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Visiting Mazatlan in hopes of moving there

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12/2/2017 15:43 EST


My husband and I are retiring in the next year or so. He wants warm weather living in the winter and we've read a lot about Mazatlan. We are stopping there on a January cruise and wonder if anyone has some ideas of how to see the area in a general overview for the 10 hours we're there. Right now, we have a guided city tour to "get the lay of the land", and would even love to meet an expat that we can ask questions of about living there.

12/3/2017 08:13 EST

in order to get a feel for a place you need to go there and a few hours on a cruise sure as hell aint the way to do it.

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12/3/2017 10:47 EST

Katzgar is the new welcoming committee! Do you think they or anyone else needs your rants? What an ass you are!

12/3/2017 11:04 EST

Katzgar spews the same hatred on the Belize site too! Maybe just needs a big hug..... Many time those that need it the worst deserve it the least.

12/3/2017 12:38 EST

I didn't see katzgar's post as hateful so much as dismissive - the point, however, is well-taken. We emigrated to Mexico the first of October and have been living in Mazatlan ever since, and I am just now beginning to get a feel for the place. My spouse came down in July and found us a condo on which we took a year's lease. I didn't respond to mlboyer's post immediately because I probably don't have the answers to her questions, but I am certainly willing to talk to her and her husband when they visit. It's nice and warm here in the daytime in the winter, it's true, and it gets cool but not cold at night.

However, the locals say it is unbearably hot in the summer, but my impression is that depends on what you can personally bear - it was hot for the entire month of October, but I found it quite tolerable, what with the Sea of Cortez being about 5 minutes from where we live. Also I almost immediately came to appreciate the benefits of the afternoon siesta!

Anyone thinking of making this move must understand that Mexico is another country, with its own language, traditions and culture - actually a very rich and robust culture - and some flexibility is absolutely necessary. While living and eating well is much less expensive than it is in the states, some things (like electronics) are more expensive and many things are just not available. This society is not organized around "things."

That being said, Mazatlan has some of what must be the best food and the warmest, friendliest people on the planet. We had our next door neighbors over for dinner about 5 weeks after we arrived, and neither of them is too much better at English than we are at Spanish, but we had a great time anyway, mostly learning to understand each other, and I don't mean only language-wise.

If you are the curious type and you are willing to experiment and explore - and if you like color - it can be the premier experience of your life. There is a fellow who sells fresh (that morning fresh) giant tiger prawns on the beach where we take our morning walk. He peels and deveins them expertly after you buy them - enough to feed 4 people for around $10.00.

Viva Mexico!

12/3/2017 13:57 EST

Great post, very informative.

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12/3/2017 15:54 EST

Yes I agree, no idea why is such a downer. So many choices of places to settle in MX. Beach areas, will be somewhat higher, weather from May to Oct can be brutal, keep in mind CFE (electric) is high considering air conditioning. Many F/timers head to the mountains and rent during the hot mos. I don't know if you will be full time. LAKE Chapla/Ajijic is the biggest ex pat area in the mountains near Guadalajara..beautiful area. Take your time, don't buy too quick, rent to see if an area fits your needs. Check State Dept warning lists..Matazlan was a disaster, drug wars, but supposedly not as bad now. Cabo is new target now. But as I tell people situationAL awreness is key..Most violence is between gangs..Guarantee it's worse in the states. Good Luck in your hunt, Mexico is retirement paradise.

12/3/2017 16:09 EST

Thank you for your replies - much appreciated.

No, we definitely know we need to spend more than a day there - most likely by renting for some length of time - but, this cruise we're on happens to stop in Mazatlan for a day.

Mazatlan (from what we've been researching) seems to make available a lot of what we're looking for: lower living expenses, warmer weather for winter (and easier outdoor activities), golf and fishing for hubby, volunteer work for me...

I'm a travel agent and although Europe is where I travel most, I thoroughly understand and accept that the rest of the world doesn't have the conveniences and niceties that we're used to here in the states.

Hubby would love to meet up with someone who can give us a perspective on their move, why Mazatlan, housing, crime, daily activities, are American's accepted, buying/renting, rule of law ( minor traffic accidents, issues with landlords), what's been the biggest negative/positive surprise, etc.

