Medellín vs Mazatlán, Mexico, which is really the better place to live? In our Medellín vs Mazatlán comparison, we comprehensively compare the two cities in 20 categories to see which is the better place to live in for expats.

The Live and Invest Overseas retirement publication chose Mazatlán, Mexico as the second best place in the world to retire in 2020 and ranked Medellín as #9 in 2020. However, the retirement publications are biased and frequently get Medellín and Colombia wrong.

We found that Medellín easily beats Mazatlán in our comparison of 20 categories by winning 16 categories including important categories like cost of living, climate, healthcare and safety.

Several Medellin Guru readers asked for a comparison of Medellín with Mazatlán, as they wondered about Live and Invest Overseas’ ranking of Mazatlán higher than Medellín in 2020.

Mazatlán is a Mexican seaport located on the Pacific coast of Mexico. And it has a metro population of about 500,000. Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia with a metro population of about 4 million located in a valley in the Colombian Andes Mountains in Colombia. And mountains surround Medellín with a river running though the city.

Many expats I have met living in Medellín prefer Medellín. And expats living in the Mazatlán tend to prefer Mazatlán. However, many of these expats living in one of these two places have never traveled to the other. It’s not really fair to compare two places if you have not been to both of them.

I have lived in Medellín for over eight years. But I have traveled several times on vacation to Mexico and I have been to Mazatlán three times. In my opinion, both places have their pluses and minuses. No place is perfect.

Note, the following 20 categories in this Medellín vs Mazatlán comparison are in no particular order. And where possible in our Medellín vs Mazatlán comparison, we provide some statistics to back up how we chose the winner of each category in our comparison.

Mazatlán, photo by Gzzz

Mazatlán, photo by Gzzz

1. Climate – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín wins here. The temperature during the year in Medellín averages 72.5 °F (22.5 °C). The Medellín weather and climate is a benefit of living in the city.

Also, Medellín is also known as “La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera”, or the city of eternal spring. The average temperature in Medellín typically only varies by about 1 °F during the year.

In Medellín, the high daily average temperature ranges from 81.0 to 82.8 ° F (27.0 to 28.2 °C). And the low daily average ranges from 61.7 to 63.3 ° F (16.5 to 17.4 °C).

In comparison in Mazatlán, the temperature during the entire year averages a warmer 78.8 ° F (26.0 °C).

During the year, the average high temperature in Mazatlán ranges from 77.2 to 97.9 ° F (25.1 to 36.7 °C). And the average low temperature typically ranges from 53.1 to 77.7 ° F (11.7 to 25.4 °C).

During the hottest months in Mazatlán from June to October on some days it can get above 100.0 ° F (38.8 °C). With the warm temperatures in Mazatlán, air-conditioning is definitely needed.

In terms of rainfall, in Medellín there is one month out of the year with heavy rain (October), which is normally over 220 mm (nearly 9 inches) of rain. The average rainfall in Medellín for the entire year is about 69 inches (1,752 mm) per year.

In comparison, it rains somewhat less in Mazatlán. But there is a rainy season with three rainy months in Mazatlán. In July, August and September there is heavy rain with typically over 192 mm (about 8 inches) of rain. The average rainfall in Mazatlán for the entire year is about 33.25 inches (744.5 mm) per year.

In terms of humidity, Medellín has a bit higher humidity on average. The humidity in Medellín averages 67 percent during the year. And in Mazatlán the humidity average 65 percent during the year.

Medellín arguably wins this category due to the warmer climate in Mazatlán which requires air-conditioning, which isn’t really needed in Medellín.

View of Medellín from Pueblito Paisa, photo by Jenny Bojinova

View of Medellín from Pueblito Paisa, photo by Jenny Bojinova

2. Cost of Living – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín arguably wins here. Apartment properties I have seen in Mazatlán tend to rent for or sell for at least 20-30 percent higher prices than similar properties in Medellín. And sometimes even higher.

In addition, I have seen some properties for sale in the Mazatlán with over 40 percent higher prices compared to similar properties in Medellín.

Also, the cost of living site Numbeo reports that the cost of living is more expensive in Mazatlán in most categories compared to the prices in Medellín.

The Numbeo cost of living website collects data using a crowdsourcing. Users enter prices for their own city and the more users that enter prices for a city, the more accurate comparisons will be. But this method has limitations. For more accurate cost of living information, we recommend talking with expats living in the cities.

