Cost of Living in a Mexican Beach Town

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Since 2008 I have traveled all over the world slowly taking in the new countries, new cultures and languages. Every once in a while I decided to hunker down for 4-6 months in one spot and take on life as a semi-expat. This time around I stopped in San Pancho, Mexico, a beach town on the Pacific coast of Mexico just north of Puerto Vallarta (about 45 minutes). Total costs for a month averaged out at $750 (at roughly 12 pesos to the dollar right now).

The cost of living outside the United States is often so much lower than other places and I enjoy the quest to find a place I might want to eventually move to for part of every year. The full write-cost of living in Mexico post write-up with more details, photos, visual money breakdown, and links to get you started is here:

And if you’re keen for comparison I wrote a cost of living in Thailand post that went viral and also shares specific costs and quality of life information:


HMFamilyLIfe FrankandAngie says:

I didn’t understand your $1000 pesos food cost. Is that weekly or monthly?
Does that include eating out and how many times per week? Thank you for the

George Ruiz says:

Hi again Shannon, I’m getting so close to retiring and really looking into
moving to mexico.where can I find all the info I need to make the move.

Paul R says:

That looks so nice. Just a curious question, how fast is the internet

acajudi100 says:

i stayed in Cuahiniculapa, Gro. I speak Spanish as asecond language. Thank
you, and enjoy.

acajudi100 says:

I lived in Acapulco.

Ken Fit says:


Keith H says:

I plan to retire in rosarito beach baja ca in a few short.years and the
cost of living is comparable to what you described… my drinking expenses
will be The largest….mexico is so laid back and fun.

Dean Milano says:

We started going to PV in ’97 and it hasn’t changed all that much for us
except that the outer reaches are growing and there are more high rise
hotels every year. And once in a while, some jerk will build a huge condo
right in the middle of the older area, blocking everyone’s view of the bay.
It’s illegal, but there’s enough palm greasing going on that they know they
can get away with it. I envy you, being able to move down there, but I’ve
got too many things happening in Chicago, I’m afraid.

Shannon O'Donnell says:

Heh, good point! San Pancho though is like 600 people so it was always a
big shift. I did like doing the malecon and old town area of PV, it was
beautiful! 🙂

Dean Milano says:

PV is such a charming town, it’s hard to think of it as a “big city”. Ha!

Shannon O'Donnell says:

Oh Chiang Mai, how I miss it. I think you really can’t go wrong on the
Yucatan if you start there, and if you’re keen on diving/snorkeling it’s
better on that side anyway! Safe travels and let me know if I can help in
any way as you transition 🙂

Dean Milano says:

We spend more time in the old town area nowadays than we used to years ago.
The Malecon is being taken over by the pounding disco clubs and it’s losing
some of it’s appeal. We can’t even stay at the old Rosita hotel anymore
because the pounding music goes on until 5 in the morning and it’s
impossible to sleep.

Shannon O'Donnell says:

Ah bribery, I did discover you could make most any problem go away with the
right wad of cash. :-/

George Ruiz says:

Hello Shannon, Thanks for your imput in the cost of living in this amazing
little town. Back in 1994-95 I traveled thru out Mexico, and loved every
bit of it. I was working for a telecommunication company out of Austin, Tx.
My most memorable trip was renting a car in San Diego and driving down to
Cabo San Lucas. Along the way I was able to make several stops in many
small towns off the coast line.One town that really stands out in my mind
is Baja Keno, ever been there?

Shannon O'Donnell says:

I hadn’t heard of this little town, but I googled it, and it looks
gorgeous! One thing I like too is that it’s still close enough to the US
that you could get back quickly, but it’s still Mexico and a gorgeous
looking beach town. Any plans to go back?

Shannon O'Donnell says:

Yikes, that sounds terrible. This was my first time visiting PV, so I never
will know what it was like before. Though it did seem to empty a bit as low
season kicked in.

Pause The Moment says:

Thanks for sharing Shannon. Love the cost of living posts! Our plan is to
head to Mexico in December but we’re still so undecided on whether we want
to live on the Pacific coast or the Yucatan. We’re thinking we might start
out on the Yucatan side and maybe we’ll make our way to the Pacific at some
point. Thanks for sharing the visa info as well, we weren’t sure about the
length of stay. We’ve been living here in Chiang Mai for 5 months now, time
to make a move soon.

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