We've looked at comparison's for retirement in Europe, Central America, and Africa, but it seems to be more financially advantageous to make the move to Mexico.

Lunch would be on us. :)

12/3/2017 21:34 EST

You’ll need more than 10 hours to make an informed decision. Way more.

12/4/2017 08:54 EST

An interesting part of the process of exploring your retirement destination and in the “redefining” of your new life will be exactly what you are doing here on this forum. The internet is a starting point as well as an ongoing source for ideas , answers , lots of personal opinions and a way of reducing the redundancy associated with a new adventure. For every unhappy and self righteous poster there are dozens of us eager to be a small part of the positive aspects of the journey we are all on.
And to your topic. We owned a condo in Manzanillo for 9 years, and wintered there progressively longer each year. Two years ago we started questioning that for a permanent , full time move, maybe we should first explore other places in Mexico. My wife was also a travel agent and we had already eliminated ( at least for us) any other countries. So we sold the condo a year ago and spent last winter in Ajijic on Lake Chapala. Certainly there is a reason over 10,000 expats call that area home. And without a doubt IMHO all potential “coming to Mexico” retirees should spend a bit of time there to see if the mild weather, large English speaking community, abundance of familiar activities combined with the Mexican culture will fit your needs. However the Lake is not the ocean and the wording: “ mild temperature” may not mean what you are looking for. So for us, the search continues and Matzalan is on our list to go explore. We are hoping for a little less heat and humidity as was Manzanillo in August thru Early November and at the same time the ability to embrace the local life as we were able to do in Manzanillo. Thus we will be very interested in your findings and if you do move there , please be sure in keeping this community informed.

12/4/2017 12:35 EST

We bought in 2001, didn't retire until 2010..did a lot of homework, studying trust process etc..I agree with u MX is the best bang for the buck, along with quick cheaper access to US as needed.

12/4/2017 12:52 EST

Thanks for that post. It really helps those of us who are considering that area to hear a "positive" perspective. Hope to be there early "18".

12/4/2017 13:05 EST

Having been to 25 states in Mexico and have lived in Guadalajara, Veracruz, Michoacan and Aguascalientes, I beleive you must spend one month in a place to start to get a "feel" for the local economy, culture, weather, etc.

I love the climate in Aguascalientes as it is temperate year round. I live in Yuma, AZ but can not handle the summer heat any more.

12/4/2017 13:14 EST

Thank you, CeeZee,

Your view is a huge help.

12/6/2017 08:22 EST

Hello. I noticed you have Manzanillo experience. I became enamored of Manzanillo years ago and have always dreamt of it as a retirement possibility. Do you have any recommendations on how to find an inexpensive rental property? Thank you.

12/7/2017 13:03 EST

Here is an informative article on GOLF in Mazatlán, you may enjoy as part of your research. It is from last year 2016.
It is by Jed Vaughn and he says: "If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful city of Mazatlán, treat yourself to an awesome golf experience with a stay-and-play package featuring unlimited golf."

12/7/2017 13:29 EST

Thank you, Mormor01!

12/7/2017 16:31 EST

Manzanillo rentals:
Hola: rentals can be expensive if short time and in high season. These are two of the local agents who also do property management.
Gerry Szakics at:
Dan Marrinson

If you are looking long term and not "vacation style"; then I would recommend coming and staying for a week or so at a local hotel and checking bulletin boards etc.

12/8/2017 17:25 EST

Thank you. I do intend to come down after the holidays for a reconnaisance trip. Prior I want to gain a sense of cost of housing. When I'm ready to move, within the next few months, it will be permanent.

12/8/2017 18:21 EST

We have friends who pay 600 usd / month for a 2 bedroom house in a Mexican family neighbourhood. Backyard small pool. You would need to add internet etc. I know of a 3 bedroom condo near the beach, gated complex, pool etc. The rent is 1000 usd monthly however would be less for full time.
Then it goes up for oceanfront condos which range from 1400 usd to 2800.
Houses near or on the beach, will be 1800 and up

12/8/2017 18:26 EST

Thank you. $600 is in my target range, I'm trying to create a comfortable, not extravagant, life for $2,000 a month total expenses. Is that doable?