Some expats living in Mexico try to avoid the higher cost of living near the coast in Mexico by living in a small town in Mexico away from the coast.

An expat from the U.S. I met two years ago in Mazatlán told me he was paying about $700 per month to rent his two-bedroom apartment. But his apartment was much smaller than the three-bedroom house I rent in Sabaneta near Medellín for less than half the price.

3. Safety – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín arguably wins here. Medellín over the past few years has experienced a lower homicide rate than is found in the city of Mazatlán.

In 2016 and 2017, Mazatlán was even on the list of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world with a homicide rate of 48.75 per 100,000 in 2016 and 39.32 per 100,000 in 2017. Medellín hasn’t been on the list of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world for many years.

In addition, the U.S. Department of State currently has a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory for state of Sinaloa in Mexico where Mazatlán is located. One of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico is based in the state of Sinaloa.

Level 4 travel advisories must be taken seriously and travel is restricted for U.S. government employees with only limited travel in the state of Sinaloa permitted:

Mazatlan: U.S. government employees may travel by air or sea only. U.S. government employees are limited to the Zona Dorada and historic town center, and must use direct routes when traveling to and from those locations and the airport and cruise terminals.

There is a “drug war” that has been taking place in Mexico for several years now.  On average, 29 people were murdered out of every 100,000 inhabitants in Mexico in 2018. This was up from 26 homicide cases in Mexico per 100,000 people in 2017. Mexico’s homicide rate has been increasing since 2015. In comparison, the homicide rate in Colombia in 2018 was 24.3 per 100,000.

The homicide rate in Medellín in 2018 was 24.75 per 100,000, which was similar to the national average. Over the past several years Medellín has experienced a homicide rate that is lower than is found in St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit or New Orleans in the U.S.

We previously looked at security in Medellín and expat safety tips. And in a survey of 12,548 Colombians, Medellín ranked higher than all other cities in Colombia in terms of citizens feeling safe in their barrio (neighborhood) – slide 41.

Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe, the best hospital in Medellín, photo by SajoR

Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe, the best hospital in Medellín, photo by SajoR

4. Healthcare – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín wins here.  Good healthcare is a very important category for retirees.

Medellín has nine of the top 58 ranked hospitals in Latin America. And Colombia has 24 of the best hospitals in Latin America.

In comparison, Mazatlán doesn’t have any to the top ranked hospitals in Latin America. And Mexico only has five of the top ranked hospitals in Latin America that are located in Mexico City, Monterrey, Queretaro, Cancun and San Pedro Garza Garcia.

Here is a list of all the top ranked hospitals in Medellín, with the 2019 rankings in the top 58 hospitals in Latin America:

  1. Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe (#9)
  2. Hospital Universitario de San Vicente Fundación (#16)
  3. Clínica las Américas (#26)
  4. Clínica Universitaria Bolivariana (#28)
  5. Hospital General de Medellín (#33)
  6. Clínica El Rosario (#41)
  7. Clínica Cardio Vid (#42)
  8. Clínica Medellín (#43)
  9. Clínica Las Vegas (#53)

WHO ranks Colombia’s healthcare system as #22 out of 191 countries it ranked, which is ranked higher than many wealthier countries like the United States (#37), Germany (#25), Canada (#30) and Australia (#32).

Mexico’s healthcare system is ranked lower than Colombia’s healthcare system by WHO, as they rank Mexico at #61 out of 191 countries.

The bottom line is that Medellín is a large city with more hospitals including nine of the top hospitals in Latin America compared to Mazatlán with none of the top hospitals in Latin America. And WHO ranks Colombia’s healthcare system higher than the healthcare system in Mexico. So, Medellín wins this category.

Traffic, one of the downsides of living in Medellín

Traffic, one of the downsides of living in Medellín

5. Traffic – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Mazatlán easily wins here. In a survey by Waze in 2016, Medellín was ranked #176 in the world in terms of drivers’ satisfaction out of 186 metros surveyed.

Medellín has a metro population of about 4 million that is about eight times the metro population of Mazatlán. So, Mazatlán doesn’t have much traffic in comparison.

Traffic can get bad in Medellín during rush hours. It can sometimes take an hour or more during rush hour to get to some places in Medellín. The worst traffic in the Medellín metro in my experience tends to be in El Poblado, El Centro and Envigado.

