29 March, 2019

Part of the idea of moving to México was to explore a country that was pretty much new to me. I’ve seen almost every state in the United States, and have been to several Canadian provinces, but I’ve only begun to explore México.

With the approaching Summer heat I thought it might be nice to take a few trips.

First I looked at going down the coast … Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Acapulco, Puerto Escondido … and I may still do that when company arrives in July. Wouldn’t be escaping any of the heat and humidity though.

Puerto Escondido

Then I thought a revisit to Teotihuacan would be nice, but I’ve been there twice and I’m sure it will still be there after I see other places.

Teotihuacan

I briefly considered a trip to Cairo, but that’s not México, and flights were $$$$. Hotels there are almost offsettingly cheap though, so it’s still on my list!

Cairo

Durango came to mind – The tour operator that I used to go to Guadalajara last time does a Durango trip. A big part of that trip is at a Wild West movie lot, and that doesn’t interest me. There are other things I would like to see in Durango though, so it too is still on my list!

Durango

I’ve been thinking that I really haven’t seen anything in México City. I’ve been there twice – well, been there as in driving through to get to Teotihuacan. Then it dawned on me. I could go to México City for a month and take side trips from there! If I did an Airbnb, I could even do it on a budget!

So, June in México City here we come! I’ll be renting a room and staying in the Juárez area, just off of Av. Chapultapec – close to a lot of things, including a metro station. I can see parks, museums, and even do day or overnight trips to Teotihuacan! And I’ll be out of the 90 degree weather that’ll be starting in Mazatlán!

México City
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27 March, 2019

Today’s subject is Food in Mazatlán!

Had to take my laundry to the lavandaria, so I decided that I would take my walk and have breakfast at La Marea MazatlanLa Marea Mazatlan recently started serving breakfast and I’ve been wanting to see what’s offered, and give it a go.

I will start off by saying I did try to have breakfast there one day last week, but the hostess left to seat a party there before me, and didn’t return in over 5 minutes. They seat the lower level for breakfast, so I had no idea what she was doing as I couldn’t see her. Worker bees were milling around inside the top floor though, and no one bothered to acknowledge that I was standing at the podium. So be it, I wasn’t all that hungry, and getting back to my walk seemed more important than waiting unknown number of minutes for the hostess’s return.

Today the hostess was there, and immediately sat me at a nice table overlooking the water. The lower level has sheer curtains that were partially closed – obscuring their million dollar view. I’m not sure why they would do this. Anyway, I looked at my watch – 10:30 on the dot.

Turned my coffee cup right side up so the server could see I did indeed want coffee, then began to examine the menu. It’s nice. There are a good number of items to select from. I decided that I’d try the ‘El Quelite’ dish. It’s now 10:35. 10:40. 10:45. At 10:50 I got up and told the hostess I’d been there 20 minutes without a server ever coming to my table. Yes, I did see her. She went to the table to my left. She went to the table behind me. She went to the table to my right. Several times to each. She NEVER once looked at me, so I had no way to get her attention without physically interacting.

I left, just as I had the time before. Note to La Marea Mazatlan – if you’re going to do breakfast, staff accordingly. You need two hostesses (or a hostess and a manager). One should remain at the podium to greet while the other seats. You need competent staff in your dining room. You REALLY need to do this on cruise ship days (today there were two) as your location gets a lot of tour traffic. Lunch seems to go fairly smoothly, other than your occasionally being out of all forms of dark beer. Yes, you only have one hostess at lunch – but she’s on the same floor as her podium, and if she gets tied up at a table, she can at least see that she has people to seat.

So, I had the fritatta at Via Condotti. It was pretty good. A little dry, but the flavor was nice. Next time I order it I’ll ask for some salsa or ketchup. And I don’t know how they do it, but Via Condotti has the BEST cafe americano in either Mazatlán or Seattle. 🙂

Via Condotti’s fritatta

Last night I made the trek to Tacos raymundo. For those who live or visit Mazatlán, Tacos raymundo is about 2 blocks West of the park on Zaragoza. They have an indoor seating area on the North side of the street, and a few seats across the street where their mobile cooking area is. I tried both the papa loca and the quesadilla. Excellent, although one of the two would have been plenty for one meal. I’m glad I had a hefty walk to get back home.Tacos raymundo is open, I believe, from 7:00 pm each evening so early bird gringos are out of luck 🙂 Plan your late lunch accordingly!

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26 March, 2019

Only 4 more days! I don’t think it takes much for México to pull out the fireworks displays!

