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fatalbert

May 13, 2006, 10:43 AM

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New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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I have no doubt that this sort of post has been addressed frequently on these pages, but I will soldier on while appealing to the patience of those with local knowledge.

Briefly (my intent, anyway), I am planning to visit Mazatlan this summer with a view to eventually retiring there after selling my house in Oregon -- perhaps at the end of this year. I am single, recently retired, and of modest means (will have the proceeds of my home sale and about $1,200 monthly Social Security). My initial questions are these:

The trip -- I am taking the advice I've read and going in summer so I will be seeing (feeling) the worst of the heat & humidity there. I can stay no more than about 2 weeks on this trip and will be flying in. I wish to explore modestly-priced beach communities in which, after I return someday, I might rent a home for at least the short-to-mid-term while watching for a likely home purchase. So, what would you (kind) locals recommend for where I might find a lower-priced 1-to-2 week rental in town for this initial foray, and could you also suggest modes of transportation to do my exploration of (I assume) outlying beach areas? I will rent a car if so advised, but am wondering if there are practical cheaper options for a mostly-English speaker.

I'm not interested in "tourist/vacation" resorts or tour packages. I just want to experience the day-to-day life while looking around for a likely place to later reside. If any of you can recommend websites to narrow my search, I would be grateful. And I dearly hope all the above glop made sense to the reader.



Marlene / Moderator


May 13, 2006, 12:29 PM

Post #2 of 22 (9984 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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There are lower priced hotels though they are quite busy in summer, and for your first visit it is nice to be able to see the ocean. For a short (1 - 2 week) stay there are several budget style oceanview hotels. Among them are the Hotel La Siesta and the Belmar in Olas Altas. This area has become popular with northern folk since it is the newly refurbished historial center and easy to walk around exploring, shopping, eating, etc. There are also some well-priced hotels in Playa Norte area (between Olas Altas and the Golden Zone). The beaches are better in Playa Norte than in Olas Altas but you probably won't have time to sit on the beach much anyway if you are exploring. Hotels to try in Playa Norte are Hotel Sands/Arenas, Hotel De Cima, or Hotel Hacienda (a little higher priced than the others). Any budget hotels in the beach areas may be a little noisy during the summer since it is national tourist season and we get lots of visitors coming to the beach.

To properly explore and to ensure you don't get lost you will need a map. You can do your exploring by bus (the large green ones are air-conditioned). Traffic is insane lately so you would become very frustrated very quickly trying to drive yourself around. With the buses you can't go wrong, and you can do inexpensive sight-seeing this way. Mazatlan is spread along many kms. of beaches so there is no need to go out of the area to find beaches.

You can find reasonably priced rentals not far from the beach. These won't be tourist vacation style rentals in the lower price ranges and it does take time to search them out. These kinds of rentals are almost never in the newspapers. It is word-of-mouth. I know some foreigners living quite close to the ocean renting for under $200.00 US a month. A friend of ours put the word out and found a decent little house for $150.00 US close to a market and about 2 blocks to the beach. It will all depend on your expectations because rentals in Mexico are different. Neighborhoods are generally noisier than we are used to so that will take getting used to. You need to spend time in the neighborhood you are considering, both in the early mornings and in the evenings to determine noise levels, barking dog situations, traffic flow etc. This is a point many don't consider and it really can be a BIG problem after awhile. This is especially important for those thinking of buying no matter what the realtor tells you. It is a little more difficult to pack up and move if you own the house. The best time to buy a house is in rainy season because we do have some storm drain issues in Mazatlan and not all realtors will mention this.

There are different thoughts on arriving in summer for a short time to test the climate. Some say it takes getting used to over time and feels different once you live here a season or two. Actually the summer is not the worst time. September and the beginning of October are VERY uncomfortable. The humidity combined with high temperatures make it brutal and people begin to get cranky waiting for the temperatures to subside. Some people refuse to tolerate summer and Fall here and head north or to other parts of Mexico. There are tricks to surviving summer and Fall here you will pick up along the way (aside from the 2 or 3 showers needed daily). Locals carry a little towel around, plus the men wear cotton undershirts under their shirts. Tourists always carry a bottle of water where the locals are more inclined to stop by a food stand for an ice cold drink of Jamaica or other water drink. Many local women tend to use umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun if out walking in the heat of the day. The tourists generally wear wide-brimmed hats.

You will enjoy your visit no matter when you come, since there is always something to do.


ncferret

May 14, 2006, 4:55 AM

Post #3 of 22 (9962 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Since you were looking for web sites about Mazatlan, I thought I would suggest two -

http://www.maztravel.com/

and

http://www.maztravel.com/kwiki/index.cgi

Almost all of your questions will be answered and there are many excellent articles on life in Mazatlan outside of the "tourist" areas. There is also quite a bit of information on relocating to Mexico and Mazatlan in particular.

