Sunday, January 11, 2009

Desperately seeking dog-friendly accommodation

For the past month we’ve been checking out the Mazatlan rental market with the idea of coming down next winter with both dogs for three or four months. If we’ve learned one thing, it’s this: there’s a big selection of apartments and houses to choose from—unless you have a dog.
You can’t walk along the street or down the beach without seeing “se renta apartamentos” signs. Many of these apartments are designed for snowbirds and come complete with furniture, bedding and kitchen stuff. These rent for between 6,000 to 24,000 pesos a month depending on the size, amenities and location. But Mexican people have a different attitude towards dogs. Many people keep guard dogs in their yards and some have little lap dogs as pets, but in general these dogs are not treated as family members the way ours are in Canada. So an apartment owner would never consider allowing two large furry dogs.

We’ve contacted rental agencies and the rental departments of real estate offices that have lots of rentals listed. There are actually two different types of rentals—the fully equipped tourist places that rent to tourists on a month to month basis in the winter, and the Mexican-owned houses that are rented on a year-long lease. Some, but not all of these are furnished and the rent is often very cheap (like 4,000 pesos a month, equal to about $400 Canadian).

Right now there are lots of empty places of both kinds. The tourist ones are taking reservations for next winter but in a month of searching we’ve found only two in our price range that will accept dogs. The one in Old Town that we looked at was lovely but had no parking at all. It was on a steep hill in a busy area the street narrowed down to an alley so cars couldn’t even get to the front door. The other one is on a nice residential street near the beach but the owner is holding out for a longer-term rental—six months—and we’re not ready to commit to that. Neither are we willing to rent a house for a year so we can spend three months here next winter.

So in spite of many vacancies we haven’t found a thing. We’ve decided to wait until the fall and then try an internet search. If that doesn’t work (and if we still want to escape next winter) we think we’ll just drive down with the dogs and find something once we get here. We know what we’re looking for and we have a pretty good idea of neighborhoods and prices. So it’s just a matter of finding a place with an owner who loves border collies. Probably being there with cash in hand at the time is also a pretty good way of finding the right place.

No comments: