Carnaval 2019, February 27 – March 5

This is the 121st year for Carnaval in Mazatlan. There is a new mayor in charge now, Luis Guillermo “El Quimico” Benitez Torres, who has appointed a new director of Cultura, Oscar Blancarte. The theme was announced on November 23 and it’s: Equinox. The rebirth of the senses/Equinoccio. El renacer de los sentidos.  “El Quimico” was born and bred in Mazatlan and has already announced entrance to the party on Olas Altas will be free, as well as 10,000 tickets to the three big “coronation concerts” –  all the acts are confirmed now, see below.

For young women entering the contest who wish to be queen, the rules are: born in Mazatlan or lived in Mazatlan for three years, can’t be a mother, nor pregnant, nor married and you must be between the ages of 17 – 25 on the day of the election. There are 12 candidates vying for the crown this year. There are three candidates for “child queen”, reina infantil and three for king, rey de la alegria.

All the headliners are confirmed for the main events, but other smaller events could change. VIP tickets go on sale on Monday December 17 at the Angela Peralta box office, La Gran Place, Plaza Galerias and Plaza Acaya [before Plaza Sendero]. Box office hours will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m, Monday to Saturday. 10,000 tickets will be free and the organizers are allowing 2 tickets per person on Friday February 1 at the Angela Peralta box office. The free tickets are in “the stands”. These free tickets are for less fortunate Mexicans who never get a chance to see these wonderful events – so tell your cleaning people, your handyman, all your generous Mexicans who have been helping you for years.

Friday February 1: Candidate’s Mini-Parade Fiesta! The organizers of Carnaval always enjoy drumming up excitement for the candidates who work so hard to become king or queen. This parade is small [but large in emotion!] and starts at 4 p.m. at Av. Leonismo [opposite Bosque de la Ciudad] on Av. Ejército Mexicano then to Juan Carrasco, Aquiles Serdán, onto the Alemán, Olas Altas, along Angel Flores and concluding in the Plazuela República with more celebrations and a great fiesta. As always, except road detours and delays during this time.

Friday February 8: Cómputo final, the final computer tally for queens. Music and celebration in the Plazuela República (Town Hall Square) around 6 p.m. Tonight all the candidates, via votes, are narrowed down to a precious few. All free with tons of music and guest singers.

Saturday February 9: Elección de reinas, the election of the queens. Always an exciting evening at the Angela Peralta. It has great musical numbers and the candidates have many costume changes (in sky-high heels) as well as answering important questions from the judges. It’s a serious process and like all beauty pageants, tension and excitement is in the air. Angela Peralta, 7 p.m.

Friday February 22: Velada de las Artes – this “evening of the arts” once again offers a gala event under the baton of Maestro Enrique Patrón de Rueda who has invited international musical guests. More details to follow, but it’s always an exciting and entertaining event. $600, $550, $450, $350, Angela Peralta Theatre, 8 p.m.

Wednesday February 27:  Banda El Recodo de Don Cruz Lizárraga: some say it’s THE BEST banda [“la madre de todas las bandas”] in all of Mexico performing all the songs Mexicans adore. 6:30 p.m. Free, in baseball stadium, Estadio Teodoro Mariscal. [how and where you obtain your free ticket will be announced at a later date.]

February 28: Inauguración de la muestra gastronónmica/food fair exhibition in Plazuela Machado. Mingle with kings and queens and sample special foods prepared by restaurants surrounding the square. There will be regional dishes and delicious desserts served every day during Carnaval starting at 2 p.m. Lots of activities will also take place in the bandstand for children. Free on the inauguration only – but restaurants do offer regional dishes at a small cost during Carnaval.

Thursday February 28: Coronation of the King of Happiness/ Coronación del Rey de Carnaval Free. 8 p.m. in the Parque Ciudades Hermanas [Zaragoza and the Malecon] featuring Chuy Lizarraga’s band. Also: Masquerade Ball, Night of the Harlequins: Costume contest, fantastic prizes! Ticket’s available at Labeth’s Bazaar Constitución and Benito Juarez, Wednesday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.or call 669 117 5768. Your ticket of $750 includes delicious finger food and two drinks. 7 p.m. at Terraza Los Pargos, Chametla #230, Playa Sur.

Friday March 1: Coronation pageant for Queen of the flower games/Coronación Reina de los Juegos Florales. Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium[now sometimes referred to as Casa de los Venados] 8:00 p.m.This year features the group Los Angeles Azules – they’ve been here before to rave reviews. “Los Ángeles Azules are a Mexican musical group playing the cumbia sonidera genre, a variation on cumbia with accordion and synthesizer effect resulting in a fusion of the sounds of cumbia from the 1950-1970s with those of 1990s-style electronic music. In 2018, they played on the Coachella Stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, making it the first time a traditional cumbia group has played at the popular festival.” VIP price zone, $2,200, $1,800, $1,300 and $800, rest of the stadium [10,000 seats] is free.

Saturday March 2: Coronation pageant for the Queen of Carnaval/ Coronación de la Reina del Carnaval.  Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium, 6:30 p.m.  Mijares y Emannuel are the headliners. Emannuel is a popular Mexican gospel, pop and romantic singer and songwriter. These two are adored by Mexicans. VIP zone: $2,800, $2,200, $1,500, $800,  rest of the stadium[10,000 seats] is free.

Saturday March 2: Burning of the Bad Humour/Quema del mal humor; each year political or “outspoken” people are in the running, and the Mexicans always wonder who will be chosen to burn in effigy. The procession starts on Zaragoza and Aquiles Serdan at 6 p.m. and ends – location to be announced. 9 p.m. Free.

Saturday March 2: Combate Naval/ Naval battle fought on the water (and the shore) with fireworks that will most likely, but not confirmed, be launching at Casa del Marino [on Paseo Claussen in front of the Lido condo] at around 10:30 p.m. Start thinking about reserving your viewing spot with friends in high places [mostly condos and houses in this area]. These choreographed fireworks to music are not to be missed. Free.

Sunday March 3: First Carnaval Parade/Primer Desfile de Carnaval, starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Fisherman’s Monument/Monumento al Pescador and goes north to Valentino’s on Rafael Buelna. Themed floats and loads of live music. Unlike any other parade you have ever seen – party like a Mazatleco! Free. Here’s the route with approximate times: 5:30, Av. Rotarismo; 6, Hotel de Cima; 7, Lola Betrán; 7:30 Hotel de Sol; 7:45 Tourism; 8, El Toro Bravo; 8:30 Valentino’s.

Monday March 4: Children’s Costume Ball/Baile Infantil, Salón Spectaculare, 10:00 a.m., on Av. Camaron Sabalo in front of the Hotel Quijote Inn.

Monday March 4: Coronation of the Child Queen of Carnaval/Coronación de la Reina Infantil : Baseball Stadium, Estadio Teodoro Mariscal. 6:30 p.m. Pop 90 – a compilation of Latin-America pop songs from the 90s! Literally famous artists from the 90s have come together tonight. VIP zone prices: $3,500, $3,000, $2,500, $1,800 rest of the stadium [10,000 seats] is free.

Tuesday March 5: Second Carnaval Parade/Segundo Desfile de Carnaval, 4:30 p.m. from the Aquarium south along the Malecon to Miguel Aleman. It’s a mini version of the Sunday parade, but still has many of the fabulous floats. Here’s the route and the approximate times: 4:30, Av. de los Deportes; 5, Lola Beltrán; 5:45, Hotel de Cima; 6, Hotel Plaza Marina; 7:15, Av. Zaragoza; and then along around 7:35 Olas Altas. The parade is followed with lots of live music that usually starts at 10 p.m. on Paseo Claussen.


Mazatlan becomes part of
UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network

Reported by Maaike Hoekstra, August 6, 2018

An exciting partnership has been signed between Mazatlan and UNESCO. Mazatlan has become a candidate member of the Creative Cities Network. The Creative Cities Network was created in 2004 to promote cooperation between cities, placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of local development plans. There are seven creative fields that can be chosen: Crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, music and media arts. Worldwide there are 180 member cities from 72 countries. In Mexico there are currently six other Creative Cities: Puebla (design), Guadalajara (media arts), Mexico City (design), Morelia (music), Ensenada (gastronomy), San Cristobal de las Casas (crafts and folk art). Mazatlan will be focusing on gastronomy as the main creative field. The spotlight will be shined on Mazatlan now and if all the UNESCO’s requirements are met it will become official in October 2019 – when the city will receive its plaque.

UNESCO Mexico director Nuria Sanz pointed out that there is work ahead for local government, restauranteurs and universities to preserve and promote local food culture, as well as creating new generations of skilled food entrepreneurs. She mentioned that “we are what we eat” and the important role of gastronomy to create sustainable urban development. In the coming year there will be intercultural cooperation between Creative Cities of Gastronomy to learn from each other. Some of the other 26 cities in this field are: Parma, Bergen, Bélem, Chengdu, Dénia, Gaziantep, Ostersund and Tucson. More for information about the Creative Cities Network:

Papik Ramirez

The mastermind behind the project is Papik Ramirez, current director of the Sinaloan Institute for Culture and Arts/secretario de cultura de Sinaloa. The idea came to light after Mr. Ramirez met with Nuria Sanz, the country director of UNESCO at a conference in Guadalajara. Mazatlan has historically been the city of abundance in seafood and fish, as well as a great culinary tradition. “It would be a great honor to get the UNESCO Creative Cities recognition, to become part of a world-wide network”, says Papik Ramirez. “It isn’t only about the historic legacy, but also about incorporating young entrepreneurs in the productive and culinary sector. To capitalize on the wealth of natural resources we need the fresh eyes of young entrepreneurs as well as their connections to the rest of the world. Not only to export regional products, but to process in innovative ways of using local food to delight visitors. This will have an impact on the local economy as well as on the rest of Sinaloa.”

“The process to certify as Creative City of Gastronomy is a collective effort. We are going to need people from different sectors to build our case file. A UNESCO consultant will visit Mazatlan to indicate the steps to follow. There will be study groups, focusing on different fields. We will be hosting an international meeting of Creative Cities of Gastronomy in October this year, so we can learn from their experiences. The case file will be presented in February 2019, and in November 2019 we’ll receive the verdict.”

Mr. Ramirez is confident that Mazatlan has all the necessary elements to become the 27th member of Creative Cities of Gastronomy and he hopes that the city will be able to add other unique cultural elements too. To keep track of the process, more information will be available on the ISIC page

[Maaike Hoekstra is the owner and founder of Flavor Teller – Mazatlan’s only street food tour. She’s particularly excited about UNESCO’s interest in the cuisine of Mazatlan as she’s known for years how unique the food is. You can find out all about Maaike and her popular tours on]

Peter Greenberg Worldwide – Mazatlan, Mexico, April 28, 2018

Peter Greenberg’s radio show is two hours and it’s all about his recent visits to Mazatlan. He’s enthusiastic and loves Mazatlan BUT he’s clearly frustrated by the messaging of U.S. State Department advisories throughout Mexico. If you don’t wish to listen to all two hours, [Peter is very entertaining] here are some local expats and Mexican VIPs he interviewed: start playing and move the bar to the time indicated in brackets. Quirino Ordaz Coppel [1:25:00], Governor of Sinaloa; Enrique de la Madrid [0:10:34], Mexico Secretary of Tourism; Daniel Lamarre [0:31:46], President and CEO of Cirque de Soleil; Nancy and Lloyd Goldstein [0:42:55] US Expats & administration for Mazatlan My City; Sheila Madsen [0:57:01], Canadian Expat & Owner and Publisher of MazatlanLife; Cecilia Sánchez Duarte [1:09:00] , Director of Mazatlan’s Museo de Arte; Simon Lynds [1:16:00] , Founder of Mazatlan My City and Advisor for the Venados baseball team; Raul Rico [1:39:00], Director of the Cultural Center, Cultura, of Mazatlan; Diego Becerra [1:46:00] Chef at El Presidio.

Click here to visit Peter Greenberg’s web page.

What Is A Posada?

Tis the season, but what is a posada?

By Maaike Hoekstra, November 2017. [Maaike is the owner and founder of Mazatlan’s only street food tour, Flavor Teller]

It might seem far away, but Santa Claus is coming to town. The sunny beaches and palm trees might not inspire much of a Christmas spirit, but do as the locals and organize a posada. But what is a posada?

Las Posadas are originally a religious celebration, remembering the journey of Joseph and Mary asking for a place to stay. This ritual takes nine days, from December 16th and ending at December 24th, representing the nine-month pregnancy of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

In Mexico, this Christian tradition brought by the Spanish coincided with the Aztec winter solstice festival. The Aztecs believed that their most important god Huitzilopochtli was born in December. The Spanish missionaries took advantage of the similarity between the two celebrations, to teach the story of Jesus’ birth to Mexico’s people.

Nine nights the ‘peregrinos’ (pilgrims) pay a visit to a different house asking for lodging. There will be special Christmas carols (‘villancicos’), chanting between those who are inside and those who are looking for refuge. Afterwards the ‘peregrinos’ are welcomed inside to enjoy dinner. You’ll surely find tamales, ‘atole’ (a hot masa-based beverage), ‘ponche’ (a warm spiced Christmas punch) and ‘buñuelos’ (crispy, sweet fritters).

Apart of sharing dinner with family and friends, the tradition includes breaking a piñata. Nowadays the piñata is mostly used for birthday parties, but its origins are connected to Las Posadas. The authentic piñatas have a clay core and a seven-point star shape with bright-colored paper. Each point represents one of the capital sins. You’ll get blind-folded, symbolizing the blind faith of the believer. Breaking the piñata means you’ve overcome sin to receive God’s grace, then receiving blessings (candies and fruits). Of course, you don’t have to believe in that to hit the piñata, but that’s the history.

Today, the posadas have mostly become private parties that mix some religious elements with food and drinks. If this sounds like the perfect pretense to get in the Christmas spirit, hit the Mercado Piño Suarez [in Centro] and find everything you need! Don’t worry if you don’t feel like cooking: posadas can be done potluck-style. Tis the season to enjoy posadas, piñatas, potlucks, fiestas, friends and family.


Day Of The Dead

Dia de Muertos – helping the spirits find their way home.

By Maaike Hoekstra [September 2017]

[updated September 2018 – Dia de Muertos public celebrations will take place on Friday November 2, this year, not on the traditional Thursday November 1. This is only because the new director of Cultura, Oscar Blancarte, accepts the new position and November 1 will be dedicated to his inauguration festivities. Many families may continue private celebrations on November 1.]

