Growing up my family always ventured out of the hotel resorts for meals. Not all meals, but many. My parents rarely booked all-inclusive properties. There was the quest for the local experience. And that quest often translated into eating the local cuisine.
Today many travelers search for the same experience; the local experience. How many times, do you hear someone say, “I want to eat where the locals eat?” Often? You might say it too.
But I ask, have you ever considered staying where the locals stay? If no, why not? How authentic of an experience are you looking for? Well in Mexico one destination offers a step towards just that.
Recently, Mexicans voted Mazatlán the top family destination in Mexico on a Travelocity poll . The city, nicknamed the ‘pearl of the pacific’ creates a perfect opportunity to not only eat where the locals eat (super fresh oysters and shrimp), but stay where the locals stay.
Tourism is not the primary industry of Mazatlán. In a press conference, the local Hotel Association not only acknowledged this, but also embraced the idea. They want visitors to come for the charming culture and come experience a different Mexico.
Mazatlán is not a Spanish colonial city either. And although many are available at day trip distance, the city holds a more recent history. A history created after Mexican Independence (which is not Cinco de Mayo).
When visiting, I stayed in the city’s Golden Zone (Zona Dorada), one of the three main areas of Mazatlán. There, I called the Hotel Playa Mazatlán home for a week.
The beach front property, with proximity to local restaurants, nightlife and the artistry of the Malecón proved to be an excellent option. It is in the center of it all. Nothing seemed far. Yet the true charm of the property remained its guests.
From Hollywood’s golden age actors in past years to today’s family man, the current mix of Mexicans and foreign guests (Gringos) helped create a unique travel experience. A combination from the states. That includes both the United States of Mexico and of America (and the provinces of Canada too.)
Towards the end of my trip, I watched Mexican tourists dance at the hotel just feet from the beach and the night’s moonlight. I listened to the live late-night salsa music and debated whether to test my salsa skills or order another tequila.
I ordered my next tequila, but I wasn’t watching a show, nope, I was sharing a vacation experience with traveling Mexicans. Now it was time to dance.
Stay adventurous, Craig
A special thanks to Hotel Playa Mazatlan for being such gracious hosts.