Spending Your Winter in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico: Is Nuevo Vallarta A Good Snowbird Location?

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Located in the state of Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta is a planned residential resort, north of Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico's Pacific coast. It is perfectly placed between the rugged Sierra de Vallejo mountains and the vast Pacific Ocean.  It is known for its long stretch of sandy beaches, a marina, biodiversity, and beautiful golf courses. It isn't far from the Banderas bay is the quiet village of Sayutita in the Northwest.

As a resort town, it has a small population of less than five thousand. Many businesses, stores, and malls accept U.S dollars or Mexican Pesos. English and Spanish are widely spoken. What began as a project by the Mexican government over twenty years ago, has flourished to be a thriving location for snowbirds looking to enjoy luxurious villas, estates, canals, gardens, beaches, warm tropical climate, and other interesting activities.

Spend your winter in Nuevo Vallarta - Mexico - Is Nuevo Vallarta a good snowbird location 1
By Michelle Maria – CC BY 3.0

Why should people stay during the winter?

One of the selling points of Nuevo Vallarta is its long hours of sunshine and very warm temperature during your winter. There are also many activities to engage in, beautiful golden beaches, and wonderful marine life.

The city is a hub for people from different corners of the world. You will also find local traditional cuisines and art of different kinds from the Huichol ethnic group. Snowbirds can visit neighboring towns to explore other traditions and customs further. You can also get to see Humpback whales, turtle releases, crocodile sanctuaries, vast jungle, conservation centers, and other attractions.

Climate

It is usually warm all year round in Nuevo Vallarta. The weather gets cooler in the winter, but it remains sunny, dry, and warm. There are four seasons in Nuevo Vallarta; winter, summer, spring and Autumn.

There are blooming flowers in Spring. Summer comes with a hot midday temperature averaging 84°F (29°C). Winter's 72°F (22°C) temperature is ideal for a golden tan, and in autumn you can experience higher humidity.  Generally, the average annual temperature is 77°F (25°C).

For more climate information visit Meteoblue

Safety

Nuevo Vallarta is a safe location for snowbirds to sit back, relax, even enjoy nightly strolls with no worries. There are hardly ever incidents of violent crimes, bag snatching, pickpocketing, and scammers are few. However, snowbirds are advised to avoid exploring isolated areas alone, and they also should always be aware of their surroundings. You could have an amazing experience without any incidents.

Communication, internet, and cellphone in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

English is widely spoken in Nuevo Vallarta as tourists make a great part of the city's population.  The official language is Spanish.  Many signs and restaurant menus are usually written in Spanish and English. Having casual conversations or trying to do some business won't be a problem.

Once in Nuevo Vallarta, you can choose to roam with your phones, but it is advised you know the costs beforehand.  Snowbirds from the U.S. and Canada using Bell, Fido, AT & T, Nextel, and Verizon can use their sim cards.

A local sim card can be purchased at stores easily.  Some of the network service providers are TelCel, Movistar, and IUSACEL. A son card costs about $6 (approx. €5, £4, $7 CAD, $8 AUD) and a phone could cost as little as $15 (approx. €12, £11, $19 CAD, $20 AUD). These network service providers offer both call and data plans you could select from.

Things to see in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

  • The Caguma Turtles: When winter comes, these turtles lay their eggs on Nuevo Vallarta's sandy beaches. Since 1978, the Caguama turtles have been on the brink of extinction. They are cherished by the locals.
  • El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary: Snowbirds can get to see fierce crocodiles in their natural habitats. Guided tours are usually organized, and they are inexpensive.
  • Dolphin Discovery Vallarta: This is a Dolphin Sanctuary and waterpark. You can see trained dolphins perform some stunts, swim in the water, or just take pictures.
Spend your winter in Nuevo Vallarta - Mexico - Is Nuevo Vallarta a good snowbird location 10
CC BY 2.0 by drtreypennington

Things to see not far from Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

  • The Marietas Islands: These islands are a group of small islands that are uninhabited. It is a designated world heritage site. The Marietas islands is a couple of kilometers off the coast of Nayarit, about 8 km (5 Miles) southwest of the Punta del Mita Peninsula. Snowbirds can go scuba diving or snorkeling.
  • Riviera Farmer's Market: This vibrant outdoor market is located in the center of Bahia. There's usually live music playing, and snowbirds can find a great variety of high quality and fresh food, jewelry, crafts, etc.

