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Dreams, we all have them, but some of us say, “enough dreaming,” and decide to live them. To leave the ‘once was’ behind us and expand our horizons, to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or a snow white beach with a gentle sea.  That’s what this lifelong New Yorker did. And it’s the best decision I have ever made in my life.


Dreams, we all have them, but some of us say, “enough dreaming,” and decide to live them. To leave the ‘once was’ behind us and expand our horizons, to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or a snow white beach with a gentle sea.  That’s what this lifelong New Yorker did. And it’s the best decision I have ever made in my life.

Two years ago I packed my belongings up, along with my courage and sense of adventure and came to Puerto Vallarta, the once sleepy fishing town on the Pacific turned into an international destination by the torrid love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Today P.V. is a vacationer’s and ex-pat’s dream of what life can really be like when the weather is great, the food is wonderful, the peso trades at around 20 to the dollar and the local people are the sweetest, gentlest souls you will ever meet.

Now you might say, “Irv, you sound like you have fallen in love.” And I would have to agree.  So many search for it but I have found it and so can you. The Chinese philosophers say, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” My advice, take that step. You will never know how rich and fulfilled your life can be until you spread your wings and soar.

I have had a lucky life. A Madison Avenue Mad Man, who wrote television commercials as a career and got to travel the world, but every time I came back to Mexico something happened. My heart rate dropped along with my blood pressure and the curve of my mouth turned into a smile that became a permanent feature. The locals have taught this sophisticated New York boy a lot about the real things in life. Something life in P.V. offers in abundance.

Today started early. My Chocolate Lab, Hershey, woke me at first light with that ‘take me out” look in her eyes. The sun was rising off my left terrace, east over the mountains and the jungle. Decisions decisions? Should I have a cup of Vera Cruz Cafe or Jaltenango Chiapas?  Mexican coffee is muy bueno. Should I sit on my right terrace and watch the surf roll in? The parasailers drift by and the pelicans dive for breakfast?

I can see the entire bay of Banderas from there. I can look South all the way to downtown P.V. and watch the cruise ships dock, look across the bay to the amazing beaches of Yelapa or look North to the charming villages of Bucerias, La Cruz, San Pancho, Punta Mita and Sayulita. Everyone of them as sweet as a churro, the scrumptious fried dough pastry stuffed with fruit and covered with cinnamon sugar that you can buy from the corner seller.

Last week Hershey and I discovered a giant sea turtle struggling up the dunes to lay her eggs. Her determination was amazing as she waddled up in slow motion to the exact spot that she was born. 45 days from then, the beach will be covered with hatchlings heading back to the waves. Thousands gather from around the world to help release them and wish the little ones ‘Bon Voyage.”

Off in the sparkling bay you can see whales breach as they come to the warm waters to calf their young. Often pods of dolphins swim by showing off their athletic twists and turns to the sea birds that cruise over them. There’s an island offshore called Marietas that features a hidden beach that is a collapsed crater with a swim-in beach that is one of the most romantic spots in the world.

The other night, driving back from dinner with one of the many friends I have made here, was “crabs crossing the road night.” Apparently all the land crabs got the memo and moved en masse from the forested side of town to the beach. None the night before, none the night after. I wish any of my three kids followed directions that well.

If you’re a foodie, start your taste buds, there’s an amazing taco stand on every corner and everyone has their favorite. If you’re a five starer, P.V. offers cuisines and cooking to rival anything you’ve ever eaten. But personally, I seek out the funky places that offer downhome authentic cooking at prices that make this New Yorker laugh. For the price of a pretzel and coke in Central Park, you could have a plateful of coconut shrimp, rice, salad and bread, a pina colada or two and leave a generous tip.

Culturally Mexico is a treasure. 8 of the world’s great advanced societies sprang up here, from the Olmecs to the Aztecs, with the Mayans and Incas in between. Scientists and archeologists still marvel at the buildings, astronomy, mastery of complex mathematics that these ancient people developed. Art lovers swoon over Diego Rivera’s murals and Frida Kahlo’s self portraits, but the galleries and museums attest to the fact that this famous pair were among hundreds of equally talented, though lesser known painters.

One thing I get asked a lot is about safety. There is no doubt that like any other place in the world you have to be smart and be sensible, NYC included, but I have never felt safer and more at ease anywhere. By and large, the only thing the Mexican people have stolen from me is my heart. From an early Amigo who brought this lonely blue eyed gringo home for Christmas Eve with his family of 40, an evening that is still one of the most precious and sweet memories of my life, to the lovely people I encounter everyday.  Even though my Espanol is paquito (little) it is not hard to translate the smiles, warmth and genuine affection you will feel from these people.

When my friends and family visit, which happens often when you live on the beach, I never tell them how I feel about the local people. I love watching them discover it for themselves. It is remarkable how unentitled these people feel. How hard they work, how charming they are. A team of 3 cleaning people was here last week. Now, I think I’m pretty neat, but they tore the place apart, cleaned it from top to bottom, did the windows, my laundry, and even cleaned the propane tank on my outdoor grill. They asked for $400 pesos, around $20 U.S. and I refused to give it to them. Too little for so much so I sprang for $500 pesos. Their attitudes, good humor and even affection for my big dog really knocked me out. I would say, “knocked my socks off,” but I haven’t had a pair on in maybe one year.

If you’re thinking of following my footsteps in the sand you need to be smart. Because you’re in a foreign place you need a trusted face. A team that not only understands the Mexican real estate market but the wants, needs and expectations of American and Canadian buyers.

Because of that, even though I am a great champion of local businesses and mom’s and pop’s, I choose a company with an international reputation and the resources, guidance and solid advice to find me my dream property. Every foreign purchase has its ins and outs which is why you need someone you can trust implicitly. Coldwell Banker at the P.V. Marina not only has the best listings, but the best people and they really do speak your language in more ways than one.

One thing I will promise you, if you have an open heart, a sense of adventure and really want to live a life that dreams are made of, you could not pick a better time or a better place than P.V. Condo or cottage, mansion or modest, you will find it here. Oh, and by the way, you can find Hellman’s Mayo and Heinz Ketchup, lactose-free milk and the one thing I will not do without, Half and Half at the many world-class grocery stores that are all over the town. Yes, and little local stalls, as well.

Healthcare is another area you need to know about. There are numerous top-ranked hospitals, doctors, dentists, surgeons here and Mexico is becoming a prime destination of medical tourism. That’s how good health care is down here. And health insurance is readily available.

Well, I hope I have opened your eyes a little and fueled your dream a little more. I am going to be posting my observations and things I think you should know from a blue-eye point of view. In the meantime, if there are specific things you would like to know, let me and Coldwell Banker know. I would love to share what I have discovered with you. I am no kid and I have been around so I know what I am talking about. My friends joke with me that I should be the minister of tourism because I rave about Mexico so much. But ministers get paid to rave, me, I’m doing it out of love.

Come share the dream

Saludos Irv