When we moved to Mazatlan from Minneapolis, our friends thought we were nuts.
We find the weather perfect, the cost of living great, the life style wonderful and the medical care satisfactory. There's great walking, 335 days of sunshine a year, friendly people, good food and cold beer: That does it for us.
When we first came here, we rented a small apartment on the beach, which was fun but too small. We bought a bigger place across the street. It has two bedrooms and two baths, and is about 1,600 square feet all on one level. We never intended to live here full time, so we kept a place in Minnesota. After two years, we were sure we wanted to stay.
There are not many gringos living in this part of Mexico, and prices for everyday items are better here because it's a real functioning city, not a tourist town like Cancun. A beer is about a dollar and you can get a good meal -- like a fillet of fish, rice and vegetable -- for about $10, including tax and tip.
You can still buy a nice house two blocks from the beach for less than $200,000. We live a very nice life style for about $30,000 a year but you could do it for less.
As for health care, we have Blue Cross/Blue Shield which covers us here if we have an emergency. We were in the hospital for a night recently and it was adequate. They don't have all the diagnostic testing you find in the States.
As Americans, we apply for a visa extension once a year, which enables us to stay here without leaving and coming back and also allows us to keep our car here full time. It costs $100.
NEXT: Port Ludlow, Wash.