The Festival of Lights is only expected to draw 40,000 people, and will last about a half hour. They’re putting the show on in Playa Norte so it will be visible to anyone along the malecón between Valentino’s and the Fisherman’s monument. 7:00 pm is start time, and almost my bedtime, but I won’t be able to lean out my window to see this one, so perhaps I’ll go down and make it 40,001.

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25 March, 2019

Got up early and decided to spend a couple of hours over on La Isla de la Piedra. It was just a tiny bit chilly, but the water is warming up quite nicely – I imagine in a month it’ll be quite enjoyable to walk in. After a cerveza and some guacamole I took the long walk home. It got my fitbit to show fireworks for my 10k steps!

I have a trip to Puerto Vallarta coming up. It’s only for three nights/four days. Just a quick getaway to meet up with a friend from my Seattle neighborhood. We grew up on the same street, and were born three days apart. I believe she told me she’s been there before, but hasn’t yet made it to either the zoo or the botanical gardens. I’m going to try to talk her into my favorite Puerto Vallarta past time, skydiving with Skydive Vallarta! Soooo much fun!

Now that I have residency, insurance, and the senior discount card I’ll be planning excursions to other new and interesting places! I REALLY want to go back to both Las Barrancas del Cobre and Teotihuacan, but there’s so much of México I haven’t seen that I feel it would be better to strike out for the unknown. Manzanillo, Puerto Escondido, and Acapulco are on the short list, and I’ve got a trip to Europe planned for late September. It’ll be my first trip to Europe, and I’m only there two weeks – perhaps I’ll miss my flight home and have to extend my stay?

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22 March, 2019

Began the day by running two blocks down the street to get my INAPAM discount card (México has a country-wide senior discount program)! Had a copy made, and got both laminated – for less than 50 pesos! Woo!

Next on the agenda was food. I needed my walk, so I thought I would go to Burro Gordo for lunch. On the way there, I changed my mind. Not enough walking. So I continued almost the entire length of the malecón. It was getting close to noon, and my favorite place in the Gold Zone, La Cocina de Ana, gets REALLY busy about then. Hopped on a bus and rode the last half mile. I’m not going into detail on La Cocina de Ana because they’re already too busy. If you feel the need, do some googling and make an adventure of finding it! If you have trouble give me a shout and I’ll show you where it is in exchange for lunch!

Back home by bus because not only were my legs very tired – but I was slipping into a food coma 🙂 Nap time, then watch a lot of news (Muller report done!). Finally time for dinner!

HORMIGAS! Ok. I had my apartment sprayed YESTERDAY for critters. Tonight discovered 1000’s of the tiny little sugar ants scurrying around on one of my shelves! Of course they weren’t in their typical place on my counter top – which is easy for me to spot them on. Nope, they were hiding behind pots and pans. Discovered them when I went to heat the pan to cook some chicken, and little black things rose to the surface of the oil. Thankfully I saw them BEFORE the chicken went in! Pulled everything off the shelf, washed them and sprayed the shelf with a little raid to boot. Then I spotted a big group of dead ones behind my step ladder. Swept them up, and sprayed that spot too! I noticed that I had my used pizza box sitting on top of the step ladder in preparation for garbage pickup tomorrow. Nothing crawling on it …. omg, it was a colony inside though! More raid! Tomorrow I’ll repeat the inspection/cleaning process, and will put some boric acid out. Spiders invade my house in Seattle at the end of every fall – I think I prefer the hormigas (those spiders can get BIG).

And now the chicken is cooked, and the rice is done. Time for a little comida and then off to bed!

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21 March, 2019

Mazatleco.com is a nice site to visit when wanting more information on Mazatlán, and they have some pretty good videos too!

This video shows you the Malacón here in Mazatlán – the whole thing! Most of the time my walks take me from the beginning of the Olas Altas area to the end of the Paseo del Centenario. Nice walk that gets my 10,000 steps in and can be done in less than 2 hours. Not to mention the amazing views!

Here’s the video – enjoy!

Mazatlán’s Malecón. Video by Mazatleco.com
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19 March, 2019

Yesterday was the day México celebrates Benito Juarez’s birthday, so all the government offices were closed. Today they were open so I thought I’d open my Google Translate app on my phone and see if I could get enrolled in Seguro Popular before the big medical insurance change rolls through Sinaloa. I’ve heard that several states have now taken residents off of the list of eligibility, so getting signed up now was a priority.

