Old Mazatlan & Playa Olas Altas

On our first evening back in Mazatlan, we hopped a water taxi into town for a couple of treats and a quick bite before heading back to Stone Island. Of course, we knew that wouldn’t be enough. The RV park was nice and all, but we’re a stone’s throw away from the center of one of our favorite cities in Mexico.

Here we are, six weeks into this journey and the rig is looking pretty rough.

Lucky for us, one of the RV park staff’s daughters have an RV-cleaning business. We saw them going to town on the travel trailer in front of us and thought we’d like what they were having.

Perfect timing because we’ll be downtown for most of the day.

It’s about a twenty minute walk from the RV park to one of two public piers on the island that head to downtown.

Last time, we used the north pier next to the fishermen’s union. Those boats drop you off at the Gabriel Leyva Pier next to the Naval base, which is better suited for heading to the Golden Zone.

This time, we’re trying the south pier accessed at the far western edge of the beach on Stone Island. This one drops you off next to the Baja Ferry terminal—still a 20-minute walk to Plaza Machado or the malecon, but not a bad walk through an interesting part of town.

Stone Island’s main beach is deceptively deserted before noon.

Here in mid April the cruise ships keep coming. I expect the season to start tapering off as storm season approaches. The quickest route from the pier to Old Town is along the Blue Line. This line stretches from the cruise ship terminal to Plaza Machado, and that’s the direction we were headed this morning.

Along the way, we passed cruise ship passengers presumably on their day’s shore leave. At one point, we passed a member of the ship staff’s who informed us that we were “Almost there.” Wherever “there” was, we certainly did not want to be. Being the rogues we are, we peeled off from the line of passengers and made our own route to breakfast.

I had remembered taking a liking to this building but couldn’t remember where exactly it was until today. It’s hard to keep places straight sometimes.

We like our Sunday brunch out and have been to a lot of brunch places in Mexico over the years—from chilaquiles and birria to bagel sandwiches and croque madames. But Looney Bean in Maz is the one place we’ve been to in the entire world where you can get a packed gringo-style breakfast burrito, bagel breakfast sandwich, blueberry pancakes AND cold brew.

Noe’s crazy about museums. Riley tries to like what Noe likes. But Riley’s not really a museum kid. Maybe one day. Maybe not. The Mazatlan Archeological Museum is not the most exciting place for a five-year-old, but he put in his best effort. Noe, on the other hand, lives for these days.

Today was a road school day. Meaning the boys didn’t have traditional classes, but instead were expected to explore some worthwhile corners of Mazatlan and journal about it.

At this point, the journal entries aren’t terribly long or in-depth, but the experiences usually elicit a number of questions. Some of which Lori and I are able to answer, while others we leave to experts on the interwebs to field.

Old Mazatlan is ground zero for the city’s most well-known museums and art exhibitions, in addition to the area’s most historic and striking architecture.

Perhaps best of all, Mazatlan’s most picturesque beach is just steps away. Playa Olas Altas (Tall Waves Beach) is by far my favorite stretch of waterfront in the entire city.

Most visitors to Mazatlan know the Golden Zone, which stretches for miles. But I’ll take Olas Altas any day.

This is where tourism in Mazatlan began nearly a hundred years ago, welcoming the likes of John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Walt Disney and Rita Hayworth in its heyday.

Carpa Olivera is a long-standing fixture along the malecon at Olas Altas. It’s a free public swimming pool fed entirely by the surf—complete with a waterslide. Last time we visited Mazatlan in July 2022, the pool was overflowing and always packed. Due to the tides, we’ve yet to see any water this time around.

That’s not ground beef. That’s fresh salmon.

Have your next birthday party at a Chinese fast-food restaurant in Mexico!

I sense a theme here.

That’s more like it. If you didn’t know, Mazatlan is the birthplace of Pacifico. It’s still brewed here today.

If you’re looking for a truly exceptional third-wave coffee shop in Mazatlan, CaffeRium is exactly that and more.

Watching the coffee roasting process from the front sidewalk.

Time to head back to the island.

Back on Stone Island, the crowds have started to fill in on the beach. And the Winnie is looking better than it did the day we bought it.

The women did a superb job, even washing the windshield cover—all for about US$30. At the KOA in Tucson they were asking $150 and certainly wouldn’t have done as nice a job.

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