Last updated on Jan 18, 2023
Summary: The approximate population of Mazatlan, Mexico is 463,000. People describe Mazatlan as a vibrant, beach-side city with a rich cultural heritage. Expats love the relaxed atmosphere, the friendly locals, the beautiful beaches, and the low cost of living. The weather in Mazatlan is generally warm and sunny year-round, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-90s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living for an expat is relatively low. A one bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $400 to $800 USD per month, while a two bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 USD per month.
What do I need to know about living in Mazatlan?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Mazatlan, they said:
"Do it! Mazatlan is a wonderful place to live! We have annual Carnaval and Motorcycle Week celebrations, and there is always some activity going on. There is drug violence, but it is extremely rare for expats to be affected in any way by it. Use the same cautions you would use in any large city. Bring only your electronics, clothes, and things you absolutely can't live without, because moving your goods is very expensive, and prices for replacing them here are very reasonable. Learn as much Spanish as you can (of course!); for a tourist city there were not as many English speaking merchants and service people as I thought there would be. Make an effort to speak Spanish to the people, even if you mangle the language, they will think much more highly of you for trying," remarked another expat who made the move to Mazatlan.
How do I meet people in Mazatlan?
When we asked people living in Mazatlan about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:
"MazInfo Yahoo Group and Sunday get-together, MazAmigos get-together, several ladies and mens lunches held weekly, Tourist Aide volunteers, Amigos de los Animals shelter volunteering, La Vina church, Friends of Mexico, American Library, discussion groups, exercise and dance classes, karaoke nights, walking the Malecon (seawalk), reading the Pacific Pearl and Maz Messenger magazines for activities schedules," added another expat who made the move to Mazatlan.
Will I be able to find a job in Mazatlan?
When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Mazatlan, they reponded:
"Most expats here are retirees, but I do know several people who operate their own businesses, such as computer repair, construction, publishing, operating restaurants, teaching English. Most expats who are employees, have either been sent here by their foreign employers, or sell real estate or timeshares--and with the current economy, they are struggling with that," remarked another expat living in Mazatlan, Mexico.
What is life like in Mazatlan?
When we asked people living in Mazatlan what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:
"For expats, Mazatlan is a very small town in a large city! It is easy to meet other expats, and we look out for one another. Walk through Centro, the tourist zone, or down the Malecon and odds are good that you'll see someone you know! Most of us are involved in at least one volunteer effort, trying to help make the lives of our gracious hosts just a little better. The citizens of Mazatlan are great people! Family is the most important thing, but people are very involved in earning a living, watching our baseball team (Venados), and enjoying life by the ocean," said another expat in Mazatlan.
What do expats in Mazatlan appreciate most about the local culture?
"The love of family. The societal urge to celebrate everything and anything possible. The pace of life. The priorities of day to day living. I love the way we greet each other. I like the impromptu-ness of life here (unless I'm in the frustrated stage from above)," added another expat who made the move to Mazatlan.
What do expats find most challenging?
"Getting used to the acceptance of bureaucracy, the lack of urgency, the hierarchy of society and wondering where I fit sometimes. The gender roles - I get really upset when my wife asks a question and I get the answer. I really hate it when a National assumes that I am a snowbird, a vacationing tourist or a retired person. The locals are really not used to people our age (in our 40's) moving here working and raising a family. They have trouble categorizing us. That has made it a little hard to make local friends, but we are persistent and it is starting to pay off. We ask things like when is the first day of school. In the States that is a reasonable request and when you get an answer it is a certainty. Here, it is a moving target. That fact is not mentioned in the answer and we have to get used to asking back after the answer (to almost anything), "might that change?"," remarked another expat who made the move to Mazatlan.
Is there a lot of crime in Mazatlan?
We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:
"There is a lot of crime here, but we see very little of it, as the "tourist" areas a somewhat sheltered from it. We don't have a lot of trouble with pickpockets or muggings. We were robbed in our house one night, but our house had a vulnerable window and it was a crime of opportunity. We have secured that window and have had no more trouble in the past 10+ years. There is some amount of problem with people stealing copper pipes and wires from roofs," explained one expat living in Mazatlan, Mexico.
Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Mazatlan accepting of differences?
"I don't think there is as much diversity here as there is in other parts of the world, or even other parts of Mexico. I get the impression that most Mexicans here were born and raised in Mazatlan, or came here because they had family here. But they are very tolerant of us crazy expats! Economically, Mazatlan is very diverse. Besides being a tourist destination, we are the home of Pacifico Beer, and one of the largest shrimping fleets in the world! Mazatlan is also a major port for import/export. So we have a lot of "little worlds" going on within our larger one," explained one expat living in Mazatlan, Mexico.
What are the pros and cons of living in Mazatlan?
Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Mazatlan responded:
"I love the weather. It's only rained twice in the last 3 months. The beaches and Malecon are clean and beautiful. However the trash issue is obvious everywhere else although the city is making a noticeable effort. The stray dogs are an issue in town if you are a pet owner. The rent is super cheap but sometimes so are the amenities so don't expect to find a bathtub in any home and most hotels and remember, even with such affordable housing you get what you pay for in the end. The people are a mixed bag. But mostly great with foreigners because that's their bread and butter. I have only encountered a few anti-Americans and the young adult generation don't think twice about it," added one expat living in Mazatlan.
"Petty theft can be found in most places. I do feel it is worse in Mazatlan than back in the US. I feel mostly safe," commented one expat who moved to Mazatlan.
What type of social life can someone expect in Mazatlan?
When we asked expats and global nomads about their social experiences in Mazatlan, they replied:
"I have found that the living outside of the tourist zone in the city center to be somewhat more challenging when it comes to social experiences," remarked another expat living in Mazatlan.
"Easy to meet people, ex-pats or native. However, there is a feeling of too many gangsters...and very poor citizens," said one expat living in Mazatlan.
"Learn the language as quickly as possible to avoid paying the "Gringo" price everywhere you go and realize that you will find little privacy but a certain amount of isolation if you aren't careful," said an expat in Mazatlan.
What are medical services in Mazatlan like?
When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Mazatlan, they replied:
"I am extremely happy with the broad range of specialized medicine and the large number of physicians in Mazatle°n. And they all cater to expatriates and foreign tourism," commented one expat living in Mazatlan, Mexico.
"The health care here/Mexico is not as good as the US. I get free health care paid by my former employer. Thailand health care is better IMHO," remarked another expat living in Mazatlan.
About the Author
Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.
- Expat Guide to Mazatlan
- Healthcare & Health Insurance in Mazatlan
- Healthcare & Health Insurance in Mexico
- Best Places to Live in Mexico
- Real Estate in Mexico
- 9 Important Tips about Healthcare for Expats in Mexico
- Pros and Cons of Living in Mexico 2023
- 2023 Guide to Moving to Mexico
- Members Talk about the Cost of Living in Mexico