The Seguro Popular offices in Centro are in a building on Benito Juarez and Miguel Hidalgo. It’s at the top of the hill on Benito Juarez as you’re heading West from the mercado (the Sabalo Centro bus goes right past it). When you walk in the door there’s a very nice woman who speaks no English, but has excellent command of hand gestures! I showed her my google translate screen saying I wanted to enroll in Seguro Popular, and she directed me to go through a side door. Finding myself in the parking lot, I was just a little confused, until I looked around and saw the Seguro Popular sign over a door to my left!

Once in the Seguro Popular office proper, I was told to take a seat and wait my turn. No numbers to take, no screens to watch – people just keep track of their place in the proverbial line. When it was my turn, I went to the desk, sat down there, told the woman behind the desk that I wanted to enroll in Seguro Popular and handed her the copies of my documents that the website said to bring (passport, residency card, proof of address, and CURP). She did ask me a couple of questions. She wanted to know if I was working (if I was, I think I’d need to enroll in the other medical insurance, IMSS). She also asked what streets my apartment was between.

Type type type shuffle shuffle shuffle print print print. She had me sign three or four documents, then took one and stamped it twice. Handed it to me and told me that I need to show it to the hospital/doctor when I have medical treatment. That was it! It couldn’t have taken longer than 15 minutes, including the time I sat and waited for my turn! My insurance ‘cards’ are printed at the bottom of the page – just made a copy, cut them out, and put them in my wallet!

My Seguro Popular insurance is good for three years, so it’ll end a few months before I’m eligible for Medicare in the US. México’s medical insurance is in a state of reorganization right now, so I may have gotten enrolled just in the nick of time!

Later this week I have to pop in the INAPAM office to pick up my senior discount card – then I’ll have all the Méxican benefits my little heart desires! Ok, I do want a drivers license, just in case I want to rent a car and do a road trip – but I just renewed my Washington State drivers license, so I’m golden!
¡Gracias Seguro Popular por tu servicio!

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16 March, 2019

Today’s topic is garbage. Trash in México is not like most of the USA or Canada, well at least not in Mazatlán.

In the early 1980’s I lived in New York City for several months. Garbage there was bagged and put on the street for pickup. Larger establishments may have had dumpsters in alleys, but in the mid-afternoons, sidewalks would suddenly contain large amounts of bagged trash. This is why garbage strikes in New York City always made national news – can you imagine a city of that size with trash accumulating on sidewalks? I’m pretty sure that we only had pickup twice a week, but I could be wrong; It’s been a few years and remembering trash collection schedules wasn’t on my list of things to treasure.

Mazatlán is very similar in the way they handle trash. My neighborhood has pickups three times a week; on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. There are also street sweepers (yes, people with brooms and trash cans on carts) that go through the neighborhoods keeping the sidewalks free of debris. Well, at least in theory.

The reality is that neighborhoods have very different appearances depending on the quality of pickups and sweeping. The upscale neighborhoods always look immaculate. You won’t often find trash littering the sidewalks and streets there. In the working neighborhoods things are a little different.

First, we often have people who go through the bags of trash on the streets before pickup. They are looking for anything they can sell, and in the process the trash is now lose and takes up twice the area it did when their bags weren’t violently ripped open. I will say that the trash pickup guys do a pretty good job of getting most of the trash into their truck, and are well deserving of any tips they may receive at holiday time. They also go through the bags, but as they’re putting them in the truck, not on the street.

Second, the sweepers play a BIG role in the appearance of the neighborhood. The woman who does mine is more intent on talking on her cell phone than doing the job, so only the larger items are swept up. No propinas (tips) for her. There are lots of street animals in my neighborhood, and for some reason the sidewalk is their baño of choice. You might think that the street sweeper could take care of some of it. Nope. But knowing it might be there keeps you focused on where you’re walking and you avoid the notorious uneven sidewalk accidents!

Third, it seems someone is always doing construction, and when they do there are piles of sand, bricks, and demo materials left on the sidewalks. Being México, there isn’t much of a sense of urgency – these can sit for a couple of months before the project is done, then another month or two before someone decides to clean it up.

Someone in government here came up with what I think is a brilliant idea. When they repaved the streets, they didn’t go all the way to the sidewalks. This left a little gutter on each side of the road, and when it rains, the water clears from the streets (instead of flooding) and washes the smaller trash away. It worked pretty well last rainy season! Unfortunately, the rainy season is only a few months of the year.

