Mazatlan-The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

99% enjoyable, but I was ripped off by a local vendor for $500 USD--read and beware!


El Cid Marina and Yacht Club

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by mbwalker on January 14, 2004

ACCOMMODATIONS: We stayed in a two-bedroom unit (a one-bedroom unit with a door that connects to a studio unit). We stayed in rooms 420 and 421, which were on the top floor of the building that overlooks the pool nearest the lobby. A second pool is located in front of the last building that overlooks the ocean. Our view was nice, overlooking the pool and marina. The only building with an ocean view is located at the end of the property. That building is "integrated" with the second pool, which has waterfalls and caves and a very large Jacuzzi. The water in that pool was too cold to swim in. The water in the pool nearest us was very warm.

The room was spacious, clean, but spartan. The TVs were old and our son couldn't connect his Game Cube to any of them. We had to buy a special connector from town. TV reception was crummy and there were only eight stations, four of them were local Mexican stations. There is no oven in the kitchen, and only two burners on the stove. There is a half-sized microwave oven and a small fridge. There was also a toaster, a coffee maker, blender, dishes, pots and pans, and silverware. Bring paper towels!

The laundry facility is located at the end of the Marina. It cost 15 pesos (about $1.50US) to wash/dry a load. The beds and the couch were made of concrete with a mattress on top. We ordered another pad to put on top of the mattress, but it was still so hard that we never got a full night's rest. The air conditioners blow a lot of air (and humidity) into the rooms, but the air never gets cold. We ended up just keeping the doors/windows open all day/night to keep the room cool.

MARINA EL CID RESTAURANTS: The first night we had the buffet at the restaurant in the lobby area. It was horrible, and was also overpriced. We also ate at the little restaurant that was near the pool. We ordered hamburgers, but received these things with what looked like meatloaf patties that were disgusting and undercooked. We ate at the restaurant one more time, and had the breakfast buffet. That was actually quite good. Other than those three times, we ate in town.

TIMESHARE PRESENTATION: We did go through the presentation. However, we were grumpy from no sleep on the hard mattresses and had a terrible meal in the restaurant. So we weren't interested in buying there. They didn't give us a hard sell, and they didn't bother us about it the rest of the trip.

OVERALL: We found the staff to be very friendly and helpful and, although the cost to rent the place was very affordable, overall, we just could not recommend it, and we would not stay there again.

El Cid Marina Beach Hotel
Av. Camaron Sabalo D
Mazatlan, Mexico, 82110
52-69-13-3333

Marina El Cid Hotel & Yacht Club

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by mbwalker on January 13, 2004

Best Things Nearby:
Shopping in Old Town; the beach; the restaurants in town.

Best Things About the Resort:
We found the hotel manager went above and beyond his duty to help us out when we had a problem with a local vendor who tried to rip us off and even paid off two policia to show up at the hotel to intimidate us. The hotel manager also sent an interpreter with us when we had to go deal with this vendor. It was scary and without the help of the hotel manager and staff, the experience would have been much worse.

Resort Experience:
ACCOMMODATIONS: We stayed in a two-bedroom unit (a one-bedroom unit with a door that connects to a studio unit). We stayed in rooms 420 and 421, which were on the top floor of the building that overlooks the pool nearest the lobby. A second pool is located in front of the last building that overlooks the ocean. Our view was nice, overlooking the pool and marina. The only building with an ocean view is located at the end of the property. That building is "integrated" with the second pool, which has waterfalls and caves and a very large jacuzzi. The water in that pool was too cold to swim in. The water in the pool nearest us was very warm.

The room was spacious, clean but spartan. The TVs were old and our son couldn't connect his Game Cube to any of them. We had to buy a special connector from town. TV reception was crummy and there were only eight stations, four of them local Mexican stations.

There is no oven in the kitchen, and only two burners on the stove. There is a half-sized microwave oven, and a small fridge. There was also a toaster, a coffee maker, blender, dishes, pots and pans, and silverware. Bring paper towels! The laundry facility is located at the end of the marina. It cost 15 pesos (about US$1.50) to wash/dry a load.

