A Little More Mazatlan

Posted:  June 26, 2024
👁 676   5

In my opinion, there’s nothing quite like waking up slow with the sunrise, easing into the day with a warm cup of coffee, and enjoying Cleocat snuggles. However, there are a few exceptional activities that can entice me to start my day before dawn. One of these is the thrill of a renowned hike with the promise of breakfast in town afterwards.

During eclipse week, our friend Charles from SV Ayala had set his sights on a 4:00 AM hike to the lighthouse, but he couldn’t spark the same enthusiasm in our fellow party-goers, possibly due to the late nights from our vibrant rooftop parties. Once our friends who prefer land over sea headed back to the states and we sailors returned to our boats, I was determined not to miss out on this adventure. So, at dawn, we set off for the base of El Faro.

El Faro Lighthouse

Marissa at El Faro Mazatlan with a catPerched atop a hill 515 feet (157 meters) above Mazatlan, El Faro holds the title of the highest natural lighthouse in the world. The hike up is steep and provides a solid workout over its 1.5-mile length, taking about 30-45 minutes depending on your pace. Along the way, you’re likely to spot iguanas, various birds, and butterflies, but the true highlight is the cats—a multitude of them, which we remembered fondly from our honeymoon visit in 2018. Back then, the cats appeared much less cared for, so it was heartwarming to see numerous water and food bowls along the trail, evidence of a thriving Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.

Although we were eager to catch the last of the sunrise, it was difficult not to pause and admire the sleeping kitties but Chris promised that on our way down, we would take photos of each one. At the summit, the panoramic views of Mazatlan and the Pacific Ocean awaited us, offering a perfect backdrop to relax and capture the moment. I showed Nora a photo on my phone of Chris and I at the same spot six years earlier—just kids back then. Fortunately, we managed to recreate that old photo and even snapped some new ones, including a charming encounter with a little black cat who came over to greet us.


Chris kept his promise, and together we captured a photo of every single kitty we encountered. Nora truly went the extra mile, eagerly scouting for them amidst the shrubbery. We could easily fill a calendar with the charming cats of El Faro. In a similar vein of inspiration, someone crafted a delightful children’s book about these feline adventures—check this out!

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Back at (basically) sea level, we walked our way to old town Mazatlan where we were still too early for breakfast at Totem, a popular Rustic-chic haunt with a rooftop terrace and very aesthetically pleasing (and delicious) menu items. While we did our best to patiently wait, we had the opportunity to pop into the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción).

Work on the temple began in 1856 by order of then Bishop Pedro Loza and Pardavé. Later, parish priest Miguel Lacarra took over the work and it was completed 1899. The temple-like basilica was consecrated 12 December 1941.

After reveling in the baroque-era architectural masterpiece we made our way to Totem for a fabulous breakfast – highly recommended!

It’s amazing how long your day can become if you wake up at 5:00 am. With breakfast behind us, we made it back to Avocet by 9:00, utilizing the dock to give the bulwark one last coat of oil and wash her decks before casting off and making our way to the Stone Island anchorage. Charles and Nora saw us off, unsure when we would see each other again but knowing it would be sometime sooner than later. It was an epic week of celebrating the eclipse, exploring a new city, and spending quality time with friends but it was time to get moving again. 

We didn’t make it too far, deciding to give the Stone Island anchorage a try which was one of the most uncomfortable anchorages I have ever experienced – and don’t forget we spent MONTHS in the La Cruz anchorage! Despite the discomfort, there is good sand holding here. While some boats have anchored between the large rock islet and shore to avoid swell, this doesn’t work as well as one might think (we were quickly schooled on that one). 

Chris and I spent our two days at Stone Island aboard Avocet, catching up on sleep and work – which is a lot better than our pals aboard SV Trouble who were anchored next to us, working on an explosive head issue (luckily they fixed it)! As the weekend neared the jet skis around the boat increased, reminding us of Cabo, and inspiring us to leave. So, we pulled our hook and pointed our bow south. Where to? Well, you’ll find out in the next post 😉 

Avocet, a Cheoy Lee 41 Bluewater cruiser sailing

Adios, Mazatlan!

Fair winds,

Marissa, Chris and Cleo 

P.S. Mazatlan was truly wonderful and such an incredible city. I highly recommend visiting and wish I had a better way of cohesively writing about our two weeks there. Check out our instagram posts for more if you’re interested! 



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