Excursions, Martinis and Almost Tequila in Mazatlan

I happen to really like Mexican food, but I did enjoy the opportunity to check out the Riu Emerald Bay’s incredible breakfast buffet Saturday, settling on a good old-fashioned American omelet with some banana bread and hash browns.  I was then on my way with Maria Elena of the Mazatlan Hotel Association and Abraham of Pronatours to Huana Coa.

Before she was faced with a family emergency, my friend Theresa (aka, The Local Tourist) was accompanying me on this trip and she had elected to go zip-lining through this Mazatlan excursion.  It was not something I was interested in doing, but we did decide to head over the anyway, hoping to catch somebody in the action.  We were a bit too late, but I did get a chance to speak with a Canadian couple who had a blast gliding through the Blue Agave plants (more on that in a minute) and riding the ATVs back to the starting point.

There is a lot more than zip-lining in this area of Mazatlan.  It’s home to Los Osuna, which is “almost” tequila. Just like champagne isn’t champagne unless it’s made in Champagne, Tequila must be made in the Mexican city of Jalisco to be tequila. However, the Osuna family has been making this spirit for over 100 years in Mazatlan, under the same process as tequila, using the same Blue Agave plant. I can also testify to the fact that it certainly tastes like tequila! 

I really enjoyed the Resposado, with its vanilla undertones, smooth start and sharper finish. They also make a Blanco and Anejo, all three of which are award winners. Los Osuna isn’t the only thing made in Mazatlan to drink.  It’s also the home of Pacifico Cerveza. This is a smooth beer that comes in light and regular and was described to me as Corona -- which is made by the same company -- but a bit less sour.

After the tour and tasting at Los Osuna, it was off to Panama for lunch.  This combination restaurant bakery has a big selection of local food and settled on the Asado a la Plaza, beef cubes mixed with potatoes and topped with lettuce and vegetables and served in a tomato broth.  I was told that dessert can’t be missed in this place and I settled (of course) on the Tres Chocolat (three chocolate) Cake, which was as good as it sounds.

We returned from the day’s activities late afternoon and I actually got to do something I rarely do on these trips, I went to the beach and pool at Riu Emerald Bay for an hour.  I walked along the ocean, enjoying the ease of strolling on Mazatlan’s sand, which isn’t too deep, making it easy to walk on.  I then took a swim in the warm pool and enjoyed a frozen Blue Curacao pineapple juice  blend the bartender at the swim-up bar made me before heading up to change for dinner.

Dinner was at Vittore, an excellent Italian restaurant with perfect Canneloni.  I ate with Maria Elena, Abraham and Julio Birrueta, the Director of Marketing for the Mazatlan Hotel Association.  Julio had been out of town until this point and I was happy to have the chance to talk to him about his beautiful city and thank him for his hospitality.

My last evening at the Riu Emerald Bay (I will check into the El Cid Castilla Beach Sunday) ended in their Salon Bar, home to a large selection of Martinis.  This hotel is not lacking in nightlife and has some very imaginative drinks available at the bars.  I had the Chocolate Martini which included a touch of whiskey cream for a different flavor.  Maria Elena had the Blanc, which included White Chocolate Liqeuer and then we checked out the Melon, which was also very tasty. 

The bartender was also in the mood to make some unusual shots (Dirty River, anyone?) and we felt obliged to do the spirited thing and try them along with a spirited group of guys from Romania. I  did manage to head upstairs to my suite for a few hours sleep before my final day in Mazatlan, playing tennis and sailing to the nearby islands.


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