We had a great time! There is a small debate still going on as to whether this was our best vacation or not. Definitely a candidate!
We arrived early Saturday afternoon to a dry, 88 degree sunny day. After a leisurely van ride through town, we were dropped off at our hotel, Los Sabalos. What a great location! We were right on the beach, within walkind distance of dozens of restaurants and shops and everything we could need. We firste headed over to Joe's Oyster Bar (Famous for their music...but I gotta say the food kinda sucked. Our only sucky food experience in Mazatlan), had a couple drinks and got some relaxation started.....
Later, we walked over to the Mega store, a mexican version of sort of Walmart. I could see it from the window in the hallway outside our room, so we walked in that general direction and got beverages and snacks. We learned from Cabo not to buy lots of food and think we will actually cook it--just snacks and drinks.
Sunday, we wandered around on the beach then headed to the front desk to set up some tours to do. We decided on the Stone Island tour, a Ziplint/tequila factory combination tour, and a sunset sailing tour.
Monday was our Stone Island tour. We took a 2 level boat out in the bay, around the various islands (sea lion island, bird island, etc), learned about Mazatlan's history, and had some dolphins start swimming along with our boat. Pretty cool! I tried to get pictures and video, but had a hard time. We made it to Stone Island (which is actually a peninsula), and took a tractor-pulled wagon over to the beach area. We had lunch there, and out choice of horseback riding, kayaking, snorkelling or banana boat riding. We wanted to snorkel, but it was to windy/wave-y to do that, so we did the banana boat instead. Do you know what that is?? The thing the kids are sitting on in Jaws 3 in the beginning of the movie where the shark comes up and eats the ones off the back?? Yeah. Well, it was fun. We went out and around an island and had a great time bouncing around. They took us back to the beach and stopped, and we were about to climb off when the surf crashed in and flipped us over. Still fun, though.
Tuesday was a day off from tours. Lots more walking on the beach, playing in the pool and generally relaxing. We LOVED that our hotel is in the middle of everything, no taxis needed to go anywhere. We had GREAT meals everywhere we went, and shopping was right out our front door. One of my most favorite things was the beach. There were NO people there--look at my video. TOtally empty. Usually maybe 2-3 dozen along the whole stretch of the beach in front of the 4-5 hotels in our area. Also, I loved the vendors on the beach. YOu can buy everything from tacos to fresh cut fruit to dresses or jewelry, hats and kites and sunglasses and hand carved figures and everything in between. People walk along selling their wares and were really easy to leave us alone once we said 'No, gracias'. I love that Mazatlan is not a developed tourist trap like Puerto Vallarta or Los Cabos. People live there and have jobs unrelated to tourism. Yes, tourism is a part of the area, but not the be-all, end-all for everyone. Very low key.
Wednesday, we did the Zipline tour. We did a zipline tour in Puerto Vallarta a couple years ago and it was totally the highlight of our trip, so we were really looking forward to this one. The tour is not jungly like PV, but takes place above and around a blue agave plantation. It is a new company, and they are well on their way to success. There were 9 lines total, as well as a rappell at the end. Lots of fun, and only 4 of us in the group.
After the ziplines, they drove us to a tequila factory. In the state of Sinaloa, they are prohibited from calling their product tequila on the label, so it says 100% pure blue agave, which it is. Only the blue agave plant and water are used to make the tequila. I must say, I do NOT like tequila. The smell, the taste...all of it. But this stuff was smooth! A softer, sweet smell and very smooth to drink. We bought a bottle for ourselves, and one for our catsitter at home.
Wednesday night, we were wandering around looking for a new restaurant to try. I made the unfortunate suggesting of walking along the malecon (seawall) towards the historic district, sure that we would find a nice place to eat. I am sure there ARE places there, but they are FAR. We gave up after about a mile and headed back, wandering a bit past our hotel towards the other side before settling on a restaurant offering BBQ ribs. You may not know this, but Ethan LOVES BBQ ribs. So we stopped. Our waiter asked us where we were from, and when he heard it was Seattle, he pointed out another couple seated nearby from Oregon. We introduced ourselves, and were invited to their table for drinks once we finished our meal.
This is how we met Candiss (Candy) and Mike from Cottage Grove, Oregon. Mike is a finish carpenter who looks like a cross between Papa and my cousin David, I swear to god. Candiss is a real estate agent having all sorts of fun in this recession. They were a great couple in their late 50's/early 60's who go to Mazatlan twice a year for two weeks. A fountain of information! We headed over to their hotel across the street from the restaurant (only a few hundred yards down the beach from our own hotel), and met up with another couple, Mike and Magdelena that they knew. We had a great time sipping fruity drinks, listening to the waves hitting the beach. Ethan and I were the old married couple of the group with our nearly 5 years of matrimony--Candiss and Mike have been married 3 1/2 years and Mike and Magdelena have been married only 1 1/2.
Thursday was another day with no plans, just playing in the ocean and wandering around. We took a pulmonia (taxi) into the historic district and wandered around the market there for awhile, then headed back to the relative cool weather at the beach. We met back up with Candiss, Magdelena and the two Mikes that evening for homemade dinner and drinks on the patio outside their hotel overlooking the beach and watched the sunset. Later, we checked out the rooms upstairs--much better than our own hotel--definitely going to go to Los Flores next time!! Not spendy, but very spacious. There are futon platform couches with thick pads on them, and they were telling us that they sometimes drag them onto their large, covered deck to sleep outside and listen to the ocean. Very nice. Another great evening with our newfound Mazatlan friends.
Friday was our last full day in Mazatlan. We lazed around, they headed out for our sunset sailing cruise. Only 4 passengers with us, and plenty of wind to push us along! Justin would surely have puked. They served us appetizers and drinks and sailed all around Mazatlan while we waited for the sun to go down. Almost 4 1/2 hours in total, and I enjoyed every minute of ut (well, when I wasn't worrying about my camera getting wet from occasional splashes).
Saturday was all about grabbing those last minute souvenirs and heading out to the airport. And here we are, safe and sound!!