Photography by Terry Zinn
“Travel is the truest form of education,” – Shirley MacLaine
For years I had heard of Mazatlán, Mexico, and yet not knowing much about it, I decided it was time I was educated by traveling there.
Mazatlán is a West Coast Mexican resort town, which was never planned as a resort town. It has all the qualities needed for such: a developed 13 mile Malecon, or promenade, (http://www.discoverymexico.com/mazatlan/guides/mazatlan-malecon/ ) along a picturesque ocean front bay, mid to upscale resorts and many dining opportunities.
My Oasis was the Pueblo Bonita Mazatlán ( http://www.pueblobonito-mazatlan.com/) an all-inclusive hotel on bustling, Camaron Sabalo avenue, where the traffic competed for audio pleasure in my room with the relaxing swoosh of the surf. I would have changed my room location away from the traffic, but the view of the bay and pools were too outstanding. An all-inclusive hotel option can be your ticket to ease, but sometimes its popularity causes delays in seating where no reservations are taken. The popular Bonita hotel chain has a newer property slightly up north on Emerald Bay, which needs exploring. I see in the hotel newsletter there are shuttles up and back, but my stay was far too short and my itinerary was pleasantly filled with other delights.
My stay included an itinerary of many fine eateries in a variety of atmospheres but all with attentive service and with a specialty of Mazatlán fresh sea food.
Costa Marinera Restaurant (https://www.zonaturistica.com/restaurante/251/la-costa-marinera-mazatlan.html ), is right around the corner from my stay at the Pueblo Bonita Mazatlán hotel, and has an open air dining option overlooking the bay, with wandering musicians (singer Ernesto Sudea was a favorite) and attentive service. As with many Mazatlán restaurants they offered a variety of breaded shrimp, on a seafood platter of Lobster, Tuna, Octopus, Mahi Mahi and my favorite at all the eateries, fresh Guacamole. I was introduced to Toni Col (emobtell adori) a non-carbonated vanilla coke concoction with a distant taste of Coca Cola.
A breakfast treat at the Shrimp Bucket Restaurant (http://gomazatlan.com/en/restaurants/el-shrimp-bucket ) was a sugar cookie type offered at the table among assorted pastries. Again outdoor eating, despite the passing traffic was enjoyable, with views of old town architecture and the picturesque dear stature. Mazatlán, I am told, means Land of the Deer. One of the off shore islands is named Deer Island. You can enjoy a slow boat ride around the bay and a stop off at Deer Island, where a casual lunch and open bar, might tempt you away from the banana boat and kayaking activities. With sand between your toes under the shade of a palapa, a cool drink in hand, and views of the Mazatlán hotels across the water, it makes for a relaxing adventure. ( http://www.mazatlantours.org/kolonahe-catamaran-deer-island.htm )
Panama, with several locations, was my favorite of all the dining options. Here I had a comfort breakfast of egg over easy, potato frites, a crisp Belgian waffle topped with fruit and a heavenly syrup, accompanied by iced tea – it was a satisfying wakeup. The pastries in the shop in the front of the modern clean and uncluttered décor of the restaurant were tempting and looked too good to eat. Be sure and ask for the menu in English.
Also relatively close to the Pueblo Bonita Mazatlán hotel is the new La Mazetleca ( http://www.lamazatleca.com/ ) seafood restaurant. Weather permitting you can be seated at their sandy outdoor terrace overlooking the crashing surf. With a Mango Margarita, the sun, the breeze, and good company, what more do you need? I enjoyed a salmon with sunset sauce, ~ a refreshing fruity compote. La Mazetleca offers a number of exotic and visually stunning seafood dishes to explore. If outside seating is not an option, the interior has expansive windows toward the surf and video screens for passing the time.
On my departing evening my hosts arranged for a tour of the seaside night life along the coastal road after sunset aboard the signature Pulmonias. Pulmonias are an adoption of a golf cart with open air seating. The story goes that when first introduced this touristy transportation was in competition with local taxis. The taxis warned that you could catch cold or pneumonia riding in this open air motorized cars, thus the nickname Pulmonias. Pulmonias are only used in Mazatlán and have become its trademark image.
The farewell dinner was at the El Presidio (http://www.gomazatlan.com/en/restaurants/el-presidio) a gourmet restaurant in the Historic District. Here the charming atmosphere of a semi open air interior exposed brick courtyard transformed from reuse of an old house and factory, made for an exotic and memorable evening. In fact the atmosphere out did the gourmet food. The congenital wait staff followed my instructions explicitly and made me the best traditional Martini I had during my stay. It would have been easy to order another Mango Margarita but requesting a well-made simple Martini is a real test for any gourmet restaurant and El Presidio measured up.
My stay was too short, but you may also enjoy the expansive market downtown which has everything from souvenirs, table coverings, religions artifacts, fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and leather goods among its many stalls.
Traveling is not only educational and of course enjoyable, but with a destination like Mazatlán, you may have discovered your favorite Mexican resort. There are a limited number of nonstop airline flights from a variety of United States gateways. Explore: http://www.gomazatlan.com/