Mexico’s most characteristic and perhaps oldest fiesta, Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), has its origins in the belief of the pre-Hispanic Tarasco people from Michoacan that the dead could return to their homes on one day each year. This tradition was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2008. UNESCO formed this to ensure better protection of important cultural traditions.

The underlying philosophy behind Dia de Muertos is that death does not represent the end of a life but a continuation of life in a parallel world. The day when the dead could return is a month after the autumn equinox. The occasion required preparations to help the spirits find their way home and make them welcome. An arch of bright yellow marigold flowers was put up in each home, as a symbolic doorway from the underworld. Tamales, fruits, corn and salt were placed in front of the arch on an altar, along with containers of water; because spirits always arrived thirsty after their journey. Traditionally, the spirits of departed children are visited on the first night and spirits of dead adults came on the following night, when they joined their living relatives to eat, drink, talk and sing.

The Catholic celebrations of All Saints’ Day (November 1st) and All Souls’ Day (November 2nd) were easily superimposed on the ancient Day of the Dead traditions, which shared much of the same symbolism – flowers, candles and offerings of food and drink. All Souls’ Day is the Catholic day of prayers for those in purgatory, All Saints’ Day was understood as a visit by the spirits of children who immediately became angelitos (little angels) when they died. The growing mestizo community evolved a new tradition of visiting graveyards and decorating graves of family members.

Dia de Muertos persisted in the guise of the Catholic celebration throughout the colonial period when the idea of death as a leveler and release from earthly suffering must have provided comfort for the overwhelmingly poor population. After Mexican independence, poets used the occasion to publish verses ridiculing members of the social elite by portraying them as dead, with all their wealth and pretensions rendered futile. The great Mexican illustrator, José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913), expressed similar sentiments in his famous Calaveras – skeletal figures of Death cheerfully engaging in everyday life, working, dancing, courting, drinking and riding horses into battle. One of his most enduring characters is La Calavera Catrina, a female skeleton in an elaborate low-cut dress and flamboyant flower-covered hat, suggestively revealing a bony leg and an ample bust that is all ribs and no cleavage.

Among indigenous communities, most notably the Purépecha of Michoacan (descendants of the pre-Hispanic Tarascos), Dia de Muertos is still very much a religious and spiritual event. For them, the observance is more appropriately called Noche de Muertos (Night of the Dead), because families actually spend whole nights at the graveyard – the night of October 31/November 1 with the spirits of dead children, the following night with the spirits of dead adults.

For Mexico’s mestizo majority, Dia de Muertos is more of a popular folk festival and family occasion. People may visit a graveyard to clean and decorate family graves, but they do not usually maintain an all-night vigil. And though they may pray for the souls of the departed and build altars in their homes to welcome them back, the Catholic belief is that those souls are in heaven or in purgatory, not actually back on a visit to Earth. Sugar skulls, chocolate coffins and toy skeletons are sold in markets everywhere as gifts for children as well as graveyard decorations.

The altar that people create is decorated with bright cempasuchil (marigold) flowers, candles, salt and water, plates of tamales, sugar-shaped skulls and pan de muertos (bread of the dead; a softened sweet bread in the shape of a bun), and the favorite foods of the deceased are laid out so that they feel welcome upon their return. Many government offices, homes, galleries and businesses set up their altars and you’ll certainly see many on your way through town.

In the center and south of Mexico, Dia de Muertos is a solemn celebration. But Mazatlan celebrates in its own exuberant way. Home to the biggest beer brewery on the Pacific coast, until a few years ago there was a donkey pulling a cart with barrels of beer from where the alcohol would flow freely during the evening of Dia de Muertos. Nowadays they’ve changed the donkey for a typical pulmonia taxi. This boisterous street parade passes by altars that have been set-up in the historic center. There are several people that embody ‘Death’ or La Calavera Catrina with elaborate carnaval-like gowns. In the procession there is Sinaloa ‘banda’ playing live music and there are many people that are dressed up as calacas (colloquial name for skeletons) that dance to the music. The celebration in Mazatlan is not solemn, but more festive. I invite you to embrace the spirit of Dia de Muertos – the Mazatlan way!

Maaike is the owner and founder of Mazatlan’s only street food tour, Flavor Teller.

Flavor Teller – Street Food Tours

Introducing, Flavor Teller – quite possibly Mazatlan’s first street food tour.

By Sheila Madsen [January 30, 2017]

If you have always wanted to taste the real flavors of Mazatlan street cuisine – but were concerned about possible health issues – then Flavor Teller, Maaike Hoekstra has a food tour for you. In fact, she has two. Maaike has spent ten years researching all the great and safe food stands and is now ready to connect you to the people who create culinary magic.

As she says, “real food, real stories, real people”. Maaike has carefully planned and tested a three to four hour food tour where you’ll not only experience wonderful new tastes but she’ll tell you about the history of the back streets, and the culture of Mazatlan. It’s the perfect marriage of food, history and culture. “I’ll take you to the best hidden gems in Mazatlan…you’ll visit families keeping Mexican traditions alive. Along the way I’ll entertain you with stories and insights into Mazatlan’s culture and history.”

maaik pixThis is not promotional fluff copy; I’ve been on the Flavor Teller tour with five others for the inauguration; we all learned fascinating new facts and sampled food that we never would have tried. At the end of the tour everyone commented “it’s about time Mazatlan has a food tour…this will be perfect for cruise ship passengers… ideal for my cousin who’s staying a week… it’s something different and I’ve never known which food carts to trust…” Maaike had thoughtfully brought on board the red truck/auriga a large cooler that was filled with bottled water and ice. Many of us bought fresh crab, shrimp, and smoked marlin at the different stands and were grateful to be able to store it on ice. You really can count on Maaike to track down the freshest street food.

There are two tours: Barrio Bites Tour – a guided tour through Mazatlan’s oldest neighbourhoods with seven mouthwatering stops; Mercado & More Tour – spend a morning meandering through the Pino Suarez mercado satisfying your curiosity and appetite; To choose your tour and to book, you’ll find all the details here.

The Flavor Teller speaks English, Spanish and Dutch. Maaike has lived in Mazatlan’s Centro Historico for 12 years, she’s married to a Mexican and they have two teenagers. She also writes for MazatlanLife [see her restaurant reviews and her entire section on Child’s Play and since 2005 she has sung in the local Angela Peralta opera choir. Maaike is professional and passionate about food – she’s fun too! With Flavor Teller you’re guaranteed to taste and experience a different side of Mazatlan.

From TripAdvisor, June 2018 – and there are 117 more. “If you are visiting Mazatlan and love food, this is a must do tour. Maaike knows the city and the local food extremely well. She took us to locations we would never have visited without having an expert to guide us. Maaike was able to show us the diversity of the local food and even made a stop at the only micro brewery in Mazatlan. I have done other tours in Mazatlan in the past, but this was by far the best! The others are not even a close second.” ♦ “I won’t repeat what the other reviewers are all saying, except that this is really a special experience. I went recently with my wife and two teen age daughters. We love Mexico (especially Mazatlan) and particularly appreciate getting a feel for the local culture and people. We’ve never been too adventurous about the food unfortunately due to fears of illness or just stumbling into the wrong place at the wrong time. Maaike erased those fears with her expertise, organization and warmth. This is clearly a labor of love for her: not just a business. You won’t need to stretch too far: no fish heads or fried scorpions on this tour! All are foods most American palates can handle, just lovingly and expertly prepared with new twists. (Never tried Stingray soup? you should) The locations are equally fascinating and while you won’t confuse them with Denny’s, you’ll never feel threatened or unwelcome. Do yourself a favor and give this a go.”

Child’s Play

[Maaike Hoekstra is a hands-on mom who loves to bike, hike, swim, zipline, skate, bowl, you name the sport and she’s there participating with her two children; a 12 year-old girl and a ten year-old boy. When you read about an activity in Child’s Play you know that “it’s mom inspected” – Maaike’s been there and done that. Maaike is originally from Holland where she obtained a degree in agriculture from Wageningen University. During her university years she met and fell in love with her Mexican husband, Pablo, where he was earning his PhD. Pablo was already employed in Mazatlan with the CIAD Research Institute so the young couple made Mazatlan their home 12 years ago.maaikes-pix Maaike is full of energy [she may have caught your attention in her previous job at Salsa and Salsa] and not only is she a busy mom but she has sung in local Angela Peralta opera choir since 2005. She’s a voracious reader and belongs to a Spanish book club. [One of her secret dreams is to take all children out of the FB digital bubble and show them more.] She and Pablo introduce “more” to their children through extensive travel in Mexico and they share their passion for Mexican food, culture and arts. Their home is trilingual – Dutch, Spanish and English. You can reach this enthusiastic mother, wife, singer, dancer, traveller, cook and daredevil at:]

Maaike still has more to share with you … in the meantime, please scroll down to read her 27 options on: Jumping Time; Venados baseball; Kilometro Cero, skate park; Go Kartz; Pacific Golf Center; ziplines; activities to do out of the sun – cooking classes, an arcade, ice skating, bowling, movies-; what to see and do at the aquarium; beach days and surfing; hiking to El Faro; walking,hiking,birdwatching at Estero del Yugo; biking along the Malecon; mountain biking;Splashin’ fun – Alfiland Park; Mazagua, Carpa Olivera sea pool, Interactive Oasis; [sm June 2018].

“Why walk when you can jump!” – Jumping Time trampoline park

Who doesn’t remember the joy of jumping up and down on the bed? This moment of ultimate (and secret) fun that would last until your mother came around the corner and caught you red-handed. No need to hide anymore, because bouncing or rebounding is the newest health craze. Time to put this to practice at Jumping Time trampoline park at Galerias mall. The bright blue and green interior with over 40 interconnected trampolines is your invitation into the venue. There is almost no walking space and as a big quote on the wall says walked-cropped“Don’t make me walk when I can jump”. Kids over three years can join in, although you have to be careful that heavier kids don’t accidentally knock them off their feet.

Jumping Time is a franchise from Spain, but the concept is widely known in the US and Canada. It’s mainly geared toward children and teenagers, but you can feel free to jump into the mix (pun intended!). The manager mentioned that adults (without kids) usually come earlier in the day to exercise. Wear comfortable cloths and rent the neon yellow anti-slip socks for $35. You can bring your own socks, but you’ll notice that you have less control.

At first jumping up and down is a sensation that catapults you back into your childhood. The kids got the hang of it, way before we the adults felt free enough to jump from one trampoline onto the other. It isn’t as easy as kids make it seem, but it is sure fun! The venue also has a foam pit that’s perfect to practice your somersaults and flips. jump-cropped“Look mom, did you see my Superman move?” Spectators can take photos through the glass windows around the trampoline area and there are seats available too. You can’t buy beverages or snacks there, but the food court is around the corner. Try to avoid the afternoons in the weekend. It gets really packed, there’s less space per person and it’s much noisier! Ask for the birthday party packages for 10 people or more, which include snacks, fresh drinks and three hours of jumping time!

[Jumping Time is located in the Galerias mall on the second floor. Opening hours: daily from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. No reservations required. Prices: 30 minutes, $80; one hour, $130; two hours, $200; 30 minutes extra, $60. Monday and Tuesdays are two for one. Anti-slip socks $35 per pair.]


Vamos con los Venados! – Baseball in Mazatlan

[Updated November 2018: the stadium has had a huge renovation, there are now new red comfortable seats, new bathrooms and new concession areas. The steel arches are slowing being covered in a sun-protected material so most everyone will be in the shade. And now there are 18,000 seats! The remodeling has not detracted from the Mexican fun element, it’s all still there. ]

Do you like to watch a baseball match on television? Or are you ready for real baseball game in Mazatlan? Mazatlan is home to the Venados ( deer) baseball team founded in the 1940s. They’re the proud winners of the Mexican Pacific League Championship 2016, as well as champions of the Caribbean Series 2016. The Venados play in the Teodoro Mariscal Stadium which holds over 10,000 fans.

Sports bring people together and at a Venados game you experience a sense of unity whether you were born in Mazatlan or north of the A wonderful mix of fans attend the game, from families with grandparents and newborns, to love birds on their afternoon date, to die-hard fans with a rattle and Pacifico beer in hand. And you’ll find yourself quickly at home.

The ticket prices vary from the more expensive numbered seats in the central area, to the inexpensive bleacher seats on the side (‘lateral’). I must say there’s more flavor to the game if you sit with the regular folks. Kids love to devour any and every snack that’s available, from the grilled Mexican sausages with lime juice and hot sauce, to ‘corn-in-a-cup’ esquites, to popcorn and Tostitos chips. Fresh drinks and beer vendors walk around to get you anything you want. Don’t miss out and try the local Pacifico beer!

Noisy and boisterous are the perfect words to sum up a baseball game in Mexico. It’s more about the fiesta than it is about the match. There’s a live banda music group playing, while the speaker is talking, whilst you watch the screen zooming in on the audience. There’s definitely never a dull moment. It’s fun to cheer with Venny, the team’s mascot. vennyYou’ll be laughing at his crazy tricks. During the innings, goodies are thrown into the audience which always gets the younger fans excited. Surprisingly, most people seem to arrive late to the game, but hey – it’s about supporting the team and who’s cares what time it is? Vamos Venados!!!

[Venados de Mazatlan: It’s located between Avenida Insurgentes and Reforma near Bosque de la Ciudad and the Acuario]


“Buckle up and fly” – ziplines in Mazatlan

Isn’t it every child dream to be able to fly? Soaring over tree-tops, feeling the wind blowing through your hair? Free as a bird with a splash of adrenaline. Does this sound like your kind of fun, then keep reading! Close to Mazatlan where the Sierra Madre Occidental and coastal Pacific plains meet, you can find slopes and hills covered with tropical deciduous forest intertwined with rivers. It is the perfect setting for outdoor activities like zip-lining. There are two zipline tours around Mazatlan: Huana Coa close to La Noria and Veraneando in Veranos, close to El Recodo.

