Walking Nadine, Henry, Gatita, and Miss Parker ready for a beach walk. One of my favorite activities, whether its along the beach or down the street. Should you get tired, just make your way to the street and wait a few minutes, a taxi will be by and will give you a ride anywhere you want to go. A word of warning if you are walking along the street. The building codes down here are not quite what they are in the US, so watch where you are going. If you step into a pothole and twist your ankle, its your fault, not the shop owner's. That reminds me of a story. A few years ago, in Mexico City, an American did accidentally fall into a hole in the sidewalk and hurt himself. He did what every red-blooded American would do, he hired a lawyer and sued the city. When it came to trial, the city presented the following evidence. They hired someone to go where the hole was and watch for several hours at the same time of day that the American fell in. He counted over 3500 people walking by, and none of them fell in the hole. Case dismissed. RidingThere is a new pulmonia rental service in town, for those of you who insist on driving yourselves around. Their office is in front of the Ocean Palace hotel, and the cost is $46US per day, including taxes, insurance, and gas, and 75 free kilometers. Their phone number, should you want to reserve one, is 916-4655, and when I called, someone spoke English. They currently have 3 pulmonias available for rent. Another choice is to hire a van and a driver. Almost any taxi van you see on street can be hired for a day. The cost is usually around $75US, but you can leave the driving to someone else. If fact, there is a discount coupon availablefor Antonio's van service, if you are interested. Finally, there is motorcycle rental place in town. They offer full sized motorcycle rentals starting at $45US for four hours. They also offer guided tours of various local sights. They are located located in Lomas Plaza, next to Kelly's Bike Shop, across from Citibank. BeachingOf course, just hanging out at the beach is one of the main reasons for coming to Mazatlan. There are miles and miles of it, and most of it is clean, sandy and delightful. There are hazards however, and the most dangerous is pictured here. Most of the hotels have thatched umbrellas that provide some strategic shade. You can rent boogie boards or just jump in the water on your own. The slope is very gentle, and you can walk out for many meters before getting in over your head. If you see someone walking a little brown chihuahuaor a beautiful italian greyhoundalong the beach, that's us. Stop us and say hello. The best time to walk is during low tide, so wouldn't it be handy to know in advance when that is? Well, you are in luck, because thanks to this site, tide tables are now available online. I have often been asked if there are any nude beaches around. The answer is yes and no. Nudity is generally frowned upon in Mexico, and people will be offended if women don't wear a top on their bathing suits. On the other hand, if you really have a need to bare it all, hire a taxi to take you a few miles out of town until you find a beach where there aren't any people to frown at you and do your thing. Swimming and Snorkeling Some future Jacque Cousteau's enjoying the teeming marin life During the summer the water is in the 80's and feels almost like a bathtub. During the winter it is a little cooler, but still very pleasant. The slope of the beach is very gradual, and along the Zona Dorada you can walk out into the water for over 30 yards without being over your head. In addition to the