After nearly seven delicious years of living in Puerto Vallarta, I left my home in Mismaloya in 2009 to live once again in California’s Bay Area. Now, after 10 years, Felice and I are coming home to Puerto Vallarta.
My decision a decade ago was difficult, choosing between the place I loved and the people I loved. My first wife, Jan, passed away in 2006 and my children lived in the Bay Area. I chose family and the prospect of marriage to Felice, whom I had known well long ago when we worked in the advertising business. Marriage followed my move and I settled into the role of an adjunct professor of advertising at San Jose State University and Felice re-entered the advertising business with the Bay Area News Group, owner of the San Jose Mercury News. Years have slipped away and our son now lives in Southern California with our grandkids and our daughter is contemplating a move south, also.
Tempus fugit, so we decided last spring to return to the city by the bay, Banderas Bay. These past few months have seen our furniture rapidly dwindle as we sell as much as we can before making the move in early October. As pointed out in our article, “Moving to Mexico: International Moving Companies,” it’s very expensive to move to Mexico, so the fewer things you have to ship, the better. We found that all international moving companies we spoke with charge a minimum of US$6,000, no matter how much you move. Each additional 1,000 pounds is at least another US$1,000. We opted not to sell everything and rent a furnished home, as many do, but rather take a minimum of household goods that we wanted, mainly our home theater system, kitchen necessities, art objects purchased in Mexico and our artwork.
Recently, I returned from a successful week-long house-hunting trip orchestrated by Ernesto Flores, who owns and operates PV Property Rentals. Ernesto scoured the area to find a place that met our criteria and found just the right fit in the Montessori Colonia, which is well-located and quiet.
While in Vallarta, I stayed at the always wonderful Garza Blanca hotel, about five miles south of Zona Romantica, our go-to place while visiting there. The location is sublime, the beach perfect and the people and service exemplary. I was disappointed, however, to hear that the owner of the hotel has acquired most of the foothill property from Garza Blanca to nearly Mismaloya and intends to add nine more towers. They are even re-routing highway 200 to allow for a more expansive beach at the resort. I am sure they will maintain their standards, but my heart breaks a bit each time I see our beautiful mountains and sea shore disappear behind towers.
The development activity in Zona Romantica, specifically, and other areas ringing the bay more generally, have changed the face of the city. Puerto Vallarta is no longer the laid-back village I found in 1976, or even the small city I lived in during the early 2000s, it is a full-blown city with condo towers everywhere and a much more fast-paced rhythm to daily life. Controlled, thoughtful growth is fine, but Vallarta seems to be teetering on the edge of something quite different, a developmental disease that may have no cure.
Nonetheless, the people of PV count the most, and that’s a big part of why we are coming home to Puerto Vallarta. Our many friends and unknown new friends await us. The sky and bay are still blue, the mountains verdantly verde, and the sun still shines more than 300 days each year.