I knew very little about Mazatlán before I got here so one of the surprises was that it is a large, prosperous city with tourism being only one part of the economy. It is one of the largest harbours and fishing ports on the west coast of Mexico also hosting hundreds of cruise ships over the winter. Other major industries include coffee and beer exports. The city area supports over half a million people. It is a shopping mecca with many market centres and modern shopping malls including stores familiar to residents north of the border like Home Depot, Office Depot, Sam’s Club and Walmart. There are few items I cannot find here.

The tourism attractions are numerous. Some twenty kilometres of sandy beaches line the shore of the city with a beautiful promenade called the Malecon along a good portion, busy with hikers, joggers, cyclists and rollerbladers. The luxury hotels and many wonderful restaurants provide a tourist paradise suiting every taste. Fishing, golfing, sailing, baseball, and a variety of excursions are available to entertain the vacationer.

However, those of us who are here for the winter months require more than the typical tourist attractions. It is our home and we are happy with those other amenities that make it special – an active cultural program at the Angela Peralta Theatre, modern hospitals and medical specialists, an artist community featuring a monthly art walk, a live comedy club, a music scene that is amazing from traditional Mexican to jazz to rock, a very active ex-pat community of mainly retirees. There are always many choices of how to fill your time.

But the most important feature that keeps me coming back is the people. The Mexican people I have met here are kind, accommodating, fun-loving, family oriented, hard-working and personable. They go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Also, the Americans and Canadians that I meet here are a special breed of adventurers with interesting stories and histories. I must also mention my writing group that has encouraged and tutored me over the years. There are so many new friends to be made and they are not too busy to share their time with you.

Yes, it is my second home and I love it!

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