The Mazatlan Malecon at Sunset
I don’t even know where to start this post – so much has happened and Paul and I have been talking non-stop.
Basically, Paul knew right away that he could live in Mazatlan. I wasn’t so sure because my vision of our life in Mexico was in a place that had fewer gringos. I wanted the challenge of navigating without a safety net and was also leery of the way you might get prejudged by locals as one of the nasty kind of gringos even if we aren’t.
But then I realized that having others to talk to in English will really help us make the transition since a sense of isolation could really make life hard. We need friends, and we can’t wait for the year or two we expect it to take for us to become fluent enough to make Spanish-speaking friends.
Queretaro actually helped us realize that Mazatlan is right for us, for now. We loved the Centro, and the cleanliness, and we absolutely fell in love with a house we saw. But ultimately we realized that a city like Queretaro is a growing commercial city and that people rush-rush somewhat like the US. (Although the weekend is a different story) We just wouldn’t feel as relaxed there.
San Miguel de Allende was wonderful. We could probably be very happy there – but we would have to spend more on housing than we really want to, and it would be just a more expensive place to live.
One of our concerns is how hard it is to reach somewhere for friends and relatives from the US…and Mazatlan really is hard to beat. There are people who I feel certain will come to visit us in Mazatlan who just wouldn’t be comfortable navigating airports in Mexico City or Leon.
The thing that bugged me about Mazatlan at first is the hotel zone. It is crazy, overrun with fanny-pack wearing gringos laughing too loud and roaming from Carlos & Charlie’s to Senor Frog’s. There is even an Applebee’s coming soon! I really feel bad for them if that’s what they think Mexico is…but some of these folks do come to Centro (you can tell by the all-inclusive wrist bands) so perhaps some do see that there is more to Mexico than the hotel zone.
There are also cruise ships that come to town, and when they are in town the prices jump in the shops I’ve been told.
The hotel zone is pretty much just North of town. Cruise ships are South. Centro, regular shopping, parks, and the beach are accessible easily from the historic Centro easily.
What Mazatlan has is a way for us to enter our life in Mexico without too much isolation. We can take language classes. There is an English library. The Venados play baseball there. (That is a big one) We can drive there in 5 days from Washington. Alaska Airlines flies direct for $520 round trip. Houses near Centro are affordable. The malecon is right there! We will bicycle in the morning, hike to the light house, or walk the dogs on the long tree lined boulevard. There are tons of places to walk. The fresh shrimp is incredible. The market has wonderful vegies. There are a couple of vegetarian restaurants and GREAT pizza. The beach! Whales! There is such a nice breeze off the water! We can just keep our Honda van!
We have looked at enough houses to know that we can find something perfect for us. Or have it made perfect. And we know that when and if the time comes to move on, we would be able to sell our place since we always have such a positive response to the way we decorate, etc.
There are a few negatives about Mazatlan, but really not many. It gets hot in the summer, but that is when we might head to the US to visit or inland to travel and visit. Or just read a book in a shady spot. I still want to see Jalapa, Cuernavaca, San Luis Potosi and Tepozlan. Paul hasn’t been to Guanajuato, Morelia or Patzcuaro. And housing prices are reasonable enough in Mazatlan that we should have money available for travel.
What this trip showed us is just how much we love Mexico and how we want to be there like crazy.
Now that we’ve decided on our first home in Mexico, we can really start figuring out the details.