I have reviewed this resort in 2008 (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g150792-d152916-Reviews-El_Cid_Marina_Beach_Hotel-Mazatlan_Pacific_Coast.html). That was the last time we had stayed there. Five years later, and there are some changes, yet some things still the same. First, the things that have changed....
No cruise ships. From what I understand, they will be returning. They were stopped by several cruise lines due to the drug cartel issues. I’m hoping they will be reinstated permanently. No cruise ships has affected the Mazatlan economy quite negatively. In a way, this negative impact has a positive impact on the people that come to stay at the resorts and hotels. For the biggest impact, many of the businesses are moving north, especially restaurants. The restaurants that want to survive have moved from the Golden Zone, northward, toward El Cid Marina. A great example is Ernie’s. However, at least one restaurant has maintained its presence in the Golden Zone and has a location more toward El Cid Marina is Pancho’s. The Golden Zone location has the beach, which is really great. Both locations have excellent food.
Anyhow... summary: Golden Zone seemed to be fading away, while businesses move northward.
As for things that are the same... beaches are very nice, and the city seems the same as it has always been (at least for the past 13 years): peaceful, and always a good time. If you stay on the main drags, there are no reasons to worry about getting attacked by drug cartels. One morning I took about a 2 mile walk from Marina El Cid to the Golden Zone. Mellow and uneventful.
As for El Cid Marina itself, I was a bit disappointed that they had not updated all of their rooms in the same style that I had raved about in my review 5 years ago. Still the same, drab decor. I was also disappointed in the fact that they could not get us into a better unit. We are timeshare owners of a “lock-off”, which is basically a junior suite and a one-bedroom suite combined. The unit we got was much smaller than ones in the past. Although we tried for the first 2 days to get a larger unit, we ended up deciding it wasn’t worth the hassle.
One of the big differences from 5 years ago is the lack of “Agua Purificada” signs above the vanity sinks. What? They always used to be there. Did the water suddenly become “unpurified”? We always drank the water out of those faucets in the past without issues. Now it seems they want to sell you purified bottled water. Us being loco gringos, we don’t know any better, and certainly would not want to get Montezuma’s revenge! When you ask for an explanation, they, of course, recommend buying the bottled water.
All in all we enjoyed ourselves very very much once we settled in. The resort is maintained well, and staff is helpful and friendly.
By the way, I should mention that the average age of the people staying at El Cid Marina was probably 55 to 60. Not that I’m complaining; it makes for a quiet, relaxing vacation. :-)