The beds and the couch were made of concrete with a mattress on top. We ordered another pad to put on top of the mattress, but it was still so hard that we never got a full night's rest. The air conditioners blow a lot of air (and humidity) into the rooms, but the air never gets cold. We ended up just keeping the doors/windows open all day/night to keep the room cool.

MARINA EL CID RESTAURANTS: The first night we had the buffet at the restaurant in the lobby area. It was horrible, and it was also overpriced. We also ate at the little restaurant that was near the pool. We ordered hamburgers, but received these things with what looked like meatloaf patties that were disgusting and undercooked. We ate at the restaurant one more time and had the breakfast buffet. That was actually quite good. Other than those three times, we ate in town.

TIMESHARE PRESENTATION: When did go through the presentation. However, we were grumpy from no sleep on the hard mattresses and had a terrible meal in the restaurant. So we weren't interested in buying there. They didn't give us a hard sell and they didn't bother us about it the rest of the trip.

OVERALL: We found the staff to be very friendly and helpful and, although the cost to rent the place was very affordable, overall, we just could not recommend it and we would not stay there again.

El Cid Marina Beach Hotel
Av. Camaron Sabalo D
Mazatlan, Mexico, 82110
52-69-13-3333

Panamas

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by mbwalker on January 14, 2004

We ate at Panamas at the recommendation of our friend, who is a local. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll love their fabulous selection of amazing desserts. Be prepared, though, the Mexican version of cheesecake is not the same as the American version. It is less sweet and has a more creamy texture. I enjoyed it, but just don't expect a typical New York cheesecake flavor/texture. All of the desserts, breads, etc are baked fresh every day. They are also reasonably priced. Order up some dessert and take it back to your hotel for later, or have a cup of coffee with your dessert right there in the restaurant. Panamas is usually packed full of people, all day long, and it's about 60% locals and 40% tourists.

The breakfast is absolutely scrumptious! The plates are large with a lot of food. The breakfasts seem to be an American/Mexican combination. For instance, you can get an omelet that comes with chilequilles or scrambled eggs and ranch potatoes with napolitos (diced cactus) on the side. They have a very large selection of breakfast choices, so you will definitely be able to find something you like. Also, they display the food plates (with signs so that you know what they are on the menu) in the front entrance of the restaurant. Reminded me of Japan.

Panama Restaurant and Pasteleria
Various Locations
Mazatlan, Mexico
(669) 913-6977

Las Canoas

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by mbwalker on January 14, 2004

Las Canoas is a wonderful restaurant located right on the beach. It has plexiglass windows so you can watch the ocean waves rolling in. There is a little playground to the left where your kids can play, and you can watch them through the windows. There are also beach vendors (non-aggressive and very friendly) that will display their wares on the sand outside the windows. If you're interested in what they are selling, you can call them over. They will not come and disturb your dinner.

They also have a live mariachi band that is excellent. The band plays every night, and you're welcome to tip them on your way out. There is also a guy who roams from table to table with one of those tiny guitars and offers to play a song or two for you for a tip. As with the rest of the vendors associated with the restaurant, they are not aggressive nor are they upset if you give them a polite "no gracias". They'll just smile and move on. A very nice change from other places where you are harrassed by vendors.

The food is so delicious! The specialty there are these canoe-shaped wooden boats that come heaped with seafood. The seafood platter comes with various fish, oysters, scallops, lobster, shrimp, etc piled high and practically falling out of the canoe. It is supposed to be for two people, but could easily feed three or four.

Friday and Saturday evenings are generally pretty busy, so I'd recommend reservations for those nights. Other nights are less crowded and, if you go for an early dinner around 6pm, you'll probably have the place to yourself. Try to sit near the windows, which are open up on top so that you can actually hang the top half of your body out and talk with the vendors or your kids if they are on the swing set.