The excitement starts from the moment you arrive to the location. There is plenty of space for kids to run around and explore the property. Once the whole group is complete, the staff takes plenty of time to explain the rules of the game. This is especially important for those boisterous boys and girls who get distracted easily. No kiddie talking here: if you misbehave or act dangerously you’ll be walking back instead of take the aerial route! Then it’s time to buckle up and get into gear with a harness (no touching of any buckles!), helmet and gloves. At the first launch pad you get another briefing on how to glide safely and then it’s time to fly. A few butterflies in everybody’s stomach, which quickly dissipate…. Woohoo what a view!!! The smiles on everybody’s faces become bigger and bigger as you glide through the beautiful landscape. When back at ground level, you left with a healthy appetite and taste for another ride! [recommend closed-toed shoes, long pants, or long shorts, sunscreen, mosquito repellent…]

Huana Coa zipline tour:
The Huanacoa zipline tour is tons of fun for daredevils of all ages and nationalities. Guides speak good English and give instructions in Spanish as well as English. The cost of the Huana Coa tour is $750 pesos for 9 years and up and half price ($375 pesos) for smaller kids. The cost of the tour is only $600 pesos per person if you drive to the venue yourself. The tour includes bottled water, a light snack and a visit to the Los Osuna tequila distillery. The minimum age is 4 years. Young kids can be accompanied by guides on each line to make them feel more comfortable, but they can ride on their own too. You will glide down 9 lines with some serious excitement at the end. They save the best for last (won’t spoil the surprise ending!.)

The pick-up is at 9 a.m. at Hotel Don Pelayo on the Malecon. They can pick you from your hotel too. To book seats you have to call at least 24 hours ahead. Usually they don’t fill up, unless there’s a cruise ship in port. So make sure to contact them a few days earlier. Don’t worry about deposits: you can pay in full upon arrival to the venue. They accept cash (pesos) or credit card (VISA/MasterCard). They also offer ATV tours for guests over 16 years.

To drive to Huanacoa, take the free-way to Culiacan and turn right at El Habal towards La Noria. After about 30 minutes you will see the Huanacoa sign on your right hand.


Veraneando Adventure zipline tour:
At Veraneando Adventure zipline tour you’ll splash into the excitement. This tour is close to El Recodo, hometown of the famous music group Banda El Recodo. The cost of the tour is $70USD for 10 years and up and $45USD for kids from 3-9 years, or the equivalent in pesos depending on the exchange rate. If you have your own transportation, the cost is $600 pesos per adult and $500 pesos per child. There are 12 lines on this tour and it also includes transportation, three drinks, lunch and a visit to the local tequila factory.

When making a reservation, let the staff know where you want to be picked up. They usually pass by a local bakery to pick up tasty empanadas (stuffed bread rolls). You don’t have to pay a deposit when making a booking and you can pay in full upon arrival with US dollars, pesos or credit card (VISA/Mastercard). They also offer a river-ride tour and Mexican steam lodge (temazcal) tour.

It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to drive to Veraneando. You take the highway towards airport and Villa Union and turn left towards El Recodo. Follow this scenic route, pass El Recodo and you will see Veraneando Adventure signaled.

General information
Huana Coa:
Land line: (669) 990 110 001
Cell phone: 669 147 0604

Veraneando Adventure:
Land line (669) 988 0425 or 988 1414


Out of the sun

Believe it or not, snowbirds or winter visitors – for a full-time resident of Mazatlan like myself there is such a thing as too much sun. When the sun is too sunny and the beach is too sandy and you just want to chill (literally) indoors. When the thermometer is sky-high and the humidity is making your glasses fog, it’s good to have fun indoor options.

If you want to save the universe then the new Zona Laser is for you!

[published on August 24, 2018] Always wondered what it feels like to be in a Star Wars movie? Protecting the galaxy from evil invaders? To be Han Solo or Leia Organa, help the rebel alliance and restore justice and peace in the universe? Then laser tag is the perfect activity for you. It isn’t just for game-crazy kids, but also for fun-loving teens or bad-ass adults.

Laser tag is a tag game played with guns that fire infrared beams. The game was invented in the 1980’s, inspired by (easy guess): Star Wars! Each player wears an infrared-sensitive vest connected to a laser gun that fires laser beams. There are no physical projectiles involved as with paintball and the game venue is indoors.

Zona Laser recently opened its doors in Gran Plaza mall and offers a variety of game packages. Package 1 (World Battle) allows you to play for six minutes and costs $50 per person. Package 2 (Stellar Battle) is 12 minutes play for $80 per person. Package 3 (Galactic Battle) allows you to play for 24 minutes and costs $140 per person. The maximum number of participants per round is 12 people. You pick your preferred package and wait to be joined by other players. You don’t have to bring 12 people to be able to play.

The instructions are pretty straightforward: you put on your vest or ‘pack’ and connected laser gun. Each laser gun has a name to track everybody’s score afterwards. You can ask to play individually or in teams. The people on the same team get their vests activated with the same color, so you can recognize each other in the arena. There is a central computer that tracks team and individual performance, as well as the most-accurate shooter. You get a 10-second count down to enter the dimly lit arena to get in position and…. May the force be with you!

If this seems a little daunting, don’t be discouraged. The game-crazy boys in the group had prepped for this activity: watching YouTube videos to learn the best strategies and even agreeing on a sign language. The fun-loving teens didn’t have a clue what laser tag is all about and just went along with the group. The bad-ass adults just made sure that there wasn’t anything ‘dangerous’ about laser tag, but didn’t look any further. We booked two 12-minute sessions and to everybody’s surprise: the fun-loving girls knocked out the other teams with a whopping score (‘I can’t believe we beat the boys!’). Never underestimate the power of the underdog….

[Zona Laser Mazatlan is open from Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. For more information visit their Facebook page ‘Zona Laser Mazatlan’ or call (669) 106 0051. Birthday groups can rent the complete venue for $1800 pesos for one hour or $2800 for two hours (max. 24 people). There are no bath rooms at the venue, nor food or drinks for sale. Our advice: bring your own bottle of water, wear comfortable cloths and closed shoes.]

Cooking classes
If you would like to learn about Mexican culture in a hands-on way, trying new flavors is the best way to savor everything that this wonderful country has to offer. Mazatlan doesn’t have any official cooking schools as in other cities, but these two options are great fun.

Water’s Edge Bistro
This charming restaurant located in the historic downtown district, is run by Chef Alastair Porteous. He has been a chef for over 25 years in Canada. Chef Alastair works with regionally produced ingredients to create dishes with an out-of-this-world flavor. He offers cooking classes for families with children or groups of older children (12 years and older).The maximum group size is 8 people. Chef Alastair explains everything thoroughly and he’s surprisingly patient (no Hell’s Kitchen scenes here). cooking-classHe allows the kids to do everything, including using real chef knives, grill, and sauté and plate a dish like a real chef. It’s amazing how picky eaters (we all know them!) become less picky after seeing how you make pasta from scratch, how you dress a great salad, etc. And the best thing: you eat your own creations! I would definitely recommend this for older children or teenagers. The whole class takes about 3 hours.

Water’s Edge Bistro: 136 0895,, reservations – Opening hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m-11pm. Water’s Edge is usually closed during summer months, July, August and September. The cost of the class is $200 pesos per child, for adults [$60 USD] it’s more if you want to drink alcohol.

Salsa and Salsa
The Salsa and Salsa show is an interactive cooking and dancing class, suitable for chefs of all ages (five-years and up). The class takes place at the Royal Villas Resort in the Golden Zone. Salsa and Salsa is mainly geared towards cruise passengers, but non-cruise guests are allowed to join the party. Arriving to the venue you put on your chef attire, which is the perfect moment to take fun photos. Then the Dancing Chef hostesses guide you through a variety of drinks and salsas. You work in pairs to make your own salsa creations and sample them with snacks. Afterwards you hit the dance floor to learn the salsa in four easy steps. The class includes unlimited margaritas (for the adults), flavored water, snacks and access to the pool afterwards. The Salsa and Salsa tour goes for three hours and includes a free recipe sheet. [If you would like a taste of Salsa and Salsa go here for a short review and an interesting video.]

Salsa and Salsa reservations: 669 173 4989,, reservations:, Facebook:, the cost of the tour is $48USD per person or the equivalent in pesos.

Recorcholis arcade hall
Good old fun for all at the Recorcholis arcade. The word ‘recorcholis’ is used to express surprise. Recorcholis is in the Gran Plaza mall, about five minutes from the Golden Zone. You can find an ice skating ring, the traditional arcade games and the bowling lanes. The way it works is that you buy a ‘credit’ card for $15 pesos and you can charge it with $10 pesos up to $500 pesos. On Wednesday they have a 2×1 promotion: if you buy $100 pesos credit you get $100 pesos extra for free. Each time you want to play a game, you swipe your card and the cost is automatically subtracted from your credit. Kids tend to finish their credit quickly in the slot games but at the jungle gym and video games they get more fun for their buck. At the slot games you can win tickets to buy toys in the little store. That’s the fun part: the more you play the more tickets you win to get free toys. If you’re hungry or thirsty, you can get tasty snack food at the bar.

The ice skating ring is available for kids older than eight years. The cost is $99 pesos per person, which includes the skates. You can slide and glide for one hour for this price. [recommend socks to wear under the skates, shorts and t shirt are fine.]

There are also six bowling lanes available. You can rent a lane for $84 pesos per person, which includes the shoes. The smallest size is for four-year olds. You can play with up to five people per lane.

Recorcholis – 983 2127, Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday from 11a.m.-9.p.m. and Wednesday, Friday, Saturday Sunday from 11a.m.-10 p.m.

Alboa Bowling
The Alboa Entertainment hall is in the Galerias Mall on the north side of Mazatlan. It’s the glossy place to be for teenagers and families, especially in weekends. It’s a ten-minute drive from the Golden Zone. The Alboa is on the second floor close to the Sears.

The Alboa is mainly geared towards bowling, although they also have pool and foosball tables available. There are no bells and whistles going off, like at Recorcholis and it’s more suitable if you just want to bowl. You can order drinks and food while you play. Kids love to play on their own lane and have fun whilst being active. It’s easier to keep an eye on your kids here, because the venue is smaller. Alboa opens Monday through Sunday from 1p.m. through 11p.m. (until 2 a.m. in weekends). You can use one lane for one to six players. The staff doesn’t speak English but the hostess Daniela Solis can assist you in English with reservations or any other questions.

Alboa Boliche – 669 988 0005 or 988 0804,, Monday to Friday from 1-3 p.m. $79 pesos per hour, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, after 3pm $320 pesos per hour (October promotion: $160 pesos per hour), Thursday and Friday after 3 p.m. $480 pesos per hour and Saturday and Sunday all day, $480 pesos per hour. Bowling shoes are obligatory and cost $35 pesos per person. The smallest shoe size is for four-year olds. The pool and foosball tables cost $150 pesos per hour.

Movie theaters
Going to the movies is a big social happening in Mexico. Most movie theaters are inside a mall, so it’s a great (and fresh) way to spend your afternoon and meet up with friends. It’s really inexpensive to go the movies too, with prices ranging from 40 pesos at early functions (before 4 p.m.) to $70 pesos for 3D functions. A combo with popcorn and two fresh drinks costs about $150 pesos but you can also find nachos, candies, coffee and crepes. Make sure to check if the movie you’re booking is in English (it will say: SUB = subtitled or Ingles = English) or in Spanish (it will say: ESP = español). You can check movie schedules on their websites: select the city and movie theater you want visit.

There are two big cinemas close to the Golden Zone. The Cinepolis movie theater is in the Gran Plaza mall, close to the Recorcholis arcade. The Cinemex movie theater is in the Galerias mall, across from the Alboa bowling alley. So you could make it a day-trip going both to the bowling and then to the movies (or vice versa).

Cinepolis –, Cinemex:


Wonders under water – Mazatlan’s aquarium

[Updated November 2018 – no sign of the sharks every returning! Update February 12, 2017: due to a major leak in the shark tank, the sharks/tiburones have been moved to Guadalajara. Government officials are trying to resolve who is responsible for what, but count on the tank being closed for a “very long time.” The rest of the acuario is open!]

The sea plays a very important role in Mazatlan’s economy and culture. Many people enjoy the beaches and activities in and on the water, but how much do you really know about what’s swimming in the sea around Mazatlan? This specific stretch of Pacific Ocean is also known as the Gulf of California or Mar de Cortéz in Spanish. It’s the breeding ground for several whale species and wide range of endemic creatures. Mazatlan’s aquarium is geared towards protecting and creating awareness for this specific ecosystem. It boasts the largest saltwater tank in Latin America.

Visiting the Acuario Mazatlan is a half-day trip for the whole family. There are small aquariums at the entrance (“Look mom, I saw a Nemo fish!”) and a complete whale skeleton. There are demonstrations in several parts of the park at certain hours. Make sure to arrive five minutes before scheduled show times so the kids can have a front row seat and a good view. Favorites are the sea lion shows and the birds of prey. The audience is encouraged to interact, so you can get a kiss from a sea lion or have a falcon pose on your arm. The Sea of Cortez tank is at the far end of the park and allows you to see what’s under the sea.

Acuario Mazatlan: 981 7816, The entrance fee is $115 pesos per adult and $85 pesos per child (three-11 years).


A day at the beach – but which one?

Going to the beach never gets boring. Building sandcastles is fun for smaller kids but any self-respecting kid won’t brag about that on the playground. You have to come home from your holidays in Mazatlan with bold, brave and daring stories. Hello surfing, bodyboarding and SUP-ing to meet all the above requisites. Mazatlan is a huge surfing hub. Any given day you will see youngsters and young-at-heart in the ocean trying to catch the best waves. From Olas Altas beach in downtown Mazatlan to Cerritos beach in the north, there are tons of great spots to catch a wave and soak up some sun.

Find your favorite beach in Mazatlan
Along Mazatlan’s 13 mile-long coast line you can find different beaches, each with respective name and regulars. From south to north, here are the highlights. Across the harbor canal you can find Stone Island (Isla de la Piedra). Contrary to its name, it is not an island but rather a peninsula. Many hotels offer a tour to Isla de la Piedra but I would rather suggest you save the money and go there on your own. Take the green ‘Sabalo-Centro’ bus (only $10 pesos per person) that drives from Riu Emerald Bay all the way through the Golden Zone to downtown harbor. Get down in the harbor and ask the driver to point you to the ‘embarcadero’ or pier for Isla de la Piedra. Tickets cost only $30 pesos for round-trip. The beach at Isla de la Piedra is calm and perfect for smaller children.

At the beginning of the Mazatlan boardwalk (a.k.a. Malécon) you can find Olas Altas beach. This crescent-shaped cove beach ‘moves’ due to seasonal currents. In winter time you can enjoy the sand in front of Hotel Freeman and in summer time you’ll soak up the sun in front of Hotel La Siesta. It’s an intimate beach, but you have to be careful with the currents.

