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  • Writer's pictureIngrid Lemme

Stone Island, Mazatlán, Mexico

Escape from Paradise with Ingrid Lemme-Chalut

Mazatlán, Mexico: The 'Pearl of the Pacific'

First published in The Montauk Sun June issue 2024, in print from Montauk, The Hamptons to Manhattan.

Edited by John Lomitola and Riki Fenhoff

Nestled on the western coast of Mexico within Sinaloa's vibrant state, Mazatlán shines as the 'Pearl of the Pacific.' This unique city offers the dual charm of a historic colonial town and a lively beach resort, boasting extensive stretches of magnificent beaches along the Pacific Ocean and delightful weather, particularly in the gentle winter season!

Our travels brought us here during a 12-day historical excursion of the Baja Peninsula and the Sea of Cortez aboard the ms Volendam, where we basked in the splendid mid-December climate. Holland America Line is well-regarded for its port-intensive itineraries and expertise in docking or tendering into smaller harbors that larger vessels cannot access.

The term 'Mazatlán' originates from the Nahuatl language, meaning "place of deer." Established by Spanish conquistadors in 1531, the region was already home to numerous native communities. By the mid-1800s, Mazatlán welcomed a surge of German settlers. Subsequently, the town evolved into an essential seaport, facilitating imports for the neighboring precious metal mines. It also served as the capital of Sinaloa between 1859 and 1873.


Today, Mazatlán is celebrated for its vibrant cultural and artistic scene, in addition to being a sought-after beachside getaway with resorts dotting its coastline. Travelers can take a car ferry across the Gulf of California from Mazatlán to La Paz in Baja California Sur, and the city is accessible via the General Rafael Buelna International Airport.

Photo collage by Wikipedia: Clockwise, from upper left: Hotel Zone, Monument to Mazatleca women, Mazatlán pier, Cordones Island, Mazatlán Cathedral, Panoramic view of the cityán

The pillars of Mazatlán's economy are tourism and fisheries, boasting the second-largest fishing fleet in Mexico. The city's seafood industry primarily focuses on shrimp and tuna. The first hotel in Mazatlán featuring an in-house restaurant was the Canton La Fonda, established in 1850 by Chinese immigrant Luen-Sing, who named it the Luen-Sing Hotel. By 1864, the city had expanded to encompass three hotels and three restaurants, with more establishments emerging by the end of the 19th century. Presently, Mazatlán's twenty-plus miles of sandy shores are a key draw, complemented by an array of hotels, eateries, bars, and shops. The Malecón, an impressive five-mile boardwalk along the Pacific, is adorned with monuments, rotundas, historic structures, and steep cliffs, offering much to explore.


However, our visit centered around a day at the beach, and we had arranged a group tour that included a boat ride to Stone Island following a scenic bus journey with an open-air upper deck.

A tractor-pulled cart then transported us to a tranquil spot where local fishermen supposedly still rest in hammocks beneath the stars. The Isla de la Piedra, or Stone Island, is a celebrated attraction in Mazatlán, boasting one of the world's most extensive coconut groves and a population of roughly 5,000. Our two-hour stay on this unspoiled beach involved swimming in clear waters and savoring the local fare at La Caleta, a rustic beach eatery.

Stone Island epitomizes the idyllic beach experience—  lounging in a chair with your feet in the sand, sipping a chilled cerveza, enjoying fresh seafood, and gazing upon the clear turquoise sea. The tour offered a splendid balance of adventure and leisure, providing a wealth of experiences yet ample time to unwind on the island.

After a day at the beach, our sunlit, smiling faces radiated the joy of our seaside escapades. With eagerness, we looked forward to returning to the welcoming embrace of our ship.


Aboard, we reveled in the warmth of hot showers, letting the water cascade over us, rinsing off the day's sandy memories and ocean's salty kisses. Then, attired in our evening best, we gathered for a sumptuous dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. There, amidst the refined ambiance, we dined with grace, savoring the exquisite flavors of expertly crafted cuisine.

Until next month, when we'll share tales from another captivating corner of the world. Yours in travel...

Ingrid Lemme-Chalut 

Escape From Paradise, Travel-writer & Blogger 

Travel Columnist for the, published in print from The Hamptons to Manhattan

Scout for 15 Emmy award-winning, national cooking & travel TV show 

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