimilate very quickly. Lots of options.

    As to working, you must get a working visa. Don’t work here unless you have it or you could easily be deported and not allowed to return. There are many good attorneys here who can help you. For a good reference for an up to date site on many legalities, visas, cars etc. Go to we’

    Good luck!

  3. Jack says:

    Wow, good for you guys. My wife & I are retired from the Pacific NW, and now live here f/t…This is our 5th year in PV. There are several good references for ideas and answers I can give you. 1. Vallarta ( it’ s a forum….ask away, many readers and many locals). Also the name Pam Thompson who owns/ operates Health Resources of PV…she connects with many PV doctors, clinics, and expats for excellent health care options locally. I think she also may be a nurse, not sure, but very well known all over here. Lastly, there is an Expats group in PV who also have many members and contacts everywhere here as well as regular get together a around the Bay. Look them up on google, and you’ll find them. There are others also. As for paid jobs, it might be better to consider starting a Mexican business and get a good lawyer to assist. Advantages are you can work with many medical staff here in a legitimate way, and provide yourself some income, but remember, it’ s Mexico, so wages are not what you may need or expect. Buenos Suertes.

  4. Marc says:

    I want to answer your work question. Consider trying to find some kind of work that you can do remotely. I can take my work with me, and have taken it to Mexico. The other advantage to this arrangement is that you can be paid in US Dollars and your living expenses will be in Mexican Pesos – and if you live on the Mexican budget, this can work out well for you.