Less than one year from now, Mazatlán, Mexico, will be one of the most sought-after destinations in the world.
People will gladly pay thousands of dollars to spend a single night here.
This is because the Earth will experience a full solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, and the Path of Totality—the path that experiences almost total darkness—will completely envelop Mazatlán and nearby Durango.
Hundreds of thousands of eclipse-chasers will descend on the city.
If you own a property here—or are thinking of buying one—get ready to experience the best rental period it will ever see.
Mazatlán will be the first city in North America to experience the eclipse, at 11:07 a.m. local time.
Darkness will last for 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
But more-importantly, Mazatlán is the city in the Path of Totality that’s least likely to experience a cloudy day. Based on weather data between 2000 and 2020, we expect clear skies… unlike many of the U.S. and Canadian cities along the eclipse’s path.
I didn’t bother chasing the last North American total eclipse in 2017… but I have a ringside seat for this one, from the sun deck on the roof of my apartment here in Mazatlán’s historic center.
Mazatlán is a resort city, with a well-developed tourist infrastructure. You can be sure it will host the hemisphere’s biggest eclipse party, and in fact, plans are
already underway for the celebration.
But if you don’t want to hang around for the eclipse madness, you could rent your Mazatlán property out. Since a four-bedroom rancher in Madras, Oregon,
was renting for US$10,000 per night during the 2017 eclipse (via Airbnb), you can be sure of renting your property in Mazatlán for a sufficient sum to cover your ownership expenses for several years to come.
Mexico’s Pacific coast has plenty of options, but here are a few reasons why I preferred to buy in Mazatlán…
A clear choice of lifestyles
Mazatlán is a “real” city of almost a half-million people…
You can choose to be part of the American/Canadian community, speak mostly English, and ease your way into Mazatlán aided by those who have come before you…
Or within a few hundred yards, you can live in a local neighborhood, speak only Spanish, and immerse yourself in Mexico’s rich culture.
There’s even an in-between world where bilingual Mexicans and Spanish-speaking expats happily share the same neighborhoods.
A large and well-maintained colonial center
Many colonial centers are just a few blocks of Spanish colonial architecture, but the historic district in Mazatlán is quite large, offering a wide range of price, style, and state of renovation.
Lots of fine dining, cafés, clubs, museums, theaters, classical and popular music are available in town, not only in the historic center, but up and down the adjacent beach areas. The local dining options are rich and flavorful… and very inexpensive.
The city boasts mile after mile of well-maintained, sandy beaches with warm, swimmable waters. Much of this beachfront is bordered by a wide, lighted “boardwalk,” normally busy with people strolling, jogging, dog-walking, or biking.
Prices are great
Whether you’re dining out or buying a property, you’ll find prices to be remarkable at today’s favorable exchange rates.
The best property bargains are often priced in Mexican pesos or Canadian dollars, but almost all properties are low when compared to other beachfront markets around the world.
A good rental market exists in the winter, when North Americans flock to Mazatlán… but it’s also good in the summer, when Mexicans come for their annual vacation. There are plenty of good property managers to keep your place booked and care for it when you’re not there.
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Loads of shopping
In addition to U.S. companies like Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Office Max, Auto Zone, etc., Mazatlán has an entire city full of local shops, and Mexican supermarkets both large and small.
You can drive here
The trip from the Arizona border is just one long day or two easy days of driving. If you fly, the flight from Phoenix or LAX is less than two hours, and the international airport is only 30 minutes from downtown.
Properties in Mazatlán are a steal, when compared to other major Mexican beach markets. The average cost per square meter is just US$2,440 for beachfront properties. Compare that to the non-beachfront properties in Puerto Vallarta selling for US$4,167 per square meter… or the non-beach, non-view properties in Playa del Carmen going for US$3,264 per square meter.
That said, inventory is low. Areas that were run-down and out-of-the-way just a few years ago are now selling as if they were on the beachfront. Neighborhoods are being transformed, as old homes are restored.
And prices are starting to rise. Granted, they are a modest US$2,440 per square meter. But that’s up significantly since last year when they were at US$1,939… an increase of almost 26%.
Remember, properties in Mexico are priced in one of three ways. Some are priced in U.S. dollars. Some are priced in Mexican pesos. And some are priced in dollars, then converted to pesos periodically to make you think you’re getting a good deal from the exchange rate.
Of those three, only the genuine peso-priced properties will go down in price—in dollar terms—as the dollar gets stronger. These properties are normally quoted in a round number, such as 5,500,000 pesos (about US$275,000). When you see something like 5,518,932 pesos, it’s probably a dollar conversion.
Mazatlán has a mixture of peso-priced properties and dollar properties, since—aside from Americans and Canadians—it’s also popular with Mexican buyers and sellers.
Just down the street from my place, I saw a two-bedroom, three-bath unit facing a small seafront park near the historic center. The condo has 165 square meters of living space (1,777 square feet) and a side view of the ocean.
It’s a two-story unit, with marble stairs and granite counters. The rooftop garden and barbecue area are perfect for viewing the eclipse… and of course the sunsets, on the other 365 days of 2024. The asking price is US$295,500.
On the Mazatlán waterfront, an oceanfront penthouse is the perfect place to view the eclipse. The property has three bedrooms, two baths, and just over 157 square meters of living space (almost 1,700 square feet). The expansive view of the ocean and offshore islands is impressive, and the apartment comes beautifully decorated and fully furnished.
It’s conveniently located, and on Mazatlán’s best beach. The asking price is US$289,500.
If you’d prefer a single-family home with an ocean view, I found a house just one block from Mazatlán’s longest swimming beach, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The living area is 100 square meters, which is 1,076 square feet. The kitchen has been modernized with granite counters and large American-size appliances.
There’s a courtyard out back with a barbecue, and the rooftop area is perfect for eclipse-gazing or watching sunsets over the bay. The house is fully furnished, and the asking price is US$199,000.
Whether or not you’re interested in eclipse-viewing (or eclipse-renting), you’ll find Mazatlán to be a good choice for seaside living.
It’s typically hot and humid in the summertime… but otherwise, the weather is beautiful.
The town hosts a tourist trade all year, which can be bothersome… but the tourist trade also brings plenty of amenities, restaurants, and rental clients… along with a festive party vibe.
If you’d like a pleasant place to spend the winter—with an active rental market in the summer—then Mazatlán could be just right for you.
Contributor, Global Property Advisor