ocean, there are many beautiful pools in the many hotels in the area. Sometimes we go to one of the hotels and just hang out around the pool and enjoy the amenities. Summer WarningDuring July and August there are many jellyfishin the ocean, just offshore. Should you happen to get stung by one of these, don't panic! The stings are painful but not dangerous, unless you panic and manage to drown yourself. You can get almost instant relieffrom the pain by applying a generous amount of ammonia to the affected area. What? You're not in the habit of carrying ammonia with you? Actually you probably have some with you right now in your bladder. Let me tell you a true story. Nadine and I were walking our doglet, Gatita, on the beach in June 1997. She started licking her front paw like crazy, and was obviously in distress. Once we got home, I relieved myself in a small bowl, and put her foot into it. A few minutes later, after she licked off the remains of the "medicine," she was fine and took her nap.
There are also several snorkelingtours available. The Carboat takes you to the islands offshore, but there is another tour, run by Robert Hudson, that takes you over to Stone Island, where the water is protected by a long reef. Nadine and I went on this tour and can personally recommend it. Robertis a great guide, and makes sure that everyone has a good time. The tour lasts about 3 hours, and can include a delicious fish lunch if you so desire. Sail to Deer Island Sanding on the beach on Deer Island, with the Mazatlan skyline in the background Another place to go snorkeling and have a little sailing adventure is Deer Island, easily visible from the beach in the golden zone. Deer Island is the one on the left from the golden zone beach. We rode a Hobie Cat over to the island, which was half the fun. On a calm day, it can take about 15 minutes to get there, as you usually have to sail upwind.Don't worry if the boat seems to be heading for Japan, he needs to tack in order to arrive on the beach. Once there, you can hang out on the beach or go snorkeling in the shallow and quite clear waters offshore. We were there with a group from Friends of Mexico, and enjoyed the shade and the conversation under a big tent. You can also walk up to the top of the hill for an even more spectacular view. Photos of our experience are available,including a pretty neat panoramic shot of the Mazatlan coastline that I stiched together with the trusty gimp/lib/photo editing tool. Surfing Get out there and hit the waves, or in my case, have them hit me. Mazatlan is just far enough south to get direct exposure to the Pacific ocean without being blocked by the Baja peninsula. Consequently you can catch some nice waves here. Surfing is usually done at the Cerritos beach, north of Mazatlan about 5 minutes by car. Some other good spots are Pinos, next to Ciencas de Mar by Paseo Claussen, and Punta Camarón near the Sheik Restaurant. Be careful though, as both of these areas are rocky near the shore, and you don't want to crash yourself and your board on the rocks with the breaking surf. You can rent full sized surfboards for $20 per hour, plus a guarantee with a credit card. Boogie boards are available everywhere on the beach for $3 per hour.
The breeze usually kicks up in the afternoon, and given the nice winds and gradual shelf, you would think that windsurfing would be very popular here. Unfortunately, it isn't. In fact I recently tried to rent a board and sail, but could not find one available from any of the operators. If windsurfing is your thing, you'ld better plan on bringing down your own rig.

