5 Best Value Items in Puerto Vallarta

There are a number of reasons people move to Puerto Vallarta.  Some people try to escape the cold.  Others want to start a new life in a different country.  Many families bring their young kids South in hopes they´ll experience a different culture and learn a new language.  Whatever the fundamental reason may be, most everyone agrees the value of their money goes a long way in Mexico.  I´ve put together a list of 5 top value items that many of us living in Mexico take for granted but provide some insight for outsiders looking to make a move.

Pet Grooming – Puerto Vallarta is the next best thing to heaven for dogs.  There are several dog-friendly restaurants around the city.  There are open-air malls that allow pets and miles of beach space for them to run around.  After hours on the beach, it may be a good idea to run by any local pet groomer and get your furry friend a quick bath.  Never fear – a quick bath at any pet groomer in Puerto Vallarta won´t exceed 200 Mexican pesos, that´s the equivalent of around $10 usd at today´s exchange rate.  If you want to take it a step further and need a full esthetic, it will run you less than 400 Mexican pesos, which is about $20 usd.  Anyone with a dog can verify, the average cost of dog grooming in the USA or Canada is between $75 and $100 usd, depending on the size of the dog. 

For more information on specific services for your pet I recommend the following two local groomers who I´ve personally used.

Movie Theaters – Everyone loves a trip to the movies.  Especially in the Summer months when it may be a little too hot outside.  A visit to any Puerto Vallarta movie theatre is a great option in the summer months.  The quality of theater is the exact same as the USA and Canada. The only difference is you will pay half the price.  Most theater prices in Puerto Vallarta range from 35 – 60 Mexican pesos depending on the time of day.  Personally, I can take my two kids on a Sunday afternoon before 3 pm and pay a maximum of 150 Mexican pesos. That´s approximately $8 usd for all three of us.  Of course, you have to make a trip to the concession, however, the costs are still reasonable and far less than any theater up north.

If you want luxury treatment during your movie experience, Puerto Vallarta offers Cinepolis VIP which offers stadium seating, leather recliners and wait staff to take your order on anything from popcorn to sushi.  Adult beverages are also available.  The average cost per ticket at a VIP theater is about 150 Mexican pesos or $8 usd.

You can find more info on movie theatres in Vallarta here:

Car Washes – This service is often overlooked on value lists, but it sure is a big bonus.  I haven´t lived in the ´States´ in 13 years but a quick Google search tells me the average car wash ranges anywhere from $15 – $18 usd.  Depending on the car size, a detailed wash may run $75 – $100 usd.  In Puerto Vallarta, you can get a car wash, by hand, starting at 70 Mexican Pesos and maxing out around 120 pesos (less than 7 usd).  A detailed wash will range from 300 to 500 Mexican Pesos (less than $25 usd).

Spa Services – As a male living in Puerto Vallarta, I don´t have a lot of experience with manicures and pedicures but I can share with you my experience on massages.  There are probably over one hundred massage shops in Puerto Vallarta.  The cost for an average massage will start at 350 Mexican pesos and end near 1,000 pesos for the ultra luxe deep tissue, hot stone, 90 minute massage.  Of course, this escalates quickly if you are staying at a resort or hotel in the area.  Most prices at resorts compete with the USA and Canada because its mostly tourists visiting and liberal with their money on vacation.

According to my research locally, the average cost of a manicure and pedicure is under 100 and 200 Mexican pesos respectively

Health Insurance – I saved this topic for last.  It’s a topic often left open for debate, especially if you are from the USA.  As Americans, we´ve never had the benefit of socialized medicine.  In brief, socialized medicine is health care provided by the government.  In Canada and Mexico, every tax-paying citizen or resident of the respective country are entitled to health care.  Yes, government provided health care can present long lines, long waits and potentially less qualified or regarded physicians, but its available.  And if you work in Mexico for a Mexican employer, it´s provided for you by the employer.  So, there is that option. 

However, I´m here to offer the cost differential of private health care if you opt to purchase private health insurance in Mexico.  I don´t have a long list of health care providers or a price breakdown of each plan.  I will just speak about my own plan and the range I am familiar with.  I am a 40-year old male with a young daughter.  Our policy costs $1,500 usd per year and covers up to $600,000 usd in medical expenses. This includes emergencies, hospitalizations and long-term care if needed.  I´m sure there are stipulations and restrictions I could mention but it´s not necessary for this discussion.  This is a pretty good size policy because medical expenses in Mexico are far less than the USA and Canada. Plus, my insurance allows for any doctor or hospital of my choice.

Based on my quick research on, the average health care plan for a single male, one of the least expensive policies ranges from $200 usd to $400 usd.  This is for one person, not two.  Granted, most employers in the States cover medical but this blog was designed to give a brief comparison of health care costs overall.


In conclusion, I hope this list gives some insight into some of the costs in day-to-day life in Puerto Vallarta.  Often times, its these daily costs I take for granted but then I´m quickly reminded when I visit the States or speak with friends and family about their daily expenses.  If you are considering a move to Puerto Vallarta or are a local and feel I left something out, please feel free to leave comments below.  As always, you can email me additional questions at

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