Our Beloved Malecón de Mazatlán

We all love the malecón, Mazatlán’s oceanside promenade. While Tourism sometimes says our malecón is 21 km long, that length would have to include the Zona Dorada as well, which is clearly not malecón. But from Valentino’s to Pedro Infante is 8-1/2 km. If we add in Paseo del Centenario and the real, original malecón in Olas Altas, our annual Carnavál party zone, it’s a few kilometers longer yet. The world’s longest uninterrupted oceanside path is said to be the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver.

Here in Mazatlán you can ride a bike, rollerblade, jog or walk amidst incredible views. When the tide is high you can even get refreshingly splashed. In the fall months you can often witness sea turtles coming into the beach to lay their eggs. You can watch parades, marathons, protests, and incredible fireworks along the malecón of Mazatlán.

Most of us realize how much our malecón has changed over the years: lengthening it, widening it, various concrete designs and paint jobs, different types and colors of benches, planters, lighting, and, most recently, the palmeras. Remember when we had to avoid dog excrement all the time? Fortunately that custom has mostly died out, and by and large pet owners are fairly responsible when using the malecón to walk their pets.

I’ve written previously about how the culture of the malecón has changed. Most significantly to me is how in the past ten years it’s become the world’s largest gymnasium, at the same time that Mazatlán has become a pulsating center of athleticism. Ocean-fed pools are a rarity worldwide, and our own malecón is home to the beautiful Carpa Olivera that’s both historic and refurbished, as well as the Swimming Club. In addition to the athletes, the mesmerizing views, and sunsets unlike no other, our malecón also houses a grand collection of statues and monuments.

malecon-usersOne of the newest efforts on the malecón are the signs to have walkers and runners use the side of the malecón closest to the ocean, and bicyclists, skateboarders and roller blades use the side closest to the traffic. With 14,000 people using the malecón on a daily basis, according to city figures, this can’t always happen, but already I’ve noticed it’s made a significant difference.

All you snowbirds, welcome back! Those who have survived the heat and humidity, rain and wind of this summer, we’re almost ready for cooler weather! I look forward to seeing you on the malecón! Sunrise, sunset, daytime and night views there are gorgeous. What better place to enjoy people watching and the beauty of our city, and get some exercise?

Infographic on Our Malecón

A few weeks ago a lady from a marketing company contacted me, asking for information about our beloved malecón. She said she was tasked with making an infographic for a new hotel in town.

It’s always fun when someone asks you about something you love, and Lord knows I absolutely adore our malecón. It’s one of Mazatlán’s greatest treasures. I don’t know where this lady is based, but my guess is she knows nothing about Mazatlán, but was given this task. She was very nice.

A week or two later, I heard from Janet Blaser, M! Magazine, that she’d been contacted as well, and liked what the lady showed her I’d said about our malecón being the world’s largest gym.

Turns out the infographic is for the new Choice hotel, Quality Inn Mazatlán. The marketing company gave me permission to share the infographic with you. It’s pretty cool. I hope it’ll show up so that you can zoom in and read it easily.


I rather like it. Cool to have an infographic on Mazatlán. I would have preferred a good picture of our three gorgeous islands in the bay and the killer views, but… Please let us know what you think. You may remember I did perhaps Mazatlán’s very first infographic a few years ago, about our Carnavál.

Of course, when we give input on these things, there’s never enough room for everything. Infographics are summaries. Interested in what I told the lady? Here’s my note:

My apologies, Ana; we have been traveling in Colombia for work and didn’t have a chance to respond.

The malecón to me is the world’s longest outdoor gymnasium. You can ride bicycles, in-line skate, jog, or walk. You can also do yoga on the beach, zumba, open-water swim with members of the swim club at Playa Norte, surf, standup paddle board, or parasail. You can rent a catamaran, Hoby-cat or jet ski and check out the sea lions or head out to the quiet beach on Deer Island, with killer views of the city. In addition to these many sports, there are palapa restaurants where you can sit with your toes in the sand and eat fresh shrimp, scallops, ceviche or fish.


Carpa Olivera is one of the world’s very few ocean-fed public swimming pools, free of charge and extremely scenic.


Once a year locals swim out to Deer Island in the Travesía Anual:


During Carnavál, the world’s third largest, two parades go down the full length of the malecón.



During the Maratón Internacional del Pacífico, there are fireworks set off from a dozen places along the malecón, making for an incredible sight.


Enjoy! Have a wonderful summer, everyone!

The Crying Screens

IMG_2984I remember the first time it happened. I walked up to the screen door, and saw the water droplets. I thought maybe Greg had watered the plants outside and splashed the door. Nope. Maybe someone in another apartment had done so, and the water flew on the ocean breeze and caught us? Lord knows it hadn’t rained.

I cleaned the screens, and several hours later there was more water. I looked up to the ceiling. Maybe the water was coming from a leak upstairs? No; the ceiling was clean and dry. Could it be that the ocean breeze coming through the door is to blame?!

Indeed. In Mazatlán we have all sorts of seasons that I never knew when I lived up north or in Japan. And one of them is the “season of the crying screen.” It’s now, that time of year when the heat has begun but the rains haven’t.