The only downside is that when the mariachis are in full swing it can be difficult to talk across the table. S, don't go with a friend that you haven't seen in years and want to catch up on every detail of their life.

Las Canoas

Mazatlan, Mexico

Los Arcos

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by mbwalker on January 14, 2004

Los Arcos is a family-run restaurant. There is inside dining and an enclosed outside patio area. There are no views to speak of, but the warm and inviting atmosphere and attentive waiters make up for the loss of a view.

Los Arcos serves seafood and traditional Mexican dishes. They serve a unique appetizer made of whole carmelized onions and peppers. We gave it a funny look, then tried them. Although I didn't care for the onions, I did like the peppers, which were mild unless you ate the seeded part.

Our picky teenage son absolutely loved the food here. We also enjoyed it immensely. If you have little kids, there is a swingset by the front door. If you sit in the enclosed patio, you can watch them from there.

Everything we ordered was delicious, the attention we got from the staff was excellent, the prices were very reasonable, and the atmosphere warm and inviting. We did miss the view, and there is no show there (but we're spoiled).

Los Arcos
Avenue Camaron Sabalo
Mazatlan, Mexico

Tequila Tilly's

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by mbwalker on January 14, 2004

If you're hankering for a good old-fashioned hamburger, barbecue ribs, cheesy pizza, or a thick, juicy steak, this is the place for you.

The entire restaurant looks like a typical barbecue joint right out of Texas. All of the meat entrees are grilled on a barbecue. They also had other typical American fare like pizza. There were even some traditional Mexican dishes as well. The selection and variety is such that you could take a very large group there and absolutely everyone would find something on the menu that would appeal to them.

On the night that we went there there was a group of kids (10-12-years-old) dressed in western attire, and they were dancing to western songs. After the show, they came by with their hats for tips. They really did put on a great show, and they were cute as a button!

Although it took a while to get our food, it was excellent. I had a pizza, my husband ordered a steak, my son ordered a burger, and his friend ordered ribs. The dinners were large (and we saw many patrons leaving with boxes of leftovers). Everyone loved their meal, and we went back a second time because we enjoyed the selection/food so much.

It was a little bit pricier than some of the other restaurants that we visited, but we felt it was well worth it. This was our favorite restuarant in Mazatlan.

Tequila Tilly's

Mazatlan, Mexico

Stone Island - ATV Motorcycles warning

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by mbwalker on January 13, 2004

Stone Island is great, EXCEPT for the ATV motorcycle rental. We were ripped off!

Our son and his friend crashed their ATVs. No problem, we were going to pay for the needed repairs (about $200-250 US). However, the ATV owner had other ideas. He wanted us to pay double the cost of the repair work, and wanted his ATVs to look "like new." He wanted us to pay for things that weren't even broken.

Long story short, he showed up at our hotel with police he had paid off (the hotel manager made them leave because they had no papers -- the equivalent of an arrest warrant).

We then spent three days trying to work things out with the US Consular and Mazatlan's Dept. of Ministry. Despite the fact that we had a witness (a local) stating that there wasn't nearly as much damage as the ATV owner stated, and the fact that the owner had no written estimate for the damage, and also that we had a signed contract between us/the ATV owner stating that we would pay for "repairs," not "make the ATVs look like new," we still lost the case. We were told by the lady at the Dept. of Ministry that we had to prove that there wasn't as much damage as the ATV owner claimed there was. He, on the other hand, only needed to say that there was $600 worth of damage. Nothing we said mattered... the contract was ignored, and so was our witness who was a local Mazatlan resident that we were fortunate enought to befriend. In the end, we had to fork over $500 USD or be thrown in jail.

So, BEWARE. If anything happens, do not expect a written contract, witnesses, or even the help of the US Consular to get you fair treatment at the hands of the local government. If you're in Mazatlan, go to the US Consular's office and ask for a copy of the report. The Dept. of Ministry threw away the 3-page report we made, and only kept the one that the ATV owner made. Surprise, surprise.

Stone Island
Main Port
Mazatlan, Mexico

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