However, there is worse traffic in Latin America than in found in Medellín. In my experience, the traffic is much worse in the bigger cities of Bogotá, São Paulo and Mexico City.

The Medellín Metro in El Centro

The Medellín Metro in El Centro

6. Public Transportation – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín wins here.  Medellín has a comprehensive metro system and an extensive network of buses and inexpensive taxis.

The Medellín Metro is a comprehensive and inexpensive system. Furthermore, it integrates two rail lines, four Metrocable cable-car lines, two Metroplús elongated bus lines, a Tranvía tramcar line and even feeder Metro buses. Medellín’s metro system has over 60 stations throughout the city.

In comparison, the much smaller city of Mazatlán doesn’t have a metro system. Using Mazatlán’s public bus system is the least expensive way to get around the city. The buses in Mazatlán have frequent service on most bus routes from the morning until late at night

Medellín also has an extensive network of public buses that runs from the morning until late at night. And the buses in both Mazatlán and Medellín are very inexpensive, under $1 USD.

Mazatlán has golf-cart-like taxis known as Pulmonias, photo by Gzzz

Mazatlán has golf-cart-like taxis known as Pulmonias, photo by Gzzz

Taxis in Mazatlán tend to be somewhat more expensive than in Medellín. And in Mazatlán the taxis don’t have meters. So, make sure to find out the fare before getting in a taxi in Mazatlán. Also, Mazatlán has golf-cart-like taxis known as Pulmonias. Taxis in Medellín are metered and we have a detailed Medellín taxi guide.

It is definitely possible to live in Medellín without a car with the good and inexpensive public transportation in the city. Reportedly about 80 percent of the expats living in Medellín don’t have a car.

Since Medellín has a comprehensive and inexpensive metro system as well as inexpensive buses and taxis, Medellín wins this category.

7. Pollution – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Mazatlán wins here Medellín has pollution problems. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) 2018 Ambient Air Quality Database, Medellín is ranked #9 out of the most polluted cities and towns in Latin America based on PM2.5 pollutants.

Medellín’s biggest issue is that it’s located in a canyon. Mountains surround the city of Medellín. So, pollution tends to stay in the Medellín metropolitan area. This is similar to the problem in Denver in the U.S. But fairly regular rain in the city can help clean the atmosphere.

Mazatlán is located on the Pacific coast in Mexico and is a much smaller city so pollution problems are generally not as bad as in Medellín.

In general, Mazatlán has less air pollution than is found in Medellín. So, the Mazatlán wins this category.

However, according to WHO, in Latin America several cities and towns have worse pollution than in Medellín. Lima, Peru; Monterrey, Mexico; five towns in Chile; and Guatemala all have worse air pollutant problems.

8. Travel Access to North America, Europe and Latin America – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín arguably wins hereThe General Rafael Buelna International Airport in Mazatlán has non-stop flights year-round only to five international locations in the U.S. and Canada.

The Mazatlán airport has no direct, non-stop flights to Europe or to other countries in Latin America. And there are only domestic flights in Mexico to about 10 cities from this airport.

However, the Mazatlán airport gets busy during the winter months in North America with the addition of some seasonal flights to Canada and the U.S.

Inside the terminal at José María Córdova airport in Medellín

Inside the terminal at José María Córdova airport in Medellín

Medellín’s José María Córdova international airport (MDE) is the second largest airport in Colombia. This airport has non-stop flights to 14 international locations in the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

From the MDE airport there are non-stop flights available to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Miami and New York (JFK) in the U.S. In addition, from MDE you can fly non-stop to Madrid in Europe. Also, you can fly non-stop in Latin America to Aruba, Cancún, Caracas, Lima, Mexico City, Panama City and Valencia.

In addition, there are more domestic Colombia flights available from Medellín as the city has two airports: the international José María Córdova airport and the domestic Olaya Herrera airport (EOH). From Medellín’s two airports you can fly non-stop to over 30 cities in Colombia.

Medellín arguably wins this category due to having year-round non-stop flights to more international locations than the Mazatlán airport. Also, there are no non-stop flights to Europe or other countries in Latin America from Mazatlán.

Playa Zona Dorada in Mazatlán, photo by Gzzz

Playa Zona Dorada in Mazatlán, photo by Gzzz

9. Things to Do – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellin wins here. Medellín and the nearby region have many things to do than in Mazatlán

TripAdvisor has 170 things to do listed for Medellín. And TripAdvisor only has 64 things to do listed for Mazatlán. While this is unscientific it demonstrates there are more things to do in the city of Medellín compared to the much smaller city of Mazatlán.

