One thing I didn't think about at ALL before moving to Vallarta...
You haven't lived in Vallarta until you've felt something tickling your arm. You think it's a loose hair that fell off your head - you look down - there's a teeny tiny ant that you can barely see with your naked eye crawling on you.
Our first house in Gaviotas the first 2 1/2 years, was basically outdoor living... the terrace doors opened to the open fresh sea air of Puerto Vallarta. How exotic - until I started thinking about the critters. There were no screens. Surprisingly, there weren't that many critters, and definitely not as many mosquitoes as I'd imagined that would come in the house.
Our second/current place is a condo in Conchas Chinas with a view of the bay and a jungle next door. All the sliding doors have screens - YES! Only the front door does not. Because of the jungle, there are definitely lots more bugs, including mosquitoes.
Let's talk about four critters in particular...
We arrived at our new Puerto Vallarta home on a chilly December 2016 evening - our dusty home was empty and cold and we had a blow-up mattress and a small blanket to share.
I noticed two inch gaps under the doors and imagined what kind of critters would be crawling in and on me that night.
Ummmm, what's that chirping noise? It definitely wasn't the grasshoppers I was used to hearing in the midwest.
Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw a quick movement... GECKO - the chirping culprit! I don't know if I like that a lizzard is in the house, this freaked me out a little.
It didn't take long to love having cute gecko's in the house. They also eat bugs.
Cute, not so much.
There were a few spiders in our first PV home.... two in particular that I will always remember.
Memorable Spider #1
Todd spotted a very round spider, about the size of a dime in the kitchen. He grabbed a shoe and smacked it.
What happened next was like a scene in a horror film..... MILLIONS & BILLIONS of tiny tiny tiny spider babies went shooting in every direction all at once... it was the craziest creepiest thing we'd ever seen! There was screaming and shoes flying everywhere.
Memorable Spider #2
Again, in our kitchen, next to an outside door I noticed a huge shadow. Here we go, my worst nightmare - I was looking at the biggest spider I've ever seen in my life - approximately 7 inches in diameter with long legs. My mouth opened, and no sound came out. I was finally able to utter my husbands name.... 'Toooooodddd'.
Todd again grabbed a shoe. He went to smack the spider and I couldn't believe what I saw next. This spider was so fast that the shoe didn't come anywhere near it.... the spider laughed in our general direction and scampered away - fortunately outside.
That spider we discovered, is called a Huntsman - and that was the only time I saw a Huntsman in our first Vallarta home. Our second home is another story - I wrote a whole article about it! Click here to find out what happened.
There are any possible size of ant you can imagine in Vallarta.
There are large ants that stop by your flower boxes at night while you're sleeping and take away all your pretty flowers.
And there are the teeny tiny ants that can sneak into any sealed container in your kitchen - ANY. You have to put everything an ant would love in the refrigerator.
I've tried to be kind and nice to nature - I've tried every possible natural repellent possible under the sun - to no avail. The ants in Vallarta are persistent, stubborn as hell, and they are the smartest ants you'll ever meet.
I finally had to resort to several types of ant poison pellets and gel. Yah no, still a no go - they don't go near the stuff.
So I put my thinking cap on... what if I found their home and block it with gel poison, maybe that will force them to eat the gel and take it to the queen ant.
With flashlight in hand... i follow them, and follow them and follow them. And BAM, it could be the smallest hole in the world, and that's where they're going - must be their home. I put the gel in the hole - and they're gone! Victory!
Well, for a few days anyway.
This is a humid jungly area - and YES, there are huge cockroaches here. I've only seen a few inside both homes though... my guess is that the huntsman spiders or geckos take care of them.
Mosquitoes adore me, in the summer I wear Fight the Bite - a natural mosquito deterrent from Banderas SoapBlends in PV. Termites - yes they are here as well - you need to be mindful of your wood furniture and preferably use wood that they don't like, such as the parota wood that is grown in Mexico.
There are homes in Vallarta that have less bugs - the high-rise condo buildings on the ocean.... the wind from the bay and the height of the building must deter the bugs.
I've learned to accept the critters of Vallarta - it's a way of life.
Would I trade the critters to go back to my freezing cold rat race life in Chicago? Hell No! I appreciate our life here in more ways than you can imagine... mostly, we enjoy each day and have tons more freedom and laughter. We live each day instead of living to buy things and for the few weeks of vacation a year. Lovin' Vallarta!
If you liked this story, please write a comment below or send me an email.
If you missed my character Larleen, as she didn't make an appearance in this article, you can see her videos on YouTube here. Other videos are there as well, such as our first home tour.