Further north you can find Playa Pinitos, which is visited by local families during weekends or surfers whenever the waves are high. This small beach is shallow but has a rocky underground which makes swimming unpleasant; but you can find great coconuts and coconut water for sale at either side of this beach.

The stretch of beach from the fishermen boats until the Fisherman Monument is called Playa Norte. This particular area is used daily for recreational swimming (6 a.m. -9 a.m). The local swimming club is called Natacion Playa Norte ( that has showers, swimming classes and competitions for members. The beach along the boardwalk further north has treacherous currents and you must take precautions.

Another famous beach is Pueblo Bonito beach, which is next to the hotel Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan. This beach is particularly shallow and used mostly by fledgling surfers. The most northern beach of Mazatlan, Cerritos beach, is perfect for skilled surfers but should best be avoided for swimming due to its dangerous currents. However, this wide stretch of beach is perfect for walking, flying kites or a fun game of volleyball or soccer.


Isn’t it secretly anyone’s dream to dominate the waves and be one with the ocean? However, if you weren’t born by the sea and don’t have a clue about surfing, taking a few classes isn’t a bad idea. You can find several surf schools in Mazatlán, but not all teachers work with smaller kids or beginners.

Quicksilver surf school
The Quicksilver surf school is a sure bet for many locals who want their kids to safely learn how to surf. The owner Javier Diaz is 100% dedicated to giving surf classes. You can find him daily at the beach next to Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán where he has his ‘office’ (wouldn’t we all want to have such a view!). Classes are available at 8 a.m., 10.30 a.m. 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. You have to book beforehand and pay a deposit. The class includes the surfboard, wax, water, surf shirt, sunscreen and instructions.

Javier always starts the class with some theory about the board and waves so you understand the surf terms. You learn how to stand up on a board, on dry land just to practice. There’s some stretching and warming up too. Javier is very thorough about safety in the sea. Then it’s time to dive in. Javier teaches you how to paddle on the board with your hands and how to dive under waves. Since there are only one or two people per class you get lots of attention. Catching a wave is the most difficult, but Javier makes sure that you’re on the wave at the right time. Time flies by as you become more confident and eventually…. you’re standing on the board like a pro (well, almost!).

Quicksilver Surf school: 6691209073, Facebook: Escuela de Surf QuickSilver Owm. Cost per class $550 pesos, pre-paid package three classes for one person costs $1200 pesos. Shared classes with three or more kids cost $200 pesos per child, Minimum age five years. Deposit required.


Aqua Sport Center
Aqua Sport Center is a tradition when it comes to water sports. This family-owned business has been around since 1985 and continues to offer different aquatic activities like jet ski, snorkeling, diving, surf, water ski, sport fishing and sail boat rentals. Isaac Salazar and the rest of his team make sure that you have the best time at the beautiful beach in front of El Cid Castilla where they have their office. To access their venue you enter through the parking lot of Alawa restaurant on the left of El Cid Castilla.

Surf classes are available for children over six years, which include instructions and the surfboard. You have to bring your own rash guard and sun screen to avoid a sunburn. Classes are available daily at 8 a.m. and take two to three hours. Make sure you book beforehand. Sometimes surf classes have to be suspended because of the weather conditions (high waves, strong tides). You can also rent body boards for kids over six years. It’s important to note that they have to know how to swim.

Another fun activity for smaller kids is spending a day at Deer Island. Aqua Sport Center brings you across with a small boat and you can bring your own snacks and drinks. The waters in front of Deer Island are really calm, so it’s perfect to float around in these shallow waters. You can rent snorkel gear or paddle boards as well.[there are bathrooms on the island.] Paddle boarding is suitable for teenagers or adults, because of the size of the equipment. But smaller kids can sit at the front of the board while the adult paddles.

Aqua Sport Center: 913 0451, cellphone 669 1010462, Cost per surf class: $900 pesos or $400 pesos for locals, paddle board rental $500 pesos for two hours, body board rental $50 pesos for two hours. You can pay in cash or with credit card (VISA/MasterCard).


Hit the trails – biking and hiking in Mazatlan

Think biking and hiking, think trails with lush vegetation…. Think Mazatlan?!? It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when talking about this beach-oriented destination. However, there are many routes that are fun to walk or cycle and they’re right around the corner.

Mazatlan’s lighthouse, El Faro

[Important update, June 2018 -as of August 2018, $5 for the “glass walkway”, $10 for the bathroom, $10 for bottled water or $20 for all three services.]

[Updated in November 2018, From the Lighthouse: “a new board has been formed and is called Parque Natural Faro Mazatlan. It’s a citizens project that emerges as a local initiative with a participatory governance approach. Its objective is to generate a greater sense of collective ownership in the community about this valuable natural and cultural heritage, facilitate its long-term sustainability and promote the well-being and quality of life of the mazatleco people.

We are proud to announce the donation and installation of three webcams that will give a panoramic view from the lighthouse of the city ́s breathtaking vistas and will be transmitting simultaneously these beautiful landscapes that the Mazatlan Lighthouse offers, making it an accessible site for everyone. We also want to make public that the Lighthouse area has from now on free WiFi for everybody to enjoy, sponsored by “México Conectado” and promoted through the Secretary of Communications and Transportation (SCT). You may access the beautiful views from the Lighthouse by clicking in the following links:

This is possible thanks to people and institutions that have supported us, such as: the Government of the State of Sinaloa, H. Municipality of Mazatlán, Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT), Administración Portuaria Integral (API), DIF Sinaloa, Secretary of Tourism of Sinaloa, CODESIN Zona Sur, Temporary Employment Program, ICMyL-UNAM, Antonio López Saenz, Pro-Faro volunteers and various groups of athletes and citizens.

Cordially, María Esther Juárez de Letamendi
President of Patronato Parque Natural Faro Mazatlan

For any questions or comments, please call 6691484010 Verónica Rico or email “]

It’s the word on the street: “Have you climbed the new lighthouse yet?” Newly renovated with a glass lookout, it’s all of a sudden the place to be. Go with friends or alone, early morning or at sunset and make sure that you’ve been there, done that!

The lighthouse has been a popular spot for visitors to get a view on the city and for locals to lose a few calories. Now embellished with a ‘Faro Mazatlan’ sign below, the 150-meter high hilltop received a full overhaul that took about nine months. The trail, which is the lower part of the hill, has been leveled with gravel making it an easier walk than previously. Hopefully the tropical rains won’t wreak havoc upon this newly finished job. They’ve added small squares with seating on the way up, so you can rest and enjoy the view. The 300 steps, which is the upper part of the hill, have also been improved with new concrete. But beware that these stairs still aren’t 100% even, so watch your step! Once you’ve arrived to the top, make sure to hydrate first and look for some shade. If you’re lucky, you can walk straight to the glass look-out which is behind the lighthouse building without waiting. The lookout is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. when surveillance is present. A recent dare-devil scoffed the security guards, climbing underneath the lookout structure to hang a hammock above the abyss. Since then the safety measures have been tightened to avoid any accidents. Few people at a time are allowed onto the glass structure and you have to take your shoes off or put shoe covers which are available for free. You get approximately 5 minutes to enjoy the view and take photos, unless there isn’t anybody waiting in line. All free!

The best way to conquer the lighthouse is to wear comfortable cloths, a hat and closed shoes (although I saw many people with flip-flops). Don’t forget sunscreen and plenty of water or electrolytes. In summertime (May through November) avoid the hottest time of the day between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. It’s a fun outing for all ages and a must-do in Mazatlan!

[The lighthouse is open from sunrise to sunset. How to get there: you can take a taxi to the entrance of the lighthouse or take the green “Sabalo-Centro” bus until the end of the route (south-end). From there it’s a short 5-minute walk to the foothill of El Faro]

All the information below is still correct:

Where in Mazatlan do you have a 360° view and can you see 12 miles north and south? It’s not the newest condo building in town, but a natural reserve that few know about. The lighthouse or ‘Faro’ is home to many animal and plant species and is located on the far south point of Mazatlan. Named the world’s second highest natural lighthouse, its altitude is 154 meters or 490 feet.

The Mazatlan lighthouse is located on an impressive rock formation called the Creston Hill. From far away you can appreciate its steep cliffs and triangular shape. The Creston hill boasts several deep caves, which are nearly impossible to approach because of the treacherous currents. There are several interesting legends about the lighthouse caves. Some tall tales indicate invaluable treasures have been hidden by famous pirates like the British Thomas Cavendish and the blond Dutch Spilbergen inside. They roamed the Pacific to plunder the loaded ‘Naos’ from the Philippines.

Climbing or ‘conquering’ the lighthouse is a great adventure for all ages. I’ve been taking my children since there they were five years old. You will have an easy start with a slightly sloped sand path. You will meet both exercising Mazatlecans and tourists along the way. About halfway, the sand path leads into stairs. You will see lizards, many birds, butterflies as well as cactus and tropical trees. Even two stray cats roam the lighthouse stairs, where they are fed daily by locals. Once you’ve reached the top of the hill, you will be amazed by the view. It makes the effort worthwhile! el-faro-2

Are you excited to give it a try? Here is how to get there. You can take the ‘Sabalo-Centro’ air-conditioned bus that drives from the Golden Zone all the way to the foot of the lighthouse. You can also take a taxi and ask the driver for ‘El Faro’. I would advise to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat. Make sure to bring a camera, closed shoes, a hat, sunscreen and lots of water. You will have the best family time and the most amazing photos!

Estero del Yugo

At the far northern point of Mazatlan you can find another hidden ecological gem: Estero del Yugo. It’s behind the Mazagua water park and across the street from hotel Riu Emerald Bay. This small wetland reserve (27 acres/11 hectares) is perfect to watch lagoon and forest birds and offers a great walking route for the whole family.

The entrance to Estero del Yugo is through the CIAD research institute. The trails are marked and lead you along the rim of the estuary until reaching the cliffs with an amazing view on the northern beach. This dry tropical deciduous forest changes its colors depending on the season. In rainy season (May through October) the trees are lush and green, but in dry season (November through April) the leaves gradually fall. Estero del Yugo also offers ecological education to thousands of school children every year, as well as a bird-watching events. The maintenance of this area is done by local volunteers and the CIAD research institute. estero

It’s great fun to walk at Estero del Yugo. Kids love it, because it’s a quest ‘into the wild’. They’ll certainly spot the herons, humming birds and noisy chachalacas: “Mom I think I even saw an eagle!” The trails are narrow; there is a bird-watching hut and a view tower. At certain points you have to walk over wooden boardwalks with little creeks beneath, which makes it even more exciting. Make sure to bring closed shoes, a hat and water. There are mosquitos so bring some repellent along too, as well as sunscreen.

The entrance to Estero del Yugo is just north of the intersection Avenida Sabalo-Cerritos and Carretera Habal-Cerritos. You can take the ‘Sabalo-Centro’ bus and get out at Riu, which is the last stop. You can access Estero del Yugo daily through the gates of CIAD. The cost is $50 pesos which is used for maintenance of the trails. You receive a free map of the area. If you want a guided tour, you can contact Eunice Murua at CIAD. She is available on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4p.m. The guided tours cost $150 pesos per adult and take around two hours. Children won’t be charged for guided tours.

Estero del Yugo: contact person Eunice Murua – 989 8700 ext 260 or


A Mazatlecan at heart I am a self-declared inhabitant of the city’s boardwalk or ‘Malecon’. There are many ways you can enjoy the Malecon: walking, skating, running, cycling or bring your chair to catch the perfect sunset. This seafront walkway is perfect for biking [new rules, bikes are on the street side] and gives you 13 miles of unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean. If you want to enjoy the Malecon and downtown Mazatlan with your family it’s great to rent bikes for half-day or whole day. I recommend Baikas Rental that has two locations: one at Hotel Belmar at Olas Altas in downtown Centro and the other at Hotel Don Pelayo at the other end of the Malecon. baikasYou can enjoy cold coconut water at the stands along the way or venture into the historical center and discover the alleys with amazing architecture.

Baikas Bicycle Rental: 669 910 1999 (Belmar) or 669 164 6434 (Don Pelayo), or on Facebook, Opening hours: 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Half-day rental $200 pesos, whole-day rental $300 pesos.

If you’re looking for serious excitement on wheels, you can book a mountain bike tour with local expert Fernando Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Bicycle Shop. He offers tours for experienced riders as well as newbies, along Mazatlan’s many one-trail tracks. He is famous for single-handedly carving his way through the forest, creating new trails. Fernando speaks fluent English. The minimum age for the mountain bike tours is 12 years and it includes the bike, a helmet, water or Gatorade and energy bars. The tour takes about 1 ½ hours depending of the fitness of the participants. It’s advisable to do the tour early in the morning to avoid the heat and humidity. Wear cycling shorts, a tight fitting shirt and tennis shoes, as well as sunscreen and mosquito repellent.

Kelly’s Bicycle Tours: 914 1187, or on Facebook Mountain bike tours: $35USD per adult and $30USD per child (12-17 years) or the equivalent in pesos.


Splashin’ fun – water parks in Mazatlan

The best way to keep your kids happy is in the water, no matter if it’s 35°C or 20°C. For mermaids and tritons there is no such thing as too much beach or pool time: “Can’t we stay another five minutes, PLEASE!!!!” Mazatlan has plenty of beaches to get your share of splashing fun, but only few are appropriate for kids to swim safely. Going to a water park is an appealing alternative for young and old.

[Updated June 2018]

Aloha to Alfiland – splish splashing fun in Mazatlan

Blessed with a tropical climate, Mazatlan is the perfect city to spend a day (or two, or three) at the beach. But when you’re looking for a change of scenery, visit one of the local water parks. An all-time favorite is Mazagua water park ( close to Riu Emerald Bay. In March 2018 a new water park Alfiland opened its doors. It isn’t as close to the hotel zone, but still worth a visit.

The best way to get to Alfiland park is by car or taxi. Take the road to the airport and about 10 minutes outside of the city (just outside the town El Castillo) you will see a large Alfiland sign as well as the unmistakable super slides. There is a large parking lot with a guard indicating where you should park. Parking is free of charge.

Alfiland has a Hawaiian theme; you can find fun references throughout the park. Find the restrooms as Tikitos and Tikitas as a word play on ‘chiquitos’ and ‘chiquitas’ (meaning small in Spanish). There are lots of ‘palapa’ umbrellas with tables and chairs to catch some shadow. However it’s better to arrive early and choose your perfect spot.

