Some random thoughts:
Walked to the sports complex to pay my property tax of about $95 US. Pleasant spring-like weather, 79F. No clouds. Light breeze. Walked down Azueta (the local street of a thousand shops). That’s always enjoyable. Passed a new bakery and couldn't resist a chocolate donut. Bought some veggies for chicken stock. Passed a decrepit ex house of ill repute where 100 or so expat men were meeting for beens and beer.
I walked because I don’t drive in Mexico anymore. I live on the edge of the historic district where almost everything is within walking distance. When I need something from Home Depot or Walmart, I take a bus (45 cents) and hire a pickup-taxi to bring things home for about $4.75. The municipal market is 3 blocks away. Ley’s supermarket is 5 blocks. The opera house and the best sidewalk cafes are 6 blocks, and the beach and museums another 4 blocks or so. I paid $80,000 for a three bedroom two bath house with a great courtyard. I got quite a deal.
Violence: The horrific news stories have given many people the wrong idea. This is an urban area and there are the usual petty crime problems. I caught a copper thief on my roof. A thug rang my door bell after midnight and hid against the wall so I couldn’t see him. I anticipated the trick and sent him on his way. I was walking a deserted street and two men positioned themselves so I would have to walk between them. I’ve seen that trick before in the US and stared them down. I should have walked into the street. Drug related crime is rare and directed against other criminals. Occasionally tourists driving SUVs on the interstate are carjacked. I understand there is a problem with extortion in some areas, but know of nothing directed at expats. I walk all over even late at night and do not feel threatened.
There are three basic life styles available to expats in Mazatlan. The Golden Zone expats live in a very upscale Americanized area. You can be as involved or as distant from Mexican society there as you wish. The Historic Zone expats tend to engage a little more with Mexican society especially cultural activities. The third zone expats live within middle class Mexican neighborhoods where apartments 10 blocks from the beach start in the low$200 US. Some expats from all these areas involve themselves is charitable activities.
I do a lot of woodworking and pay $2 a board foot for beautiful walnut like hardwood. I do some work on the internet and pay $30 for unlimited internet. I dine out once a week. The expats here are old like me. I miss young people a lot.
Hope you find this informative.