Lindsay Goodman was just 18 when her parents decided to move to Mexico, shedding the cold of their home in Denver, Colorado for the warmth of the country’s Pacific Coast. Nearly two decades later, her life and family now belong to Mazatlán.
“The first time I came to Mazatlán, I was 11,” Goodman, now 35, said. “We were on vacation during Christmas. My parents liked the city because it was still a very Mexican city: touristy, but not too touristy. They absolutely fell in love with Mazatlán, so we continued to come down here at Christmas and spring break. As soon as I graduated from high school, they sold their business, house and everything and we moved here.”
Goodman was born and raised in Denver and graduated from Denver Lutheran High School before she joined her parents on their new adventure. After they settled in Mazatlán, she decided to study interior design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, which offered a B.S. in that field on-line.
“My dad had his own general contracting business back in Denver, so that was part of my interest in interior design,” she said. “When we first moved here, he worked in real estate before starting a new business providing general contractor services for mainly expats, about 85 percent of his business. After he started his new business – Mazatlán Building and Design – he asked if I was interested in teaming up with him. I discovered that we worked really well together, so I have been working with him for the past eight years. We also just started a property management company called Mazatlán Rentals and Management.”
Along the way, Goodman found time to tie the knot with Jesús, a local state investigative detective. The couple lives in Hacienda del Seminario, a predominately Mexican neighborhood northeast of the city’s marina and close to its newest shopping mall, which includes a Sears, Liverpool, H&M and other well-known retailers.
“We like it because it’s a gated community with lots of young families, parks and common swimming pools,” Goodman said. “Our house is two-stories with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, dining room, utility room, garage and patio on the first floor and several more bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor. We’ve done a lot of remodeling and adding on to our place, which has brought its value up to at least US$120,000.”
Goodman enrolled her children in the same public grade school her husband attended when he was a child, mainly because both are fluent in Spanish and well-integrated into the Mexican culture. Although she has been very pleased with the results and gives local teachers high marks, she told us she may enroll them in a private school for middle and/or high school to prepare them for university.
Goodman speaks, reads and writes Spanish fluently, which she believes is a major benefit of moving to Mexico when you are very young. She moves easily between the expat and Mexican communities, which is a real advantage when it comes to operating her business.
“Our business customers are about 85 percent expats and the balance are local people,” she said. “Just about all of the expats are either American or Canadian, but we are trying to expand our business to reach more Mexican nationals.”
She said Mazatlán is a medium-sized city of over a half-million people and growing rapidly.
“The growth spurt has been underway for the past several years,” she said, “with many new hotels, condos, small apartment buildings and other projects under construction. I would estimate that we have about 7,000 expats living here, many drawn to Mazatlán because it’s a coastal city with beautiful beaches, a charming old town and a cost of living lower than other beach resort cities like Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Cancún. Plus, we have an international airport with regular flights to most major cities in the U.S. and Canada and regular visits from the major cruise lines.”
Living close to the marina is a big plus for Goodman, who loves nothing better than to spend the day on the water with her family in their Sea Ray ski boat.
“We love to go boating and spend time on any activity that has to do with water,” Goodman said. “There are a couple of islands off the coast with nice beaches and great swimming for the kids. We have a tube that we can tie behind the boat and pull the kids around and just bought a small two-person banana that we want to test out with the kids.”
Goodman and her husband are a very busy couple, but they always find time to have dinner out as often as they can. She said Mazatlán’s nearby historic old town has recently been updated with lots of trees, new lighting and the addition of many new restaurants, all very reasonably priced.
She loves Mazatlán’s warm, sunny, year-round beach weather, except for summers, which are typically hot and humid during Mexico’s rainy season, which begins in June and ends in October.
“The summers are brutal and I’m usually a pretty grumpy person during the summer,” she said, “especially when I can’t get to the beach or the swimming pool. But overall, the weather here is wonderful, especially November through April. I run an organic market every Saturday morning in the downtown area during the winter months called “Mercado Organico de Mazatlán.” It was the brainchild of expat Janet Blaser, who is well-known for her writing on food in Mexico, among other topics.”
As with most expats in Mexico, the warmth of the Mexican people and their friendliness is at the top of her list of things she loves about living in Mazatlán.
“I have very wonderful friends here that I care about,” she said. “Like the city, they are always so relaxed. Pleasure can be had in such simple ways, like taking the kids for a walk on the Malecón, going to the beach or just going to get a cocoa for the kids. There is always something to do in Mazatlán.”
We asked her to offer a little advice to aspiring expats who are planning a move to Mexico or at least considering the country as a place to live.
“Just be patient. In general, people who move to Mexico, anywhere in Mexico, expect things and life to happen at a pace they are accustomed to back home. It’s just not that way down here. To get anything done takes a bit longer, and sometimes longer than we would like. Stay, as we say in Spanish, “calma” and you’ll be just fine.”