12/9/2017 06:56 EST

Certainly $2000 usd a month is doable. Although lots of variables and your personal choices will impact this,
Based on our costs annually.
Accommodations : we owned and had condo fees, taxes and a bank trust.
1) A renter will have rent, ( say $600.00 )
2) power ( will depend on how much AC usage) but plan on $150.00 a month
3) Gas for stove and Hot water: average $30.00 a month.
4) Internet . Mid package at $45.00 a month
5) Food : shop in markets where you can and change to a more localized diet. You should be able to stay within $4-500.00 a month .
6) social and eating out $200.00 a month
7) cell phone at $12.00 a month
8) transportation. Assume no car, then should easily be able to stay under a hundred a month $100.00
9) medical/ health insurance: big variable of course and depends on age as well, but for sake of budget , join IMSS , Mexican health plan at say $ 70.00 a month plus plan for budget an extra $40.00 a month for direct medical..
Television. Many use Canadian cable or you can go local cable at Telecable. Say $50.00
Total in the $1800. to 1900.00 range.
Now that’s a pretty basic life
Add in trips to the US, hobbies, sports, liquor, imported foods,
The obvious is finding a suitable rental at your price range.

12/9/2017 15:25 EST

Please do yourself a big favor...pick out a few cities in Mexico that the climate is what you desire & spend at lease 2 weeks in each city. When you spend only a week in a country/city=you are a tourist...but by spending more time in a can get a feel of how actually living there might be. also...start studying conversational español immediately. Buena Suerte !

12/9/2017 18:50 EST

I don't know, SkyMan - I pretty much knew about Mazatlan after 4 or 5 days. I have only been here three months now but I am pretty sure I was right.

However, your advice about learning some conversational Spanish is golden - I worked right up until about 5 days before I was on my way out of the country and the first month here was a struggle due to the language difference. It's better now, though.

An excellent piece of advice I *was* able to follow said to buy a book called "There's a Word for It in Mexico" by Boye Lafayette De Mente. It is an engaging but incredibly informative primer on Mexican thought and culture, and it is a Godsend!

12/9/2017 23:10 EST

Here is another interesting link about Mazatlán you might enjoy:
and this one:

12/10/2017 08:01 EST

Yes, you can live on $2k a month. Matazlan is a big city, take your time finding the right location, drive around areas of interest watching for renta signs. Remember MX has no zoning like the US. There are gated communities too..get on some Matazlan boards, Google it. Good Luck.

12/10/2017 12:08 EST

Thanks. What about Manzanillo? Manzanillo is my preferred destination.

12/10/2017 12:34 EST

Manzanillo is a stretched out strip of a city, with an old town & commercial port section to the south, and a more modern residential area with some tourist sections to the north.. It is not a big tourist destination, but does have a modest expat population, primarily in the northern parts. It is hot & humid in the summer, but quite nice in the winter months.

4/19/2018 17:54 EST

Here is my friend Veronica . She's a Architect by education & Profession. Any one of us give me any direction to find a suitable professional job for her. She's in Puebla & she would like to work here / or a place close to Puebla, Mexico. Thanks!


4/19/2018 18:00 EST

My email is


Alex Ali

4/20/2018 16:37 EST

Larry has said it very well: Go, visit, relax, adapt and enjoy.
Mazatlan is a wonderful city and would be my choice for a coastal location. It is not too touristy, has tolerable summer weather, is both sophisticated and fun-loving, has great seafood and is very friendly.

4/20/2018 16:48 EST

The new US STEP MX report by state came out today. Good idea to take a look at the report. I know some poo poo the report, but it is based on crime stats.

4/22/2018 12:01 EST

Katz...I agree wholeheartedly. Spend 10 hrs. there=you are a day-tripper. Spend a week there=you are a tourist. Spend a month are checking it out. You gotta spend some "real time" any city, any order to have a good "feel" for the city, it's neighborhoods, normal shopping, safety, etc. Buena Suerte ! Tranquilo.

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