Mazatlan . Mexico
This was my first trip to Mexico, other than some day trips Tijuana when I lived in California. Caleb and family have been here many times so I was happy to take a trip and have someone else make the arrangements and travel plans for the week. We flew down from Denver on Sunday, and Caleb’s mom Kara flew from Los Angeles and met us at the Mazatlan Airport.
Kara owns a share at the Mayan Sea Garden, (a resort north about two miles north of town). Three hours after departing a cold and snowy Colorado morning, we descended into the city I was surprised at seeing the rivers and lush green farmland. I’ve always pictured Mexico as nothing but harsh desert and brush, but I saw lots of vegetation, and the warm humid air was a welcome change. Mazatlan is Aztecan for “Land of the Deer”. Although Mazatlan is a Mexico resort town with a large tourist industry, it’s also the largest port between Los Angeles and Panama City. There’s many parts to Mazatlan we visited other than the hotel area, and the city has a bustling downtown with many people working outside of the tourism industry. Being able to experience a bit more than just the beach made it a great trip, and I was able to see a bit more culture and diversity than the standard Mexico resort towns.
Being a white pale Dutch boy from Michigan the sun has always been my nemesis, but I managed slop on the sunscreen on and we had a great time relaxing on the beach (myself chasing the safety of an umbrella shadow).The north side of town, north of the marina has a long beach which is less crowded than the main hotel area along the Zona Dorada, (Gold Zone).
Avenue Camaron Sabalo runs through the Gold Zone, and a block west of Camaron Sabalo is where most restaurants, bars, and clubs are located. One good maps of the Gold Zone and other areas at: http://www.mazatlan.com.mx/city/maps.htmWe ate several meals at the Guadalajara Grill and Panama Bakery (at Camaron Sabalo and Ave las Garzas). A nice outdoor cafe/bar is a block west of Sabalo on Ave las Garzas. This outdoor patio was a great place to people watch and enjoy some Pacifico cervezas.
We went to some clubs including Pepe Toro, and we found other places just by wandering around the beach. One well known discotheque is Valentino’s, in a large white castle overlooking the bay. We prefer smaller places, and we found plenty of small places along the beach to enjoy the nights.
After a couple days of relaxing and eating in town we headed to Gigante to stock up on food and school supplies we donate to a local orphanage.
Gigante is a large modern supermarket, and the best section was the Panaderia (bakery). After wandering around trying to figure it out, a nice lady told me to just get a big platter, then cruise the bakery for baked delights.
We hopped in a cab and drove to an orphanage which was on a large piece of land along a busy street. Inside the walled grounds there were several buildings where the kids lived, and some nuns who worked there. They had a huge kitchen, and hopefully our chicken and produce made some good meals for them.
We took the Sabalo Centro bus to the centro (downtown) area, which is located south of the Zona Dorada and the large bay. Downtown Mazatlan is completely different than other parts of the city, and you wouldn’t even know you’re near the beach or a resort town with the hustle and bustle of traffic, street vendors, students, and other going about their activities on a typical weekday. The central market had a great selection fresh food, fruits, vegetables.
In the center square downtown is a beautiful enormous old church. It rises above all the other three and four story markets and shops. Despite being packed into a small block, it’s serene and peaceful inside.
At the end of the Sabalo Centro bus line is the “office” of Ginger, who is from Washington state and lives in Mazatlan.. We took these guys down the beach almost to our hotel, then back through a plantation of palm trees. Check out Ginger’s wild budgies that hang out at her place!
After a few nights of taking the bus from our hotel down to the Zona Dorada for drinks and going out, we asked some locals around our hotel neighborhood for a great place to go for a burger and relax.We were pointed just north of our hotel about a mile (between our hotel and Ginger’s horse place). It was night and our cab turned off the road down a dusty dirt road, and we ended up in front of a thatch roofed cantina and grill. It wasn’t too busy and the crew spent some time hanging out with us.
We listened to the waves at night and the mellow music. Even though it was probably the simplest restaurant in town, consisting of nothing more than a grill and some coolers, it was the best night I had.We stayed there until they closed, and the workers dropped us off at our hotel on their way home. We went there again after riding horses and got some pictures.