Here is a great message I received from David and Lynda Jamesabout their surfing experience here:

We just returned from our first trip to Mazatlan on Wed. April 14, 2004 we had a great time and many memorable experiences. Since this site is so complete and contains so much information on food, lodging, sites and activities, I feel it would be redundant to write about all the same things covered so completely by those who have gone before. I do feel, however, that since the focus of our trip was on surfing and the pursuit of finding those perfect beach hideaways, that I would like to focus on sharing the experiences and insight I gained in this particular area. Two day before departure I was very troubled to learn that I would not be able to take my surfboards on the flight due to airport security for the Easter holiday and the code orangeterror alert. This was a major concern that was quickly and easily overcome. I had read about the Palm surf shop (on this site an others) and asked directions to it from a couple of locals, both of whom referred me to the Mazatlan Surf Center next door to Dairy Queen on Ave. Camarón Sábalo. MSC has been in business for just over a year and is run by Alistar and Bongo both top notch world-class surfers. I had the pleasure of meeting Alistar and he gave me a great deal on a long term rental and had a pretty good selection of boards for every size and skill level, he speaks excellent English and gave me very accurate directions and a hand drawn map to a couple of other surf spots a short drive from the city. I never made it to the Palm Surf Shop so I don't know what their selection or prices are like but I got the distinct impression from the locals I talked to and the outside facade of the store that it is more focused on beach wear, swim wear and surf fashion, rather than a hard-core surf shop like MSC. We reserved a car online through Travelocity (National Car rental) for around $175 for a week with unlimited mileage, although I have read on this site and others that a car is not necessary, we found it quite indispensable and very economical for our needs. I checked with my credit card company and since I reserved and paid for the car with a Platinum card, all the insurance, including LDW and damage collision waiver were covered by my card company provided I did NOT purchase any other form of insurance, be sure and check with your own card company to make sure that you are covered in Mexico. The check-in went smoothly and quickly as did rental car return. There was a large 6 foot to 8 foot south swell working the day we arrived. I could even see a river mouth break from the air working due west of the airport with white surf lines extending out four or more sand bars, I was later told this is a break called Little Hawaiiand even got directions to it. We drove into town on one of the many streets that run thru the El Centromarket and came out on Paseo Claussen near the Marine College just south of Playa Norte, this surf break is known as Los Pinos or Cannons it is a left point break with a great A-frame peak that moves along the reef, the wave is fairly easy to catch. It works best on a high or incoming tide and is very rippable. There is sometimes a crowd with a number of body boarders who sit very deep inside, next to the rocks, there are basically two take-off zones depending on the swell size and angle, I didn't have any hassles with the local surfers but let them all catch waves before I caught one and was just mindful to take turns, this was my favorite wave in Mazatlan, a note of caution -the bottom is sharp rock with thousands of urchins, DO NOT under any circumstances put you feet down on the bottom or try to push off the bottom, when wiping out try to stay in the thickest part of the wave and immediately paddle for the deep water channel away from shore. The next surf spot I checked out was at Valentino's, this is probably Mazatlan's best known surf break for its stadium like location with lots of tourist watching the action from above and below the sea wall and lots of surfers competing for waves. This spot is actually two very different breaks although it is usually just lumped together by most reference sources as a point breaking left and right. The takeoff zones for the left and right are actually about 200 meters apart separated by the point. The right is a very fast, very hollow wave that only works on a decent size swell, the takeoff is steep and ledgy and requires the surfer to aim straight for a rock outcrop and either execute a quick and powerful bottom turn or drop in angled, sort of pre-slotted into the face. This wave is also very rocky with lots of urchins, if you wipeout on the takeoff you WILL be dragged over the sharp rocks, very painful! There is another takeoff spot a little further away from the rocks but most of those waves, at least while I was there, were closeouts, offering only a few second ride before collapsing on your head. The left is much slower, easier and mushier, but also rocky, as for which one is working watch the locals to see which side they are sitting at. Both right and left were crowded and competitive when breaking good. Playa Bruja is basically a beach break with some rock out crops on a west or north swell I would imagine it is a pretty decent right break wrapping around the point (punta Cerritos) I never caught this spot going