The park has lots of options for every age, whether you’ve got teens or tots. Little ones will love the park’s kiddie play area with medium-size slides and getting soaked by a giant Kona head tipping bucket. Brave mermaids or tritons can head to the five super slides or jump the waves at the wave pool. There are plenty of park guards, giving instructions to make sure that everybody enjoys the rides safely. You have to be taller than 1.20 meter or 5 feet to enjoy the super slides. We loved the four-line parallel slide where you can race each other on foam mats. The purple-and-white slide ends in a tornado-cone: a crazy experience to fall down the ‘rabbit hole’. Some slides aren’t as fast when you’re wearing a rash guard, but there are some rough edges so it will protect you.

Getting hungry after all the excitement? Don’t worry: you can buy freshly made shrimp or fish ceviches ($30-45 per tostada, $120-180 per liter), scallops ($250) or boiled snack shrimp ($130), as well as tacos suaves ($25 each) with several fillings: chicharron, refried beans, marlin fish. There’s a small booth selling soda, beer, potato chips, cookies, etc, so you’ll certainly not go hungry or thirsty. However you allowed to bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages if you want. There is a large covered rooftop barbecue area that overlooks the pools. So while you’re grilling your steak and enjoying a drink, you can keep an eye on the splashing fun.

The good, the bad and the ugly

The test team (aka my family) had several comments about Alfiland. To start with the positive feedback: the park is very clean and spacious. It wasn’t packed with people even though we went on Sunday which tends to be the busiest day. The prices of the food stands in the park were very reasonable and comparable to small eateries in town. We didn’t try anything, but all the food is prepared at the moment. The play area for smaller kids is well set up and exciting for kids until about 8 years.

For the teenager the slides weren’t as thrilling as the ones at Mazagua park. A local friend told us that Mazagua used to be small like Alfiland, so hopefully new (and faster) slides will be added in the future.

While trying the five different super-slides several of our group scratched our backs pretty badly. It wasn’t clear when or where it happened, but certainly a point of improvement for the park’s management. My suggestion would be to always wear a rash guard to avoid any injury.

[Alfiland park is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Price: $150 pesos per person. Kids under 2 years enter free. Adults 60+ pay only $75 pesos showing their ID. No glass bottles are allowed. For more information (in Spanish) call 669-9171281 or 669-9170149 or contact them on Facebook:]


This is Mazatlan’s only official water park and it’s a must-go if you have kids. There are plenty of pools for smaller and bigger kids, super-exciting slides and picnic areas with tables and umbrellas. The entrée fee is the same for adults and kids and gives you unlimited access to the whole park. Compared to water parks in other Mexican destinations it’s almost ten times cheaper, so it’s a real bargain!

Let out your inner child at Mazagua. The toddler pool has tons of hideaways and small slides with knee high water level. For the older kids and adults there is a wave pool, water zip line and six different slides with exciting names like Mamut and Grand Prix. The Grand Prix slide has several lines so you can have a speed race. Insider information: the heavier you are, the more likely you are to win! “Hey dad you won again, that not fair… Let’s try again (and again and again)!”


You have to rent a floaty ring in order to use some slides. These are available next to the entrance: you pay 70 pesos for a single or double floaty ring and you also need to leave an ID. The park opens at 10 a.m. but most slides aren’t functioning until noon. There is staff available at every slide to guide you. Don’t feel like you should stay on dry land because you’re an adult. These slides are just as much fun for 8-year olds as well as 38-years old (or 58-year old!). If you rent a two-person floaty ring it’s easier to keep an eye on your smaller (under 10 years) child. You’ll do the slides together, shouting and laughing, making great memories: “Mom you were screaming louder than me!”

Mazagua waterpark is on the northern side of Mazatlan, on the intersection of Avenida Sabalo-Cerritos going towards Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay. It’s easily recognizable: you will see the huge slides from far away. Bring your bathing suit, hat, sunscreen, slippers, surf shirt to avoid sun burn and towel. There are changing rooms, showers and toilets, as well as lockers. Snack food is for sale at the park, but you are allowed to bring your own food.

Mazagua: 988 0041 or Opening hours 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The park is open from March through December. The park is closed in January and February for maintenance.[Nationals do find this time of the year very cold for water sports.] Entrance fee 150 pesos per person.

Carpa Olivera sea pool
The Carpa Olivera was originally built in 1915. It was inspired by sea pools in Europe, and previously there was a restaurant above the pool which was popular for social gatherings. In 1954 it was devastated by a hurricane, leaving it in abandonment. In 2014 the local municipality proposed to clean and return this pool, fed by tidal water, to its former splendor. They added a new playful element: a spiral slide. It might not look like much, but its jet propulsion gives you serious speed making it fun for everybody. The slide’s pump isn’t always turned on, so you’ll have to ask the lifeguard to switch it on.


The Carpa Olivera continues to be a meeting point for locals and visitors. Especially during weekends you’ll see whole families spending the day. Kids love to get splashed by the waves rolling into the pool, while adults can soak up the sun on the rim. Locals come to swim laps every day. I would advise an adult to accompany children under 10 years in the pool. There is a small restaurant that sells coconuts, drinks and light snacks. There are toilets and a shower to rinse off the salt water. You can enjoy this wonderful sea pool free of charge every day. There is a lifeguard on duty from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Occasionally when the tides are very high, you might not be allowed to enter for your own safety. Just spend some time at the nearby Olas Altas beach and come back when the tide has gone down.

Interactive Oasis – water play park
This small water play park is an excellent option for children that are too small to swim. It’s located across the street from the Fisherman’s Monument on the Malecon, close to Playa Norte. Created in 2012 by the local municipality it has different water fountains and colored lights in the night. It’s amazing how easily new friendships are made here: everybody huddles together under the tipping bucket to get splashed, no matter if you speak English or Español.


Fun fact: only kids from three to thirteen are allowed to enter, while the parents have stay on the side. There is a guard on call from Monday through Sunday from noon until 7 p.m. On Tuesdays the park opens later, because of weekly maintenance. There is also a regular park on the side as well as a snack store. The entrance is free!


The great outdoors – time to think outside the electronic box!

Hit it, kick it, roll it, steer it: the best remedy for couch potatoes and electronic addicts. It might seem that kids nowadays can’t think of anything else, but hey: let’s think outside, no box required!

Kilometro Cero – skate park
This realm for the reckless is located between the city park (Bosque de la Ciudad) and the baseball stadium. Kilométro Cero Skate Park was created by Mazatlan’s municipality in 2012 and it has a bowl and street plaza elements. The bowl is peanut-shaped and perfect for more experienced skaters. You don’t get off your board and it allows you to skate back and forth as well as across. The street plaza has obstacles, as you would find anywhere: stairs, railing and benches. There are even two half-pipes of three meters and two meters.skate-board Now, don’t feel like you have to be a pro to attend this park. There are beginner slopes as well and plenty of space to just skate around. This park is free of charge and open all day, but most skaters arrive between 5.30 p.m. – 8 p.m. If you don’t have a skateboard, you can borrow one. Ask for Juan or Sergio who speak some English. The area is well lit and there are toilets as well as a soccer field as well as two tennis courts.

Kilómetro Cero: address Av. Reforma and Justo Sierra, Mazatlan Skate fan page:

Go Kartz – Plaza Sendero
Intrepid speedsters will find their fun at Go Kartz Mazatlan. This track is located on the parking lot of Plaza Sendero mall. The velodrome has seven karts available and is open for kids older than seven years or taller than 1.35 meters as well as adults. You pay the ticket at the entrance, which allows you to run five laps. bumper-carThere are several tight curves and long stretches where you can go a full speed. It really gets fun when you try to take over your opponents. Formula-1 here we come! The karts are low to the ground so you feel that you’re at top speed. Don’t worry though because they’re said to go only 35 km/h. Wear comfortable cloths and a cap because there isn’t any shade. You can buy drinks and snacks inside the Plaza Sendero mall.

Go Kartz – Plaza Sendero mall, cell phone: 669 162 6902. Opening hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Cost 50 pesos per person (five laps). No reservations required

Pacific Golf Center – Golf academy
The Pacific Golf Center is great for those who want to keep the golf swing in shape while in Mexico. It is a nice facility that’s fun for everyone. You can rent a bucket of 100 golf balls for only 100 pesos, golf equipment included. They also offer classes for adults and kids older than 6 years. The classes go for four hours and include techniques and physical training. mini-golfYou’re encouraged to get involved or instead you can stay in the lounge area. There is a discount if you book more classes. They have a Frequent-Customer card: for $500 pesos you receive 20 buckets with 100 balls. There’s an indoor playground for smaller kids from two to seven years. This will be opened at the beginning of December 2016.

Pacific Golf Center – Av. Carlos Canseco 5991. Reservations through contact person Lorena: 669 114 4556. The opening hours are from noon until 10 p.m. Golf classes cost $250 pesos per person for four hours.


How would you spend a perfect day in Mazatlan?

(That was the question, the invitation. The rules? None! Your answer can be as long or as short as you wish. Responses are unedited and arranged by date received. If you wish to share your perfect day (name dropping is encouraged) please send an e mail to:


Singer, The Brenster:

My perfect day in Mazatlan, first of all does not have enough hours in it to do all that I would like. But it would start about 7:30 a.m. by being awakened by our 2 amazing kids, Natalia and Imanol, with a hug and kiss to start the day off right, and it would be a Tuesday (by the way). Tanya and I would have coffee in the backyard around the pool as the warm morning sun shines down like it does EVERY morning here in Paradise. At 11 a.m. I would go to Diego’s to do sound check and set up. Then walk south on the beach, so I could get my toes in the water – even if just for a minute. Back home for lunch, and then off to Brenster’s Beach Bash to do what I love most…play music ON the beach for the greatest people in the world. And, of course, invite my singing and life partner Tanya Carrum up to sing a couple songs with me. After the show, it would be over to La Catrina for bite to eat and a tequila and Coke. Spending time with friends laughing and reminding each other how lucky we all are to be living our lives here in Mazatlan. Then back home to relax and enjoy a hot tub under the stars. And finally upstairs to read a bedtime story to the kids, and off to bed to dream about another perfect day in Paradise.


Professional Bohemian, Terri Moore:

So far, today has been a perfect day! I have just returned from La Paz via the ferry this morning after taking four days to sail from Mazatlan to La Paz helping out as crew with a man who is circumnavigating the planet. After arriving at my lovely home to find that everything is exactly how I left it and that my car battery is not dead… I jetted out to Allegro where I am always greeted by name, which makes for a welcoming return to Mazatlan. Every day here is different for me and most days are indeed perfect. My neighbor lets his dogs out every morning at 6:30am SHARP, which serves as my alarm clock. Sometimes, I grab my surfboard and splash around at Olas Altas in the white water (I am a terrible surfer but still love to paddle around). Sometimes, I wake up slowly and either make coffee at home or practice yoga to wake up instead. Other mornings I set out to the Looney Bean to have several lattes, entertaining conversation and loads of laughs with friends and who ever else happens to be there. When I return home I try to get in “Terri’s time for creativity”, this could be anything. Then I have an afternoon siesta. Sometimes I wake with my phone ringing, friends calling to make plans for later in the evening. Sometimes, I wake up and continue the creativity which also involves looking for my next yacht gig. Some nights I stay in and dance around the house as a form of exercise, or on other nights I ride my bike on the Malecon or roller skate to Valentino’s and back. Also, I hike around neighborhoods sometimes hitting up what I call the “neighborhood buffet” being various food vending stands, one of my favorites this time of year is at the corner of Angle Flores (opposite Santander Bank) in Plazuela Republica – anyway, it’s the homemade sorbet/ice cream guys who power their cart by a cable that connects their truck battery to the cooling cart. Sometimes, I pass by Macaw’s after hiking to the lighthouse to have a Michelada with Ceasar, my favorite bartender not only in Mazatlan, but on the entire planet! I always taste the love in everything he prepares. Then I go home and either read myself to sleep or watch movies on Netflix. Some nights I feel like dressing up. I find that I am never alone when I venture out by myself as I usually run into people I know where ever I go. When I am really hungry I go to Morena’s for Indian food, I find that the chef’s balance of spices makes Courtney’s cuisine not only genuine but absolutely scrumptious! For something on the lighter side I frequent Delirium for unique and delicious tacos accompanied by refreshing juice combinations such as pineapple mint or cucumber. When I am really in the mood to put on my fancy pants I step on over to El Presidio! A table for one please or if a certain couple are not occupying the corner chairs at the bar, producing the lovely aroma of Backwood’s sweet aromatic cigars… I sit there. I am yet to have anything undesirable at El Persidio, oh those creative mescal cocktails! A great wine list as well. Then there are the evenings when I crave a cheeseburger from El Beach Burger, the best burger in town! Also, the first place I ate at when I arrived in Mazatlan around ten years ago, but who’s counting? When I order in, it is La Mona or Picanton on Aleman. Theater nights, Il Mosto a tradition started with Jackie Peterson, oh how I miss her!!! Oh and one more – I rarely go out for lunch but when I do, I go to Molika for tuna carpaccio with arugula salad. When I am away from home cooking for my clients I look forward to returning to Mazatlan! The chefs in this town are taking culinary ingenuity to new heights overcoming certain obstacles such as climate and figuring out substitutions for specialty ingredients that are not always available. Ok, enough about food!

I haven’t even begun to cover the explosion of talent within the Theater and Performing arts college. Our prized Delfos contemporary dance company!!!! I have juggled travel dates to make it back in time for their ever evolving performances by both maestros and students. Our up and coming theater directors such as Jorge Gorostiza Zatarain, even if you don’t speak Spanish, our talented actors and actresses directed by Gorostiza’s visions are understandable and entertaining. Aside from the famed Angela Peralta Theater, many people overlook the Antonio Haas Theater located across from the fisherman’s monument. Another great venue for rising talent in Mazatlan! What makes a perfect day even more perfect is to stumble upon various art students practicing or creating pieces for class, personal or professional performances whether it be music, dance or a powerful installation evoking profound thought in the simplest of minds – so inspiring to watch unfold around neighborhoods or even in the gazebo at the Plazuela Machado.