If we include Medellín plus the other municipalities in the Aburrá Valley and nearby pueblos, TripAdvisor has over 300 things listed to do. But TripAdvisor is missing many of the things to do in each pueblo near Medellín.

For example, for some pueblos, TripAdvisor has only one thing listed to do, which is inaccurate, as every pueblo has many things to do. This is due to many pueblos near Medellín not being in the tourist guides like Lonely Planet, which only lists three pueblos near Medellín. So, many pueblos aren’t accurately covered on TripAdvisor.

The bottom line is that there are over 300 things to do in the Medellín metro area and nearby pueblos.  So, Medellín wins this category.

10. Restaurants and Nightlife – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín wins here. Both Medellín and Mazatlán have many good restaurant options. But you will have a much bigger choice of restaurants in Medellín due to it being a much bigger city.

If you look on TripAdvisor, it lists over 1,700 restaurants in Medellín and less than 500 in Mazatlán. Both Medellín and Mazatlán have many good restaurant options. But you will have a bigger choice of restaurants in Medellín.

In terms of nightlife, Medellín has many more nightlife options than in Mazatlán due to having a metro population of about 4 million. And the nightlife in Medellín is active year-round.

In Medellín you can find bars, nightclubs, music and pubs of many styles found in areas like Parque Lleras, La 70 and La 33.

Since Medellín is a much bigger city, it has more restaurant and nightlife options. So, Medellín wins this category.

11. Taxes – Medellín vs Mazatlán

The two places arguably tie here. We highly recommend talked to a tax professional to understand the tax implications before moving to another county.

Tax residents in both Colombia and Mexico are taxed on worldwide income. In Colombia, you become a tax resident after spending 183 days in a year in the country.

And in Mexico you become a tax resident after establishing an abode regardless of time in the country. Basically, if SAT (the IRS of Mexico) believes Mexico is your “center of vital interests” they will classify you as a resident for tax purposes. In addition, Colombia no longer taxes foreign pensions.

Mexico tax residents are liable to a progressive tax on their worldwide income ranging between 1.92 – 35 percent. And Colombia tax residents are liable to a progressive tax on their worldwide income ranging between 0 – 33 percent.

Colombia has many income deductions including deductions for expenses related to receiving your income, mortgage interest, health insurance, retirement savings and economic support of dependents.

In addition, in Colombia, you can exclude 25 percent of your salary (up to a limit) from income taxes. Also, some income taxes paid in another country are subtracted from income taxes due in Colombia.

Property taxes in Mexico reportedly average about 1.0 percent of the assessed value of a property.  And property taxes in Colombia typically range from 0.3 to 3.3 percent.

The standard VAT (IVA tax) tax is higher in Colombia at 19 percent for many items. In comparison, the IVA tax for most items in Mexico is currently lower at 16 percent.

12. Job Opportunities – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín wins here. Medellín is a much larger city with a metro population that has about eight times the population of Mazatlán in Mexico. So, clearly there are many more job opportunities in Medellín.

Medellín has several very large employers and several multinational companies have offices in Medellín that are headquartered in the U.S.

But there aren’t that many work opportunities in either place for foreigners. This is particularly the case in Medellín if you don’t speak Spanish fluently. Fluency in Spanish is typically required for the best jobs in Colombia and Mexico.

Mazatlán is a tourist location and many of the jobs are tourist jobs that have a lot of competition from locals.

In both Medellín and Mazatlán you can find English teaching job opportunities if you are a native English speaker. However, the pay for English teaching isn’t the greatest in either place.

Also, to work in either Colombia or Mexico will require a visa.

13. Expat Community – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín arguably wins here. The expat community size in Mazatlán varies depending on the time of the year. During the winter in North America, snowbird tourists come to Mazatlán.

Unfortunately, there aren’t reliable expat statistics for Medellín or Mazatlán. However, the expat community in Medellín is much better organized. Medellín has several large expat groups on Facebook that are very active including:

In comparison, Mazatlán has a Mazatlan Expats Facebook group with only about 2,000 members and only about 20 posts per day. Also, I didn’t find a Mazatlán Digital Nomad group on Facebook.

In addition, in Medellín there are many regularly organized meetups for expats each week. One expat I met this year in Medellín who used to live in Mazatlán told me there aren’t nearly as many regularly organized meetups in the Mazatlán for expats as there are in Medellín.

