Marina El Cid - Mazatlan
01 May 2018 | El Cid - Mazatlan
Pat and Melodie / Sunny
Today is Tuesday May 1, 2018.
We are still in Mazatlan. Who’d have guessed? We sure didn’t think we’d be here this long. After moving over to El Cid Marina we continued to troubleshoot the fuel issue. That’s when the cutlass bearing began to rumble. We made an appointment to haul out and have the bearing replaced. No problem. Except the travel lift at the local boat yard is on the fritz. First it was the starter motor, then a hydraulic issue. A Passport 40 named Mystical Crumpet got stuck hanging in the slings over the weekend. We were told last week it’d take a week to fix the problem on the travel lift. We took the opportunity to take a land tour inland to the city of Durango.
We researched taking a bus or renting a car. It was only $15/day to rent the car, then over $100 to insure it. That, plus the toll road and gas and it was easier to take a bus. We took an ETN Turistar bus that was very nice. Three across seating with your own DVD screen. The bus was much nicer than the TAP bus we’d taken from Guaymas last year. Anyway, the trip up was four hours on a new highway that opened in 2012. Before the new toll road opened you had to take a road called The Devil’s Backbone that took over 6 hours to drive. Even the new highway had lots of twists and turns but is more direct due to the many tunnels dug through the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains. It has two suspension bridges that look like the new eastern span of the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge. One of them, the Bauluarte Bridge, is the third highest cable-stayed bridge in the world. The scenery along the whole trip was great! We arrived in Durango and took a taxi to our hotel. The taxi actually had a meter, the first we’ve seen in Mexico.
The hotel was called Hostel del Monja and was right across the street from the old Cathedral Basilica and plaza. It was a little more expensive than some of the other choices, but the location was great. They have a walking street that runs for five blocks and is filled with restaurants and coffee shops. This walking street ran right in front of our hotel (photo). We walked around before having dinner in an Asian restaurant. There aren’t many Asian restaurants in Mexico, so we often eat at the ones we happen to stumble upon. This one was very good and much better than many in the states.
We only stayed for two nights, giving us one full day to explore. We visited an anthropology museum and saw how the local Indians used to press boards against infant heads to deform their skulls. We toured the Francisco “Pancho” Villa Museum which covered the Mexican Revolution. We toured a mining museum that consisted of a tunnel that ran for several blocks under the city. We also visited the Central Mercado. The most interesting feature of the market was all the horse tack, you know, saddles and bridles and stuff. They were not ornate, but working hardware for everyday use. A local told us that the ranchers from around the area all come to the Mercado in Durango for their leather items and many are custom ordered.
We found the city very clean, almost no trash was visible as we walked around. It was also notable that all of the buildings were completed and not a bunch of empty building shells like in coastal Mexico. There were several old churches and central squares with nice landscaping and fountains. They had some statues paying tribute to the movie industry. Many Hollywood films have used Durango as a location. I always think of Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart, but there are many others. There weren’t any other Gringos in Durango (that we saw). We asked a waiter about this and he explained the tourist season ends at Easter. The Mexicans call it Samana Santa. He also mentioned that Durango is very safe, and well maintained because the drug cartels don’t have a presence here. It was a great little get away and we were glad we went.
Once we get our cutlass bearing replaced we still intend to head north to San Carlos. We have a June 1 reservation at Marina San Carlos. But we are on a boat and plans change. We are enjoying our time here at El Cid with the pools, hot tub and nice landscaping. The weather has warmed quite a bit and the pool is a nice way to cool off. We had dinner a couple of times at the restaurant here which overlooks the marina and nice sunset views. It is interesting that the waiters often give a refill on wine and a little desert at no cost. The food is quite good and it’s very convenient, however, most nights we do eat on the boat. We will just continue to hang out here for now.