Touring Mazatlan Mexico from the Ruby Princess Hop on Hop Off Shore Excursion- Cliff Divers, The Tourist Zone, and Cathedral - plus where to eat!
The Ruby offered a ton of fun shore excursions in Mazatlan, but I had my eye on one - the seemingly simple Hop-on Hop-off bus that routes visitors through Mazatlan's 3 main tourist areas: the gold (tourist) zone, the cliff divers, and the Old Town.
Of those 3, I had my heart set on spending as much time as possible in the Old Town - Mazatlan's cozy, historic squares lined with restaurants, a stunning Cathedral, and lots of uniquely Mexican streets and architecture.
We didn't spend a ton of time in the Tourist Zone, as my friend and I were getting really hungry, and had our hearts set on exploring the Old Town area.
However, we did pop into a few jewelry and art shops in the tourist area, mostly catering to a very American fanbase. The stores were clean, very accommodating, and had gorgeous items - but we were looking for something a bit more authentic to spend our day and quickly hopped back onto our bus.
As far as the busses themselves go, there were a few types of busses the tour company Princess works with use. They were all double decker busses - but some had roofs, and some did not.
All were safe and clean, but we opted for the busses without a roof, so we could take in a little more of Mazatlan's sights as we drove (this tip will make perfect sense for our next stop.)
The cliff divers are a famed attraction in Mazatlan - and definitely one worth seeing. However, the actual best way to check out the divers is a bit tricky, as the area the divers jump from is in a bit of the middle of nowhere - so when you're dropped off your bus, you have to wait for another to come and there are no restaurants, shops, or food nearby (there are quite a few vendors selling items, who sometimes surround tourists watching the divers.)
Let it be known the divers are there for a show - and to be paid. Groups of divers will rally up certain amounts of money before their jumps, so have your pesos ready if you're ready to see some action.
Since my friend Sandra was getting a bad headache and needed to sit and eat, we simply stayed on the bus as we stopped at the cliff divers - and were treated to a show entirely for free as our bus slowly wound through the traffic around the divers.
It felt a bit like cheating, but we were getting "hangry"- and it was the perfect way to take in the action without waiting around at the stop for the next bus! (Make sure you grab a seat up top on your bus, and at the very back, to be able to pull this off- or you won't be able to see the divers as they usually wait for busses to pull away as tourists hop off and pay them.)
It wasn't until we got to Mazatlan's old town that I really felt the charm I had heard from so many friends and family members who frequently vacationed there. Don't get me wrong - the unique rock outcroppings and turquoise blue sea are impeccable and amazing to take in, but the tourist zones felt so Americanized when I wanted to experience Mexico's beautiful, bright architecture.
Candy colors in the Historical District, Mazatlán. Really enjoyed yesterday's hop on hop off bus with @princesscruises - great for someone like me who wants to do their own exploring but not have to worry about getting around on their own. We got to see a little bit of the golden zone and the cliff divers, but opted to spend most of our time in the old town area where we found tons of charming streets, amazing food, and took in the gorgeous Cathedral. Today I'm in Cabo- any great food finds I can't skip?? #comebacknew #travelblogger #mazatlan #mexico #visitmexico #travel #explore #passportready #hosted #pretty #besttrip #wanderlust #travelpics #travellife #mazatlan #globetrotter #besttravel #ad
Old town Mazatlan does not disappoint in this department - it is incredibly charming, with big sweeping courtyards, brightly colored buildings, sleepy restaurant balconies with large palm frond fans, and cool shops lining the streets.
Basilica de la Inmaculada Conception
While there is a lot to take in, we headed to the Cathedral first since it was one of our must-sees, and it did not disappoint.
The cathedral is enormous, rising up from the Plaza Republica in the middle of the Old Town area. It was built from 1856-1899 (due to Mazatlan's turbulent history), and elevated to Basilica in 1937.
The Basilica features one architectural item not often seen in Roman Catholic churches - it is adorned with the Star of David on all of its stained glass windows, as a thanks to a wealthy Jewish donor who helped construct the church.
The Basilica is not a sight to miss when in Mazatlan - the ornate and intricate designs are lovely to take in, and a dream to photograph. The central location in town makes it an easy spot to stop into and explore before grabbing a bite to eat.
Food Finds in Old Town Mazatlan
Oh, and the food.
Mazatlan is home to much of Mexico's shrimp and lobster trade - and finding delicious, fresh shrimp and lobster is not a challenge here.
We went past a few restaurants (and fell hard for the adorable balconies of one, but opted to skip on it since it was mostly French and Italian, and we wanted Mexican seafood) and settled on a small joint in Plazuela Machado (which is listed in google maps as simply "steak & taco") where we met up with some friends who were shopping earlier, and settled in for a feast.
There is nothing better than traveling with food bloggers - let me tell you!
When touring Mazatlán, it's hard to NOT work up a hunger.... while the golden zone wasn't really my speed, I loved the interesting buildings and squares of the historic district- and all the amazingly delicious food we found! This meal was truly special-- from empanadas and Tacos to platters of ceviche and lobster with prawns, we had one of our best meals in Mexico as we watched people explore Plaza Machado. Did you know most of Mexicos shrimp comes from Mazatlan and coastal Sinaloa? Our hop on hop off bus driver (one of the @princesscruises shore excursions) us find so many gems in this unique town- like this amazing meal! #food #foodie #foodgram #yum #instayum #comebacknew #tasty #eeeeeats #forkyeah #foodporn #delish #eattheworld #food #shrimp #mexico #visitmexico #mazatlan #cruiselife #princesscruises #ad #yummy
A photo posted by Courtney | Food & Travel ? (@sweetcsdesigns) on
We all ordered up lots of food to taste and share - tacos, burritos, empanadas, shrimp, lobster, a molacajete - and pounds and pounds of ceviche.
And none of it went to waste - it was all so delicious!
After walking through town a bit more, we hit up Dolci Mami for some smoothies and treats. I grabbed a pan de elotes that was amazing (think cornbread, but lighter and fluffier, and a bit sweeter- my recipe is coming soon!) as well as some mini cakes that were sent directly from heaven for us to sample.
Mazatlan is bright and colorful and full of interesting sights around every corner.... and it's also crazy hot! We ducked into Dolci Mami for some smoothies and cakes to cool off after an awesome bus tour with the @princesscruises shore excursion team around town! #sweetcs #cruiselife #cruise #besttrip #foodietravels #eattheworld #yum #instayum #luxurytravel #princesscruises #comebacknew #worldexplorer #tasty #mexico #visitmexico #feedfeed #sprinkles #travel #travelblogger #explore #ad
If I lived in Mazatlan, I'd eat at Dolci Mami every day! It was so delicious.