Mazatlán may have a bigger expat community with snowbirds for part of the year. But the expat community in Medellín looks to be much better organized. So, Medellín arguably wins this category.

14. Education Options – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín wins here. Medellín has about 40 universities. So, there are many university choices available. Mazatlán in comparison only has a handful of universities.

In addition, Medellín has many Spanish language programs available for foreigners.  Also, Medellín has Universidad EAFIT, which reportedly has the largest Spanish language program in Colombia for foreigners. Mazatlán also has many Spanish Language programs available for foreigners.

Furthermore, both Medellín and Mazatlán have several bilingual schools available for children.

So, both Medellín and Mazatlán have Spanish language programs for foreigners. And both places have bilingual schools available for children.

However, Medellín arguably edges out the Mazatlán in this education category due to Medellín having many more university choices.

15. Internet Availability and Infrastructure Reliability – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín wins here.  In Medellín, it is possible to get higher Internet speeds than in Mazatlán.

In Medellín, it is possible to get up to 300 Mbps Internet speed from Claro. In addition, up to 150 Mbps speed is available from Tigo-UNE and up to 40 Mbps from Movistar.

Most buildings in Medellín will have service from at least one of these three providers. And all three providers in Medellín provide triple-play Internet/TV/phone services. Also, we have a guide to Internet and cable TV providers in Medellín.

In Mazatlán, it is possible to get up to 200 Mbps Internet speed from Telmex and up to 200 Mbps speed is available from Megacable. Both providers offer triple-play Internet/TV/phone services.

Furthermore, the highest speed Internet in both cities will normally be available only in the newest apartment buildings. In older buildings, you may be limited to lower speeds.

In terms of other infrastructure like electricity and water, the two places are similar. In both places and electricity and water services are generally reliable.

In Medellín the tap water is safe to drink. In comparison, be careful of the tap water in Mazatlán unless you want a case of ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’. Many foreigners living in Mazatlán told me they recommend drinking bottled water and not the tap water. Also, be careful with food and water safety in some restaurants.

In Mazatlán, the water pipes in-between the plant and a home may be old and highly suspect. Most people in Mazatlán drink bottled water, and many restaurants serve purified water from standard 5-gallon containers and serve ice delivered from an ice company that uses purified water as well.

Since Medellín has higher Internet speeds available and has drinkable tap water, Medellín edges out Mazatlán in this category.

16. Economic Freedom, Ease of Starting a Business and Corruption – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín wins here. Since both places are in different countries it is good to compare the countries in terms economic freedom and ease of starting a business as well as corruption when considering them as places to live.

The Heritage Foundation ranks countries in terms of economic freedom. It ranks Colombia as a “moderately free country”. It ranks Colombia #49 out of the 180 countries it ranks in terms of economic freedom in the world.

Heritage Foundation ranks Mexico lower than Colombia with a “moderately free country. It currently ranks Mexico #66 out of 180 countries in terms of economic freedom.

In terms of ease of doing business, Colombia is ranked #67. And Mexico is ranked #60 in terms of ease of doing business. So, it’s generally a bit easier to do business in Mexico.

Corruption is found in both countries. Mexico is ranked #130 out of 180 countries in terms of corruption perception by Transparency International. And Colombia is ranked #96. So, corruption is perceived to be worse in Mexico.

Since Colombia ranks better than Mexico in terms of both economic freedom and corruption perception, Medellín arguably wins this category.

17. Shopping – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín easily wins here.  Mazatlán is a much smaller city than Medellín. So, it has fewer shopping options.

The malls in Medellín in my experience are much larger than the relatively small malls found in Mazatlán.  And we have looked at 23 malls in Medellín including the 13 best malls in Medellín.

In comparison there are only a handful of malls in the small city of Mazatlán. The largest mall in Mazatlán, is reportedly La Gran Plaza with reportedly about 200 shops.

There are five malls in Medellín with at least 400 shops each, which means each is about two times as large as the largest mall in Mazatlán in terms of number of shops.

The Viva Envigado Mall in Envigado

The Viva Envigado Mall in Envigado

For example, Santafé mall is one of the largest malls in Medellín with over 400 shops. And in October 2018, Viva Envigado, the largest mall in Colombia opened in Envigado, directly south of Medellín, which also has about 400 shops.