Snowbirdess, Joan Azulay:

I say that everyday is a perfect Mazatlan day. I start my day at 6:30 with a cup of coffee on my sofa with the sun rising. Later Rick and I leisurely walk to the Looney Bean on the malecon. There we meet up with all the usuals before our day starts; Kate, Jim, sometimes Sheila and Soren. I am then off to bridge and that friendly group and hopefully win a few games. That’s my morning. Wednesday mornings Rick is at the Writers Group joining Sue, Mike, and Angela, and he usually waits for me on the malecon with his morning purchases from the Mercado. We spend some time watching the goings-on at the restaurants and slowly head home waving to all the friendly faces. Antonio is getting ready for the lunch crowd at Puerto Viejo. Caesar is just putting out the tables at Macaws. We poke our heads in at Etnika and stop and chat with our neighbors Harry and Inez. Today Rick has scored dorado at the market so we will dine on that with rice and fresh greens. Mmmm. Then of course it is siesta time…Some days Christina arrives to pamper me with a manicure, other afternoons we head to El Recreo for a movie. We always check Mazatlan Life to see what’s going on. Our evenings start early as we are tucked in by 10 p.m. We stroll to the Machado to listen to music at Bohemia with Jim and Los Cryps or we head to Macaws to hear Rob play. On the weekend we do it up with dinner at Angelino’s, Topolo or El Presidio with Kevin and Linda, Jim and Jean or Sheila and Soren or attend a performance at the Angela Peralta. Our everyday life in Mazatlan is perfect and that’s why it is our winter home.


Organizer and volunteer, Kathi McCaw:

Well, other than not being able to make it cooler, most days are super here!

My day starts a 6:00am with a long, walk to check out the sunrise, the ocean, “my” town and all my walking friends. Then, home to a refreshing shower, quick breakfast and catch up on my e-mails and internet concerns.

Once I am cooled down enough to head out again, I’d choose a belly dance class. Great exercise, entertainment and fun! Requires that second shower afterwards though! With the afternoon heat, I need a lighter activity in air conditioning, or at least shade! I’d meet some friends for a few hands of bridge and a light lunch. No bridge players in town? I’d have withdrawal symptoms, but there is lots to do in the comfort of home – work on my current sewing project, Spanish homework, or read my latest book (or all three of those, if there is time!)

In the early evening I’d head for a yoga class to calm and stretch. This is refreshing and sets me up for the evening. Dinner plans are with my sweetie, Bill. Mazatlan restaurants keep us happy and provide lots of variety – so any choices. Shall we meet friends at Las Brochetas, or a romantic dinner for two at Topolo? Aw – decisions, decisions!

Stroll home to settle in with a good book. A short meditation to end the evening and slow down for the night. Perfection!

Creative director, Noroeste, Alex Probst:

My perfect day would be a Saturday, no work today and no work tomorrow so my head is clear of stress.

5:00 a.m. Walking my dogs.

6:00 a.m. Nice full breakfast and a nice strong cup of coffee and a cigarette

7:00 – 10 a.m. Watch TV morning sitcoms.

11:00 a.m – 2:00.p.m. Some nice pool time with a couple of drinks

2:00 p.m – Nice lunch outside

3:00 – 9:00 p.m. back home, shower, layback and watch some good movies

9:00 – 10:00 p.m. Reading

11:00 – Dead asleep!

Perfect day!

Artist, Glen Rogers:

I wake up around 6:30 and have my coffee in bed, writing in my journal, surrounded by my 2 kitties. Then I go for a walk on the malecon – finding my favorite spot behind the Dolphin Monument, I do some yoga, then meditation. Returning home, I swim laps in the pool, shower, and meet a friend at Looney Bean or Allegro for breakfast. Afterwards, I do my email correspondence and see that I have 2 sign ups for my latest workshop, someone wants to buy a book and another is interested in some artwork! In the afternoon, I immerse myself in my studio, working on a new painting or creating monotypes, listening to anything from Van Morrison to Andrea Bocelli to Dixie Chicks. In the afternoon, a friend calls and invites me to sunset drinks on the malecon, then dinner at Water’s Edge. Afterwards, we stroll down to the Plaza Machado and listen to music at Pedro y Lola’s or La Bohemia or catch a show at the Angela Peralta. All within walking distance, all within Centro Historico. Gotta love it!


Chef, owner of Molika Bakery, Héctor Peniche:

Basically my perfect day consists of three things: kayaking or cycling, the cinema and eating. I’d wake up naturally without a clock at 6 a.m. I’d either go cycling or kayaking and return home around 8:30. I’d play with my daughter Sophia and talk with my wife Victoria. Later we’d all go for breakfast – I prefer an ocean view – perhaps Looney Bean, perhaps Fonda, perhaps El Shrimp Bucket, and I always have Mexican style eggs. I love eggs. Our family would return to our flat and just hang out. I’d read – right now I can’t put down John Connolly’s The Wrath of Angels. We may go shopping, and we like to eat lunch at Italianni’s – they have the best pizza, or we go to La Puntilla. All of us take an afternoon siesta, the flat is quiet. After a sunset walk along the malecon, I’ll check in at Molika (if I am not working) and then sneak off by myself to the cinema. I’m really naughty – I buy a huge bucket of popcorn and sit in the air-conditioned cinema. I end the day by talking with my wife until 1 a.m.

Business owner, Wendy Kain:

The idea of a perfect day is such a beautiful thought. Most of my days contain everything I would want – I still find it surprising that I am so fortunate on a day-to-day basis!

My perfect day will begin with me waking some time after 7, and noticing our much loved dog Snickers quietly making her way out from under our bed, which she treats as her coyote cave. Sometimes in the mornings I need to go out and do things for our business(es) but my perfect day will have me working away in the office in company with, that is at a desk next to the desk of, my partner Bodie Kellogg. Some days I need not water the greenery on the roof deck because the maid will do it. Wonderful, because then I will not as invariably otherwise, send torrents of water into the street because I am filling one watering can while watering with the other. I still have a drive to efficiency, but no longer any capacity for it! On my perfect day I will complete what I need to do substantially faster than my usual rate of completion these days. I am amazed at how little genuine work I get through now, in comparison with my capacity in my earlier life. On the other hand, I enjoy no longer hoping to have a reference to my work ethic put onto my gravestone. Mexican Time is a lovely concept.

If I am brunching with a friend I will go out at perhaps 10 o’clock or 10:30, otherwise not until perhaps 12:30. Good food in the evenings is very important to me, but I find it less important during the daytime. On this day, therefore, I will follow my usual practice of encouraging my friend to choose where we should eat. For brunch lately I am enjoying the liver and onions at El Faro, the omelette at the restaurant at Casa Lucilla, and of course on this special day no matter what else I have I am going to have the wonderful Chai Latte at the Looney Bean. If the temperature is very hot I might instead go for one of the cool frappe type breakfast drinks there. Delicious!

If my perfect day is a hot one I might encourage my friend to want to eat north for lunch, so that rather than walking to a place to meet here in Centro, we need to drive down in the doorless car, perfectly suited to travelling along the Malecon. I will jam a hat on to my head and perhaps go down to El Corriente for one of the large number of interesting dishes available there, maybe Chili’s Pepper for one of several very good lunch meals and great breezes, or even to Playa Bruja for the molcajete mixta.
That wonderful Mexican tradition, the siesta, needs to be a part of any dream day. On this day I won’t have much to do so I will have no guilt or other ramifications at having only actually worked for a few short hours in the whole day. What a great life!

In Australia 5 o’clock (when not at the office) would be “beer o’clock”. In Casa Blanca in Mazatlan, 5 o’clock is “cocktail o’clock”, and Señor Kellogg is known throughout Mazatlan for his rather wonderful Cosmopolitans. He does not make a cocktail shaker full at a time – rather he makes an entire jug. I would be very ungrateful if I did not show him how much I appreciate those drinks. Of course on this special day I might ask him to make me feel particularly healthy, and up the fruit roughage content by making Mango Margaritas. We would drink those à deux up on the roof deck, under the palapa, with what on the very worst of the hot days will still be an almost raging cool wind from the water. Absolutely wonderful.

Then on to dinner. Although we frequently meet friends for dinner, on this occasion we will be alone, and will probably choose Topolo, or perhaps the wonderful new(ish) Italian place (Italianni’s) off the car park at the Gallerias, or the great sushi place on the corner of Sixto Osuna and Belisario Dominguez, or depending on who is doing the music that night, we might be at El Presidio. If so, then we might stay there for dessert. Otherwise we would leave wherever we are and go to Molika for the Creme brulee and a glass or two of beautiful sweet wine, so hard to get here. If we had the car because we had eaten outside of Centro, and it is not too late, we might after we have finished eating, drive up to the top of one of the hills, just to look at the beautiful view. In that event we might go into the boot and open a last bottle there, using plastic glasses which are kept under the back seat. How convenient!

Even if, on this hot summer day, rain comes later, I will be very fortunate and it will not come until just after we are home and the dog has finished her walk, so that we then have the most interesting and romantic finish to the day. All these events would give me a perfect Mazatlan day!


Translator, wife and busy mum, Isabel Hudgins Osuna:

I open my eyes and give thanks. I stretch, and if my husband, Jorge, isn´t awake yet, I gently pat him to get up for our morning walk. I enjoy our morning walks on the Malecón. I breathe and take-in the energy from the ocean and all the familiar faces we walk past. Breakfast and coffee, a little radio music, our 2 parrots and dog for company. Shower and off to work in my home office! My work is usually pre-planned to keep my stress levels down. Just think of it as my work “mise en place”.
My kids are all grown, but some still live at home. They wake on their own, go to school and work on their own, yay! I couldn´t work if it weren´t for Rosa, who is my godsend. I don´t have to worry about cooking and cleaning thanks to her, so yes, she definitely IS part of my PERFECT day! Afternoons are wildcards in my daily life, and that makes me happy. Sometimes I work, sometimes I get together with longtime girlfriends.
My perfect evening is dinner with Jorge and a glass (at least one) of Merlot. Reading. Watching an amazing TV series (Downton Abbey, in my personal opinion), and oh yes, giving thanks. Again. I can never be grateful enough for all my blessings.


Frequent Mazatlan visitor, Zoe Jussel:

A perfect day? Of course, all days that one is still mobile, has a sense of smell and can embrace life, is a perfect day. As I get to Mazatlan infrequently now, I try to plump the time out to the fullest, starting the day when the sun has just risen, with a walk along the Malecon with a passel of pooches in tow, to get the blood flowing. I am a Centro/historic district kind of gal, so that remains my haunt.

A quick shower and off to Looney Bean for a chai latte and bagel with one of the many friends I want to catch up with while there, which comes free with an ocean view. I can feel my feet and fingers urging me to hop the green bus and get to Gaby’s in the Golden Zone for a superb pedicure and manicure, prepping me for lunch at Molika or Water’s Edge with yet another old friend or two. Always a “have to” as I am somewhat a creature of habit and there are always so many new places that I can’t keep up, although I make it a point of trying a few, at least. Can’t miss my old friend Mark Jay’s gallery LOOK, and always leave with a package. Good thing I fly, as the packages would be bigger and pricier! He has the touch.

Then a few hours with my Kindle, and charging internal batteries, while anticipating “wine-thirty” and mulling over a dinner choice and because there ARE so many newer choices, I like to leave that up to whomever I am meeting that evening. When it is Sheila, I can count on her choosing something memorable and perfect. Finishing dinner, off for a visit to the rooftop of the Jonathan, or a walk through the Plazuela, stopping for music, a hug and hello to friends met along the way, and a slight regret that I made the decision to move to Baja. But you know, these visits back are even more special because every day seems new to me and Mazatlan is in my heart. Yup, a perfect day, indeed.

Spanish teacher, Alfredo Herrera Martinez:

I wake up at 6, and read the headlines in El Debate while sipping my cup of instant coffee. My wife, Miriam, (La Patrona) joins me for an hour walk along the Malecon. We go back to our house and I have another cup of instant. Then I drive to Olas Altas and meet my friends at Fonda. I have another cup of coffee and two cigarettes. We talk politics and sports and resolve nothing. If I have no students I go home for more coffee and a breakfast of eggs. La Patrona and I then go shopping: could be Mega, Sam’s, the Juan Carrazco market. From 1 – 3 p.m. I play dominos with my friends, sometimes I even win. Now it’s time for lunch and I hope Miriam will make me my favourite – chiles rellenos. She says it’s a lot of work so I don’t get to eat them too often. After a short siesta I am at La Patrona’s service. There is always something she forgot during our morning shopping. We often go out for a light dinner – to Sanborn’s or the restaurant in the new Liverpool. Then I like to watch two hours of tv – usually news or sports.

If my perfect day were on a Sunday I go to church, then to Club Muralla to play a little soccer and meet friends in the clubhouse. Usually we have a large family dinner (I have three daughters, one son and three grandchildren) and I have two tequilas with Coke Light. That makes up for not being able to smoke at home! The tequila is my Sunday treat.


Doctor, Jorge Garcia D’La Rosa:

First of all, I am an ocean guy. On my day off I like to wake up at 4 a.m., drive to La Marina, meet my friends and go deep-sea fishing. We go at least 40 miles out. We have a cooler filled water, wine, beer, soft drinks and sandwiches. During the trip the captain (who’s also a great cook) makes us ceviche, sashimi, and other fish dishes. The world out there is marvelous, it’s amazing – with the dolphins, we listen to music, we relax, it’s a party. I love the feel of the fight – catching a marlin, a swordfish, or a dorado. Tradition asks we place flags on the boat of the number and type of fish we have caught. We go back to the dock and are met by fishermen and their families. The captain often starts up the bbq and we share – they take our fish to sell or to feed their families. We can’t possibly eat it all. I like talking to the fishermen; they are burned from the sun, their hands are raw from the hooks and salt water, I want to hear about their love and respect of the ocean. Then I return home and shower the sea and fish off, lay around the pool and go to bed early.

My second perfect day would be to start and end at Diego’s Beach House. I like to get there around 11 a.m., claim my sun chair, my towel, have a cold beer and just watch the ocean. Often I rent a kayak and head for the islands – I love the view of Mazatlan from the islands, I love the feel of the waves and I love to swim in the ocean. I’ll stay at Diego’s until sunset have a “gourmet” hot dog or a hamburger. The staff is careful and they look after all of my stuff. If I am on the ocean it’s a perfect day.


Writer, Marie Hermanson

Woke up it was a Mazatlán morning with the sun shining through thin clouds and a cool ocean breeze ruffling leaves but not masking the sound of chirping birds. No need to jump out of bed but fragrant El Faro coffee and sweet tropical fruit awaits me in the kitchen. Who can resist?

