A Walk in Cerritos

The weather this time of year is so absolutely perfect here in Mazatlán: cool nights and warm, sunny days. Greg and I love to take hikes, breathe some fresh air, and see what we can see. This week we set out north, in order to avoid the craziness that is south right now. We went to Cerritos and hiked in from the coconut stand on the road to Manantial, where Danny and the Scouts often used to camp. Greg sometimes runs the trails out there; this time we walked and my loving husband waited while I took photos.

Right now the elephant cactus are in full bloom, and boy are the birds having a field day eating the juicy red fruit hiding inside the fluffy yellow buds! There is a road you can easily walk along, and there are quite a few trails winding in and around the new housing developments they’re building back there. You’ll see a lot of flora and fauna, and the telltale signs that you are on the edge of the city, as well. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

The “yellow roses” (Rosa amarilla it’s called here in Sinaloa), or Cochlospermum vitifolium were absolutely gorgeous this time of year! I couldn’t resist trying to capture their color and texture.

Arnica are also in bloom this time of year; I always love their exuberant yellow flowers. The insect below seems to be thinking, “I’m on the top of the world!” I also loved the “inevitable” shot: life and death.

A few other plants caught my fancy, as you can see below.

But mostly I was fascinated with the hundreds of birds we saw! I’m not very good at capturing them; they fly so fast, and my lens isn’t long enough to capture them unless they decide they’re not afraid of me. It can be easier to catch birds in a backyard garden or city park, where they know they’ll be around people.

My friend John is quite the birder, and he recently gifted me a Peterson Field Guide. I love it, but I still am never quite sure what a bird is (yes, I have the Merlin Bird ID on my phone, too). I believe the birds below are a Mexican Cacique (there were sooooo many of these!) and a Black-Throated Magpie Jay that was quite fascinated with me.

Before the heat and humidity set in, I do hope you’ll get out and enjoy this wonderful weather. It’s been cloudier than usual, which makes it more pleasant to be out and about as well.

Cerritos on a Puente Weekend

DSC_0664On this extended puente or “bridge” weekend, commemorating Benito Juárez’ birthday, Greg and I are both back from trips: he to San Antonio for a conference, me to Venice and Milan to teach a course. While it’s always great to travel, see new places, and connect with colleagues and friends, it is also such a joy to return home to the sunshine, the warmth, the affordable fresh seafood, and the joyous people.

Since it is a puente weekend, we wanted to join in a bit of the fun and be among the many local and national tourist families that are out enjoying Mazatlán’s dozens of miles of gorgeous beach. And where better to do that than at Cerritos and Playa Bruja?

We drove up, I ordered lobster and a coconut while Greg ordered fish and a Pacífico, and we commenced the people watching. While in town we have the fishermen and their pangas at Playa Norte, the sheltered swimming bay at Los Pinos (along with its great surfing farther out), and the miles of sandy beach along the malecón itself, Cerritos is a more complicated mix of sand and rocks, forming sheltered, shallow pools that are perfect for families with small kids to enjoy. It is also home to the fishermen up there, a juxtaposition of people eating, swimming, and working, all from the same rather small beach.

This weekend, I enjoyed marveling at the ingenious ways people came up with to shade themselves from the sun.

Around the point from Cerritos we of course have Playa Bruja, with Lionso’s Restaurant. There are so many people out and about that Lionso’s has a guard stationed at the gate, to ensure that only people who will eat or drink come in.


Since the last time I paid attention there are a couple of new little places to eat at Bruja—one called “Tiburones” along the beach, and another tucked into the shelter of the rocks. Both are basic palapas. It was wonderful to see the beachside service of food and drinks, and the number of tents put out for tourists and locals to enjoy the day.

The beach at Bruja is not the fine sand that caresses your feet, as it is in town. Rather, here you’ll find loads of gorgeous shells, just waiting to be crushed and ground up into sand, but, right now, they are razor-sharp and make footwear a requirement unless you’ve got very hardy feet.


On a puente weekend the beach vendors are happy. They’re selling lots of jewelry, hats, sunglasses, cover-ups and cotton candy. The weather is absolutely perfect: sunny, clear, warm but not humid, and the band members from Mr. Lionso’s have to get outside to enjoy their tostilocos, even though they probably shouldn’t.

There’s a huge new housing development going up right beside Lionso’s, heading south towards El Riu. It looks to be a mix of single family homes and condos.


This time of year, the snowbirds are starting to go home, and puente weekends like this, and soon enough Semana Santa as well, remind those of us who live in Mazatlán year round what it’s like to live in a Mexican town.

Cerritos Beach, Otro Domingo Típico Mazatleco/Another Typical Mazatlecan Sunday

I know a tranquil beach where the views are spectacular,

Where rock outcroppings shelter swimmers from rough tides.

I know a beach where both the music and the food are fantastic.

The restaurants are basic, in no way luxurious…

But, they serve fish, seafood and shellfish caught just minutes earlier…

In a shady, ocean breeze-cooled environment. Along with the seafood they serve cold beers and…

Freshly squeezed, ice cold lemonade!

I know a beach where the restaurants are plenty comfortable, and you can’t beat the freshness of the food served, the spectacular views, the joy of the environment, or the price. (Greg and I had barbecued corbina, two beers, and a fresh lemonade today, and we paid 220 pesos or about US$18 for the privilege.)

I know a beach where, in addition to the music, the food, the drink, there is plenty to keep you entertained while you are relaxing, including watching families out for a Sunday afternoon picnic and swim, and fishermen putting their boats in.

If you are from Mazatlán you of course know this beach: Cerritos. Decades ago when we first started visiting Mazatlán, Cerritos was a long drive up a lonely dirt road. The beach was great, and there were a few open-air restaurants just like today.

But today the road is paved, Cerritos is right next door to the huge, world-class El Riu hotel complex, and it lies at the end of a shopping mall that caters to gringos who stay in the trailer park. It is a mere 15 minutes from the Golden Zone. And Cerritos is still, fortunately, wonderful!

If you don’t want to visit a restaurant, you can picnic on the beach. You can bring your own shade, or, even easier, bring your ceviche and shrimp paté and…

Rent some shade: 130 pesos for day use of a tent, a table and four chairs.

If you haven’t been to Cerritos in a while, you are overdue! If you’re heading down to Mazatlán, be sure to add Cerritos to your agenda!

Below I’ll add just a few random photos taken today that I thought you might enjoy.

Fishing net on the beach

Músicosready to serve

Singly or in conjuntos

Natural swimming pool

Lots of families enjoying a day in the shade

Our restaurant from the outside

Oysters for sale