You may think that I’m upset that there’s trash in my neighborhood. I’m not. It’s part of the experience and after a couple of weeks here your brain doesn’t even process it any more. Could it be better? Yes. Does it matter? Not unless I step in poop (haven’t yet)!

** Someone just gave me a 5 minute firework show! They were very pretty, but now I have to check on my four legged amigos. They don’t care for booms.

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15 March, 2019

Temporary residency has landed! I decided to pay a visit to Immigration today instead of calling like they had suggested. The office is just a 15 minute walk away, so I get a few steps towards my daily 10k by making a personal visit. And – shocking as it was, the card was ready!!!! So as promised, here is the saga of how to obtain Méxican residency using the Seattle consulate and Mazatlán’s immigration office! I’m assuming that people have done their research on the documents needed and fees involved. My saga is to detail the steps that I went through in Seattle and in Mazatlán, as other consulates and INM offices have different procedures (there seem to be many roads to the same destination).

Step 1 – 18 December, 2018: Make an appointment at a Méxican consulate in your home country

The Méxican consulate in Seattle makes it’s appointments via email (visas.seattle@sre.gob.mx). It took a couple of back and forth emails with them to finally get my appointment. I confirmed my appointment on December 18 for January 23.

Step 2 – 23 January, 2019: The Appointment

Be a boy scout. BE PREPARED. I brought originals and two copies of everything. I even brought an apostilled copy of the deed to my home in Seattle (they still wouldn’t consider it a retirement asset). Bank statements going back 12 months. Investment account statements going back 12 months. Required photos. If you own property in México worth a couple hundred thousand dollars US, bring copies of the deed – and the original. Bring it all, even the rainy day account that just has a little $$$ in it. There’s a residency application online that you will need to fill out and bring with you as well. You can find it here: https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/220491/Solicitud_de_visa_Espanol_CNTSE_julio_2015.pdf . DO NOT forget to bring your passport, and two black and white copies of it, and payment for the processing fees (currently $36 USD/$44 CAN).

The Seattle consulate is nice. They just moved, and things haven’t had a chance to get dirty yet. When you enter, talk to the clerk at the window. Tell them you have an appointment for residency. They’ll confirm, and then buzz you into the offices.

When you enter the offices, stop at the first desk on your right. The person there will again confirm your appointment, and will give you a ticket with a number. The desk number that you’ll be going to is also on the ticket. Make your way to the waiting area near your desk. Watch the monitors for your number to appear. Go to the desk that shows on the monitor – it’s like an airport, your original desk may have changed!

Answer all the questions (tell them you’re retiring). Give them ONE of the copies of your paperwork when asked for it. Sit and smile while they verify you qualify for either temporary or permanent residency. Once approved, they will put a visa in your passport, so you need to leave it with them. They refused to consider my house in Seattle as an retirement investment, so I was only able to obtain temporary residency. Temporary residency is issued for one year, and is renewable for three more years (total = 4 years), at which point you can exchange it for permanent residency – or start the process for temporary residency over again. There are reasons you may want to do it that way (keeping a foreign plated car is an option for temporary residents, but not permanent residents).

Step 3 – 29 January, 2019: Pick up passport with visa

Return to the Méxican consulate and retrieve your passport. You can now travel to México to complete the process.

Step 4 – 4 February, 2019: Fly to Mazatlán

This is very important. When you enter México you MUST show them the visa and make sure they issue your FMM (visitors permit) for 30 days AND mark it “CANJE”. If this doesn’t happen, you will need to return to your Méxican consulate and start the process over again! I should mention that once back in México, you have 30 days to start the process at the immigration office. Also, if you need to leave México for any reason before you get your residency card, you will need to have them issue you a travel letter giving you permission.

Step 5 – 6 February, 2019: INM in Mazatlán

Make your way to the immigration office (INM) in Mazatlán. The office is on Aquiles Serdán in the Playa Sur area. Their hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. On your way there, stop at Holga’s and have her complete your paperwork and take your photos. Holga is one block away from immigration in a little tienda with a red awning. She currently charges $500 pesos. THIS IS CHEAP AND WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE EASY. It will also make the clerk in the immigration office happy. It will make Holga happy. In addition to the paperwork that Holga gives you, you will need your passport and the 30 day FMM that you received when entering México. I brought the second copies of everything I took to my consulate appointment, but they weren’t needed. The clerk from the immigration office will give you a piece of paper with information on it – you need to show this to her every time you return to their office. You will also receive a document you need to take to a local Bancomer bank to make the payment for the fees (there’s one in Olas Altas). When the bank completes the document, return to the INM office so they can complete your application. Yes, that means you have two visits to INM today.