off good, speaking of Cerritos, the north side of the point is a calm tranquil beach which as I am told holds a fun peeling wave on huge hurricane swells when everywhere else is too big and gnarly to surf. Heading further north about 20 kilometers is a totally uncrowded beach with a left point, reef and beach break, called Marmol. This spot is reached by taking the hwy 15 toll road toward Culiacan, at the last overpass before the tollbooth turn toward the coast (to the west) although the overpass is a cloverleaf affair. The road is dirt and a little rough, travel about 10 kilometers to Marmol go through the town you will pass through another very poor village and then onto a beach with lots of panga launches, wade through the estuary to the sand island and this will give you a good view of this spot and how it's breaking. It takes a good swell to get the point break going but the beach break would probably be OK on any swell. This spot is kinda of sketchy with the poverty and total lack of tourists or outsiders, don't go alone or leave your stuff sitting out. There is a rocky bone yard on the inside, hard to see from the lineup. South of Mazatlan Centro I surfed 2 spots and checked out another, the first and best is the right point off of the tip of Stone Island (isla Piedras) To get there take the water taxi next to the panga fleet near the Navy dock, fare is 10 pesos round trip, hike the 1 Kilometer or so to the point, I believe this is called Escorellos, this wave is fast hollow and challenging. Many consider this the best wave in the area. It has a rock bottom a pitching ledge and breaks over rock, there wasn't a big crowd the day I was there but the few people out were aggressive and very good surfers. Also on Stone Island (which is not actually an island but a peninsula are two more spots I don't know the name for but I dubbed it Restaurantsagain take the water taxi and hike about 1 1/2 to 2 kilometers past all the palapa restaurants to where the beach curves, someone had just built a very small palapa restaurant with just a few tables and chairs just in front of the break, a fun, sometimes hollow sand bottom beach break, it is best in the morning with offshores it tends to shutdown and close out with side shores that start blowing mid morning, the last spot I only looked at and did not surf was the river mouth break I saw from the plane, take the road leading to the airport and take the last Isla Piedras exit, if you get to the airport exit you've gone about 3 kilometers too far, this road is dirt and doesn't go all the way to the beach, it is a sand bottom break called little Hawaiiit stacks up like a triangle breaking a few sand bars out at a narrow peak and expanding out over the inside sand bars and looks to have some potential. I also surfed a little around the Punta Sábalo area south of the new marina - from the Hotel Carravelle north past the Luna Palace to the Point the beach curves and has a few small breakwaters, the three islands break up and reduce the swell which is not a bad thing when the swell is large and closing out at the other better known breaks, these are for the most part sand bottom, short rides with no crowds. Well, there is a brief synopsis on the surf scene in and around Mazatlan I am sure it is in no way a complete and accurate picture since I was there for only a week but I did draw upon all the local knowledge I could as well as all the written resources I could get my hands on.
Fishing [top]
The kind of fishing you see on TV is a reality here. Just look at this guy trying to leap onto your boat. For many people, fishing is the reason they come to Mazatlan in the first place. Mazatlan is the home of one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in Mexico. It also has a sport fishing fleet that caters to tourists. Opportunities for good fishing abound all year-round: swordfish and striped marlin from January to April; blue marlin, May to December; black marlin, July to December; sailfish, March to December; dorado, March to December; and tuna all year. Starting in 1996, a new marina has opened in Mazatlan, and you can sail your own boat down here take it out fishing to your hearts content. Moored at the El Cid marina is the Aries fleet, which includes six vessels from 30 to 45 feet in length. Depending on the size of the boat, you can cruise along at a leisurely 12 knots or a zippy 25 knots. The cost ranges from $275 to $350 for a full day of fishing. Tackle is included, and all six boat offer Penn International gear from 30 to 80 pound class. Please note that fishing license, bait, box lunches and beverages are not included. Each of the boats is equipped with a Billfish Foundation tag kit, and the crews will release the fish at your request. For those of you who want to bring home your trophy, the fleet must comply with a one billfish per boat per day limit. For more information about the Aries fleet call Jeronimo Cevales at 011-52-669 916-3468. You can also try calling Mark at 011-52-669-916-56-09, who always goes out of his way to make sure his guests have a good time. He owns his own private boat, and is fully licensed and authorized to take you out to sea. Note: Mexican law requires that anyone over 16 must have a valid fishing license. You should be able to obtain one at the sport fishing marina or the port office, if your tour operator doesn't do so for you.

