The day we arrived in Mazatlán, Edd went to the Walmart optician and ordered new glasses to replace the ones that had been stolen in La Paz. But they would take about eight working days. So that pretty much set the schedule: we’d be in Mazatlán for a while!
The owner of the San Fernando Trailer Park allowed us to pay 900 pesos for the week, around $7 a day. It was in a nice safe neighborhood near the tourist zone and about one block from the beach. It had wifi, a pool, electricity, sewer, showers, and a functioning washing machine. Worth it.
That was our base. Now some highlights of our two weeks in Mazatlán:
We happily left our camper parked and mainly got around on buses, for MXN $8.50 (11 for buses with AC).
The first day though, we jumped on a Pulmonía, a VW Beetle that’s been chopped in half from the top, painted white, and topped with a canopy. They are everywhere. It was a fun and breezy trip, but expensive, even if you bargained. Best stick to the buses!
We didn’t ride on one, but also popular (and official) were Aurigas, a fleet of trucks which can take up to eight passengers in the bed and blast music while they roll down the main drag.
But after the buses stopped running around 9pm, we ordered Ubers, instead of getting taxis off the street, to avoid haggling over prices.
Currently construction workers along the boardwalk are paving bike lanes! It will be a cool new way to get around.
Mazatlán’s downtown was also being worked on when we were there. Most of the main streets were being torn up, and cobbles laid back neatly in their place.
A couple of times we visited the main indoor market, called Jose María Pino Suárez. It’s small but clean and colorful.
Many buildings in the historical downtown district are from the mid-19th century and were all in different stages of restoration.
But every Sunday night you can still see a band play in the main plaza, and people walked over the muddy broken up roads to get their dance on! And of course, to attend mass at the cathedral.
The downtown was a nice contrast to the hotel zones and is going to look even prettier when they finish construction!
On the first Friday in town, we noticed a poster for Lucha Libre, Mexico’s version of wrestling, which was going to take place at the bullring! We couldn’t find much info about it online or by phone. So we just headed to the Plaza de Toros, snagged tickets, and then stood in a neverending line full of excited kids who couldn’t stop talking about their favorite character, El Rey Misterio.
We didn’t know what to expect, but we soon got into it. The matches are a like acts in a theatrical play, combining drama, acrobatics, and most importantly, slapstick comedy. The audience gets involved by chanting and clapping and it’s hilarious.
Although we didn’t understand all the backstories, one character I won’t forget was Máximo, “La Fresa Salvaje”. His persona was that of a chubby, literally twinkly-toed, gay wrestler. Among his signature moves were bitch-slaps and the threat of giving other “masculine” wrestlers a kiss, during which the crowds shouted “Beso! Beso!” Mexicans are pretty tolerant of gay and transgender roles, but they don’t always talk about it explicitly. So even though it felt like an over the tippy top stereotype, all the vibes were really positive. He was a good performer, err “fighter” and there was no doubt that he was a favorite.
The water in Mazatlán is proven to be the purest in Mexico, according to one of the guys who regularly visited the RV Park. It certainly was clean, and warm.
However, it is not always relaxing. Edd was looking forward to some boogie boarding, but the waves were pretty rough and the current unpredictable, depending on the beach.
We walked, swam and read at a few different beaches, which stretch on for miles along the coast.
But for some beachgoers, the challenge of keeping the sunscreen out of your eyes while reading a book just doesn’t cut it! You can find cliff divers, or clavadistas, on the rocky coast near Cerro de la Nevería. It took a little while for a crowd to gather, and then this guy went up, waited for a sizable wave to rush into the cove, and dove in! Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like diving headfirst over some rocks!
But just further down the road, Playa Olas Altas was the old beach where locals could saunter, swim and relax. Even the water seemed calmer here.
Somewhere we read or heard that Mazatlán is the shrimp capital of Mexico. Well we made sure we had a few! Or a few kilos!
We also tried Marlin a couple of times, in both tacos and empanadas! It had a very strong taste.
We didn’t only eat seafood though. Mazatlán also had plenty of other mostly meat-eater oriented restaurants. Here were the places we didn’t stop talking about though:
Did I mention it was SUPER HUMID there? I even managed to get the flu. So we really took it easy some days! We would swim in the pool at the RV park or see a movie! We saw The Kingsmen and Blade Runner 2049 in order to get respite from the heat.
We didn’t always relax; I took a few runs around our leafy neighborhood. We also went to the posh, gated development and strip-mall district near the marina to hit a couple of balls on the range. Though I admit we were drinking beers garnished with fresh limes and salt.
On Tuesday evening, Edd picked up his new pairs of glasses, and we knew our exploring in Mazatlán had come to an end! The city really grew on us quickly. I would love to see what it looks like when the construction is done, hopefully bringing more people into the historical downtown and to the lively malecón.
Until then, Mazatlán, Besos!