The Chihuahua Star to Mazatlan
Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
163Trip End May 10, 2011
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Where I stayed
Four days in Mazatlan August 16, 17, 18, & 19
Everyone was anxious to leave the ferry as it jockeyed into the port. We rolled off into noticeably higher humidity (85%). It felt cooler (less hot) than La Paz. Nighttime lows are the same at about 80F. But (so far) on this side of the Gulf, the high reaches 90F or so vs. 102+. We followed the signs to 'Centro' and arrived at a square in old town Mazatlan. Some older guys there jumped up from their breakfast table to greet us. They had been cyclists in their younger day. One was a Mexico champion runner in the 60's (or maybe the 50's?) They pointed us to some great budget hotel choices right on the waterfront.
We quickly found Hotel Belmar which has a nice breezeway with several comfortable rocking chairs and colorful tile murals on the walls. The three of us rode our bikes right up to the open air but covered front desk. It must be a common occurrence because no one batted an eye. We were shown a few rooms (we got off the bikes for that) negotiated a good rate for 3 person room with air-co. We were on the 4th floor and were happy to see the lines on the rooftop there with lots of sheets hanging to dry.....a sign that the sheets get washed!! In fact we got crispy clean sheets every day.
We cleaned ourselves up a bit and went explore the town and find some breakfast. The minute we ventured outside we became wet again. Walking on the shady sides of the streets made it more manageable. The streets are much cleaner than we experienced in Baja. Most of the homes are much better maintained. More sidewalks, and most of them are swept. A Canadian we met on the street directed us to Panama Panderia (Bakery). Jason grinned! Then we quickly found what became our favorite breakfast haunt, El Sunami just off Flores Street. Huevos Rancheros, omelets, muesli and nuts, yogurt, fruit plates all served with a cheerful smile. They have local favorites of burritos and tortas too. The best were the fresh juices and smoothies (beets and carrot juice being Michelle's favorite, Dave's a Banana Leche smoothie)
Jason’s nose discovered "Super Cocina D' Paulina" which has to be first on the list. The owner Francisco, a chef, creates 3 fabulous set menu's every day. And for 45 pesos ($3.50) we've enjoyed the best meals in Mexico. Always starting with delicious homemade soup and thirst-quenching drink followed by main course (we've had smoked mackerel taco's, garlic shrimp and to die for and a succulent stew ) and Jello dessert. It is just a small hole in the wall now. But he's moving around the corner to Sixto Osuno starting Oct.1, where he'll be able to seat 80 people at a time instead of 20. (That is the time when most local foreigners who escaped the heat of the summer will return.) Our favorite night time taco stand is on Angel Flores, near the library on a small plaza. The owner's wife is from Oaxaca area and therefore a favorite with the locals because her salsas are unique for here. They do a stuffed baked potato too. Enough about food for now.
We lounged for hours in the arched entryway of the hotel in a cooling ocean breeze. Free wireless access is in this area of the hotel. The swimming pool at the hotel looked inviting but it would take two more days before Dave got around to taking a long soak. The central market was another fun stop to soak up some local color.
There is a long Melicon (beachfront walkway) in Mazatlan. It runs from near our hotel in old town for 6 km north to Zona Dorada where the bulk of the tourist beaches and hotels are. It is also where the new part of town has sprawled. A newish hospital, Sam’s Club, McDonald’s and an indoor shopping mall comparable to the good ones in the USA are located there. Just north of that is an area with the high end resorts that cater to the international and package tour set. Here you see many more Gringo faces on the streets and many more signs are in English. Jason rode there on the first afternoon. We waited until day two to do the same. I went to the clinic to have a Dermatologist look at my foot. Yep! Ring- Worm. Wonder where I picked that up? The receptionist at the Drs. Office did not speak English but there was another waiting patient who did. He kindly did the translations. They would squeeze me in as soon as the finished with his current patient. The office visit charge is 500 pesos ($40US). The medication cost another 350 pesos at the Mega pharmacy nearby. (The stuff seems to be working)
There is a high rock on the shore where faux cliff divers stand until the huckster rounds up $15 in tips to see them dive. Only after they collect enough tips will the real diver come out and jump. It looked dangerous and we did not stay around long enough to witness the whole show.