Another site you might try if you have more detailed questions on Mazatlan is - http://www.whatsupmaz.com/

Good luck!


fatalbert

May 14, 2006, 10:19 AM

Post #4 of 22 (9945 views)

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Re: [Marlene] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Marlene,

I am struck by your kindness in so definitively answering my post. I think I will indeed wait until September to visit as you advised, because I do tend to suffer from heat and humidity, and need to determine its effect before considering the area for relocation.

Thank you so much for your informative recommendations.

Al Foster


fatalbert

May 14, 2006, 10:27 AM

Post #5 of 22 (9943 views)

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Re: [ncferret] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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ncferret,

They look like great sites. Bookmarked and waiting for me.

Mazatlan is so beautiful in its pictures. Thanks a million for your help.

Al Foster


Marlene / Moderator


May 14, 2006, 11:32 AM

Post #6 of 22 (9934 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Maybe Dee or someone else will chime in here too, but that short time is the very worst you would see and judging the whole year from arriving at the worst time maybe is not the best thing to do. The part of the year from late October (when hurricane season ends) is very pleasant until May when humidity begins to slowly creep back into our daily lives. Anyway, the humidity gives us something to complain about besides the traffic and rising prices and believe it or not you do get used to it. We get a really good break on electricity (for air conditioning) during the hot months.


slats

May 14, 2006, 1:30 PM

Post #7 of 22 (9924 views)

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Re: [Marlene] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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We get a really good break on electricity (for air conditioning) during the hot months.


Did I read that right? You get a price break on electricity during peak usage times? How un-American!


MazDee

May 14, 2006, 5:25 PM

Post #8 of 22 (9908 views)

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Re: [Marlene] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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I agree with Marlene. I do not like September at ALL, but would not consider moving elsewhere because of that. My solution is to make a couple of trips cooler areas during August and September. Even if you are living on a budget, you should be able to afford inexpensive trips to higher and drier locations within Mexico. While here in Mazatlan during that time, I just spend more time at home and in other places with air conditioning. Go to the movies, the supermarket, the mall... you get through it. Anyway, come visit when you can enjoy yourself!


Marlene / Moderator


May 14, 2006, 9:44 PM

Post #9 of 22 (9893 views)

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Re: [slats] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Quote
How un-American!

Yup, we are in Mexico now.


slats

May 15, 2006, 10:16 AM

Post #10 of 22 (9868 views)

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Re: [Marlene] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Quote
How un-American!

Yup, we are in Mexico now.


I'm hoping that the tongue-in-cheekiness qualities of my comments came thru...


fatalbert

May 27, 2006, 9:35 AM

Post #11 of 22 (9802 views)

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Re: [ncferret] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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ncferret, since I have had time to check your recommendations, I just wanted to thank you again. The sites are very informative.

I appreciate very much your consideration.

Al Foster

In Reply To
Since you were looking for web sites about Mazatlan, I thought I would suggest two -

http://www.maztravel.com/

and

http://www.maztravel.com/kwiki/index.cgi

Almost all of your questions will be answered and there are many excellent articles on life in Mazatlan outside of the "tourist" areas. There is also quite a bit of information on relocating to Mexico and Mazatlan in particular.

Another site you might try if you have more detailed questions on Mazatlan is - http://www.whatsupmaz.com/

Good luck!



ncferret

May 28, 2006, 7:34 AM

Post #12 of 22 (9771 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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You're welcome. I try to keep the Kwiki site current, so if you come across any other important information or sites that you find helpful, please let me know.

If you have any other questions, feel free to send me an email.

Dave


Marlene / Moderator


May 28, 2006, 3:30 PM

Post #13 of 22 (9752 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Al, a very active Mazatlan forum is on Yahoo Groups. It has about 2000 members in the database and is a nice mixture of tourists, local expats, nationals, and retirees.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MazInfo/


(This post was edited by Marlene on May 28, 2006, 3:35 PM)


fatalbert

May 29, 2006, 9:10 AM

Post #14 of 22 (9727 views)

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Re: [Marlene] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Marlene,

I have joined the Yahoo Mazatlan group you recommended. It looks pretty active and of broad interest. You are indeed a sweetie.

Incidentally, as per your earlier recommendations, I will be visiting that fair city in either July or August for about 10 days. I am being flexible as to dates so that my travel agent can find me an advantageous fare. (BTW, from coastal Oregon, all my flight options include overnight layovers, so it's a 2-day trip each way.)

I will be contacting one of the hotels you recommended and am looking forward to the trip. I suspect my main problem will be having to avoid the "rose-colored glasses" when evaluating Mazatlan for retirement, but (ha) I will manage.

Thanks so much,
Al Foster


Ron Pickering W3FJW


May 29, 2006, 12:55 PM

Post #15 of 22 (9710 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Just for the heck of it, I'll recommend the Belmar Hotel on the Malecon. It's just outside of the old section of Maz. It's sort of funky, but they have free WiFi and you should be able to get in there for less than $30 per night. Two of us were $32/night. Also, just a 1/2 block to the South is a seafood restaurant/bar (Puerto Viajo if I remember correctly) where a few of the expats gather and I've found them to be very helpful on occasion.
Enjoy. I'm in the same situation as you and will be moving down next year sometime.
Getting older and still not down here.


fatalbert

Jun 1, 2006, 9:05 AM

Post #16 of 22 (9666 views)

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Re: [Ron Pickering W3FJW] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Ron,

Appreciate the recommendations. The Belmar and the bar (with ex-pats) sound just right. I should be coming down in July or August (checking fare bargains). If things look right for me, I hope to be back for good by winter (after taking care of business here in Oregon).