After a leisurely breakfast and a check of the email I throw on my sundress and head down Constitución past the Plazuela Machado to Casa Etnika. It’s Wednesday and time for the weekly Mazatlán Writers Group meeting. It’s so good to see old friends and to be part of this creative cohort. I read a draft of a story I wrote to receive honest, caring and constructive feedback. I listen to others read their writing and get an opportunity to hear more insightful suggestions. I leave the meeting with my mind spinning full of ideas and inspiration. A few of the writers and I go to lunch at Molika’s. I have a delicious roast beef sandwich with a green salad then we share an intensely chocolate mousse. Yum!

Afternoon provides the option of listening to live music. La Canoa is the perfect spot on the beach to hear Honest John and the Truth or Kannon. All of my friends are there and we dance with abandon. When there’s a break in the music we catch up with each other, make plans for activities throughout the week and gaze at the gorgeous waves crashing on the sand beyond which are sailboats, parasailors and the islands.

Dancing stimulates a hearty appetite. Luckily Fat Fish is just across the street. Should I feast on ribs, steak or shrimp? The smells of smoky BBQ ribs win over. Well-fed and treasuring a take home bag of left overs I head home on the Sabalo Centro bus, but the night is young so I stroll down to the Machado to hear more music and enjoy a glass of wine.

What a perfect day!


Night owl, Kathy Thompson:

I am a night person, so my perfect day would begin with climbing out of bed around 9 or sometimes even 10 (my partner, Luis, would be long gone). My first morning activity would be to greet my animals, 2 dogs and 1 cat, take them outside to do their duty and then feed them. After my animal family is taken care of, I would enjoy my own light breakfast…outside when it is cooler…inside looking at my beautiful garden when it is hot.

If it is Monday, Wednesday or Friday, I would go to water aerobics with a group of women, after which we would soak up a little sun and eat lunch. My afternoon would be spent relaxing, catching up on e-mails, or reading a good book.

If I don’t feel like cooking, which is most of the time, Luis and I would choose one of our favorite casual places for dinner: Las Brochetas, Chayitos or Ocean Grill to name a few. Television or watching a couple of movies would be next on the agenda before retiring, normally sometime after midnight.

If it is Tuesday, Thursday or the weekend, a perfect day may include attending one of the many activities always going on here in our beautiful city: A charity event, Karaoke, “Girls with Pearls,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” Red Hat, a trip to Stone Island, a function at the Angela Peralta Theatre, or a stroll through the Plaza Machado

The truth is, every day is a perfect day for me in Mazatlán and that is why I love it so. I have been living here for 28 years (the first 16 years winter only, the last 12 full time.) My idea of a perfect day used to be going to the beach all day and dancing and partying all night. Times have changed, but I do still manage to have one of those days every once in a while. I might spend the day with friends at the pool at Las Flores, come home, get ready and head out with Luis to El Centro for dinner, music and maybe even a few dances. Who could ask for anything more?


Owner, FrutaRica, Kimberly Brown:

My Perfect Day actually occurred recently. I was invited to a house-warming party by a good friend and we were asked to bring an appetizer. Of course, I knew that I would be bringing something from the business as that is what I do best. There were going to be forty to fifty people attending, so it seemed logical to make a large platter of a variety of chocolate-covered treats.

I woke up at 6:00 am and went outside on my back patio for my morning cup of java. I love doing this every morning as our house overlooks a canal that leads to the ocean. I listened to the sounds of birds and watched the sun rise as I collected my thoughts and planned the day.

At 7:30 am, I was off to the fruit and vegetable market to get the fruit I would need. Greeted by my vendor, he showed me the strawberries he had chosen and asked for approval. The strawberries were as usual, large and beautiful. After paying it was time to go to Mega to get the bacon. Yes, I said bacon.

At 1:00 pm, I picked up my employee and we headed to the kitchen to begin creating. We always listen to music while working and we are often singing and dancing and laughing together during work. It is also a great time for me to practice my Spanish as she practices her English. After two hours of work, we had a beautiful platter of chocolate-covered strawberries, apples, grapes and bacon.

At the party, I received so many compliments on the platter from old friends and new friends. They were amazed at the quality of product, the taste of the chocolate and the design. The hit, though, was the chocolate-covered bacon. I think everyone was shocked that it was so good.

When I went on Facebook, my platter from FrutaRica was posted by the hostess and there were so many positive comments about it. I also received two new orders for the upcoming week, and to me, that makes A Perfect Day.


Chef, Linda Lee:

My perfect day is waking up early, turning on the coffee machine, and welcoming the morning with my two dogs, Rambo and Rocky while the coffee brews. Once the coffee is ready, my husband Paul, the dogs and I sit on the balcony for an hour or so, while we plan the day and I chat with friends on Facebook to see if anything of any significance has happened since we said “good night” to each other. Paul and I go over the shopping list, as he does all the shopping for the household. Then it’s time to head downstairs and begin my day.

During the “high season” my days are extremely busy. I spend all day in the kitchen (I have two kitchens and three ovens going at the same time!) baking up a storm for pre-orders, or the week’s markets and catering events. I also feature a few meals each week that the “North –of- the- Border” folks miss so much. I like giving them a taste of home here in Mazatlan.

I also spend a lot of time “tweaking” and perfecting my gluten- free baked goods, adding more each time I perfect a recipe. It pains me to think that those who have allergies and other health issues must go without the foods they would have access to in the United States or Canada. I mean, we live in Paradise…why can’t things just be perfect?

After a busy day, Paul and I wind down by a quiet dinner on the patio and taking the dogs for a walk. I embroider in the evenings as we watch TV, try to recharge our batteries and start gearing up for the day to come. On those rare days off, we enjoy going to as many functions as possible. There is so much to choose from: cultural events, piñatas, barbecues and parties at friends’ houses. If it’s a REALLY good day off, we spend the day relaxing at Stone Island with friends.

Life is good here in Mazatlan, and I am so proud and honored to be part of such a vibrant and diverse community.


Editor, Mazatlan My, Lisa Lankins:

Every day in Mazatlan is potentially the perfect day. I work almost every day but because I enjoy what I do, and where I am, it’s easy to see the perfection my days bring. “Bloom where you’re planted” is a favorite saying of mine. I start work very early. I wake up at the same time every day to the sound of singing birds and my 17 year old cat, Dante, wanting her breakfast and some affection. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I am a coffee lover. Rich coffee beans from Chiapas, freshly ground in my kitchen, brewed slowly, a little cream and sugar and a large coffee mug… pure joy. I sit in front of my computer and I look for messages and photographs from my family in Oregon. When I see their smiling faces my heart completely opens to the love and friendship of the people I meet throughout the day here. Everywhere I go I see the melding of cultures, beautiful people in a beautiful place. I love to sneak away to the beach, to sit under a palapa and watch the waves while sipping on a coconut if I have a few hours free. The music of Sinaloa, Banda, is a favorite of mine, but musicians from all over the world live in Mazatlan or come to play here. There is Rock, Jazz, Blues, Country, Salsa, Classical, Opera.. you name it. Really good live music can be found any night of the week, whether it be from one of the street musicians, a band playing at a favorite venue, or one of the fantastic cultural events at the Angela Peralta Theater. I’d go out every night if I could. I almost never miss watching the incredible Mazatlan sunset or having a drink and some laughs with friends in the evening. I make sure to get a good night’s rest in preparation for the next perfect day.


Writer, and social media expert, Sandy Hill Pool:

My perfect day in Mazatlan? That is a really tough one for me. My attention span can be short and my taste in music, books, and entertainment is very eclectic. I think that is why I never get bored in Mazatlan! It has many different personalities within its boundaries, so no matter what sort of mood I find myself in, I can find something to do!

Because of my job at Solutions Mazatlan (social media and marketing) I find myself on the computer a LOT, so it goes without saying that any of my perfect days would have one thing in common– I will be unplugged! One more thing that is almost a definite….I would have my camera on me.

Breakfast with a view after hiking El Faro would be a must- maybe El Velero on Isla de la Piedra, Café El Faro in Olas Altas, or possibly my personal favorite; grabbing a latte con cajeta and a burrito from Looney Bean in Cerritos then sit on the beach at Playa Bruja and watch the morning surfers.

After breakfast? An adventure of some sort; wandering around the beach and city taking photos can keep me entertained for hours. There is nothing more fun than finding new places, people, and food. I am not one for ”making plans”, I prefer to just follow my nose and see where it leads me and for that, this city is excellent. I find the people open and friendly and more than happy to share their world with me.

Wandering around gets one hungry, but that is another thing about Mazatlan that I dearly love. Street food. Tacos al pastor, papas locas, hot dogs, ceviche and more can be found within a few blocks of almost anywhere you may be. Finding a street cart with a couple stools where you can drink some cold jaimaca while watching the cook prepare your order is a fabulous way to spend lunch….all for just a few pesos!

Next on the agenda? Happy Hour for drinks and to watch the sunset, and for me, that is an almost every day event. Sunsets here are spectacular shows, especially during the summer months and I hate to miss any of them.

Perfect day means no limitations on budget, correct? Presidio for dinner. I love everything about this place, food, service, atmosphere. even the bathrooms are the best in town! Unless, it is a Thursday, of course, then it is off to La Mona Pizza. Thursday is Flip Night when you flip coins for the price of the drink and what can I say, I am a gambler.

Once the sun goes down, it is time for some music! I really enjoy all music but I definitely lean towards rock and blues with a good dose of reggae, so off to the Zona Dorada or Sabalo Country for me! Many places have live music but probably my favorite haunts are Roots Café, Diego’s Beach House and Baja Style. Other places in that area such as Social Cafe, F.I.S.H., GusGus and Katrina’s also have music so it is perfect for barhopping.

Another perfect day? Who knows? Maybe a road trip to Concordia followed by late lunch at Cutchapetas?……..a day of sailing followed by a Venados game?………pool hopping through the resort area then mariscos at Todos Santos or Barracrudas? Thank you Mazatlan for keeping Short Attention Span Sandy entertained!


Singer, songwriter, Cheryl Gaudet:

As everyone here knows, being in Mazatlán is about as perfect as it gets! My day starts out with a delicious smoothie made from fresh fruit purchased at my neighborhood fruiteria in Playa Sur. Then it’s off to Stone Island for a nice rejuvenating walk with my best four legged friends, Lucas and Zorro, who are both rescue dogs. It’s always tranquil there early in the morning and I enjoy watching the team of horses running past, especially the one who is always lagging several paces behind. There are dolphins swimming just off shore and fishermen pulling in nets full of fish. I walk a little further, stop to do some yoga, go wading with the dogs and slowly make my way back to the launcha saying “hi” to Rudy, Luis at Molokay and others as they prepare for an abundance of customers who’ll be arriving from cruise ships, hotels and all throughout the city. Later, Jorge picks me up and we head to Los Pinos or Loco Lupes to swim and take in some sun. Then we go to China Restaurant on Revolution and split a huge plate of chow fun. I go home and have a nice chat with my mom in Nova Scotia. Later I spend an hour or so running over tunes, including the one I just wrote, and preparing for my 6 o’clock show “Up On The Roof” at the Jonathon Hotel. When I arrive the entire restaurant is reserved and I spend the next two hours doing what I love the most, entertaining and spending time with the best people, in the best venue that any musician could ever dream of. Once back home, I relax for a while in my hammock under the stars and give thanks for yet another perfect day in paradise, before crawling into bed.


Owner, LOOK Vintage and Modern Gallery, Mark Jay:

On my perfect day I’d play tennis with my friends and then have breakfast at Allegro. I love the three cheese scrambled eggs with bacon and an iced green tea. Then I’d go to Athina Spa and have a deep massage and a facial. I’d spend the afternoon painting. Not walls, but preparing for my show in February; a group show with Sandi Vandiver and Lia Probst. After that, a much needed siesta and meet friends for dinner at Molika. I have several favorite dishes: the tuna carpaccio, the country-style French pate, or the fish de jour. I would go home and read all night. I read four novels this week, it relaxes me. Or, my second perfect day would be to go shopping at Zara!


Founder Mazatlan My, Simon Lynds:

It’s late December, my daughter is on holiday as it is near Christmas. Weather in Maz is lovely and the ocean lulls me out of a pleasant sleep.English Premier League season is in full swing so it’s a hot cup of tea and first row seat in front of the TV to watch a live game. About now my wife and daughter are waking up and after the footy it’s (a little late but still respectable) time for breakfast at the Looney Bean.

Afterwards probably visit the market and then browse around the Gran Plaza. Time for a light lunch and an afternoon swim. Dinner at the Plazuela Machado and a stroll round the square where my wife and daughter always find something to buy. Big smiles all round as we head for home, knowing that tomorrow our Mazatlan will be just as beautiful and embracing as it was today.


Operations manager, Playa Mazatlan Beach Hotel, Lance Vient:

It’s Sunday and I sleep in until 7:30 a.m. – which is late for me. I make coffee and play in the backyard with my three dogs. Eventually my three daughters join me and we ‘roughhouse’ for awhile. I’ve taught them martial arts, I didn’t raise them to be sissy children!

I always cook breakfast and we either have a plan for the day or the kids dip into the ‘spontaneous jar’. Everyone writes a few lines during the week about their dream Sunday; it could be about shopping, going to the movies, taking the boat out to Deer Island to fish, to snorkel and return to a big bonfire. Whether it’s a ‘plan’, or ‘spontaneous’ we load up my 1976 CJ5 Jeep, “Buster” and off we go. We are always home for dinner and it’s always a home cooked. I love to bbq – ribs, seafood, chicken anything, and my wife loves to bake. We eat between 6 and 7 p.m. because we go to bed early.

If we are alone without my daughters, there is nothing more romantic than going to Athina’s Spa for a doubles massage and returning home for a quiet dinner. Eating dinner in the kitchen by candle light, or outside on a blanket is the best way for my wife and I to spend time alone. Basically, my perfect day is the beach, my wife and the kids.

Author (The Kabul Beauty School, The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, Margarita Wednesdays: Making a New Life by the Mexican Sea) and owner of Tippy Toes, Deborah Rodriguez:

The beach is at my doorstep, the sun shines nearly every day, the people are wonderful, and I am surrounded by a gorgeous culture. All this makes it very hard to pick just one day that is “My perfect Mazatlan day” but, if I have to, I would say that my perfect day begins when the summer starts up and the heat is turned on. There is something very special about the warm summers in Mazatlan. The city is steamy, the rains begin, and everything starts to turn so green and lush.

