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Long Trip Report Oct17-23

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St. Louis, MO
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Long Trip Report Oct17-23

We arrived in Mazatlan for our honeymoon Sunday October 17. Two other newly wedded couples on the plane were staying at resorts but we chose the bed and breakfast Casa de Leyendas, and we were very glad we did (specific review to come). We paid extra to get the shuttle straight from the airport and it was convenient to have that ready to go. We rode through the city and settled into our cozy room.

ACTIVITIES. This was our first time in Mazatlan, thanks to google and TA. We spent a lot of time on the Malecon and beach and around Plaza Machado and the historic district (the construction was in full swing but it was still full of visitors, especially on the weekend). We took the 20-peso ferry to Stone Island and enjoyed wading in the waves so much we came back the next day. Sharon at the Casa helped book us the zip line at Vereando(?) which was a lot of fun.

TRANSPORTATION. There were so many quality establishments near where we were staying that we walked almost everywhere and only visited one restaurant twice. We spent 40 pesos on pulmonias the whole week (once coming back from Stone Island on a hot afternoon). Glenn and Sharon lent us bikes to ride up the Malecon on Saturday morning to visit the Golden Zone. We enjoyed the ride, although the Zona didn't seem that exciting to us, especially after the beach gave way to tall buildings on both sides of the street. Maybe it's more fun at night, or maybe we were just spoiled by the Olas Altas atmosphere all week. Like others on this forum, we recommend not renting a car. Traffic and parking are not worth it with so many places in walking distance (and there's always a pulmonia honking by).

FOOD. Sometimes it seemed like all we did in Mazatlan was eat. We experienced everything from the upscale Topolo's to the hot dog stand on the street. We enjoyed the variety, and it hadn't occurred to me that seafood would be integrated into Mexican cuisine. I'd had shrimp pasta back home, of course, but who had ever thought of shrimp fajitas? Shrimp quesadellias?! Garlic shrimp! And JUMBO SHRIMP wrapped in BACON stuffed with CHEESE!!! (thanks Jeepman for that Pedro y Lola's review) Favorite margarita was mango at Topolo's, but maybe that's cuz I'm not much of a straight alcohol drinker. The new Macaw's at Casa de Leyendas also had a good bar, good atmosphere, and good prices. My favorite drink was the apple smoothie at the Tà Café. Favorite desserts were tres leches from Panama and banana pie from Pedro y Lola's.

STREET VENDORS. Thanks to TA I was prepared to defend against a full onslaught of time share sharks, but we didn't get accosted at all, either in the airport or in the southern streets and beaches. We didn't see any vendors until we went to Stone Island, where there seemed an unsustainably high number of locals all peddling the same dresses and sombreros. It was a little annoying when they would approach us during meals, but a simple "no gracias" would suffice. We did buy a couple of things, and I'm patient enough to let them talk themselves down but too nice to work it further. (They gotta make a living somehow. We did "walk away" once to save 20 pesos on a dress.) Later we got a wood carved pelican on the Malecon.

LANGUAGE was never a barrier, as most everybody spoke English well, or well enough. My wife knew almost no Spanish but I was proud of how much she picked up by the week's end. I used my minor schooling to enhance some interactions (and have a fun broken conversation with a surfer). Most of the menus are printed in both languages, which helps with ordering and learning vocabulary. (We quickly learned phrases like "la cuenta" and "tomas el cambio.") I was surprised by how often the waiters used "tu" verbs instead of "usted" but I suppose it's similar to the vendors calling every stranger "amigo"

SAFETY. We generally felt safe everywhere we went in Mazatlan, although we never strayed far from the historic district or stayed out very late. There were lots of cars, lights, tourists, and locals and it was easy to forget that gang members might be killing each other somewhere in the city. At the same time, many of the streets had rundown buildings, graffiti, and bars over first-floor windows, and it was easy to imagine the calm scene flipping to dangerous in the absence of lights and people. But from what we learned and experienced the district is safe and even still improving.

All in all we had a great, relaxing time. We'd love to come back someday and experience even more - although there's a whole lot of world to see out there and not a whole lot of money. Thanks again to TripAdvisor and everyone here who posted reviews and advice. I'll be supporting more specific restaurants and activities on the review pages later. EL FIN.

Virginia Beach, VA
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1. Re: Long Trip Report Oct17-23

Thanks for a great TR!! We've been going to Maz for 9 years and have never been to Stone Island on our own. After reading your report I think we'll try it next March. Glad you had a good time.

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: Long Trip Report Oct17-23

Enjoyed your report, thank you. You stayed in and enjoyed a great area, one of my most favrite, glad to hear the Plazuela Machado construction wasn't a big problem. In Mexico you will see lots of barred windows; security systems are not the norm, either not trusted or maybe too expensive. but they are mainly a common item for a secure home/business, I understand.

The casual interaction in language strikes me as a result of the local friendliness that is all around. Making you feel at ease and "at home" is a quality in Mazatlan and appreciated by most everyone who visits. I use "usted" alot, but only because I mean it and most Mazatlecos deserve teh respect it shows. Thanks again, I am sure looking forward to MY next visit! Hope it won't b too long 4 you! And congrats on your marriage!

St. Louis, MO
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3. Re: Long Trip Report Oct17-23

Almost forgot to mention CURRENCY. I picked up 1000 pesos between flights in Houston just to have something when we arrived. Glenn told us how to get to the Farmacia Guadalajara to buy some items like chapstick and we saw an ATM there which we used for pesos all week, although I have no idea what exchange rate I got because it didn't tell me. A fair number of businesses and vendors seemed to be OK with dollars but for simplicity's sake we used pesos for everything.

Mazatlan
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4. Re: Long Trip Report Oct17-23

Excellent post. Thank you. I'm really glad you enjoyed you honeymoon!

Houston, Texas
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5. Re: Long Trip Report Oct17-23

pianominstrel, great trip report! Congrats on your wedding, too.

You mentioned picking up pesos in Houston. Was that when you were at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport, or did you go offsite to the Farmacia you mentioned. More details, please! I live in Houston and our banks don't seem too well equipped to exchange money. Go figure, because there are taco stands around my neighborhood (I live in northwest Houston) that take pesos! Maybe they'll give me a good exchange rate! I failed to hold back enough pesos to cover the 1st days taxi and cervesas.

Mazatlan
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6. Re: Long Trip Report Oct17-23

Outstanding trip report and I'm glad you enjoyed your honeymoon. Yes, Glenn and Sharon are really gracious hosts--but I love B & Bs and have never met a cranky host. It was nice that you were able to report on being a tourist in the central area of the city.

St. Louis, MO
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7. Re: Long Trip Report Oct17-23

Houmomof4,

Happy to clarify... We got 1000 pesos at the currency exchange in Houston (terminal B to be exact) for about $98 after the exchange fee. The rest we picked up throughout the week at a Farmacia in Mazatlan (across from the Oxxo on Carnival and the Aleman... something like that) it said it charged me like 69.75 pesos each transaction but did not tell me the exchange rate. It told me my checking account balance in pesos but I need to check my actual account to see how many dollars it took out.

Houston, Texas
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8. Re: Long Trip Report Oct17-23

Thanks for the clarification, pianominstrel!

St. Louis, MO
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9. Re: Long Trip Report Oct17-23

And as it turns out the Farmacia exchange rate ended up being about 12 including the fee (3000 pesos cost me just under $250) so not too bad considering how the rate has come down a little.

10. Re: Long Trip Report Oct17-23

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