Episode 14: Puerto Vallarta vs Playa del Carmen

In this week’s podcast, host, Jim Santos speaks to expats Kirsten and Mark Raccuia, whose journey to an overseas life started at an International Living conference back in 2012. At the time, they were convinced that they wanted to move to Costa Rica. As it turned out, the conference whetted their appetite for an entirely different location—Malaysia!

Kirsten and Mark are born travelers, though, and after a few happy years living on Malaysia’s island paradise, Penang, they felt the urge to explore some more. This time, it was a change of continent, culture, and language, but the laidback, happy expat life remained the same. They moved to Mexico in January 2022.

Compared to Penang, Mexico is huge. The Raccuias didn’t have any particular spot in mind, but one thing they knew was that they wanted to live by the beach. And they wanted to be warm all year round. In Mexico…that doesn’t narrow the field much. So, they dug a little deeper, and got stuck into some serious on-the-ground research.

Caribbean or Pacific? Old-World Colonial or Modern International? Dry and dramatic or green and lush? In the end, it came down to a battle between Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast, and Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean Riviera Maya.

Both spots have their fans, their attractions, and their advantages. Which would the Raccuias choose? And why?

Find out in the latest episode of International Living’s Bigger Better World podcast.

Read Kirsten’s article in the November issue of International Living magazine: Beach Towns Battle: Puerto Vallarta vs. Playa del Carmen

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