Tales from the dark side

Times are tough in Mexico, and billfish can be sold for between $40 and $60 USD these days. You will sometimes find that the captain or first mate suddenly loses his ability to understand English as you bring your catch close to the boat. He will then run over to the fish and club him to death, usually with the excuse that "the hook was too deep," or "the fish was injured." This is almost never the case. The truth is that he wants to sell the fish once it is brought to shore, and put the $$$ in his pocket. If you want to prevent the needless death of this beautiful animal, make it clear before you set sail that you want to release any billfish that you hook. It wouldn't hurt to emphasize that their tip depends on them following your instructions. I have received reports of this kind of behaviour from all of the fleets that are catering to tourists in Mazatlan. You have been warned.
Boat Size Capacity #lines price
36' 10 6 $375
33' 6 5 $265
28' 4 4 $240
Additionally, you can reserve just a single slot in a boat for $60 per person. The day begins early, so that you can get in 8 hours of fishing. Good luck.
Scuba Diving [top]
One of the strangest craft you are likely to see, a CarBoat. One if by land, two if by sea, three if by carboat? Dive trips last for 2 hours, including 45 minutes under water. All of the equipment is included, and the tank holds 3000 pounds of air. The cost is around $50 and the boat is a 16 foot panga boat. The location varies depending on the season and where the best diving is currently. You can also try the snorkeling. You can rent the snorkeling equipment for around $7 per day. There is a carboat that goes over to the small islands where the water is calm and the snorkeling is fun. I received these comments from Frank O'Sullivan, which I thought I would share with you.
FYI, I was able to scuba dive all week. Found a fellow by the name of Arturo who runs a dive operation from the beach at Luna Hotel next to Pueblo Bonito. Very fluent in English, he has good equipment, knows the area and waters and is a safe, knowledgeable dive master. If anyone asks, I suggest that he be recommended for scuba diving and other water sports. I felt quite comfortable diving with Arturo. So again, thanks for the info about the roads and the town. I've recommended your site to other divers who are going to Mazatlan this year. The scuba diving was quite good. Not like Cozumel but different and interesting. We dove off Deer Island in 30 to 60 feet of water. About 100 feet or less away from the cliff face. Bottom was boulder strewn with bottom covered with shell pieces/sand. Good marine life, lobsters, groupers, plants, tropical fish, etc. There is a bit of a surge due to wave action; some might find this disconcerting but with a bit of practice one can capitalize on the surge to move about with very little energy expenditure. Water temperature in Dec. was cool enough to wear a tropical weight wet suit (but no hood needed) mainly due to the length of time underwater at this temp and depth range. Visibility ranged from 25 to 50 feet depending on the degree of wave action; not the Caribbean but certainly good enough to see things well. All in all it was interesting diving and close in so as to avoid long boat rides to dive sites.
Boating [top]
Sailing, sailing, over the ocean free. Were am I? On the front of the boat getting rid of my lunch. There are different kinds of boats for different kinds of people. For $35, you can sign up for the deer island cruise. It departs every morning except Monday at 9:30 and returns at 2:30. It includes lunch, an open bar, beach volleyball and snorkeling. It sails around to seal rock and then back to the island for a picnic. The boat is a large catamaran called the Kolonahe. On a small scale, you can rent a Hobie Catfor $25 per hour, with or without a skipper. If you elect to be your own skipper, you will be expected to leave a credit card as a loss deposit. Also Jet Skisare available for rent. A one person jet ski goes for $35 per half hour and a 2 person jet ski runs $50 per half hour. Most vendors require you to be at least 16 years old. I hesistate to call it a boat, but since it does float on water, I guess I have to. The Banana Boatride holds five to seven people, and costs around $7 per person. I recommend not having lunch just before embarking on this one.

On the other hand of the spectrum, if you want to climb aboard a really big boat, just time your visit to coincide with when the US Navy comes to town. The US Navy occasionally "parks" some of their ships in the Mazatlan harbour, and gives away supplies to local charities - part of their goodwill mission. Nadine and I were lucky enough to climb aboard and get a tour of the USS Rentz, which was duly photographed and catalogued for posterity here .

Some of you are unluckly enough to own your own boat. Besides the joys of scubbing the decks and mending the hull, you also need to pay to park the thing. Well, there are three marinas in Mazatlan. The El Cid marina charges about $9 USD to $11 per foot per month for that priviledge. the Marina Mazatlancomes in at around $7 to $12 per foot, and the Marina Isla Mazatlan at $5 to $7 per foot. You can probably guess which are closest and furthest from the ocean.

Parasailing [top]
Riding high in the sky with a parachute. Nadine always says she was either too drunk or too sober to attempt this. It is difficult to walk along the beach and not get approached by someone willing to take you for a parasail ride. Don't do this if you are afraid of heights, once you're up, you won't come back down until the ride is over. You'll be up in the air for about 10 minutes, and will get a great view of all of Mazatlan.The cost is about $25-$30. Warning, Warning,Danger Will Robinson: Do not do this when there is a strong wind blowing. The reputable operators won't allow you to try it, so that only leaves you know who. Also, the safest ride is with boat that has two people in it, not just one. The second guy is a spotter, and he keeps his eye on you while the driver keeps his eyes on the water.
Horseback Riding [top]
You won't win the derby on one of these phillies, but you'll enjoy a nice stroll on the sand. Horseback riding is illegal in the golden zone, which isn't to say it isn't available, but the availability is spotty. If you like to ride horses on the beach, visit Stone Island, which is a 10 minute boat ride across the harbor. There you can rent a horse by the hour or the day, and ride until you can't walk anymore. They also have great little open air restaurants there with delicious fresh fish. The village on Stone Island is also very interesting to visit. You will really understand life in the slow lane after seeing it.