Activities in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico in the winter

Snowbirds can indulge themselves however they like, with interesting activities that make them want to come back for more. Some of these activities you could enjoy in Nuevo Vallarta insuring winter are:

  • Golfing: Nuevo Vallarta has some beautiful green courses. Snowbirds who are golf enthusiasts or just interested in shooting some holes can choose a golf course to visit.
  • Kayaking: There are canals and lagoons around Nuevo Vallarta, and snowbirds can tour the city or enjoy a trip kayaking around a lagoon.
  • Swimming with dolphins: Through organized tours or just paying a visit,  snowbirds have the opportunity to visit dolphin sanctuaries. There, they can swim with fun friendly creatures.
  • Whale watching: Every year, large herds of humpback whales visit the bay, in search of warmer seas. Through special tours, the gigantic whales can be seen casually swimming and playing with their calves or performing mating rituals.
  • Turtle releases: This activity is one of the most memorable events in Nuevo Vallarta. The Caguama turtles are an endangered species, so their population is being protected. At turtle releases, you get to watch the first moments of the little hatchlings as they walk towards the sea. The hatchings happen all year long, and you can experience it while at the beach, or you can contact turtle camps for tours.

Shopping + Restaurants. Are they open in the winter?

Nuevo Vallarta is not short of options in terms of shopping and dining. You can either go on to shop at high-end exclusive stores around, or you visit a local market to purchase your basic needs or get yourself a souvenir. As a resort town, many businesses are tourist-dependent, so some of them stay closed when the tourist population dwindles.

Restaurants in Nuevo Vallarta offer top-class dining experiences.  Snowbirds can enjoy a wide variety of dishes, from local to international cuisines. There are also gourmet festivals. Some of these restaurants need a reservation to be made, and there are also others that offer takeaway services.

Spend your winter in Nuevo Vallarta - Mexico - Is Nuevo Vallarta a good snowbird location 11
By Steve Hedin – CC BY-SA 3.0

Transport

The nearest airport to Nuevo Vallarta, Aéroport de Puerto Vallarta is only 20 minutes away.

Buses are available. A bus ride in Nuevo Vallarta can be an easy and entertaining experience. The buses go to all areas of the city, and they also reach Puerto Vallarta.  Individuals on the bus can possibly entertain you with songs, playing the guitar, or some other way. Buses are cheap and can be flagged down easily by the road.

Taxis are also easy to find. From the airport, snowbirds can find taxis that will take then to town and around to wherever they want to go for a cheap fare, and they are fast. Ensure you get into official taxis only to avoid sketchy individuals. Car rentals can be a convenient alternative, but it is the most expensive alternative.

Health

You will find that the medical facilities in Nuevo Vallarta are of high standards. The doctors and Dentists are from the best schools or have been trained abroad. Most of them do speak English and Spanish. Snowbirds can choose between public health services or private services. Private services are usually fast and efficient, but they typically cost more than it would in a regular hospital. Some of the hospitals around are Hospital San Javier Riviera Nayarit, and Vallarta Medical Center (Hospital).

Spend your winter in Nuevo Vallarta - Mexico - Is Nuevo Vallarta a good snowbird location 12
Harpqueen – Public Domain

Accommodation

As a resort town,  the quality of accommodation in Nuevo Vallarta is very high, which means that they are typically more expensive. You will see luxurious villas and condos around town. Most accommodation provides basic amenities like Air conditioning. Some rentals also do come with pools.

For snowbirds that will like cheaper housing and won't mind sharing a place with someone else, you could pay $350 (approx. €296, £272, $463 CAD, $482 AUD) monthly for a shared flat. Generally, it will be more expensive to rent an apartment in the city center. However, in choosing a cheap option, you might have to miss out on some amenities.

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