Slow travel stop: settled in for easy, breezy days in Mazatlan, Mexico

I am already loving our time in Mazatlan, Mexico. Our apartment has an amazing view, the malecon seems to go forever, the bay is amazing for swimming, the scenery is stunning, the people are helpful and kind – just to name a few reasons I love this place so far after only nearly one week here.

Our Airbnb rental is an apartment building right on the malecon, a bit north of downtown. The ocean breezes give some relief for the Indian Summer weather with temperatures near 100 degrees a few of the days we’ve been here so far, at or near 90 degrees every day. (The heat is supposed to break by November.)

I am writing this in the apartment as I look out to the northern part of the bay at the Golden Zone – where vacationers book hotels and high rise condos have sprung up. Across the bay are the three iconic islands seen in many Mazatlan pictures. Every now and then, I look out and there goes Tedly! Peddling our new bike out for shopping or photo sessions or city exploration. We’ll be here long enough that a used bike will come in handy. (He haggled it down from 750 pesos and paid 600 pesos – or about $34).

Tedly rides bike on Mazatlan malecon
Tedly bikes past our apartment on Mazatlan’s malecon, which is 8.5 kilometers long – one of the longest ocean walkways in the world.

I found a great gym. It’s air conditioned and has every kind of weight machine imaginable, free weights, some cardio machines. But cardio is better outside, with ocean breezes in the early morning or after sunset. It’s 1.2 miles there and back so I start my day active outside with a short, brisk walk down the malecon. A dip in the bay after the gym cools me off, relaxes me with some reflective time. The bay will be great for my swimming laps on ‘rest days’ from lifting weights at the gym.

Mazatlan's bay
Mazatlan’s bay, great for swimming, daydreaming, sunning, fishing, relaxing…

There are more people swimming for exercise each morning in this bay than at any other stop I’ve been to so far in Mexico. The city even has a few public outdoor showers to rinse the salt and sand off after dips where I go into the water – near the Fishermen monument. Usually, showers are found only in restaurants or hotels.

Sometimes I write or nap or read around midday. Siesta time is a beautiful thing the Mexicans have aced, and I’ve adopted that tradition. (It’s one of the ways Mexico has changed me for the better, which I previously wrote about here.) After siesta, mid-to-late afternoons are for exploring the city and the beaches with Tedly. Then it’s dinnertime. Sometimes out, often in. On some evenings, I meet a great group of expats I enjoy spending time with. All evenings are for reading, writing, strolling the malecon, relaxing with the spouse.

Easy days, indeed. There are variations of course, and one week our routines may adjust yet. But the rhythm so far feels comfortable. Relaxed. I’ve been writing more consistently (things outside this blog). I feel inspired in this place.

We first came to Mazatlan about a decade ago, on a week’s vacation from work. It’s changed a lot since then. There is a ton of development – finished and ongoing. The skyline has changed, and is still changing. It almost feels like the old Madera Beach outside St. Petersburg and Tampa in Florida, when old mom-and-pop hotels were sprinkled along the bay with new high rises. Tedly hypothesized more of those old-fashioned hotels may sell to developers.

Mazatlan snagged top spots on retirement lists for the last few years. And yet, it’s not as jammed with Americans and Canadians as other large Mexican cities, such as Puerto Vallarta. Mazatlan feels more authentic – more Mexican. I also love that about this place. I don’t know how long that will last because it seems Mazatlan is quickly getting ‘discovered.’

To accommodate the retiree influx, there are many health services with English-speaking doctors. I have an appointment next week for my annual gynecologist visit, and I’ll get another mammogram soon. There are dozens of English-speaking dentists, and that’s great because it’s time for X-rays and cleanings for the both of us. If some other kind of medical service is needed, I’ve no doubt we can find it here.

Mazatlan is a bit rough around the edges in some areas, after all, this is city with half a million people, and every big city has imperfections. But from where I sit, I’m truly blessed. And I’m going to enjoy every week that we are here.

As always, in the coming weeks I’ll write more about Mazatlan’s different beaches, shopping, transportation, as I get out and experience more of this city as a slow traveler on this early retirement budget travel tour.

Playa Bruja, northern Mazatlan.jpg
Playa Bruja – on the northern end of Mazatlan.


This post was updated in February 2020, following a new retirement list on Forbes website.



  1. Thanks for the tour Ellen, it was great! So smart to be keeping up with the health check ups!

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