I have long ago lost track of how many times I have been to Puerto Vallarta, but it all started for me when I was in college, back in 1970. I hit town in an old VW bus and knew right then that the place would forever more be an important part of my life. I have not always been pleased with the growth and the popularity that my secret place has experienced these past 39 years, but it still remains my favorite town in Mexico. So it was with great anticipation that I awaited a copy of a new book to arrive titled “Boomers in Paradise – Living in Puerto Vallarta”, by Robert Nelson, who has lived there for the past six years, after a long career in marketing.
I like this book, mainly because Nelson let many people tell their story. In each chapter he profiles a different person who lives in PV, describing why they moved there, their backgrounds, and what their daily lives are like today. Each account of the 14 people is different and interesting, and Nelson tells their stories in a very readable and flowing style. Along the way the reader learns a great deal about every day life in Mexico, the rewards and the challenges. You learn the intricacies of buying real estate, owning a business, finding work, as well as just living day to day as a foreigner in a country with different laws and customs than Canada and the U.S. Unlike many expat centers in Mexico, Vallarta’s immigrants are comprised of many younger (30’s 40’s and 50’s) people. They don’t go to die, they go to live. They bring their kids, start businesses, and become part of the community.
At some point PV will become what so many have tried to escape…it is bound to happen. Traffic has become a real problem and it will never be the sleepy village I found four decades ago. But there are other small towns and villages along Mexico’s 6,000 miles of coastline that I know of, and for now, I think I’ll just keep a few of them to myself. In the meantime, pick up a copy of this book. You’ll learn a lot and be entertained, and you can’t ask for more than that.