Another spot for horseback riding is at Playa Bruja. Take a taxi or the Cerritos bus the end of the line, at Playa Bruja.. Walk one block left to beach and look for Ginger's Bi-lingual Horses. (And you thought your dog was smart!) They are open from 10 to 4 every day except Sunday. The cost is $14 dollars and the ride lasts about an hour. You'll be turning around right in front of our former beach house, which is currently the home of my friend, Ron, who owns a tuna canning plant here in Mazatlan. It's the one with the cobalt blue jacuzzi and the domes. If you are nice to Andrés, Ginger's husband and partner, he will treat you to some lovely singing. Also, having met Ginger, I can tell you that she really cares about her animals. You won't find any hungry, miserable horses here. You can reach Ginger at 922-2026. Ginger takes the summers off, starting May 1, and goes to Washington state. But she leaves her friend and partner, Rafael, in charge during the summer, so the horses are still there for your riding pleasure. She will return November 1.

Mountain Biking [top]
Henry and Robert out for a nature ride. Boy that seat is hard, let me tell you. Mountains in Mazatlan? You've got to be kidding. Well, there aren't really any mountains, but there are some hills a few miles out of town. I had never been mountain biking before, and out of the blue I get a call from a guy named Robert Hudsontelling me that a friend of his saw my web pages and that he should give me a call. He wanted me to write up his mountain biking tours, but I told him that in order to do so, I would have to try them out first. The result is the picture on the right, proof positive that I'm not a wuss. Anyway, Robertcurrently owns about 13 mountain bikes, and has turned his passion for biking into his profession. He will only take small groups, to make sure that everyone is comfortable and receives sufficient attention. There are apparently several mountain biking areas near Mazatlan, and in fact last year Mazatlan was the host to a national mountain biking competition. We rode through narrow single file trails, through dry river beds, and up and down hills, until I finally cried Uncle. I think I'll stick to walking on the beach, but if you enjoy this kind of thing, Robert Hudsonis the guide for you.

If you just want to rent a bike and meander around town, check out Kelly's Bike shop, located on Camarón Sábalo #204, L-10, in the mini-mall next to the Cyber Cafe and across the street from Domino's pizza. Prices for bikes are around $3 USD per hour, $8 per half day, and $15 for a full day. They have a 3-4 hour guided tour in the hills for about $25USD. The are open from 10 to 2 and 4:30-8:00, Monday through Saturday. Their phone number is 914-1187, and their email address is kellysbike@hotmail.com.

Finally the last item in this genre is renting a moped and let the dead dinosaurs do the pedelling for you. You'll need a valid driver's license, and between $8 and $12 USD in your wallet for each hour of adventure. The company will provide the gas and the helmet. Call Scooters-Mania at 983-2196 and they will deliver one to your hotel at no extra charge. Warning: If you've never ridden one of these before, be careful. They are powerful machines, and I have personally witnessed several people underestimate their power and injure themselves, fortunately not seriously.

Shopping [top]
So many dresses, so little time. You can shop till you drop in Mazatlan, either in a large enclosed mall or in any of the hundreds of little tourist shops lining the streets of the golden zone. If that isn't enough for you, go downtown and shop some more. Now for some advice you won't find in the tourist books.
Leather goods. Go into one of the custom leather stores along the main street and have them make your dreams come true. Be sure to try it on before you pay for it, and don't be shy about having them fix it, they will be happy to oblige.

