|Mazatlan and its long Malecon from our plane|
Teatro Angela Peralta
In 2009, we stayed in the city for only a week and chose instead to tour about six states of Mexico, including Mexico City. This time around, we had two and a half weeks. In the first three days, we booked ourselves right at the heart of the Zona Turistica, at the Jonathan Hotel. Right beside it was the fabulous elite theater, originally conceived in the 19th century as Teatro Rubio. It was closed in the 1960s because it deteriorated into a place of mass-oriented shows from the 1920s. In 1992, the theater was restored to the Teatro Angela Peralta, after the soprano born in 19th century Mazatlan.
After enjoying opera or a modern ballet, visitors and locals alike relax at the lovely tree-lined Plazuela Machado just around the corner. It was a pleasant walk from the hotel and every evening the place came alive with shows and all the buzz from the well-patronized restaurants around it. The hotel itself was a delight with a rooftop swimming pool and patio that looks out to the Teatro, the Plazuela and the Catedral, the Zona Turistica. Even the bed inside our room seemed to float atop blazing rocks!
The central part of this Zone is the Catedral de la Immaculada Concepcion, about three blocks away. Work on the church was started in the year 1856, and it was completed in 1899. In 1941, it was consecrated as a basilica. Its unique doors are fronted by three Gothic arches, supported by pilasters. In front of the Cathedral, there is a large green plaza with a huge Gazebo in the middle. Hundreds of pigeons flutter about and gather around anyone who feeds them (like me).
Beside the Catedral is a shopping district that has grown around an original and still thriving Mercado, filled by vendors of vegetables, fish and seafood, meat and chicken, cheese and other dairy products, clothes, toys, household wares, handicrafts and souvenir items. Around the Mercado are kiosks bearing snack items such as cut-up fruits, magnets to flies. There is even a section where, in the morning, hordes of vendors ply freshly caught shrimps, from little ones to giant prawns, at fractions of their prices in the US. Alas, by noon all shrimps are gone.
To the north of the Old City lies the Zona Dorada or the Golden Zone, born out of its outgrowth. This Zona is where merchants, like Senor Frogg, the city’s silver jewelers, flea markets of flimsy beach wear and colorful souvenir items, and the Shrimp Factory, had built their businesses. Bill and I also had our teeth cleaned at a dental office there at a tiny fraction of what it would have, cost us in the US. At its entrance stands the Valentino, a spot frequented by the young and young at heart that turns the whole district alive when the sun sets. It ends where the resort hotels begin lining the beaches.
El Faro Lighthouse
To the south of the Old City, at the end of the bus line, lies the Hill where the El Faro Lighthouse , the tallest functioning lighthouse in the Americas and one of the world’s, stands. The structure is located on top of the hill of Creston once an island but now the southern tip of the peninsula city of Mazatlan. It sits 523 feet above high tide and first cast its light in 1879. Unfortunately, Bill and I got exhausted walking to look for it since the bus driver could not understand what we were asking and let us off the bus too soon. Otherwise, we would have been rewarded with a fantastic view!
|Touring around Mazatlan|