Hurricane Adolph had prevented us from stopping at Mazatlán during our circumnavigation on board Pacific Bliss. That story is told in Maiden Voyage. I was happy to finally visit this historic city of 350,000 during our recent Mexican cruise.  

The city of Mazatlán is a popular cruise stop, so the officials make it very easy for passengers to find Plaza Machado, a picturesque square surrounded by art galleries and cafés. After Gunter and I disembarked from the Veendam and reached the main street, we were instructed to “walk the long blue line to the plaza” to avoid getting lost. We ambled past lush suburban landscapes, enchanted by masses of pink, carmine, and royal purple bougainvillea climbing the porches of pastel adobe homes.

The Blue Line, Mazlatlan

The Blue Line, Mazlatlan

We circled Plaza Machado and then walked toward the Moorish-style, 19th century cathedral.  Reaching high over the roofs of the city, its canary-colored spires beckoned us. While we rested on a bench in the adjacent park, I felt at peace. The Basilica displays a quiet beauty that’s not overpowering and needs no extra frills. Inside, I discovered that its inner beauty had somehow been juxtaposed to the outside.  All the interior light comes through stained glass and reflects off gold statues and images. An interesting detail: A Jewish family living in Mazatlán donated money toward the construction; the congregation was so happy that they decided to add a Star of David so that it could be seen through the top windows.

Back at Machado, we decided to have at traditional Mexican lunch at Pedro y Lola’s—knowing that we could sleep it off back at the ship! I ordered a strawberry daiquiri; Gunter ordered a Corona beer and chips served with a terrific, not-too-spicy avocado dip. The main course was shrimp tacos. This square is the jewel of the restored Centro Histórico. The west side of the square is flanked by the Teatro Angela Peralta, originally built in the 1800s, a beautifully restored building to house the arts. Adjacent is a Spanish-language exhibit explaining the history of Mazatlán.All of the restaurants lining the Plaza offer both indoor and outdoor sidewalk seating, reminding us a little of European cities.

There was no need to walk that blue line back! We opted for a cab instead.

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