Step 6 – Wait

This is the fun step! Once immigration has entered your information into their computers you’ll get an email with a web link and a password. I couldn’t figure out a way to get it to work on my phone, but it did on my laptop. You will want to watch this EVERY DAY. Do not be alarmed if your account disappears for a day – mine did! It was back the next day though. Do be alarmed if it’s gone for more than a day or two. Be patient. The clerk may have told you this part should take a week. It took almost three weeks for me. When the website says “Registre los datos para la expedición de su documento migratorio”, return to the immigration office for the final steps. Here’s the website: https://www.inm.gob.mx/tramites/publico/seguimiento-tramite.html

Step 7 – 26 February, 2019: Fingerprinting and signing documents

Return to immigration for fingerprinting and to sign a couple of documents. They told me fingerprinting only happens from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, so go early. Note that they want you to just press your fingers on the paper – don’t roll your fingers. Also, when they say to sign within a certain area, make sure NOTHING goes outside the area. When done, the clerk will hand you a few items – one of them is your CURP (like a US Social Security Number). Be sure to keep this in a secure location. You can also print it from this website: https://www.gob.mx/curp/. This is a fairly quick and painless visit, so treat yourself to lunch afterwards!

Step 8 – 11 March, 2019: Pick up card, attempt #1

They told me to come back in 10 days to pick up my residency card. The clerk also said that nothing would show on my online account when the card was ready. Of course, when I arrived at the office they told me the person who processes the cards was on vacation and to call at the end of the week!

Step 9 – 15 March, 2019: Pick up card, attempt #2

I only live a 15 minute walk away from the immigration office here, so I just put on my shoes and went in person. I’m glad I did, because …. MY CARD WAS READY!!!! I have temporary residency, so in less than a year I will need to start the renewal process – but hey! For now it’s over and I can travel outside México! By the way, the website DOES show that my card was ready today. I’m not sure if that was put in as a result of my going to the office, or if it was there prior – I didn’t check the website before I went!

So my journey to residency took from 18 December to 15 March. Almost exactly three months. Not a huge chunk of time out of my life, but a necessary one that now opens other doors. Currently, a residency card will get you enrolled in one of the insurance programs (may or may not change – México is making a lot of changes to it’s health care systems right now). It will also get you an IMAPAM card (senior discounts) – bus travel is often 50% off, so this is an option you may want to consider. Some say that since only a couple of seats on each bus can be discounted, you are taking the discount away from someone who may need it. I don’t feel that way, but if you do – by all means, don’t get the card, or only use it for other discounts offered.

There is some good information on this process at both: https://www.mexperience.com/lifestyle/living-in-mexico/visas-and-immigration/ and http://www.soniadiaz.mx/. Mexperience.com contains additional information on renewals, and Sonja Diaz also has information on many other things and is a very valuable resource. Here’s a link to the Méxican government’s website about temporary residency: https://www.gob.mx/tramites/ficha/visa-de-residencia-temporal/SRE260 . It also has a link to the initial application you need to fill out for the consulate, and a link to the reservation system for those consulates who use it.

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15 March, 2019

Spent Pi day at my favorite beach, La Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island). It’s not really an island, but unless you want to drive almost out to the airport, you do have to take a panga (water taxi) from Mazatlán to get there. While I was enjoying the sound of the surf and my chips and guacamole I thought perhaps a post on how to get there and back might be appropriate. Here goes!

The first step is determined by your comfort level with local transportation. You can pay a bunch of pesos for a tour or hire a pulmonia/taxi to take you to the Embarcadero Playa Sur, but my preferred method is the eleven peso green & white Sabalo Centro bus. The Sabalo Centro bus runs, I believe, from Cerritos (North of Mazatlán) to El Faro (the lighthouse). If you are coming from the Zona Dorada (Gold Zone) you want to catch it on the West side of Av. Camaron Sabalo, which is the main drag. If you’re South of Valentinos, you can flag it down anywhere on the West side of Av. Del Mar. From Centro, you want to catch it at the mercado, on the Av. Aquiles Serdán side (NOT on Benito Juarez, that side takes you North to the Zona Dorada and Cerritos). Eleven pesos no matter where you board. Ask the driver to let you know when you need to get off for the Embarcadero (say something like, “Dime cuando estamos a el Embarcadero Playa Sur, por favor”). It’s not a long walk back to the embarcadero if you miss it and wind up at El Faro. The Sabalo Centro bus is usually green with white trim – but always look to see what the sign, or the words on the windshield say.

