Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Mazatlan Vacation Review

Mazatlan as a vacation spot doesn’t offer the same level of options as other Mexican destinations such as Cancun or Cozumel. I would roughly compare it to the Cabo San Lucas area.

The tours in Mazatlan available to the tourist aren’t really very interesting to tell the truth, we took the City tour which ended up being a thinly disguised attempt to get you to buy things from selected merchants, at least in Cancun they call it the shopping tour, we also took the country tour to Coppela. The Coppela tour stopped at a couple of small villages but mostly tried to get you to buy things. The villages weren’t very scenic and overall pretty run down. The traditional bakery in one village was good and seeing tiles made was interesting, but I don’t know if you can build a tour around them. With the large number of abandoned gold, silver, copper and platinum mines in the area I am surprised they didn’t have a mine tour, now that might have been more interesting.

I am afraid the best part of the vacation was at the resort with the pool and beaches and the scuba diving. We didn’t take the third tour we had for free, the Stone Island tour, due to time constraints so I can’t address that one. They also had a Jungle and Bird watching tour available but they took over 8-10 hours each and again, we just didn’t have the time.

In places like Cancun and Cozumel there are numerous family oriented tours available and other tourist attractions including clear water (100 foot visibility is common) diving and snorkeling, tours of archeological sites, cenote’ diving and a better market area for shopping. Mazatlan offers good sport fishing and a relaxing atmosphere that is not as frenetic as its Caribbean cousins and if all you want to do is lay around the pool or at the beach sipping your favorite beverage then Mazatlan may be perfect for you.

The scuba diving in Mazatlan is totally different than the Caribbean style diving in Cancun and Cozumel in that on a good day in Mazatlan the visibility is 30 feet, on a good day in the Caribbean it is over 100. While we were there the best visibility was about 20 feet which dropped to 5-10 feet in the afternoons. There is plenty of sea life and the dives are mostly shallow (less than 30 feet) if you are in to Much Diving (taking macro photographic shots of small reef and bottom dwelling critters) then Mazatlan is the place. If you want wide open underwater vistas with lots of pretty coral and fish, then you will be disappointed. On thing they could do to add some interest to the diving would be to sink a couple of old fishing or shrimp boats out on the deeper sand flats and create an artificial reef area, the problem with the shallow sites was that they were to prone to losing visibility with the shift of the wind or current. The other item that you need to be aware of, at least with the dive operator I used, they had only a small open boat as a dive boat which did not have a dive ladder so you had to alley-oop it over the gunwale to get back on board.

There were several night clubs and many yuppie style bars near the Resorts so there was nightlife for the more swinging individual but having gone beyond that stage I really didn’t try them out, however, they didn’t seem to be quite as crazy as their Cancun counterparts. There were also a couple of nice restaurants one called Espanola even had some great paella I heard but didn’t get a chance to test it out.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Mazatlan, I enjoyed the challenges of diving and photography there, but that might not be for you. So again, if you want to lay by the pool and go to the beach and don’t mind low visibility snorkeling and diving, then by all means consider Mazatlan as a low cost alternative to Cancun and Cozumel.

For my dive report with pictures go to: