A colonial port city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, Mazatlán boasts miles of beaches, good infrastructure and travel connections, and an enjoyable climate.
In this guide, you will talk about what life in Mazatlán is like, the areas, the costs, transport links, safety, amenities, infrastructure, and the downsides of this location.
This will help you understand whether Mazatlán can be the perfect destination for you to call home.
Is Mazatlán a good place to live?
An agreeable climate with a high standard of coastal living provides an attractive venture for those seeking the beauty of living on the ocean without commercialization and a high concentration of tourist resort-style areas.
The coastal area where Mazatlán is located is known as the ‘Mexican Riviera.’ It’s an excellent location if you enjoy outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, surfing, yachting, etc.
Mazatlán and the Mexican Riviera, on the whole, are less humid than other locations on the Pacific coast, such as Puerto Escondido or Puerto Vallarta, which some may find more agreeable.
You will find plenty of amenities here, from larger department stores and shopping malls to smaller tiendas that are local.
The downtown area has a European colonial vibe and look to it, with its plazas and courtyard restaurants with music and entertainment.
Galerias Mazatlán is very popular for shopping and eateries.
There are many cafes and restaurants here, where you can find delicious local dishes such as a super range of seafood from shrimp which is a specialty in Mazatlán as well as ‘ceviches’ and ‘aguachile’.
There has been a lot of regional investment in ports, roads, and various economic initiatives. Thanks to this, Mazatlán is set to become one of the best destinations in Mexico for expats in the near future.
Is Mazatlán a safe place to live?
Even though this town is noted for where drug cartel leader ‘El Chapo’ was captured on the boardwalk a few years ago, Mazatlán is a safe place to live, and expats and locals live well.
Both have the understanding that tourism and new expats form an important part of the economy, and the locals can have good businesses as a result.
Of course, one needs to take the usual precautions and be sensible. Don’t leave your belongings unattended, exercise caution at night, and don’t go to the areas you don’t know alone.
Expats in Mazatlán
There is a large expat community here that provides various tips and opportunities to get involved in local get-togethers and events.
Groups such as Mazatlán expats on Facebook can be a valuable source of information and can make connections and new friends easily.
As to the locals, you will find that Mexicans are friendly, and most speak good English because of the tourism in the region.
Travel links and transport
Mazatlán is located opposite the southern part of the Baja Peninsula.
A weekly car ferry weekly leaves Mazatlán to La Paz in Baja California Sur, as well as frequent cruise ships visiting from the US.
General Rafael Buelna International Airport has daily domestic flights and international flights to the USA and Canada. This popular destination for Americans is just one day’s driving distance from the US.
Open-air golf cart taxis ‘Pulmonias’ are a common form of transportation here.
Water taxis serve Stone Island (Isla de la Piedra) – an 8-mile-long beach with part of it lined with restaurants and cafes.
For traveling in the area and further away, see the destinations that Mazatlan Bus Station serves.
Hospitals and Healthcare in Mazatlán
You will find a good choice of walk-in medical clinics, hospitals, and doctors’ offices scattered all over Mazatlán. Walk-in medical clinics are in the tourist area and some of the major hotels.
There are private hospitals with good equipment and fully staffed to cater to emergencies – Sharp Hospital, Clinica del Mar, Divina Providencia, as well as Alma Medical Center, and Marina Mazatlan Hospital.
The government-run public hospitals are Hospital General (Social Security) and the Cruz Roja (Red Cross)
You can see a doctor here without a prior appointment during office hours, and house calls can be made for around 500 pesos ($50). As it is a smaller location compared to, say, Mexico City or Puerto Vallarta, there is less advanced technology here, and some complex illnesses may not be catered for.
There are several healthcare options for expats in Mexico, including private insurance and international health insurance plans.
International health insurance can be quite expensive. To make sure you get the best value for money, compare international health insurance options from various providers to find the best deal.
The pros of living in Mazatlán
- Good weather
- Similar lifestyle to the U.S but cheaper
- Good standard of public and private healthcare, as well as walk-in medical centers
- Many locals speak English, and there is a large expat community here
- Good transportation system
- No need for a car all the time, as the town is walkable and cyclable
- Good stores, from larger department stores and malls to local tiendas and restaurants, local markets, etc.
- Good cultural center – Angela Peralta theatre, dance, music, and local cultural events. Ciclotour and Carnival are the other events to note.
The cons of living in Mazatlán
- The downside can be that in some neighborhoods, it is common to see trash in the street.