The bottom line is that Medellín has many more malls and many more shopping options. This is due to Medellín having a metro population that is about eight times larger than in Mazatlán.

18. English Proficiency Levels – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Mazatlán wins here. Mazatlán tends to have more locals that speak English than locals that speak English in Medellín.

Mazatlán is a tourist location that caters to Americans and Canadians from North America. So, English is more frequently used in Mazatlán compared to other locations in Mexico.

In Medellín you will some English speakers in hotels and nicer restaurants. And some of the taxi drivers and shopkeepers in Medellín speak some English. Also, executives at larger companies are typically are bilingual. But in everyday life in Medellín you will be more challenged to find English speakers than in Mazatlán.

Education First ranks Mexico as #57 in its English Proficiency Index with a score of 49.76, which means a low level of English proficiency. And Colombia is ranked #60 with a score of 48.90, which is also a low level of proficiency (a higher number signifies that more people speak English).

But not everyone in Mazatlán speaks English. If you want to be able to speak to all the locals in Mazatlán you will need some Spanish. But Spanish is needed more in Medellín.

19. Ease of Getting a Visa – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín arguably wins this category. Colombia and Mexico both have a number of visa options. And the visa processes for both countries are fairly straightforward.

However, Mexico’s visas generally have higher income and investment requirements.

For example, a retirement visa in Mexico is a Residente Temporal (RT), which is a temporary resident similar to a Migrant visa in Colombia. The income requirement is about $1,400 per month.

In comparison, for the Colombia retirement visa you need an income of only 2,633,409 pesos per month (which is only $801 USD at the exchange rate of 3,287 pesos to USD) to qualify for the Colombia retirement visa.

The Mexico investment visas also have higher investment requirements than the Colombia investment visas.

Colombia streamlined its visa process a couple years ago and you can apply online, fewer documents are required and approvals are now relatively fast, typically in about a week.

Medellín arguably wins this category due to Colombia having lower income requirements and lower investment requirement needed for visas than in Mexico.

20. Owning Property – Medellín vs Mazatlán

Medellín arguably wins here – Mexico has a restriction where foreigners can’t own land 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) from shorelines. So, this restricts the ability for foreigners to own land in Mazatlán.

However, inside the restricted zones in Mexico, foreigners can control land through fideicomisos, which are bank trust agreements.

This type of bank trust in Mexico grants the title for a piece of property to the bank (the trustee), which in turn must follow any instructions given by the trust’s beneficiary (the foreign owner). And trusts are issued for renewable 50-year periods.

This is different in Colombia. With regards to property purchases, foreigners have the same rights as Colombian citizens and can buy properties including land.

Also, buying real estate in Colombia can provide a Colombian investment visa depending on the value of the property. Mexico also has an investment visa available for property investment but the required amount is higher in Mexico at about $174,000 USD.

Colombia does not have restrictions on foreigners buying land like in Mexico. Also, Colombia has an investment visa for investing in real estate requiring less investment than in Mexico. So, Medellín arguably wins this category.

The Medellin Guru City and Place Comparisons

We have compared on this website living in Medellin with living in several foreign locations:

Also, we have compared living in different cities in Colombia:

The port in Mazatlá, photo by Stan Shebs

The port in Mazatlá, photo by Stan Shebs

The Bottom Line: Medellín vs Mazatlán

In our Medellín vs Mazatlán comparison:

  • Medellín wins in 16 of our 20 categories.
  • Mazatlán wins in only 3 of our 20 categories.
  • The two cities tie in 1 category.

Based on our comparison, I highly question Live and Invest Overseas’ ranking of Mazatlán as the second best place in the world to retire in 2020.

In our unscientific and somewhat subjective Medellín vs Mazatlán comparison of 20 categories, Medellín easily beats Mazatlán if you equally weigh the categories. But it really comes down to which categories are more important for you.

For example, if having a lower cost of living, better climate and better healthcare are your most important categories, then Medellín would win for you.

And if having beaches, less pollution and less traffic are your most important categories, then Mazatlán would win for you.

Both of these places in our Medellín vs Mazatlán comparison have their pluses and minuses. I prefer living in Medellín due to it having an eternal spring climate year-round, low cost of living, good healthcare and a very good metro system.

The bottom line in our Medellín vs Mazatlán comparison is that the best place to live is the best place to live for you. Everyone has different priorities. The only way to know which place is the best for you is to spend time there.

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