Living directly on the ocean, we are blessed with many things, including the fact that in our house we haven’t yet really felt the heat that everyone has started complaining about. If we keep the windows open, the ocean breeze keeps our place pleasantly—at least for another few weeks or more. Of course, it also corrodes every metal object in its path, but that’s another story.

With the windows open, however, and the change of temperature from hot in the daytime to cool at night, the salt air condenses on our screens and forms sticky drops of salt water. They are kind of pretty. They don’t run; they are thick and gel-like. I suppose they are formed by the same type of phenomenon that generates the rain that will soon visit our port.


Festival de la Luz 2015

DSC_0069 - Version 2©El Maratón del Pacífico was in danger of Hurricane Sandra this year, but she, fortunately, never materialized. But boy oh boy, the fireworks came through better than ever!

I had a really good time with Greg earlier this week scouting locations to photograph the fireworks. Usually, I take the pics from our house, where we have a party with some friends. But from our house, you look left to see six stations of fireworks, and you look right to see five more. I wanted to go somewhere where I could see ALL the stations all in one sighting, rather than being in the middle of them all (which also has its advantages). Click on any photo to see it larger or view a slideshow.

So, we scouted locations, and I found a place where I could get unobstructed views of the fireworks and a good reflection of them in the ocean. Fortunately we also avoided the smoke that can get in the way of crisp photos. Then I did some research so that I could take the best photos possible. I set my camera ahead of time, so when I got there it would be easy to get going.

What do you think? I feel pretty good; they are way better than last year. I missed the closeups, but I have so wanted to do some of these shots.

Many, many thanks to Greg for his patience with my photography, and for him and our friends joining us for cena and drinks! The start of the full and half marathon will come early tomorrow, so I will post this so we can get some shuteye. Thanks for the terrific fireworks display, Mazatlán!


New Museum of Mazatlán

PROYECTO DE MUSEO DE MAZATLÁN (9) You know how excited I am about the plans for upgrading the Bosque de la Ciudad into Mazatlán Parque Central—I wrote about it back in December. This gorgeous park will serve as an anchor between the historic downtown and the tourist zone, and connect the oceanside promenade/malecón with the estuary/Estero del Camarón. I repost a few of those photos below; click on any picture to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Today I received an update on the Museo de Mazatlán that will be the main feature on the northern side of the gorgeous park. It has been designed by Siete Colores Ideas Interactivas and architect Fernando Romero—who also recently won the bid to design Mexico City’s new airport (he also designed the Soumaya Museum)!

The 20,000 square meter museum will be in the form of a pearl, in recognition of Mazatlán’s nickname as the “Pearl of the Pacific.” I am very supportive, but I will say that to me the design looks more like a UFO/spaceship than a pearl… The building will have two stories and a view to the ocean. It will be green construction, built sustainably. I sure hope that’s true, because we have so very little left of our precious estuary here in town, and that estuary is key to the beauty of Central Park! Don’t get me started on why the city permitted building in front of the Gran Plaza, a project which has already partially filled in Estero del Camarón.

Plans for the museum include interactive multimedia exhibits. The ground floor will be dedicated to the people of southern Sinaloa: the history of our city, customs, traditions and cultural identity. The second floor will focus on the principal trades of Sinaloa, including agriculture, cattle, fishing, and tourism.

First floor features that are most exciting to me include an 18 x 24 meter IMAX screen with laser projection, a shrimp boat simulator, and a virtual street that will transport the visitor to Carnavál de Mazatlán—enabling us to interact with the event, see the gorgeous floats in the parade, dance with the comparsa troupes, wave to the royalty, and otherwise enjoy the annual festivities in simulated reality.

Rounding out the ground floor are 2900 square meters of permanent exhibition space, a round exhibition hall for the major themes of the museum, a travel agency from where tourists can depart on tours of Mazatlán and the surrounding area, a store filled with high quality regional handicrafts, and a bookstore dedicated to our regional heritage.

The second floor will have a terrace with a panoramic view of the Pacific, a restaurant featuring regional delicacies, a regionally-themed fast food outlet, the city’s historical archive, and training rooms for the development of tourism professionals. Miranda Servitje, President of Siete Colores, reports that INAH (Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History) has agreed to support the museum with exhibitions on Mexican archeology and history.

Neto Coppel Kelly, the visionary behind the project, feels Central Park and the Mazatlán Museum will strengthen the identity of Mazatlán and help generate new touristic offerings, thereby contributing to the welfare and economic growth of our city. State Secretary of Tourism, Francisco Córdova, says this is the type of infrastructure project that Mazatlán and Sinaloa need to keep growing and strengthening. Involved in the project, which has been over two years in the planning thus far, are Fideicomiso Unión Mazatlán and the municipal, state and federal governments.

I support this effort in major part because of the ecology of the area. In the seven years we have lived in front of the Bosque, we have seen hotels, party salons, stores and condo complexes claim land from the estero. This is protected land! But, in effect, I’ve seen that it goes unprotected. It is my sincere hope that developing the park area will ensure ecological conservation, rather than ruin, of the estuary.

Click here to see inside designs for the museum, and further information.