Mazatlán Tips and Hints
What about the Water?
The hotels in the Golden Zone claim to have purified internal water systems, so you can use the water there just like at home. But everywhere else, only drink bottled water (available almost everywhere). Almost all restaurants serve only purified water and ice cubes. When in doubt, ask.
The standard tipping at restaurants is 10-15%. There is generally no tipping at the taco stands or food carts. Bars and cantinas are usually 10-15%. Same with taxis or with Pulmonias (although locals don't usually tip in taxis and pulmonias unless they are taking you around on a sightseeing tour). Of course, any extra service welcomes your extra tips.
All banks are open Mondays through Fridays. Some are open Saturday mornings. Our favorite in the Golden Zone and Downtown for consistently getting the best rates is Bancomer. However, the "Casas de Cambio" exchange places in the Golden Zone also give very good rates and the best thing is that they all post their exchange rates so it is easy to shop around.
Pay phones will take either coins or pre-purchased Ladatel cards. If you are phoning the U.S. or Canada, rates vary incredibly and it seems to be cheapest to either use your calling cards such as AT&T, or call collect. With an AT&T card, or placing a collect call, dial **01 to bypass the Mexican system and you'll connect to an AT&T operator. To connect with a Canadian operator: 95-800-010-1990. Always ask at your hotel what their rates aresome are exorbitant!
It is worth putting postcards in envelopes before mailing as postcards sometimes go astray! The post office is located downtown across from the cathedral and to the left. Hours are 9-5 weekdays, and 9-1 on Saturdays.
There are now cyber cafes on just about every block in the downtown area and in the Golden Zone. Rates have continued to drop as more locations opened and are currently 10-15 pesos an hour downtown and a little higher in the GZ.
Life on the beach in the Golden Zone includes dealing with all kinds of vendors. Negotiating a price is expected. Once a price is given, counter offer about half of their price. You'll go back and forth and end up somewhere in the middle. We price items at least three different places before buying. But please treat these vendors with respect! I watch them trudging up and down the beaches walking on sand all day hauling their goods in the heat and humidity. I've seen these same great people on the bus going home for the day. They may be exhausted and perhaps have been abused by rude tourists all day, and yet I'll watch them stand to offer their seat to an elderly tourist. Negotiating is fine...please just do it with respect for the vendor who is not trying to rip you off, but is trying to feed their family.
There are four main movie theatres in Mazatlán. Ask your hotel front desk or check the paper (Noroeste or El Sol) for movies which are currently playing. Most times you can view current films with the original English soundtrack (Spanish subtitles added). The theatres usually have reduced rates Mondays through Thursdays until about 4:30 pm. Wednesday movies at any showing are at a reduced rate.
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