When Minneapolis-based couple Judd and Marcia Gage decided to make a major change after nearly 10 years of marriage,they were looking for a more laid back lifestyle in a warm,beachfront climate that offered an affordable cost of living and modern amenities. Enter Puerto Vallarta,Mexico.
“We are avid travelers who’ve been all over the U.S.,to Alaska,Canada,Europe and Asia,” Marcia wrote for International Living this month. “But a place we vacationed in many times was Puerto Vallarta,Mexico.”
She says the incredible weather,close proximity to the United States and reasonable prices for food and accommodations kept drawing them back and ultimately prompted them to consider retiring in Puerto Vallarta. With direct flights back to Minneapolis in under four hours and a chance to escape the ever-rising cost of high-rise living in the U.S.,the Gage family decided to push up their plans to retire when Marcia started collecting social security at age 62 and she left her job as an academic advisor shortly before turning 61. At nearly 70,Judd was also ready to retire from his job as a bouncer,so the couple decided to take the plunge.
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“Now,we rent a condo about a 15-minute walk from the center of town and Puerto Vallarta’s Bay of Banderas for $800 a month,” Marcia wrote. “We have a spectacular mountain view from our rooftop,and get to enjoy the parade of butterflies and hummingbirds on our balcony.”
This spring,the couple plans to move even closer to town,in order to enjoy easier access to the shopping,ocean and beautiful malecon. According to Marcia,the overall cost of living in Puerto Vallarta is about half of what the couple was spending to live in their high-rise apartment with views of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. As a result,they can afford to live solely off of their combined Social Security incomes,since their Mexican cell phones are about $10 per month and rent includes water,Internet,gas and garbage removal. Grocery store trips are much less expensive too,especially for healthy items like fresh locally-grown fruit and vegetables.
“Another thing we love about Puerto Vallarta is the excellent food,” Marcia revealed. “There are plenty of upscale restaurants here,but we have eaten some of our best meals in the local eateries.”
She recommends finding out where the locals dine to discover the best places for inexpensive food that is big on flavor.
“One of our favorite places is Travisio’s where you can get two big fish tacos for about $3 and a hamburger for the same price,” she shared. “Add a couple of beers and we get lunch for just over $10… including the tip.”
The couple has also found it easy to make friends in Puerto Vallarta,both with other expats and with locals.
“Even the teenagers greet me with a ‘Buenos dias,señora,’” shared Marcia. “Moving to Puerto Vallarta allowed me to quit my stressful job and retire early. Now I have time to indulge my passions for writing and reading,and enjoy all that this beautiful beach town has to offer.”
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