Mazatlan Trip Report

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Posted by Thom on January 04, 1997

My wife and I just returned from MONTH in Mexico, the better part of which we spent in Mazatlan. We have been to Mexicoís other Pacific coast resort areas several times, but for some reason, we had never been to Mazatlan. We booked our flight and the first 5 nights hotel with “The Mazatlan Connection” in Seattle last fall. We have friends in Morelia, Michoacan who drove up to meet us and take us with them to Morelia to celebrate Christmas, after which we returned by bus to Mazatlan, where we spent the remainder of our vacation.

We found Mazatlan very appealing, both as a place to vacation, and as a place for part-time retirement living. In our opinions, it has several advantages over other potential retirement sites both further to the South and inland.

1) The ocean is wonderful. The sunsets are fabulous and the beaches go on and on for miles, both to the North and to the South. One can find deserted, palm tree-lined, golden strands only a short drive from town. Mountains and jungle are also close by, as are several colonial pueblos.
2) The Climate (during fall, winter and spring) is great; not too hot and relatively low humidity compared to Puerto Vallarta, Ziuatanejo, etc. A wonderful, refreshing breeze blows in from the ocean every afternoon to keep the heat under control. We saw no insects of any kind during our stay.
3) Mazatlan is a “real” Mexican city, not an artificial “Mega-Resort” designed specifically for Gringo vacationers or an expatriate colony. While first class accommodations and restaurants are abundant, most of the vacationers that we saw everywhere in Mazatlan were Mexican nationals. One housing development surrounding the El Cid golf course appeared to have a large number of expatriate Americans and Canadians as well as wealthy Mexicans. We noticed state-side license tags on many vehicles in several other neighborhoods surrounding the Zona Dorada, (Golden Zone or Resort Area).
4) Mazatlan is truly a bargain. There seems to be excess capacity in all tourist facilities and as mentioned above, most of the vacationers seem to be Mexicans. I suspect that these two things keep prices down and competition for tourist dollars and pesos fierce. Of interest to potential retirees: real estate prices are low compared to other resort areas, and grocery prices, (and I suspect, other living expenses), are incredibly low.
5) The food. The Shrimp and other fresh seafood are not to be believed! We never thought it possible to eat too many shrimp, but when faced with a platter full (one kilo) of the biggest, sweetest, jumbo shrimp we had ever seen, we were able to finish it only with great difficulty. In the fondas at the mercado, a hot meal of fish or shrimp will cost you about US$ 1.00. Orange juice is always fresh squeezed. Fresh tropical fruits abound. The biggest American-style breakfast I have ever had cost less than US$ 3.00 at the Panama bakery in the tourist zone.

We looked at several types of real estate and found prices to be low compared to other retirement areas in Mexico, and very low compared to what we are use to here at home. We found several newly constructed houses in a good area, within two or three blocks from the beach. Very nice 3-bedroom 2-bath houses with double carports, patios and sheds were going for US $65,000. To $68,000. Many condominiums were for sale for substantially less.

I visited one of the three super grocery/department stores and the (mercado) municipal market with pad and pencil and recorded the following prices. I have converted most of them to US$ per pound at the current exchange rate.

Item Dollars Unit
Butter $0.64 lb
Cream Cheese 1.08 lb
Edam Cheese 4.41 lb
Eggs 1.23 Doz
Farmers Cheese 1.18 lb
Hard Cheese 1.94 lb
Milk 0.58 qt
Parmesan Cheese (Wedge) 6.29 lb
Yogurt (Yoplait natural) 0.78 lb
Beef Roast 2.70 lb
Chicken (Breasts) 1.52 lb
Chicken (Whole) 0.94 lb
Dry Salami (sliced) 1.11 lb
Ground Beef 1.17 lb
Pork Chops 2.41 lb
Steak New York 2.70 lb
Steak Rib 2.05 lb
Steak T-bone 2.58 lb
Apples 0.41 lb
Avocado (Haas) 0.34 lb
Bananas 0.18 lb
Beans (Bulk Dried) 0.26 lb
Black Beans 0.41 lb
Cabbage 0.08 lb
Carrots 0.15 lb
Chilies 0.35 lb
Cilantro 0.30 bunch
Cucumber 0.09 lb
Cucumber (English) 0.43 lb
Garlic 1.09 lb
Grapefruit 0.24 lb
Lettuce (Iceberg) 0.30 head
Limes 0.47 lb
Onions (Peeled) 0.24 lb
Oranges (for eating) 0.12 lb
Oranges (for juice) 0.08 lb
Papaya (Mexican) 0.14 lb
Pineapple 0.13 lb
Potatoes (White) 0.21 lb
Rice (Bulk) 0.31 lb
Strawberries (out of season) 0.47 lb
Tomatillos 0.35 lb
Tomatoes (Roma) 0.06 lb
Watermelon 0.18 lb
Flour 0.28 lb
Jam Pineapple 0.44 lb
Jam Strawberry 0.58 lb
Mayonnaise (Kraft) 1.34 lb
Pasta (Dry) 0.10 lb
Potato Chips (Ruffels) 0.41 lb
Sugar 0.25 lb
Sunflower Oil 0.95 qt
Tomato Puree 0.15 lb
Tuna (Canned) 0.21 lb
Beer Carona 6-Pack Bottles 1.55
Coca-Cola 1.05 2 l
Coffee (Drip Grind) 2.79 lb
Rum (Bacardi Carta Blanca) 6.14 1.75 l
Tequila (Jose Quervo Aged) 4.49 1 l
Tequila (Medium Quality) 2.99 1 l
Detergent (Wash Machine) 3.17 lb
Paper Towels (2 rolls) 1.77
Toilet Paper (12 Rolls) 1.58
Toothpaste (Crest) 1.10 tube

All things considered, Mazatlan impressed us as a great place to visit or to retire. I have much more detailed information if anyone is interested. By the way, Canadians may be interested to hear that, after the Mexican nationals, the next most abundant group of vacationers appeared to be from Western Canada. “Estadounidenses”, as the Mexicans call us, seemed to be relatively scarce.

A great web site about Mazatlan is:

Buenas suerte!


Published or Updated on: January 4, 1997 by Discussion Thread Forum © 2009
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