Personally, we find that gold is quite expensive in Mazatlan, while silver is quite reasonable. What is a real bargain is the cost of labor. If you like jewelry half as much as Nadine does, (which is a lot) you might consider doing what we do. We buy the gold and gems in the US, often at auctions, and then bring them down here to a guy named Gustavo. He has a small jewelry story right next door to Banamex in the Zona Dorada, and he is a real artist. He can create anything you want, and if you let him will do more than you expected, and his prices are beyond reasonable. What would cost you thousands of dollars to do in the USA he can do for hundreds.

Avoid shopping in the tourist stores on Wednesday and Thursdays. Why? Because that is when the cruise ships are in port, and all those people wearing those little paper tags (which identify them as suckers, eh, cruisers to the shopowners) are in a hurry to get back to the buffet table on the boat and are willing to pay the asking price for whatever they can get their hands on.

What kind of items can you expect to find here? Here is a brief list of the most common items available in almost all souvenier stores in the golden zone:
Mayan masks, T-shirts, animal models, blouses, ceramic patio and garden ornaments, ceramic planters, ceramic vegatables, chess sets, clay wall ornaments, colorful lamps, crucifixes, fountains, glassware, gold, hammocks, hats, lamps, leather belts, marble figures, metal mirrors, paper mache animals, patio lamp ornaments, pewter, pewter picture frames, pottery, sandals, sivler, sunglasses, telleverra, wall hangings, water pitchers...

One comment I should make about bargaining. It seems to be a way of life in Mexico, except of course in the supermarkets and large chain stores. However all of the beach vendors and many of the souvenier shops expect it, and are almost insulted if you don't try. On the other hand, they'll also be happy to take twice as much money as they were willing to settle for, so the choice is yours.

Golf [top]
A club ready to hit the ball, where will it go? In my case straight for the nearest tree. (1.2K) Golf is another one of the reasons people come to Mazatlan. There is a first class 27 hole course that is associated with the El Cid hotel. It is very well maintained, and challenging. The down side is that it is not open to the public. Only guests of the El Cid hotel or people renting houses that have club memberships can play. Green fees range from $30 to $60 per round, plus caddies are required, which cost another $10. There is also a new golf course that has just been constructed on Stone Island, out near the airport. It is called Estrella del Mar, and is quite lush and beautiful. The last time I checked their green fees were $65.
Rent one of the luxury golf course homes and play as much as you like. Many of the vacation rentals are on the golf course and come with memberships. For more information check out places to stay while in Mazatlan.
Ropes and Climbing wall [top]
Henry before he really knew what he was getting into. Chances are you came to Mazatlan to hang out at the beach, have a few cervesas, and gain a few kilos. However, if you're reading this, you might consider talking to whatever company you work with and cajoling them into bringing a group down for a combination vacation and personal growth experience.Why? Well, there are several reasons. While it's raining and snowing up north, the sun is shining and the birds are singing here in Mazatlan. Also, you will learn a lot about yourself and your co-workers. The fact is, that while many people consider themselves under stress, it is fortunately rare that we are ever exposed to life threatening stress in our daily lives. You can find out a lot about a person who is in a state of great fear, whether it is real or imagined. How will you, or they, react? Will they give up, hide, cry, run, plunge ahead, help others, self sacrifice, or just muddle through? I can tell you from personal experience that unless you are a professional circus performer or stunt man, you will experience an elevated sense of fear and anxiety if you attempt the ropes course. You can also experience an elevated sense of triumph and satisfaction if you can get past the anxiety. I truly believe that pretty much any group of people, especially a group that is working together, or even a family, will find that they will know more about each other and grow closer after having completed this experience. The fear and anxiety are real, but the danger is not. The ropes course has a web presenceor you can read more about my personal experiencesif you're interested. Note:The ropes course and climbing wall disappeared sometime in the summer of 2004, sorry. I'll leave this here just to prove I did it!
Tennis [top]
My tennis teacher, Gustavo. It seems like my side of the court is much larger than his side, even when we switch. This is my game, and I play almost every day. Here is a picture of Gustavo Dominguez, my tennis teacher. You can find me at the El Cid courts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from about 8am until 10am playing doubles with the viejos. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 8am I have a lesson with him. If you are interested in a lesson, go to the clubhouse and sign up. Be warned, he doesn't miss.

