I’m in Mazatlan Mexico for another short vacation. Every year I try to add a week to my time down there and this year it’s up to five weeks. I’ve got three weeks done in Mazatlan so far this year and now I am heading down for another week on Friday. Why do I keep going there? Well, first I get to practice my spanish and second, Mazatlan is affordable and beautiful.
Some people say they like the Cancun type deal but if I wanted American stuff then I would vacation in the U.S. I really like the local food and laid back atmosphere.
Here are the major stats and vacation guide tidbits on Mazatlan Mexico (as of 2008):
Mazatlan Mexico, better known as “The pacific Pearl”, is one of the prettiest and most important ports on the pacific coast. It’s located in the southern part of the state of Sinaloa, 132 miles southeast from its capital, Culiacan. Mazatlan has great warm weather, with an average temperature of 77 F year round.
The Major Tourist Spots In Mazatlan:
Mazatlan’s historical center is characterized by the narrow streets and colonial style buildings. It feels friendly and is safe to walk around. You can also take tours of the area if you are not the outgoing kind. You can also get around the historical area of Mazatlan by hiring a “pulmonia” which is basically a Volkswagen beetle without windows and turned into a cab.
Some of the most interesting and popular places to visit are the famous Pino Suarez Market (run the gauntlet of vendors, wear ear plugs and hide your “all inclusive bracelet”), as well as the Angela Peralta Theater where many artists, musicians and art vendors sell stuff you can look at or buy. I had an awesome day down there just eating and looking at art. Then when evening came there was an incredible Flamenco concert with crazy music to boot. It was great.
Most of the buildings in the downtown of Mazatlan are quite old and an afternoon there can make you feel lost in time. If you don’t opt for a pulmonia (which will probably cost you $3-$4) from the golden zone, I would suggest jumping on a bus for 60 cents. The Mazatlan bus system is fantastic and it’s crazy how cheap you can get around once you get a handle on the major routes. The bus will go down the Malacon and take a left at the lights. At any point here you can get off and start roaming but a map would be a great idea to zone in on the square where the Angela Peralta is located.
Mazatlan Bus Routes
If you’re going to mexico you’ve got to get the hang of using the buses. They are cheap, run very frequently and will stop anywhere to pick you up.
There are two different types of buses in Mazatlan. One is larger painted green and has airconditioning. They are most often used by the tourists because they cost a little more. They cost 8 pesos from the golden zone to downtown which is great considering a pulmania would probably cost you anywhere from 30-50 pesos. Which is still dirt cheap.
The other type of bus in Mazatlan is a smaller usually white and green bus with no airconditioning and costs 5.5 pesos from the hotel zone to downtown (as of 2008). You may have to pay an extra .5 on there if you are out of town like I was at the Costa Bonita Resort.
Mazatlan buses begin running at 5:30 am and stop around 10:30 pm except the Cerritos Juarez that goes out of town which stopped at 6 when I was there. That was a bit of a walk that one.
Buses come by every 10-15 minutes and here are the routes:
Small Mazatlan Bus: The Cerritos Juarez route stops at the Gan Plaza and Soriana shopping malls and near the baseball stadium. The Sabalo Cocos route stops at Walmart, Gigante Supermarket, Plaza Ley del Mar, across from Soriana and the bus station.
The big Mazatlan Bus: The big bus runs three routes. Sabalo Centro, Sabalo Cocos Centro and the Cocos Juarez. The first two of these can be caught anywhere in the Golden zone. Just wave your arm and he’ll stop if you can find a bus station. The Sabalo Centro goes all the way down the Malecon right by a favorite gym of mine down there which I will be writing an article on shortly.
The Sabalo Cocos Cenro stops at Walmart, Soriana and both Ley supermarkets before reaching downtown.
Every bus has a different location for the buzzer. So when you get on take a look around so you know where it is when you want to stop and get off. Oh, and yelling questions of where this bus goes to the bus driver in louder English does not help him understand you any better and it makes us other gringos in the bus really embarrassed.