My perfect day starts waking up and walking outside to a damp patio and a cloudy sky. The air is so fresh from the rains the night before. The first thing I do is brew a strong cup of locally roasted coffee from my favorite coffee place, The Looney Bean.

I spend time reading my emails and getting caught up online with current events, and then begin to make my way to Tippy Toes. I love walking through my Centro neighborhood on these cloudy days. Everyone’s doors and windows are open, and you can hear all the different music rolling out each house. I stop and buy water at my neighborhood store and can hear my grandbabies running downstairs squealing, “Nana, Nana!” Music to my ears. Lots of hugs and a few pesos later, for the kids to buy some treats at Tienda Juanys, and I’m off.

I wander through Centro while making my way to work. What a magical city, from the stunning Cathedral to the sweet smell of the local vendors’ carts. I walk through the Plaza Machado past the Angela Peralta Theater, where you can always spot a random ballerina on her way to dance school. It’s quiet now, not like in the evenings when it really comes alive with music, dance, and fantastic food. In the mornings, as I am walking to work, I have to force myself not to stop and shop every time I pass one of my favorite gift boutiques, Casa Etnika. The window-shopping is always a temptation, but I have to get to work. Honestly, calling it “work” doesn’t seem right, when you love what you do. I have enjoyed being a hairdresser and a spa owner in Mazatlan because of the people I have met since opening Tippy Toes. It feels more like a day out with friends than going to work.

Summertime gives me the luxury to leave Tippy Toes early for nice long lunch. I don’t cook in the summertime, so I have really been enjoying the summer menu at Water’s Edge, as well as their superb air conditioning. After lunch, I make my way back to Tippy Toes, to do a little more work before heading home. However, my day is never complete without popping my head into Macaws for one of their famous cosmos.

The best part is yet to come. My entire family, which has grown quite a bit since I moved here five years ago, all takes a stroll to Zaragoza Plaza to watch, and sometimes participate in, the dancing that happens there every Thursday evening. The kids run and play, and my mom nearly jumps out of her wheelchair to join in the fun. The music is fantastic, and it is such a delight to see the very young and the very old dancing, singing and swaying together. In fact, if you were to ask me what is my favorite thing to do in Mazatlan, I would have to say it is the dancing in the park on Thursdays.

Now that we are all hot and sweaty from dancing our butts off, it’s time for a cold drink and a little snack from Hector’s taco stand across from the park. The day is ending, the grandchildren are worn out and ready to go home. As we leave the park we can hear the rumbling of the evening storm brewing in the background, the raindrops start to fall, and we begin to move a little faster.

I batten down the hatches and head up to my bedroom to watch my favorite show, True Blood (I love vampires). As I listen to the raindrops getting stronger and harder and the thunder growing closer and closer, I keep my fingers crossed that the power doesn’t go out. Then the most amazing light show begins.

To me, every day in Mazatlan is perfect. I feel so privileged that this city has adopted me to be apart of its wonderful family.


The lovely Linda Crossley:

My perfect day?…Almost every day in Mazatlan is perfect!

It’s difficult to narrow it down, but I would have to say waking up in our beach house, Casa del Lago, south of Mazatlan near El Caimenero is a beautiful way to start the day. Sipping coffee over looking the Sea of Cortez and waiting for the dolphins to swim by. They come by every morning! I love making breakfast at the beach…no rush at the beach.

Technology affords us the added luxury of being in touch with family and friends from either home. I do love to Skype with my son in Winnipeg in the morning, or one of my brothers in Calgary or Maui.

My other perfect morning is waking up in our home in Mazatlan drinking coffee fresh roasted from the Looney Bean and having my Pilates class with the beautiful Anabel. Then riding our Harley’s out to Cerritos for breakfast at Playa Bruja, Mr. Lionso’s Restaurant…..and don’t forget lunch at La Corriente just off the Malecon with the most unique tacos anywhere!…(okay,back to the beach house morning)

After a lazy morning, we love to take our little Polaris Ranger down the beach to El Caimenero for lunch with sweet Martha at La Perla Restaurant. Very rustic for sure, but fresh pico de gallo and fish cooked over a wood fire ‘zarandeado’ style. Absolutely delicious…as good, if not better than fish we have had in a 5 star restaurant, plus the view, more beach.

Later in the afternoon we drive back to Mazatlan, only 1 hour away, door to door from our beach house to our beautiful home in Centro Historico…yes, we are very spoiled! Enjoying a relaxing swim in our pool…shower…my hair dresser, Nora, comes to the house to blow-dry my hair. I love that!

It’s hard to zero in on the perfect evening after a perfect day, but we love to meet friends for dinner either at Water’s Edge, El Presidio or Ill Mosto Restaurant in Plazuela Machado. Too many great choices here, all within walking distance! I love the vendors around Plazuela Machado in the evening…, seriously I have so many earrings from these wonderful artisans, I could probably open my own booth…

I almost forgot enjoying a cold glass (or two) of Sauvignon Blanc… Looks like our life involves a lot of eating and drinking!


Artist director, Mazatlan Film & Theater, Linda Baker:

My perfect day in Mazatlan is one in which I have nothing on my “To-Do List,” no meetings on my agenda, nothing to be done at the theater, and no obligations to others . . . where the day stretches out empty before me, I can go at my own pace and act spontaneously.

On such a day I would refresh my senses with the unique stimuli of this interesting Mexican city, reminding myself why we came and why we stay. I’d notice the kingbird that serenades us from the telephone wire over the bedroom terrace for an hour every morning, the sun on my neck as I collect the newspaper from the doorway, and the smells permeating the kitchen…the strong, rich coffee from Nayarit and the night-blooming jasmine on the patio.

I’d join the cat in exploring the garden, where one of the fruit trees may have left us some sweetness . . . perhaps an orange-gold mango as big as my hand, or a bristly, lime-green guayabana as big as my head. I’d listen to the melodic flow of Spanish from my neighbor’s yard, the blast of lively music from cars passing, the swish of bus tires on hot pavement . . . all the sounds of the day beginning in the busy Centro. And of course I’d eat and drink . . .abundant fresh veggies, refreshing hand-processed juices and refrescos, and lean meat and fish bought cheaply directly from the growers and fishermen whose stands are only a short walk away.

And so it would go all day. A chance for mindful re-connection with my physical self, the city and its people.


Owner of Pedro & Lola and driving force behind Proyecto Centro Historico, Alfredo Gómez Rubio:

Because I often have late nights at Pedro & Lola I like to sleep a little later; I wake up around 7 or 8 p.m. The first thing I do is either take a long swim along Olas Altas, or go kayaking. That’s when I relax and de-stress. Other people do yoga, I prefer to swim or kayak. Time permitting, I’ll then have a massage, then return home and make myself a smoothie. It’s packed with all kinds of fruit – papaya, mango, banana, strawberries, and I also add an egg white and a teaspoon of bee pollen. Google that, bee pollen has amazing health benefits. I have my coffee, and listen to jazz or classical music.

I go to the office (my time is split 50/50 between the restaurant and Centro Historico), and I go home for lunch at 4 p.m. My wife or I cook fish, and various other dishes. I enjoy a small glass of wine with my lunch. I then may read – I like articles about science and nutrition – take a siesta and head to Pedro & Lola around 8 p.m. until midnight.

If I take a night off, my wife and I enjoy going out for dinner at Water’s Edge, El Presidio, or Villa Italia. I like to let it all flow.


Co-owner of Mazatlan4Rent, Kristen Decker:

My perfect day is always on a Wednesday – that’s my day off, away from the office and clients. I start my day with a quick coffee and throw a granola bar and some yogurt into my golf cart. I play 9 holes with my woman’s group at El Cid, have lunch with them and then play another 9 holes. I then drive to Athina spa in Centro and have a massage, mani and pedi. It’s my time to be with Athina and catch up on what we’ve been doing all week.

I drive back for my 7 p.m. exercise class at the Mazatlan Combat Club, it’s next to Los Acros. It’s owned by ex-heavyweight (UFC) champion, Sean Alvarez, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before; it’s a gym, but it also has a jiu-jitsu and kick-boxing area. There’s a steam room too. I take the 7 p.m. class every single day! I can’t describe it – I do crab and bear crawls, I lift weights, I am sweating and exhausted by the end of the hour. I love it!

I return home for a Mexican style dinner with my family at 8:30 a.m. My husband, Lionne, is a wonderful cook and he cooks everything from home- made soups, to steaks, to sword fish. My 14 year- son is used to eating at 8:30 p.m.

We have typical family outings – the beach, either Playa Bruja or Surf’s Up Cafe, or we go to the movies or hang-out with friends in their houses. My son opts for the mall, or tennis, or golf, or boogie boarding – he’s never bored.

For a romantic evening with Lionne we usually go to Topolo or El Presidio for dinner.

I am lucky, my whole family is in Mazatlan. We all love it.


Visitors, Ethel Baptie and Shirley Petitclerc
Ethel Baptie is 82 years old and has visited her daughter in Mazatlan many times. Her friend Shirley, 77, joined her for this holiday. It was Shirley’s first time in Mazatlan – “ when San Francisco get’s boring it’s time for change. I’m definitely coming back and renting for three months.” They agreed on all the highlights so one voice is speaking for two.

I don’t eat shrimp in Calgary, I always wait for my holiday to Mazatlan. The Shrimp Bucket is my first stop. I like to sit there and people watch. It’s fun to meet other expats and hear their stories, and where they have travelled. My second favourite stop is sunset at the Freeman, that’s a must. I like to have a margarita on the roof, I try to go a couple of times. I always buy coffee to take home from Casa Etnika and I enjoy buying the leather masks at Nid Art. The highlight this year was dinner at Topolo. It was the crème de la crème, perfect on every level – the music, the food, the service the atmosphere. My daughter took me to El Aljibe for sangria; I’d never been in a cistern before, or seen one! I loved all art, the false teeth and the irons. What makes Mazatlan perfect for me is the weather. I sit on the rooftop every day sunning and reading. One thing you don’t see back home is the camaraderie between men –that Mexican men display as they greet each with hugs and they talk to each other for a long time over coffee. There’s none of that touch feely stuff back home. There’s a spontaneity (even with expats) that you don’t see anywhere else. People are happy to meet up. Oh, the Red Cross Bingo Tuesdays were terrific. There’s nothing like it, this is fun, I’ve never saw the purpose of northern bingo. I’ll miss the weather and the shrimp.


Piano player, composer, Rob Lamonica:

My perfect day would start with an early breakfast (early for me!) with my girlfriend Agata at Angelina’s. Then we’d make our way to Stone Island and have lunch at Lety’s. Chill out and head home for a nap. The entire time my two dogs, Jazz and Maya, would be with us. If Agata wanted to go out at night, then we’d go where she wanted – her happiness is my happiness. I really prefer to mellow out and cook at home, usually fish. Watching the sunset in peace and quiet, reading, that’s my idea of a perfect day. [updated on Nov. 2, 2016, from his FB page “Today marks the 14th anniversary of my arrival to Mazatlan. I had never been here before, and showed up with 6 bags, my piano and my dog, Leslie. Tony picked me up at the airport, waiting for his table saw that I was late bringing down because of a hernia. My ‘fairy-godmother’, Mariana, was my contact, and even tho had never met me and was in Europe, had the keys to her house waiting for me, rent free for two months. She also passed my CDs before arrival to the Jazz Bar (my first job), and Pedro y Lola’s (my 2nd job!). My first full day, I had breakfast at what is now Chaleo’s place on th Malecon, and he treated me so well…he still hugs me every time I walk by. My waiter my first night was Manuel at PnL’s (Lor’s big guy!), and I had chicken fajitas. The ammount of acceptance, love, openness, hospitality and generosity was overwhelming; I don’t think that I had expected so much. I certainly never thought I’d be here, HAPPILY, for 14 years. I never thought I’d get to do what I love for a living. I never imagined all of the friendships I’ve had, the wisdom I’ve tried to apply from what I’ve learned, or being known from one side of a city to another! It has also opened up a whole new world, called ‘Canada’ jeje, where I now get to spend some summer time, applying and growing what I’ve learned here.
It was arguably the best decision of my entire life to come here. I truly love this city, the people, the energy. I am so humbled and lucky to have the opportunities I do here, playing 7 nights a week with the kindest folks, the sweetest souls. I’m 44; I’ve now spent 1/3 of my life, right here in Mazatlan. Nobody ever could’ve predicted that, especially me. I wouldn’t change that decision for all the tea in China. And I owe it all, every bit of it, to this awesome little ‘pearl’ of a town. THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH for helping make this ‘home’.ALL my love, sincerely and with grand appreciation, admiration and joy,” r]


Musician, songwriter, singer, Alexis Félix:

I’d be totally unplugged – from everything, my iPad, my iPod. I’d pack up my family, my wife Heather, my three boys and we’d head for the beach. Either Playa Bruja or Stone Island. We’d have a cooler full of age-appropriate drinks and another cooler full of seafood including ceviche and other goodies my kids like. We’d play in the sand, swim, play soccer. I’d spend the entire day disconnected. Then I’d come home shower and crash.

Marte Stuart from British Columbia has chosen to write a poem, 2016

Overcome at the Museo de Arte,
these sumptuous flowers
with gaped-open allure;
images poised to trigger
an afternoon’s longing
Velvety slits petal-pink
do not hide the tender touch,
once dip-dabbed into paint pots,
stroked in slow deliberate arcs
across a primed canvas.

He takes his ice cream in the plaza
strewn with frangipani blossoms.
Its ripe fullness tasted bottom to top,
mouthing one long lick, capturing
wayward drips in the enveloping heat.
Hungry for this day’s mango sweetness,
beside the revered Peralta Teatro
promising ballet later tonight
an eye-feast of more arched amore, all
tangled legs amid swish-swirling satins.

Nearing the malecon, one sunbeam
escapes past a high crumbling wall
to anoint my nape in a flush kiss.
Humidity seeps under arms,
trailing moisture nether.
A teasing acordeón lulls distant,
through palm-whispered breezes
whisking a light skirt to thigh,
side-stepping the broken cobbles
and wanton bougainvillea.

Beyond the linteled passageway,
a ceiling fan greets fine body hairs;
tucked ones escaping in wisps.
A discarded shirt across the bed,
as salty skin’s shower-rinsed, cool
water streaming over flowered tiles,
with bright painted petals like tongues.
Already foretaste swollen,
awaiting the pulse of him
before siesta.