Monday, December 13, 2010

Islands of Excitement in Mazatlan

Abraham of Pronatours and Maria Elena of the Mazatlan Hotel Association picked me up first thing in the morning and I sadly left the Riu Emerald Bay.  I was quickly smiling again as I checked into the All-Inclusive Elite VIP area of the El Cid Castillo.  My junior suite was ready and I only had a short while to enjoy it before I was heading across the street to the El Cid Country Club.

The Country Club has three golf courses and eight tennis courts for use by the guests of all El Cid’s properties.  For anyone who has the All-Inclusive Elite Package, unlimited golf and tennis comes at no extra charge.  Gustavo was waiting for me at the courts for my private lesson. 

I have spent much more time watching (and photographing tennis) the last few years than playing it, but I always enjoy the chance to hit some balls.  I had a great instructor and definitely worked hard out there, picking up a few pointers for my strokes.

After tennis, there was just enough time to shower and change for lunch at the Country Club.   I started with a new favorite I discovered in Mazatlan, Tortilla Soup, consisting of tomato broth which you top with tortilla strips, avocado and shredded cheese.  It was delicious and something I will miss when I go home.  Maria Elena and I finished up and headed over to the beach for our sailing adventure.

Daniel took us out on a Catamaran to so we could visit two of the three islands on the outskirts of Mazatlan.  I had forgotten until the water began splashing over the boat just how cold the Pacific Ocean can be, but it was peaceful and beautiful as we watched the seagulls dive in to the water to fetch their dinner. 

It was about 20 minutes before we reached Bird Island, where we just stayed long enough to get some [photos of the gulls on the rocks.  Then we were back in the Catamaran and sailing to Deer Island, where our sailor docked the boat and I did some photographic exploring before enjoying the views from a beach blanket.

Since Deer Island turned out to be a bit too deserted for us, we made it back to El Cid with time to spare.  We settled in the warm pool water at the El Cid Moro with a couple of Mud Slides and slices of Hawaiian Pizza, but before long it got a bit too cold for sunbathing.  Work was calling me back to the room anyway, so I bid my guide farewell until dinner.

For the first time on this well-planned trip, dinner didn’t pan out quite as expected.  We dressed up for SeƱor Peppers, only to find the restaurant closed for the night.  Instead, Maria Elena, Abraham and I ended up at a local beachfront spot, Diego’s, where we made our own tacos with an assortment of sauces and shredded beef, accompanied by a satisfying Mango Dacquiri.

After a long week – and with a long day of travel ahead of me – I decided to turn in early and headed up to my room at El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel in time for eight hours sleep on my last night in Mazatlan.

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