I wish you the best of luck in your move. And hope I get the chance to buy you a beer (or 3) down there some day.

Thanks,
Al Foster


Ron Pickering W3FJW


Jun 1, 2006, 11:28 AM

Post #17 of 22 (9660 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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I'll be in the bar eating shrimp and drinking beer.
I'll look for you and reciprocate.
6 beers should make for a good party.
Getting older and still not down here.


fatalbert

Jun 15, 2006, 2:10 PM

Post #18 of 22 (9602 views)

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Re: [Ron Pickering W3FJW] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Ron,

Just thought I'd let you know that I've confirmed reservations for Hotel Belmar from July 21-27*, in case you're around during that time. Let me know, and maybe I can buy you that beer (or 3) at Puerto Viejo as we discussed.

Speaking of which, I'd like to extend that invitation to all you kind posters. (I'll be the big, ugly, balding old guy wearing glasses.) I'll definitely be seeking ex-pats to pick their brains about my (possibly) coming back to stay.

*I'm actually getting in on the 19th, but my travel agent saved me a couple of bucks by putting me into the Hotel Playa Mazatlan for 2 days to start.

Later,
Al


Ron Pickering W3FJW


Jun 15, 2006, 3:11 PM

Post #19 of 22 (9593 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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Well Al, wish I was going to be down there to have that beer, but, I won't be making it to Maz until Sep/Oct 2007.
Hope you enjoy it down there. In fact I'm sure you will. It's great sitting on the malecon at sunset watching all the young lovers watch the sun going down. Makes me feel old. If you run across Maggie (short a)(waitress) at Puerto Viejo, tell her Ron said hi (probably won't remember this old gringo though, it's been 3 months already).

Anyway, enjoy Al.
Ron
Getting older and still not down here.


mazgordon


Jun 18, 2006, 2:51 PM

Post #20 of 22 (9546 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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As one Oregonian to another, I'll keep my eye out for you Albert! I've been here going on four years now with absolutely no complaints of any substance. This will be my fourth summer here and I seem to have survived so far. Dee's right, though, an occasional trip to the high country during those humid months is definitely in order. Marlene's dead on with her observations as are ncferret and Ron.

If you want to email me off forum, I'll be happy to try to answer any questions you might have.

See you on the Malecón!

Gordon

¡Echar todo la carne al asador!

(This post was edited by mazgordon on Jun 18, 2006, 3:07 PM)


fatalbert

Aug 1, 2006, 10:52 AM

Post #21 of 22 (9415 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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I returned Saturday (7/29) from Mazatlan and want to thank those who responded to my initial post.

Marlene, ncferret, MazDee, mazgordon, and Ron Pickering -- thanks to you all.

Had a great time. The humidity, as expected for this time of year, was pretty rough, and my Spanish was far too inadequate, but I am seriously considering returning to retire.

My main impression was that a reasonable facility in conversational Spanish is indeed necessary, at least for my comfort in daily dealings. Most people (taxi drivers, waiters, salespeople, etc.) were not quite as helpful to non-Spanish speakers as I'd hoped. Of course there seemed to be far more hispanic tourists than gringos there this time of year.

So I will study hard mi espanol while making my plans.

(Aside to Ron: The Belmar was okay, but I learned I'd made an error by choosing an inside, air conditioned room as opposed to a front, un-air conditioned one -- my room was pretty trashed and the A/C roared and rattled like a 48 Ford with a blown muffler. I also visited the Puerto Viejo 4 or 5 times and never saw a gringo or heard a word of English spoken -- wrong time of year again, I suspect. Actually, I met several ex-pats afternoons sitting outside the bar at the Belmar. I thank you and hope I see you down there someday soon.)

Al Foster


Ron Pickering W3FJW


Aug 1, 2006, 11:29 AM

Post #22 of 22 (9409 views)

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Re: [fatalbert] New Poster With Interest in Mazatlan

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I should have mentioned to get a room with a beach view as there always seemed to be an onshore breeze which helps keep things cool. Sorry 'bout that. The front rooms have A/C as well, but not sure if they work as they looked like an 1890 model & had no reason to try it out.
I'm surprised you didn't see any gringos at PV. Usually seven or eight there in the evening. I forgot about the table outside the bar at Belmar. Jack & Daniel usually spend their afternoons there, and the fellow who restores Ford Falcons (can't remember his name at the moment, Larry??) stops by, it seemed daily. Too bad Esteban (Steve) was up at the gulf coast working for a few months. He would have been a big help to you on your visit.
I guess I should have been a bit more specific in my comments, but I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.
Will meet you down there some day I'm sure.

Ron
Getting older and still not down here.
 
 
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