Interrupting the regularly scheduled series of Travel Tools on Tuesdays, new posts on Thursdays, and Seven on Saturdays for a bit of a life update/rant…
In a little under 3 years, we’ve now moved in Mexico 6 times.
Just a few months ago, we moved from Puebla to Puerto Vallarta, and we definitely didn’t plan on moving again so soon (goodness gracious do I hate moving).
Unfortunately, the “dream” condo we rented at Portamar turned into a nightmare.
Puerto Vallarta Portamar: looks peaceful at the pool, not so much when termites are flying around and the condo is filled with black mold
We quickly realized things weren’t quite as idyllic as they seemed.
The suspicions started with having our move-in date changed — after we’d already moved all of our furniture in — and were exacerbated by not having running water, but the shitshow really kicked off the day we personally started living in the condo, as we found out the property manager had covered up an insanely MASSIVE termite infestation when the spackle-covered hidey-holes burst open and thousands of flying termites filled the air and their landbound buddies spilled out across our walls, floors, and furniture.
I’ll go into the full story at a later date, which I thought would top-out at the reckless airborne application of insecticide poison while I was in the room but really hit the climax with our ceiling falling in and a waterfall spouting out of what was our master bedroom closet — with lesser leaks throughout the bedroom — spraying our furniture and all of our clothes with brown, smelly liquid. And repeat: every. single. time. it rained heavily, until we gave up on the third water-filled night (we didn’t have near enough buckets for all those leaks, and after the first night of leakage our property manager basically threw in the towel and stopped responding) and hustled our furniture upstairs in a sweaty hurry.
For now, I’ll tell you this: if a rat-tailed Juan Carlos is involved in your rental, RUN. He double-dips in his scams, so landlords beware as well, unless you look forward to ending up with a black mold-filled, collapsed-ceiling mess of what was once a very nice real estate investment.
Everything is working out, we’re currently moving from our moldy mole hole into a standalone house, only one piece of furniture was irrepairably ruined (six others were damaged but most survived the plagues), and we’ve learned some very important lessons.
What was once our closet, a case study:
(Left) Before the deluge started, and only a steady trickle was leaking
(Middle) After the waterfall erupted on the first night and the ceiling fell in but before they patched it back up
(Right) After they patched it up but didn’t fix the actual problem or dry out the soaked flooring and black mold began to sprout everywhere (note: they removed the light, electricty + water = no bueno)
Like, always have the direct contact information for your landlord (and landlords, you should check in with your tenants at least once, to know if your agent is telling you it’s all good but in actuality all the walls are leaking and all the air conditionings were improperly installed by your manager’s clueless cousin and all your wood is being eaten by a termite nation), because your property manager/agent might be screwing over everyone involved.
And get EVERYTHING in writing (like proof of the $2000USD deposit we paid, which was twice the amount the owner apparently knew about — our ol’ buddy Juan Carlos had a pretty profitable scheme going — luckily we’d demanded a comprobante for our payment and could show evidence).
Also, know that your safety is worth more than any money in the world. We stayed in what was, retrospectively, a very hazardous, unhealthy situation for way too long because we didn’t want to have to fork out the high expense of moving (money, and also time, which is even more valuable than money), lose our deposit, and because it just isn’t fair.
the color of the lovely water that was spouting from the ceiling and covering our walls, our furniture, and our selves. Note: this 20 gallon bin was under only 1 of the many leak points and had to be emptied twice before the waterfall slowed down, on the second major night of leaking
So, all this unexpected moving out and moving in and packing and preparation has put a serious dent in my schedule (and our wallets, boohoo).
It sucks. It’s not pretty. It’s not fun. It’s definitely not what I want to be writing or thinking or sharing about.
But in the spirit of being more transparent about all the aspects of life abroad, and life in general, on this blog, I’m sharing this explanation with you now.
And, in an effort to be more kind with myself instead of hustling forward regardless my current situation, I’ll be taking full ass advantage of working for myself: I’m taking a little blogging hiatus until the move has been completed, everything is unpacked, and I have some breathing room. I’ll also be stepping back from Instagram, though I’ll try to post on Stories or put up a photo now and then. Doesn’t mean you have to be a stranger: send me an email in the meantime (steph @ joyandjourney.com)! I’d love to hear from you.
Because, to be completely honest, I need a little bit of mindspace, some time away from the blogosphere. I feel seriously bummed about the events of the past 4 months: a few people taking advantage of a bunch and compromising their safety for the sake of some shady side dollars. I feel frustrated by the lack of tenant protections in this country we’ve chosen to call home (though I LOVE YA, in general, Mexico), by all of the scams, and by the lack of retribution or prevention. Like, there’s nothing to stop any of this from continuing to happen.
I don’t want to have to constantly doubt people and imagine the worst. It’s literally the opposite of how I tend to live my life, and how I want to live my life. I want to see the best, see the good, see the potential. How do I live my ideals while also protecting myself and being realistic? < That’s a question for reals. Let me know. I’m lost.
Moving to Puerto Vallarta yourself? I’ll be publishing a guide on renting an apartment/house in Puerto Vallarta (“how-to”s and “what not to do”s) soon, but in the mean time, I can recommend these two agents as being trustworthy:
Francisco Vidal (VRM) email@example.com / +52-322-155-2775 (whatsapp)
Maggie del Toro +52 322-116-5868 (whatsapp), also speaks English
You can also feel free to email me, and I will share the full name of the property agent who scammed us, and the name of the real estate agent who had recommended him as “extremely trustworthy” and as her very special friend to speed the process along, but then ignored our calls when we realized he was screwing us over, to prevent you from falling into the same situation.
If you have had a good or a bad experience renting in Puerto Vallarta that you’d like to share, please send your story to steph @ joyandjourney.com , with as much or as little detail as you’d like. If you have a property agent, landlord, or specific property you’d like to recommend or suggest avoiding, please send to me as well. I’m trying to compile a more comprehensive guide to renting in Puerto Vallarta, to help out future renters who might be as clueless as we once were.