Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Starbucks, Señor Frogs & Shrimp

Back at home in Denver we’ve become accustomed to seeing a Starbucks on each street corner and in every grocery store. Here in Mazatlán the equivalent of Starbucks is Señor Frogs, a Hard Rock Café like tourist trap. Honestly, about every other block there is another Señor Frogs Official Store. As far as we could tell there was only 1 actual restaurant, but the Señor Frogs gear is being hocked all up and down the strip in Zona Dorada where we happen to be staying in Mazatlán’s finest RV Park, Mar Rosa. I’m not kidding – Mar Rosa RV Park really is pretty nice, at least for RV parks. It’s in an excellent location, oceanside, right in the heart of Mazatlán, unlike so many of the other RV parks in large tourist areas that are always on the outskirts of town. The bathrooms are modern and clean, wifi & laundry service are available, the help is friendly and knowledgeable and the neighbors are the sweetest (at least if you get there before the Jarvis Gypsies leave). Within minutes of our arrival we were warmly welcomed by our new neighbors, Canadians Val & Bill, who also happen to describe themselves as gypsies at heart. Val kindly offered us her old copy of the Church’s Bible (Traveler’s Guide to Mexican Camping by Mike & Terri Church), something we have been kicking ourselves for not purchasing before we left home. Bill gave us some tent stakes he was no longer using which helped make the assembly of our “patio” canopy much sturdier.

our campsite at Mar Rosa

It didn’t take long before we had rolled out our fake grass and were relaxing in the shade, finally in a place where we could put down roots for a few days. The true attraction of Mazatlán is Old Mazatlán, a short bus ride down the malecón from the hotel strip in Zona Dorada. We paid a visit to Old Mazatlán our first evening for dinner and a walk about Plaza Pricipal and Plazuela Machado, where restaurants, live music and vendors line the streets. There is a truly beautiful 19th century cathedral that towers over the square and looks stunning lit up in the evening.

the cathedral

While it appears to go on forever, the beach in Mazatlán really wasn’t too appealing to us. Crowded with vendors and water activities, the sand is a bit rocky and the water is dark (I suppose we’ve been a bit spoiled with all the clear water we’ve seen lately). We actually didn’t spend much time sunning on the shores of the Pacific, instead we explored Mazatlán by bicycle – really the only way to see it all without a car. The malecón is miles long and is relatively easy to ride on without having to risk your life in traffic.

Quite possibly our favorite part of Mazatlán was eating the best meal we’ve had on our trip thus far – and guess what? We made it ourselves, right out the back of our ecamper. We purchased some fresh shrimp from a local fisherman who visited the RV park, whipped up some mango salsa from the produce we picked up at the market, and added some brown rice we had brought along. Delicious!
All in all, we probably wouldn’t go out of our way to visit Mazatlán again, but we still had a fun time there without having to try too hard!

Shrimp a la Benjamin - so delicious!


Anonymous said...

Actually there is a Starbuck's in Mazatlán! I guess tourists go there, but there are so many other good coffee houses that most of us residents have another favorite. Sure, Sr Frogs is everywhere, but it is a tourist town, after all. Glad you got to the Centro Hisorico, where I live. I love it here. Dee

Krista & Ben said...

Thanks Dee,
We loved Old Mazatlan and would definitely spend some time there again. As for the Starbucks, we saw it,but we didn't visit. We try not to support giant monopolies like that, especially when there are so many other local places to try, but just like everyone else, we're human and sometimes we can help ourselves!

Mazatlan Hotel said...

The fresh fish is simply amazing, it always one of my suggestions when ever advising people who visit, its great that you had the utilities to make you meal and enjoy it. BTW that is a beautiful picture of the Cathedral.