I was able to shower today using just the cold water. Not unusual for a summer day in Mázatlan, but usually I have to wait until 11 am or later – not 8 am! Water from the street goes up a pipe in my stairwell to the tinaco on the roof. Tinaco fills up and the float valve (like your toilet) stops it until I need more. Sun beats down on tinaco and heats everything up. Gotta love science, until you want cold water and there isn’t any!
So that leads me to how I deal with the summer heat in a coastal city in México. Here are a few of the things I do to stay cool …
- BRING WATER WITH YOU EVERYWHERE. I can’t stress how important this is. Stay hydrated. Bring a bottle of water with you any time you step out of your door. Then drink it when you feel hot, or when you start sweating. Or just because you haven’t had any for a few minutes. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real possibilities in this climate – be prepared with some water to cool you down.
- Get things done in the mornings and evenings. From around 11:30 am until about 4:30 pm, stay inside. If you have to go out make sure you’re going someplace with air conditioning.
- Walk on the shady side of the street. Unless you’re out when the sun is directly overhead, one side of the street will have at least a little shade. USE it!
- Wear light loose fitting clothes, and a hat. Pretty easy! If it’s really hot, and your hair can take it – get a baseball hat wet and wear it. Evaporative cooling will keep your head a little extra cool. The hat’s going to get wet with sweat anyway!
- Go to the beach / Walk the malecón. There is most often a breeze at the beach, but it disappears just a block inland. So take advantage of the beautiful view and walk on the beach or the malecón to your destination. If you’re having a lazy day, just go to the beach! Stone Island is still accessible and businesses are open! Grab a panga and go early so you can get your favorite seat – and then just watch the world go by!
- Be places that have air conditioning. If you have to go shopping then pick a store that has air conditioning instead of fans. All the malls do, as well as the supermarkets. Public markets not so much.
- Travel. Yep, it’s mainly the coastal cities that make you feel you’re being steamed for some devil’s dinner! Other cities like México City, San Miguel de Allende, Guadalajara, even Durango are perfect places to visit in the summer while the coast is melting. Take the opportunity to see the culture, landmarks, people, and FOOD of other parts of México – and keep cool while you’re doing it!
- Surrender. At some point you’re going to realize that taking three showers a day along with changing your clothes is not a viable option. It’s hot. It’s darned hot. I’ve sat and watched mist come up from the ocean, it’s that hot. Accept it and realize you’re going to sweat and nothing will change that until fall comes along. Find clothes and colors that don’t highlight the sweat and just learn to live with it. And don’t be embarrassed being all sweaty in public – because so is everyone else that wasn’t born in this weather!
I’m originally from the Pacific Northwest. It’s cool and drizzly almost year round, which is the primary reason I moved here. And I was prepared – I had been coming down in July every year, so I knew people weren’t exaggerating about the level of heat. And with the exception of just a couple of days when the humidity was SO high that I had trouble catching my breath, I have learned to enjoy the summer weather here. Mazatlán (and Puerto Vallarta too) has a very different ‘feel’ in the summer. Snowbirds and tourists from the north are still up north, so the city is quieter and the tourists that are here are primarily families from interior cities. Mom, dad, kids, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and sometimes even their neighbors – it’s a totally different dynamic. If you haven’t experienced Mazatlán in the summer, put it on the list and do it at least once!