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Mazatlan On $1500 A Month?
Can two people with pets and a golf habit live happily in Mazatlan on $1500 a month? Carl grapples with this question, and suggests some other sources of information.

Mazatlan On $1500 A Month?

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By Carl Franz & Lorena Havens
Posted Saturday, July 26, 2003

Dear Carl and Lorena,

My wife and I discovered your web page today, and ordered your book. We have been working in Baton Rouge Louisiana for the last ten years (as, respectively, a nurse and education administrator). We moved here from P.E.I., Canada. I am 59 years old, and my wife is 50. We've about 'had it' with working and would like to move to a gentle/low budget environment. We would like to be able to play golf regularly and keep our pets (two dogs and a parrot). We have never been to Mexico and would like to visit to explore options. Could you suggest a destination? Your web page is great. It made us think of Mexico as a possible home. 

Roger and Theresa

Carl replies:

Well, since you've read our book by now I presume you're aware that we're kind of shy about recommending specific places in Mexico. Mexico offers such a diverse range of places, climates and people that without knowing you better I just don't quite know where to begin -- or end!

For starters, however, you need to consider how important medical care is for you, access to airports, cost of living, high/low temperatures, English services and English-speaking neighbors.


There are a lot of people living in Mexico with time on their hands, eager to answer your questions. Be aware, however, that not all of them really know Mexico well. You have to pick & choose your advice carefully. That's my advice!


Run the answers to those by me and I'll consult my crystal ball.

Hi Carl,
Thank you for responding to our note. We are going to Mazatlan for a week in Aug. because we have heard good things about it. We have not yet finished reading your book, but it is very helpful. This will be our first trip to Mexico. However, we lived in Canada for 20 years and have travel experience in Europe and the Pacific Rim. We are healthy, still 'spry' (respectively 50 and 58) and do not have any extensive health care needs. We would like to learn Spanish. The climate in Louisiana is hot and humid in the summer and we would welcome relief from that. Access to airports is not important. Cost of living (housing, health insurance, local transportation, food, utilities, Internet) would have to be in the $1,500 (US) per month. We would like to be able to play golf. Our opportunity to 'jump ship' from the local bureaucracy comes in about 16 months. I am an educator and my wife is a nurse. If we had an opportunity to do something productive in Mexico we would take it, but that does not constitute a condition of our moving. Thank you again for caring about people like us.

Carl again:

I'm glad you're finding our book helpful. Your move to Mexico will undoubtedly be interesting, so I hope you'll keep us posted and let us pass on some of your experiences and observations to others.

As for Mazatlan in August -- if your motive for going there is to beat the heat, maybe you'd better check the weather websites. Mazatlan can be very hot in summer!

Dear Carl,

We were hoping for more detail than that. We just really wanted to know if it is possible:

We know it is going to be hot in Mazatlan, we just hope it is not as hot as it is in Louisiana, because of the water. We want to try and branch out from there while we are there. We were hoping you could tell us a little more specificially in the range of 1500 US dollars per month where we could live comfortably and be able to play golf. I would like to live on the water and if there is a region we should be aware of that has both these 2 things we would appreciate your advice/recommendation.

Thank you ever so much,
Theresa Burke


I can appreciate your desire to have more detail about Mazatlan. But... (here comes the lecture, so watch out) without knowing a lot more about you, your style of living, your preferences and dislikes, must-haves, etc. it would be a shot in the dark for me to estimate what your cost of living might be.

OK, having got that off my chest, I urge you to do some thorough internet research -- the information you need is available, but it will take some time and stubborness to search it out. I don't have the time, which is why I'm passing the chore back to you :)

Here's a good start:

And here's an excerpt from the page above to motivate you:

"Basically, it is possible to live in Mexico with far less money than in the United States, though that is not to say that everything here is cheaper. Labor, food, and locally manufactured goods are much less expensive than their counterparts in the US. We go to the movies here every week, and a ticket costs $2, while popcorn is $.80. Our maid, who comes in 6 days a week for 8 hours each day, is paid approximately 500 pesos or $50 per week, and she is very well paid my Mexican standards. On the other hand, if you want to buy some imported electronics or appliances, be prepared to pay double for it. A large Whirlpool side by side refrigerator can run around $2000USD, and new cars are more expensive than in the US, especially if they are imported. All in all, I would say that you can live quite well on $1000 per month, and live like a king, or at least a high level prince, on $2000 per month."

Carl again: I agree with their conclusion that you can live well on $1000 a month but even that takes careful budgeting if you want to maintain a typical gringo lifestyle, including golf.

I'd also use and do a search for articles containing "retire mazatlan costs".

As for golf courses and fees... I don't play and honestly don't have a clue. Again, that info is certainly available online.

I also suggest you try the discussion forums at Mexico Connect: There are a lot of people living in Mexico with time on their hands, eager to answer your questions. Be aware, however, that not all of them really know Mexico well. You have to pick & choose your advice carefully. That's my advice!

Last but not least, read our book carefully and get a better idea of how you might economize in Mexico by learning from the locals. Most Mexican families live on much less than $1500 a month, and many of them live quite well. It may be a cliche but it is hard-earned wisdom, too: when in Mexico, do as the Mexicans.

good luck,

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