Feliz or Prospero Año Nuevo is the way we greet the New Year and this year we are greeting way more visitors to Mexico.
We are finally at the end of the Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon and have just celebrated the Feast of the Three Kings (Los Reyes Magos), the unofficial last day of the holiday season. We celebrate this day by cutting the Rosca de Reyes or Three Kings cake and drinking hot chocolate or atole. The cake is a round ring that is decorated with dried fruits and candies. Inside each cake you find any number of small plastic dolls that represent the Baby Jesus. Anyone who cuts a piece of the cake and finds the doll is required to supply the traditional tamales and atole for the celebrations on Candlemas Day or el Dia de la Candelaria on February 2.
In Puerto Vallarta, where I live, our official “high season” is in full swing with crowds I have not seen since the mid-1990s. “High season” generally refers to the months of November through April and generally ends the week after Easter.
Puerto Vallarta does not close during “low season” like some resort areas (Amalfi Coast, Nantucket and the Hamptons, for example) but we do have fewer visitors to Mexico in the summer months. Summer is a much less costly time to come to PV because it is the rainy season and much warmer and humid. Summer brings many Mexican people who bring their families to the coasts for vacation.
Winter in Puerto Vallarta is wonderful weather-wise with low temperatures in the 60s F at night and reaching the 80s F during the day. It’s not only perfect for the beach or the pool but is also nice for a wide range of outdoor activities from sailing to hiking to biking.
I think that a good part of the reason we are enjoying such a boom year has to do with the strength of the U.S. dollar against the Mexican peso, which is currently 21.36 pesos to each dollar. Although prices on some items here will go up, Mexico is a hot bargain in most respects. Expats – especially those who live on a fixed income with their Social Security and pension – realize that.
This time last year the peso hovered around 17 pesos to the dollar. For a retired expat with a fixed monthly income of US$2,000 dollars, that now means nearly 9,000 pesos more each month!
With more visitors to Mexico spending money there is more business for everyone, from restaurants to taxis to tour operators. As we enter 2017, everyone in Puerto Vallarta is busy and happy. Come see us!
Hasta la proxima!