11 December, 2023

I’ve been meaning to get to this post for the past two years. Good intentions don’t mean much until you get your behind to move and actually do something – which happened today.

This is the main bus station in Mazatlán. It’s a big ugly round building that you can spot from just a couple of places – if you know where to look. Buses to far and wide in México can be found here, and a recent remodel of the interior has made it much more inviting than it used to be.

What many people don’t realize, is that there is a second bus station – INSIDE this one, that serves the outlaying cities in the area. La Noria. Villa Union. Concordia. Cosala. And even El Quelite. These are likely the type of buses that your brain will picture a Méxican bus to be, unlike the ‘luxury’ long haul buses. They aren’t pretty. They aren’t comfortable. They often don’t even look like they’re able to make a 20 mile trip. But they’re an option, and an experience, and if you approach them with the right mindset they’re a fun adventure for the day! Study up on the lyrics to the ‘wheels on the bus’ song (in Spanish?) and prepare to shake, rattle, and roll!

To get to this bus station, enter the main station and proceed out the back exit into the main boarding area. Tell the guard (if there is one) that you’re going to the other terminal for a bus to {fill in the blank}. You’ll turn to your right and then follow the sidewalk all the way around until you are almost opposite where you started. There’s a building here – and halfway down is the entrance into the waiting area. No one was stationed under the schedules when I was there – I’m assuming that’s where you’ll pay for your ticket. If no one is there then the driver will likely take payment. Ask if you’re unsure. Google Translate can be your friend here! [Edit: At least with the El Quelite bus, you pay on board. Someone will come down the aisle collecting once you’re on your way].

I also do not have the return schedules – if you take one of these buses you will want to make sure you have a way to get back. If the bus goes someplace, then there will be a return bus – but you may find that the return bus is the next day. Have options. Villa Union, La Noria, El Quelite – these are all close enough that you should be able to call an Uber if you really need to – or take a cab. I would also bet that wherever you go there will be a hotel where you can grab a room for the night (be sure to ask if they have agua caliente!). Most of the locations I’ve mentioned have several departures a day; your best bet would be to take the earliest one and ask the driver when and where to catch the return bus. [Edit: There’s a return bus in El Quelite at 4:30 pm – it’s on the same street that it let you off. Should arrive about 10-15 minutes early and park a little up the street from El Mesón de Los Laureanos].

I give this information because once you’ve paid a tour company for a tour of El Quelite, do you really need to see the rooster farm, bakery, and leather shop (and any jewelry store along the way) again when you just want to have lunch at El Mesón de Los Laureanos? Same for La Noria. Or getting to Villa Union when you want to go to that seafood restaurant everyone talks about. Tours and cabs can get pricy, especially when you just have a single destination in mind – or want to have a self guided tour. So here are the schedules that were current as of today. Prices have gone up since they posted this, so be prepared to pay a little more. [Edit: cost of the trip to El Quelite is $55 pesos each way, at the date of this post]. Have a little fun!

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