There are many tennis clubs in Mazatlan, and Mexican tennis players are very tough. They really hate losing, which they don't do very often. No matter where you stay, either your hotel will have a tennis court on the grounds, or they will be associated with a tennis club where you can play. Since we live at the El Cid resort, we play on the El Cid courts, which have 4 clay and 5 composition courts. The same restrictions as mentioned above in golfapply for tennis as well.
Games [top]
Sally Ross, who calls bingo Tuesday evenings at Canucks There is a Bingo event every Tuesday evening from 6pm until 8pm at Canucks Restaurantin Olas Altas. Besides Bingo, there are often raffles and AphroditeT Shirts (yes really) for sale. All proceeds go to the Amigos de los Animales.The caller is Sally Ross, pictured here on the right.

During the winter season, both duplicate bridge and Bingo are played in Mazatlan. The bridge group meets Monday thru Friday at the Hotel Playa Mazatlan. Newcomers are welcome, and partnerships can be arranged. The times vary, so call the hotel for exact information. They meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1:30pm and Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00pm. There is also a bingo game every Thursday evening at the Inn at Mazatlan, and every Wednesday night at El Paraje restaurant from 4:30 until 6:30.

Space Bowling [top]
Henry in action, hoping he knocks down something -- anything. There's a new game in town (March 2000), and it starts with b, which rhymes with p and isn't pool, but bowling. Of course Nadine and I had to check it out. It's been under construction for about two years, and we must have driven by it literally hundreds of times. Was it worth the wait? Well, I must admit they did a really nice job on the building and the bowling alley. The lanes are first rate, and the computerized score keeping displays have animations that are even more entertaining than watching the players. There are plenty of balls available, and even though I usually have trouble finding one that fits me in the US, I had no trouble finding one here. The atmosphere is fun, with background music that isn't too loud and plenty of waiters and other staff around to make sure everything is running smoothly. My only complaint, other than my lack of bowling talent, is about the price. Each game costs 40 pesos, which is $4.50US at the current exchange rate. Throw in another 30 pesos for shoes, and it starts to add up pretty quickly. The guy behind the desk seemed apologetic about the prices, so I guess the management knows they are on the high side, but we did have a good time, and I'm sure we'll be back. I took a couple more of the interior,which you're welcome to peruse.
Night Life [top]
A young couple about to do a dip. I just hope he doesn't drop her. If you've go the endurance, Mazatlan has the party. Actually there is a nice wide spectrum of night life available, from dining while being serenaded by mariachis, to dancing to the megaton bass of million dollar sound systems. There are roving bands of mariachi musicians all along the golden zone. They will often play one song for free, and then ask you if you would like to pay for a second song. Be sure to agree on a price before they start playing the second song. A nice place, right on the beach, for dinner and mariachi music is El Costa Marinero. My favorite song is Guantanamera, which all the mariachi bands can play.

If dancing is your thing, there are at least two spectacular discos in town. One is Valentinos, which is right across from the Sheik restaurant.You can start with dinner at the Sheik, and walk over to Valentinos for dancing. Another is El Caracol at El Cid and near the La Concha restaurant. El Caracol is a three level disco, with the dance floor on the bottom level. All the discos have a dress code, and beach wear, especially sandals are unacceptable. Also the discos don't open until 10:00PM, and the in crowddoesn't show up until after midnight. They usually close down around 4 or 5AM. All have a cover charge.

For another choice, there is the Mexican Fiesta. The best and oldest takes place three times a week at the Hotel Playa Mazatlan. It starts with mariachi music, followed by dance music where the guests can work up an appetite on the dance floor. Next there is a buffet dinner, and a folkloric show, featuring singers and dancers in native costumes. The show is very good, and Nadine's father goes to see it every time he comes down to visit, which is at least once or twice a year.

Quote of the day:
He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met.
Abraham Lincoln

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