Mazatlan, Mexico

Christmas 2017 was the first time that Nancy and I were somewhere other than Canada. We enjoyed a different Christmas at the ocean city of Mazatlan on the west coast of Mexico. The days were filled with sun and temperatures in the mid to high 20's.

Mazatlan is a thriving, growing city located on the Pacific coast of Mexico. The population is around 500,000, however, it feels more like a large town than it does like a small city. The locals are very friendly and it's not too difficult to find someone that speaks English. 

There are literally 1000's of Canadian and American snowbirds spending the winters in the area. 


We booked 2 different locations for our 16-day stay. We spent 9 nights in a condo on the beach that Nancy booked through VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner). We spent a little over $100 USD per night for this unit, but it is literally 60 feet from the beach. All day and night we listened to the waves roll along the beach. The warm gentle wind blew through our condo and it felt more luxurious than it was. Our second location was a room inside a restored Hacienda in the historical district in the city center. This home was built in 1835 and has been fully restored by an American expat, Elizabeth. She also has a nice 1 bedroom apartment that she rents out by the month for $500 USD.


We traveled to Mazatlan via a direct Westjet flight from Calgary. We then hired a taxi at the Airport to take us to our condo. That ride cost us 400 pesos or about $27 Canadian. There's no need to get a rental car in Mazatlan as the basic bus transportation is very easy and inexpensive to use (8.5 - 11 pesos) That's less than a dollar CAD. There's plenty of cabs and open-air vehicles going around that are also very cost effective. We pretty much walked or took the bus everywhere. For the most part, everything you'll need is on one main street that runs parallel to the beach and you can simply go up and down that street to get everything. It runs along the beach so you are only seconds from the ocean at any one time.


This city is a very international city and you can get a broad variety of food. There's a different place to eat just about every block. Breakfast starts at 45 pesos ($3 CAD), or you can double that amount to eat at a patio on the beach. If you want a good cup of coffee it will cost you about the same as in Canada. A nice restaurant at dinner will set you back $20-30 CAD for two. There are more expensive places than that of course, but that depends on your budget. You can always book a place with a kitchen and cook at home with an abundance of fresh ingredients to chose from daily. If you check you can read the reviews for every restaurant and choose accordingly. Oh, by the way, you can get good wifi just about everywhere.

Things to do

We love the beach and especially boogie boarding. We go most days for at least an hour. We have this guy who operates his business on the beach outside of Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan, which is one of the best resorts on the beach. We rented our 2 boards from him for 9 days for 600 pesos ($42 CAD) These are real legitimate boards. His name is Arturo and he is there every day. Speaks good English and is always good for a laugh.

We also hiked to the lighthouse. This was a moderate uphill hike with stunning views of the harbor and the surrounding area. 

Stone Island is a short water taxi ride across the harbor and a short walk across the beach. This is where a lot of the locals hang out. There are several beach restaurants along the beach where you can spend the day. We set up at Letty's. They provided us with a shaded area that came with a patio table and chairs as well as 2 lounging chairs. As long as you purchased your drinks and food from their establishment, the space is free of charge. This can make for a very enjoyable and relaxing day. They also had washrooms and free WiFi.

Mechado plaza. This is a beautiful plaza in the historical district. At night the restaurants surround the square move tables into the street and fill up with patrons enjoying the outdoors and listening to live entertainment. The plaza itself will be filled with vendors and street performers. You can dine, walk around or sit and enjoy the sights and the sounds.

Nancy and I also took advantage of some of the medical providers in the city. We had a dental checkup and cleaning for $18 CAD each and Nancy completed an eye examination and purchased new glasses for $350 CAD. 


There are huge numbers of Canadians and Americans wintering in Mazatlan. There's actually a large number of Canadians that live there permanently and have become card-carrying permanent residents. We talked to many snowbirds and they told us how much they love being in Mexico in the winter. The temperature is beautiful and the cost of living is so much less. They have world-class healthcare, easy to use transportation, an abundance of food and inexpensive accommodation. It was interesting as we spoke to many snowbirds that they told us a similar story - they came for a week, then a month and then 5 months. The place grows on you and invites you in as one of their own. 

If you get a chance to spend some time in Mazatlan, let us know and we'll help you with some of your planning.

Check out more of our travel photos - Click here.

Your Advisors for Advanced Retirement Income Strategies,

Willis & Nancy

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