We have been in Mazatlan for a little over two weeks now, awaiting the start of carnaval which will begin in a few days. It is exciting to see the preparations which include the erection of numerous large sculptures along the malecon, the multi-mile walkway which runs along the beach. In the meantime we have been enjoying all that Mazatlan has to offer which is considerable. The public transportation system is outstanding, and for about $0.40 you can get anywhere in the city.
One of our favorite places to visit is the central historic district. Mazatlan was founded in 1531, so there is no shortage of historic buildings, plazas and museums. Plaza Republica is the largest square in the historic district – located across from City Hall and the basilica, it is a place to rest on a shady bench, get your shoes shined or feed the pigeons. Plaza Machado is smaller but just as lovely, and surrounded by graceful historic buildings and delightful restaurants.
The beach near the historic district, Playa Olas Atlas is where tourism first began in Mazatlan. The Freeman Hotel was the first high-rise in northwest Mexico. Constructed in 1944, the refurbished hotel has a 10th floor bar where you can get a lovely Bloody Mary which you can take to the roof top and enjoy at a pool-side table with a spectacular view of the beach.
Numerous open-air restaurants line the malecon in the historic district, and one our favorites is Puerto Viejo where they serve Negro Modelo on tap in a frosty mug – very nice!
On Sunday morning we got up early and headed out to the Juarez market, a huge flea market and farmers market which takes place each Sunday in an outer suburb of Mazatlan known as Juarez.
All kinds of bargains can be found there -Dan got a new pair of Levis 501s for $17, I bought dress for $2.50, and a watermelon straight from the farmer for $0.65. We also snagged a CD (a knock-off) that has our new favorite song, “Tu Carcel” by Los Tigres Del Norte featuring Marco Antonio Solis.
Breakfast at the market was a chorreada, our new favorite (displacing the empanadas from Bravo Street market in La Paz). The chorreada starts out with a thick tortilla with turned up edges similar to an individual pizza crust. It is slathered with sauce and cheese and placed on the grill. When the cheese is melted, it is topped with grilled meat, beans and your choice on condiments – awesome.
Others treats not to be missed include Papas Locos which are basically twice-baked potatoes with a Mexican twist, and all other manner of fresh fruit drinks and concoctions.
On days when we aren’t exploring, we do provisioning and boat projects. We topped off the fuel tanks with a visit to the Pemex station across the street, for which we were able to borrow a cart – much better than carrying the jugs!
All other provisions come to the boat in our backpacks. Since bottled beer is heavier than canned beer, we have made the switch – but at least there is good canned beer available! Even Kitt the cruising cat likes Negro Modelo in a can…