90% of my time in Mazatlan is spent on the beach so here is the low down on the best mazatlan beaches where you can catch some food, fun and sun when you visit.
With more than 12.42 miles of shoreline, Mazatlán offers a great variety of beaches of easy access with beautiful landscapes and crystal clear water. The tranquility of the ocean offers you the chance to practice any water activity such as swimming, body surfing, and normal surfing, among others. You can even throw in a few back flips because the sand is pretty forgiving.
PLAYA GAVIOTAS BEACH: It is located 37mi. to the north of Mazatlán in the heart of the Golden Zone. It is formed by a long extension of soft and white sand and is the perfect place were you can enjoy a sunbath, practice volleyball, jet ski, parachute and kayak.
PLAYA BRUJA BEACH: Located to the north of Mazatlán, it will make you experiment your adrenaline to the maximum, specially if you are looking for waves for surfing and enjoy its landscapes and sunsets.
PLAYA OLAS ALTAS BEACH: Located in “The Old Mazatlan” (downtown), this unique beach has the characteristic that the sand moves around depending on the season, giving the impression that the rocks change places. It is great for surfing and scuba diving.
PLAYA NORTE BEACH: It begins in the north end of Mazatlán and ends all the way in the Golden Zone. Is one of the longest beaches in the country with 9.9 miles of length and it is ideal for swimming and having a good and relaxing time.
PLAYA CAMARÓN SÁBALO BEACH: It is located 40.38 miles to the north of Mazatlán in the tourist area. This beautiful beach has crystal clear water and it is 1.24 miles long. There you can find many exciting activities such as parachute, banana riding, kayak and wind surfing.
PLAYA CERRITOS BEACH: Cerritos beach is located on the north eastern part of Mazatlan and you can easily get to this beach by public transportation. It’s worth mentioning that this beach has thick sand and you need to be careful as the current is a lot stronger around this area and the waves are bigger.
There are several islands (stone island is awesome and you dont have to do a tour to get there, but thats another story) that you can hit up too that have awesome beaches. The first is the beaches of Isla De La Piedra which is 2.48 miles south of Mazatlan and you get to it by crossing the navigation canal. This beach is beauty if you are into coconut palms and good food. You’ll find plenty of both here.
The second spot is the beaches of Isla Venados, which is found right across from Playa Gaviotas beach. You can hire a boat, get a tour and I saw one crazy bugger swim it one day. I was sitting on the beach and then saw him from far away, then a boat comes by later and it was his wife arriving to pick him up! The guy had to be 60 years old. Crazy! I wouldn’t try it if I were you.
Bring everything you need to the beach, especially sunscreen and water! DON’T throw crap on the beach. If you packed it there, pack it out. This means cigarette butts too!
The Gym I Visited While In Mazatlan
So far the only gym I have been to is right off of Camaron Sabalo street by Rico’s coffee shop. When you see Rico’s, take a right and then it is on your left about 50 feet up the street. Its the two green doors. I know, I know, but if you have ever been to Mazatlan Mexico, you’d know these are pretty standard type directions! If you are by the Balboa hotel your getting in the right area. If you have hit the El Cid area you’ve gone to far.
I’ll get the name of the gym on the next trip but I woke up at 4:30Am this morning and went for a walk. After a few moments of meditation on the beach I went for a walk up the street and thats when I saw that this gym was open.
Hours: 6AM – 1PM
Then reopens at 3PM to 10PM
Saturdays gym hours are 8am to 1pm
1 day drop in is $5 US and a monthly rate is available for $35 Us or 350 pesos, there both pretty close to the same amount.
The weights are heavy and the air is hot. Its functional but old school. I have awesome workouts there. Its mostly iron and cables. Dont wear white workout gear because you are going to get rust on them. Its not dirty in there by any means but with the humidity and steel you are going to get rust. There are a few spinning bikes at the gym and some old style steppers but thats about it. The gym has cardio classes and I will try to grab a schedule the next time I’m by.
The counter staff can speak enough english that you can get what you need and they are super friendly. The clientele is mostly people from the nearby hotels with the old local. You’ll feel right at home.