Blue Skies, Surfing, and Being Your Own Boss in Mexico’s Pearl of the Pacific

“Three years ago I started learning to surf,” says Janet Blaser. “It’s something I always wanted to do.”

The sixty-year-old had lived in America’s surf capital, California, for nearly 30 years, but she’d never had the chance to learn to surf. Working full-time as a writer, her $37,000 salary simply wasn’t enough to pay the bills. She was forced to take on extra work in the evenings and weekends just to get by.

“Now surfing is the biggest joy in my life,” she says. “Because I have my own business, I make my own hours, so I have the mornings to surf. I’m not a very good surfer but I am a very happy one!”

Janet’s living out her surfing dream in her new home, the beach town of Mazatlan on Mexico‘s Pacific coast. Mazatlan’s near-perfect weather, miles of sandy beaches, and rolling surf has earned the town the nickname “the Pearl of the Pacific.”

“The sky is blue 99% of the time and it doesn’t get cold,” says Janet. “Although it does get hot during the summer. I hated the grey skies and chilly cold of winter on the central California coast. I also love that the ocean is warm enough to swim/surf in most months of the year, without a wetsuit or sharks.”

Her first week in Mazatlan, Janet spotted a gap in the market for an English language publication which would cater to the snowbirds and retirees that flock there every year. As the owner of her own business, she’s now the master of her own schedule and, because of the low cost of living, she doesn’t have to work nearly as much as she did in the States.

“The cost of living here is much less than where I was in California,” says Janet. “Dinner at some of the best restaurants here hovers around $13 to $18.50, without alcohol.”

If you shop for food in the local mercado (market), you’ll find your money goes even further. A kilo of large, fresh shrimp is just $9. Avocados are twelve cents each, carrots two cents per pound, and tomatoes are five cents per pound. Fresh tortillas are fifty cents per kilo, and ground hamburger is $2 per pound.

“My rent has been $158 for the past five years for a one-bedroom duplex with an ocean view on a quiet street. I’m about to move to a brand new 1,600-square-foot, two-and-a-half-bedroom apartment with fabulous ocean views, one block from the water, for $422 a month.

“Utilities here are cheap also. My water in Santa Cruz cost $100 per month; here it’s about $2. My basic monthly expenses are about $500; but that will change when I move to my new apartment. Of course, you can spend a lot more depending on your lifestyle.”

Janet says that the one downside of living here is that certain items are expensive or difficult to find, but “having my snowbird friends bring me items from the States helps.”

Apart from surfing, Janet has enjoyed learning Spanish and encourages anyone who moves to Mexico to do the same. “Learning to speak and think in another language is hilariously fun,” says Janet. “I’m so glad that’s part of my life.”

Image: © Moorman

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