You’ll know when you are at the right spot from the very long chain-link fence on the South side of the road. It’s also at a spot where the bus makes a 90 degree turn. The entrance to the embarcadero is at the corner, right at the turn, and can be identified by the unobtrusive sign declaring “Embarcadero Playa Sur”. ** Note: There are TWO embarcaderos to Stone Island. This is the one that drops you off just steps from the beach. The other embarcadero is used primarily by residents of Stone Island that work in Mazatlán, and is located a bit further down the street, past the cruise terminal and Naval base. If you find yourself there, you’ll need to find transportation to the beach once you’re on the Stone Island side. There are usually aurigas/taxis waiting on the road, or you can take about a 20 minute walk. You will also need to come back from the same embarcadero – the tickets are not interchangeable between embarcaderos.

Entrance to the Embarcadero Playa Sur

Once you arrive at the Embarcadero Playa Sur, you’ll walk down a gravelly road to the cashier. The current rate for the round trip is 30 pesos per person. You pay the cashier and they give you a ticket. You show this ticket to them when you return, so don’t throw it away – otherwise you’ll have to pay another 30 pesos! Put your ticket someplace safe, then turn to your right and walk down the stairs to the dock. There will be several pangas there. If one has people in it, that’s the one you want to get in! If you’re the first on the dock, wait for the captain to come down and show you which boat to get into. Once in the boat, put your life jacket on. You don’t have to buckle it, but do put it on. When there are enough passengers to pay for the gas, the captain will depart and the very short ride to the embarcadero on the Stone Island side will begin. Interesting views of the maritime traffic, birds, and the Naval shipyard can be had, but for less than 5 minutes! Have the camera handy if you want to take pictures, it’s a short ride!

When you disembark, walk up to the road. If you turn to your right and walk a ways, you’ll hit a little cove that is usually quieter and the water is even calmer than the main beach. I suggest going to Cerro de los Chivos if you’re down that way. This isn’t the area I suggest for your first time to La Isla de la Piedra, as the views are very different, and the sand is coarser – however I do recommend that you try this part of the beach at least once, and Cerro de los Chivos is a really nice place to chill and enjoy the day. It’s also a great place if you have younger kids as it’s easier to keep an eye on them. Also good for those of you who don’t care for the beach vendors.

If you don’t turn right, but instead walk straight across the street, follow the path between the houses and you’ll quickly find yourself on a long expanse of beach with coconut groves in the background. This is where you’ll want to take off your shoes and begin your beach fun! If the tide is in, it can go all the way up to the tables/chairs in the restaurants – you won’t get a beach view, but you can have the ocean lapping at your toes as you enjoy your day!

On the main beach, I suggest Restaurant Lety’s. It’s a little walk down the beach – further than you think it would be, but then when you get there it seems that it wasn’t very far at all. Keep your eye out for the “Lety’s” sign, or for Ramón who is usually on the beach directing the tourists to a lounge chair or a table at Lety’s. I recommend Lety’s because it’s far enough from the beginning of the beach to remain quiet for longer; the food is very good; the beer is always cold; and the staff is great. Remember, this is México, so if you want something and they’ve been leaving you to enjoy the ocean and sand, speak up and they’ll take good care of you. One caveat – the nachos are a little sparse. Taste is good, but it’s a very small dish. The “Tostada Lety’s”, on the other hand, is an excellent choice.

Restaurant Lety’s at La Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island)

When leaving La Isla de la Piedra, just do everything in reverse. Walk back to the embarcadero and make your way to the dock. If a panga isn’t there just wait for a couple of minutes. Once you’re back on the Mazatlán side, someone will usually ask to see the ticket you got when you paid your 30 pesos. You did keep it, right? If you make your way down the gravelly road to the street. You can flag the next Sabalo Centro bus down here – just stick your arm out as the bus approaches. Again, eleven pesos (currently) will get you back to the mercado, playa norte, zona dorada, or Cerritos. If the day is hot, you can watch for the bus from the shade under the trees in the median – just be sure to cross back over to flag the bus down!

Sabalo Centro bus approaching at the entrance to the embarcadero playa sur

A little sun, a lot of sand, some botanas and cervezas – La Isla de la Piedra is an excellent way to spend a day when you’re in Mazatlán!

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