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Mexico Travel - Guaymas, Culiacan, Mazatlan, and Tepic
( Originally Published 1939 - Presented For Historical Purpose )
FOR, THE TOURIST WHO IS INTERESTED IN RESORT ACTIVITIES, there are several seaside spots that I can recommend.
Within the last few years, Guaymas, a little city in the State of Sonora, on the shore of the Gulf of California, has undergone a remarkable change. It has become a resort and a favorite spot for fishing. The surrounding country is very beautiful, and there are interesting rides and excursions, but in general the major activities of Guaymas center around the Playa de Cortes Hotel.
Perhaps the most interesting excursion is that to the ENCHANTED FOREST. This is about twelve miles northeast of the hotel and is an interesting forest containing various kinds of cacti. It is also the favorite breeding place for Mexican parrots and parrakeets.
On the way to the Enchanted Forest you will pass many attractive haciendas and the seventeenth century church of San Jose de Guaymas.
Another pleasant excursion is that across the Gulf of California to Santa Roselia on the Peninsula of Lower California. This is a rather long trip of ninety-two miles, but you will enjoy the ride in the hotel launch.
What to Do in Guaymas
The prime reason for going to Guaymas is to enjoy the FISHING, for there are probably few places where it is better.
Most of the crowd spends its time at the Hotel Playa de Cortes, operated by the Southern Pacific Railway of Mexico, where there is a SWIMMING POOL, a nine-hole GOLF COURSE, and TENNIS COURTS. And that's all there is in Guaymas, although a visit offers all the rest and relaxation and fun to be expected at a smart seaside resort.
Although this is an important little city, which has had a rapid growth since the construction of the railroad, it is almost entirely modern, and you will have to be a most enthusiastic sightseer to find anything here to hold you. Although modern in appearance, it is actually very old, having been a stronghold of the Colhua tribe perhaps as far back as the twelfth century. From a sightseeing point of view, however, it doesn't look id The town is noted for its fruits and its fine oysters, but neither of these seems important enough to justify a stopover. Guliacan is about two thirds of the way from Guaymas to Mazatlan, and both towns are so much more delightful for a stay that it hardly seems worth while to waste your time on Culiacan. I am including a note on it chiefly because it looks fairly large on the map, and you might wonder why I had neglected it.
An archaeologist would no doubt be interested in the Aztec picture writings on the walls of the canyon near YMALAN HOT SPRINGS, about twelve miles from Culiacan. In the country round about, stone axes, pottery, arrowheads, and other Indian relics are continually being dug up.
Mazatlan is an interesting and important port on the west coast of Mexico and has been a favorite resort for many years. The very simplicity of the town and the perfection of its climate recommend it as a place in which to relax and engage in such pleasant diversions as fishing, hiking, and various outdoor sports. The water of the Pacific at Mazatlan is fairly cool, and as the breezes almost invariably blow from the ocean to the land, they drive away the mosquitoes, keep Mazatlan comfortable, and give a perpetual "lean" to the palms toward the inland.
There is not much to see in town. Facing the PLAZA DE LA REPUBLICA, a nice little square, is the parochial church, which is clean but of no other great interest, and also the PALACIO MUNICIPAL. You will also be interested in drives or walks along the MALECON. The Malecon is part of a road extending for some ten kilometers. Everywhere along this road there is a succession of beautiful views, somewhat like those along the Japanese coast.
Among the things to see are the old Spanish FORT and the little OBSERVATORY PARK. The great LIGHTHOUSE, El Faro, which crowns the Creston Island, has a lantern 515 feet above high water with a light visible 31 miles at sea.
What to Do in Mazatlan
In Mazatlan, as at Guaymas, life centers largely around a hotel, in this case the Belmar. It is an excellent resort hotel overlooking the sea, with good food and good accommodations.
HUNTING is one of the features of the Mazatlan district. A license is required, but the hotel management will help you get one. In the mangrove swamps, which are practically unhunted, there are innumerable wild fowl. Alligator hunting is also a great sport, but these reptiles now are being pretty well killed off.
The FISHING IS, of course, remarkable. Deep-sea catches are very often made within sight of the hotel. Like Guaymas, Mazatlan is one of the great fishing resorts of the world.
What to Buy in Mazatlan
There is a souvenir store in the hotel and also numerous Indian vendors about the streets and in the market. Among other local wares are SARAPES, POTTERY, BASKETS, and the inevitable LEATHERWORK.
The FRUIT and FISH MARKETS are also usually interesting.
Between Mazatlan and Guadalajara, on a plain at the foot of the San Ganguey volcano, lies the town of Tepic. It is a charming town, with not an outstanding sight in it except the town itself. Its houses in Spanish-Moorish style are painted in soft shades. There are flowers and birds everywhere and palms and trees which are also bouquets of flowers for the birds to rest in. The mariachis wander about the streets singing for anyone who will pay the price, and sometimes just singing.
On Sundays the market is extremely attractive. The Huichol Indians who come to the market still wear the national costume. The women wear a four-cornered embroidered blouse, and the men wear strings of handwoven bags which pass around the waist and over the shoulders. Tepic is the sort of place that a short-stay tourist cannot afford to go to because his time is too precious to waste on anything but the best, but where a person with leisure could enjoy a day about as perfectly as anywhere in Mexico.
Very near to Tepic is the old Aztec town of Jalisco. There is a government normal school there of no particular interest. Frankly, your chief reason for going there would be the scenery along the way and the village itself.
Your journey from Tepic on to Guadalajara should, if humanly possible, be scheduled as a daylight ride. The mountain scenery is marvelous, and it would be a shame to miss it in the dark.
The auto road here is still bad, so I would advise your taking the railroad over this stretch.