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Puerto Vallarta - Can You Love A Place You Have Never Been To?

Sal Santiago writes about travel, minimalism, philosophy, and living an alternative lifestyle.

Can you love a city you haven't been to yet?

I have never been to Puerto Vallarta, yet I'm pretty sure I already love it.

I love the ocean. I miss living near a large body of water. I love rain and have missed it these past months. There is an ongoing state of drought in Arizona, where I've lived and worked a seasonal job since February. Almost no rain for months, and even though we are now in monsoon season, the rains have been sporadic and light.

A Beach Scene in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


I love that there are hills in PV, and a variety of places to walk to. The beach, The Malecón, the town…

I love that there are a variety of tropical birds around, turtles hatching and crawling out to sea, and tropical creatures such as iguanas creeping around the area.

I love that I will be starting a new life there, teaching part-time online, and working to build and create my own projects, that hopefully can become a main source of income at some point. I feel a sense of freedom, creativity, and inspiration. I've done enough research, seen enough photos, watched many YouTube videos, to see that I will be inspired by this place. Something I have not felt from too many places in the US.

Puerto Vallarta Beach, with Mountains Looming in the Background


Have I idealized the place too soon? Will it live up to my expectations, and the images I've conjured? We shall see in a few weeks, but I believe so.

I'm excited to improve my Spanish, take surf lessons, and learn more about and try authentic Mexican food.

I have some Mexican blood on my mother's side, along with Italian, Spanish, and a splash of Croatian. So in some sense, I'll be living in the land where I have some roots and can trace a branch of the family tree.


Affordable Cost of Living

Another thing I already love, especially at this point in time: the cost of living. With high inflation in the US, and harsh economic times most certainly on the way for ordinary people, I know I will appreciate the affordable rents and cost of food.

Sunset over the Beach in Puerto Vallarta


It is a walkable City

It is a walk-able city, which I greatly appreciate. I will not own a car, and look forward to covering the city on foot, getting a lot of steps in, and filming walking tour videos for my channel High Plains Walker.

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An Iguana in Puerto Vallarta


Science Shows How a Trip to the Beach Changes Your Brain (& Improves Your Mood)

Being from the frozen tundra in the far north, I have felt at my best - happiest, most relaxed, healthiest, when in a tropical climate. Just the sight of tropical trees, beaches, puts me in a good mood. There are studies that show the positive benefits of living near an ocean.

Science Shows How a Trip to the Beach Changes Your Brain (& improves your mood)

“Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves' frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state. Listening to the waves activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which makes us more relaxed. In addition, the negative ions in the sea breeze have a mood-boosting effect.”

I’m curious to see how experiencing life there might improve my health, quality of sleep, and overall day-to-day mood.

The City, the Ocean, the Mountains


The Climate

It does not get too extremely hot in Vallarta. I will be arriving there during the rainy season. But that’s OK, I love rain. Deals on Airbnbs were very good, since it isn’t yet high season.

“The coldest month of the year in Puerto Vallarta is January, with an average low of 62°F and high of 81°F.” In the summer months, the high is around 90, and low around 76. The rest of the year, the high averages around 80, and low around 62.

Colorful Foliage in Puerto Vallarta


I’ve always wanted to experience the Day of the Dead in Mexico. The holiday takes place during the first days of November.

There will be opportunities to take a boat tour and go whale watching, the chance to view a lot of Mexican art and to take painting classes.

It is a good hub city as well for traveling to other parts of Mexico.

It seems to me the perfect place where you can reinvent yourself, or just take some time out and start a new chapter in life.

I look forward to sharing what I learn through writing and possibly Youtube videos. Hopefully it will be helpful for others considering moving there for a period of time, or even permanently. The economic refugees looking to escape, the digital nomads, the retirees. And those just looking to travel and explore, and learn about another culture.

Are there cities/places you fell in love with before ever traveling to? Places that you just had a gut feeling were right for you?

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