Saturday, March 12, 2016

Cruisin' Part 3

coming into Mazatlan
We arrived at Mazatlan at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 24th. This city was founded in 1531, and has a surprising population of nearly 500,000 people. While it was once a popular tourist destination, in 2011 the cruise lines stopped going to this port due to a huge increase in crime. One of Mexico's largest crime organizations is based in the area. It took a couple of years before any ships returned to Mazatlan, and I am not sure that all lines made the decision to add this stop back on their itinerary. After all, the U.S. State Department still has warnings about non-essential travel to this part of Mexico. So perhaps it wasn't smart for us to decide to do our own thing in this town, but none of the planned excursions really interested us.

entrance to El Faro path
Doing research ahead of time, I had suggested that we take a cab to the area where we could hike up to El Faro Lighthouse. At 523 feet, it is the highest (but not tallest) lighthouse in the Americas and one of the highest operating lighthouses in the world. El Faro cast its first light in 1879. Hiking up to see it takes more than 325 steps and involves more than a 500 foot elevation change, so it is a somewhat demanding adventure. The only paved portion of the trail is shown in the photo on the right. The rest of the path is dirt or stairs. The day was sunny and quite warm, and luckily we came prepared with enough bottles of water. The actual lighthouse itself is not much to look at, though we did climb the spiral staircase inside it to see the light fixture. As promised, though, the views along the trail and at the top made all the exertion well worth it!
hiking El Faro
As suggested on the travel site, TripAdvisor (I don't leave home without consulting this website regarding places to stay, things to do and where to eat, and I don't receive any compensation from them, but am a frequent contributor as I believe in giving as well as receiving), we had arranged for our cab driver to return to pick us up at the entrance two hours from the time he dropped us off. We figured that would give us ample time to walk up, take photos, and walk back down. We actually got to the gate in an hour and forty-five minutes, and sat to wait for the cab. When he hadn't appeared after two hours and fifteen minutes, we took another form of transportation back to the city center. It was a small truck with benches in the bed for passengers. They are innovative in how they move tourists around, that is for sure.

The main attraction in the old town area is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Construction on the cathedral was completed in 1899 and it became the second Catholic Church in Mazatlan. In 1958 it was named a basilica cathedral. I love visiting old churches, and this one did not disappoint.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
From the town center we took another cab, this time a golf cart, back to the touristy area by the port where we saw these two items. You just have to love a Mexican sense of humor!
Mexican humor
We stopped at a Mexican cantina for chips and salsa along with a beverage before walking back to the ship. We decided it would be wise to eat a late lunch on the ship rather than having a meal in town.
Paul and Jim
Back on ship we grabbed a quick bite and rested a bit before heading to movie trivia. We did well, getting 22 out of 25 correct. The winning team got 23 correct, but they were cheaters. We had four on our team and you were allowed six people, maximum. The winning team had ten people at their table! I can't believe that people would cheat like that, all for a game and a cheap bottle of champagne. Sad...

It was fun to see the lighthouse from the ship as we left the port of Mazatlan. We came, we saw, we conquered!
El Faro

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

The Basilica is fabulous, thanks for sharing. Also, the Mexican humor.