When you ask a dozen cruisers about Mazatlan (as a potential stop) the resounding sentiment is “skip it.” I wanted to write a quick post to add some weight to the countervailing position. Mazatlan is a great city to visit, especially if you are following the common pattern of Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Mainland.
After a solid month of desert landscape and beach towns, the bustle and unique character of Mazatlan was a welcome change. If I were to equate my two favorite Mexican cities (so far) with their familiar counterparts, I would say that La Paz reminded me of Santa Cruz and Mazatlan reminded me of Barcelona. For sure it has it’s grime, and apparently it has it’s crime (though we didn’t see or hear of any directly) but it also has character, a proud congenial populace, and some really great sights.
We had only planned to be in Mazatlan long enough to do laundry and wash the boat down. By day 4 we hadn’t done the second of those tasks because we had been too busy exploring. When we went up to the marina office to let them know we would stay another day the informed us that 8 nights cost as much as 5. We happily extended our stay. We got the boat washing done the next morning and spent the rest of our stay riding busses, visiting with and making new friends (both cruisers and land based) and eating out.
Mazatlan has a burgeoning arts and culture scene that seems to be centered (geographically) around the Teatro de Angela Peralta. I stumbled into an awesome gallery after taking the kids out for popsicles and proceeded to spend the next hour talking with the family that owned it. As we walked home we passed by the Teatro again and heard band practice in full swing. The kids danced, and popped bubbles that two local boys were blowing for them. When we got home we were still smiling.