Upon retiring 25 years ago, we spent a great deal of time traveling the world in search for the perfect retirement haven. Twenty two years ago we selected Puerto Vallarta, Mexico as the location for our main retirement residence.
Vallarta, located on the Mexican Riviera and only two to four hours from most major cities in the US, offers all of the modern day conveniences, numerous activities for retirees, fine dining and social life, and perfect weather for almost eight months of the year, from October through May. During those months, the average daily temperature is 73*F with an average monthly rainfall of less than 0.4 inches of rain; in other words, more than 97% of the days are absolutely ideal for golfing, tennis, fishing, or whatever outdoor activity interests you.
The weather in Vallarta during the summer months of June through September is similar to that of Houston, Texas with high temperatures during the daytime and evening showers almost every other night. Due to the oppressive tropical summers, most of the retirees living in Vallarta use this time period for travel or visiting their friends and families back in the States or Canada.
We have selected the Lake Tahoe area as our summer residence for those months where the average daily temperature is 68*F with an average monthly rainfall of less than 0.3 inches of rain; resulting in sunny days more than 93% of the summer time period and absolutely ideal conditions for all outdoor activities.
By combining Vallarta with Tahoe, we are pretty much assured of perfect weather year round with a better than 95% probability of a sunny day tomorrow. In fact, the annual rainfall in our world averages about four inches, which is comparable to a single thunder storm in most other regions of the world!
Aside from perfect weather for eight months in Vallarta and four months in Tahoe, there are a number of other similarities to be found between these two beautiful areas. Both have magnificent mountainside and water views. Tahoe is nestled along the southern shore of the 22 mile long Lake Tahoe, the second deepest lake in the US and eighth deepest in the world, measuring 1,645 feet at its deepest point. Vallarta is nestled on the south shore of the 25 mile diameter Banderas Bay, one of the deepest bays in the world, measuring 3,000 feet at its deepest point.
Pines are abundant in Tahoe whereas palms are abundant in Vallarta. Many of the colorful birds in Tahoe are blue jays and red cardinals whereas many of Vallarta’s are yellow and black orioles and green parrots. While brown bears roam the mountainsides around Lake Tahoe scavenging for scraps of food, crocodiles are doing the same around Vallarta’s ponds; beware of both!
The mountain views are simply majestic with 3,000 foot elevation changes in every direction, providing spectacular horseback riding and hiking trails around both areas. Golf, tennis, fishing, and boating are just a few of the many daytime activities available in both cities. The rolling hills and shorelines provide the perfect terrain for some of the most beautiful golf courses found anywhere. Very active nightlife in both cities can be enjoyed in the wonderful restaurants and nightclubs. Of course, South Lake Tahoe, Nevada is famous for its world class casinos but few know that Vallarta also has a new casino with slot machines; more are sure to come if and when gambling is fully legalized in the area.
Although both of these clean, safe, and visitor friendly areas host millions of tourists annually, Puerto Vallarta, with its 350,000+ inhabitants is substantially more populated than the Greater Lake Tahoe Basin which has only 55,000 permanent residents. In order to serve the residents and tourists, each area has at least three modern hospitals, a number of schools and university branches, modern shopping centers, and all the services required to support the people in the area. Both areas have high speed internet service and satellite TV, however mail delivery in Vallarta is terribly slow and it’s virtually non-existent in many of the communities around Lake Tahoe.
Puerto Vallarta has a huge modern airport, whereas Lake Tahoe is accessed from the Reno Airport which is approximately 40 miles away. There are three huge modern marinas with moorage for 1,200 large yachts in the Puerto Vallarta area and there are a number of small marinas scattered around Lake Tahoe for docking smaller boats used on the lake. Vallarta has a huge modern Maritime Terminal serving the passenger cruise ships that arrive daily; obviously, there is no such Maritime Terminal in the Tahoe area! On the other hand, Tahoe has a number of beautiful ski lodges, and again quite obviously, Vallarta has no such lodges!
In summarizing, for those of you fortunate baby boomers wondering what to do with the rest of your life and where to do it, we suggest that you seriously consider this combination of retirement areas; Puerto Vallarta during the winter months and Lake Tahoe during the summer months represents the very best of both worlds.