- Drainage and facilities, especially in older properties, may not be modern
- There is petty crime.
- it can be hot and subject to tropical storms during the hurricane season between June to November
The cost of living in Mazatlán
Mazatlán is considered one of the most affordable locations on Mexico’s Pacific Coast and not as expensive as other locations further south, such as Puerto Vallarta.
The cost of living can be varied. However, almost anyone can find a property to suit their budget and taste.
Variations such as living in the historical quarter, marina area, golf course, retreat-style, condominium, and local family area living are reflected in the prices.
Property styles are varied, and there is a lot of property development underway. Mazatlán is undergoing a transformation and is an attractive location for expats.
You can buy a house here starting at around $100,000.
The average cost of renting is $650 for a one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment. A casa or condominium could be higher depending on the location.
If you are looking for a rental, either long or short-term, the Facebook group “Mazatlan Snowbird Rentals & Housesit” can be helpful.
Local transport is inexpensive, and groceries are well-priced.
The best areas to live in Mazatlán
Mazatlán can be divided into three zones, all of which offer something attractive to expats. There are also some very attractive and popular areas outside of Mazatlán as some expats prefer to be away from the buzz of the town.
El Centro with Playa Sur
El Centro is situated near the cruise ship dock where weekly ferries leave for La Paz in Baja California.
The causeway or water taxi serves Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island). Some ex-pats do live on the island, but the downside could be power outages and unreliable broadband during harsh weather.
El Centro Histórico
El Centro Histórico has many small ‘barrios’ with colonial buildings, casas, and apartments. It’s a vibrant area with lots of trendy European-style cafes, architecture, and local markets. Transport is easily available.
It can get noisy here with many social events going on throughout the year.
It’s also worth noting that some properties here have old-style internal features and plumbing. However, some of the buildings have recently been restored by new investors who have improved the infrastructure, drainage, and plumbing to more modern standards.
Malecon is a strip of boardwalk that stretches for a few miles between Avenida Gutierrez Najera and Avenida Rafael Buelna. There are lots of ‘palapa‘ style beach restaurants here. The area has high-end condominium towers along with small to medium-sized beach-facing hotels.
Luxury condos such as Las Gavias, the Paradise Bay Grand, or the brand-new Torre Me Condominium tower can be found here.
It is a lively area between the hotel and entertainment zones with restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, and bars.
Lomas de Mazatlán
This is a beautiful residential area with a nice variety of residences of all sizes and types. It is located just on the other side of the Golden Zone strip. It’s quiet and away from the main roads.
This is the main tourist area with well-known hotel chains and plenty of restaurants and entertainment. This is the area where you can easily find short-term apartment options to give you some time to look around properly.
This area has a gated community, ‘El Cid,’ with luxury homes, condominiums and a country club, and a golf course.
Luxury condominiums can be found on nearby Soritas beach at the Los Gaviotas Grande.
This is a quiet area with plenty of night entertainment and great beach access.
You can find a variety of high-end condominiums and townhouses here. Marina Mazatlán is situated away from the main part of town yet in a tranquil zone.
The marina area has luxury yachts and sailboats. If you love mall shopping, there are Sam’s Club, Walmart, and shopping malls such as the Liverpool Mall in Nuevo Mazatlán. Around this area, you can find a lot of new builds, and beach access is easy.
Cerritos starts at the marina north of Cerritos Beach. Here you can find a variety of high-end condominiums, townhouses, and luxury homes, most of which are privately owned but often rented out.
No stores, unfortunately, except for the little ‘tiendas’ such as Oxxo. It’s a tranquil area but again it is a long distance from town.
Final thoughts on living in Mazatlán
It’s an ideal location for those who enjoy a variety of options, from entertainment to beaches and varied vistas, as well as the added bonus of pleasantly warm summer months with less humidity.
Mazatlán is also an excellent base to discover other parts of Mexico as it has great road infrastructure in and out of Mazatlán to other parts of Mexico and the US.
Everyone can certainly find what they are searching for here!
Other popular locations in Mexico to consider:
- Living In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico As An Expat
- Living In The Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
- Living In Baja California Sur And La Paz As An Expat
- Living In Puerto Escondido, Mexico As An Expat
- Living In San Miguel De Allende
You might find helpful:
- Living In Mexico As An Expat – a detailed relocation guide to Mexico: residency and paperwork, where to live, the costs, the pros and cons, and how to settle down
- The Best Places To Live In Mexico For Expats – a detailed overview of the most popular expat locations in Mexico
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