We usually stay at our timeshare at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach in Cabo San Lucas but decided to swap a week there for PB Emerald Bay in Mazatlan. We had never been to Mazatlan and heard it was an interesting place.
Here is a list of what we loved and what we thought needed to change/improve at Emerald Bay.
Landscaping- the grounds were absolutely beautiful, lots of palm trees, flowering bushes, iguanas, vines, etc.
Food- Theme Nights at La Cordelier restaurant (Mexican night, grill night, and steak and shrimp were our favorites), breakfast was also great. Bistro restaurant- loved the bacon wrapped tenderloin with béarnaise sauce and the shrimp sauteed in chile. Poolside- nachos, chips and guacamole, and smoked marlin tacos were a hit.
Bartenders at the swim up bar (adult pool) were friendly and funny
Dishonest sales lady- Upon arriving we were told to go to a table near the entry to pick up a welcome packet. This turned out to be a joke. The lady who greeted us, a Canadian with short blonde hair, told us we had to give her $200 deposit for a tour of the resort. She said it would take 90 minutes, we would be shown where the pools, restaurants, gym, and spa were located and would then enjoy breakfast. We thought it was odd that we had to pay a deposit to be shown the amenities at the resort but did so anyway. She said we could get the all inclusive for $44 a day after the tour if we were so inclined. The next morning we showed up thinking we would be shown around the resort only to find out they wanted us to buy into their new "points" program. We already own a timeshare. After 2 hours we demanded that they finish up so we could get on with our vacation. Originally we were told the tour would take 90 minutes. The "sales guy/tour guide" took us to a building that was set up with a breakfast buffet. It was packed so we had to stand around and wait on a table. Once we had a table we discovered that all of the food containers, except for refried beans, were empty. We had to wait almost 30 more minutes to get food, then had to sit through his presentation. We thought we were done then we were shuffled into an office to talk to another person! It was NOT how we wanted to spend the first day of my vacation.
Shuttle to and from airport- upon arrival the shuttle driver was waiting on us, when we were leaving the shuttle was 15 minutes late and the driver stopped in the middle of nowhere to pick up a lady who was standing on the side of the road. It was a bit scary as he gave no explanation as to why he was stopping and who this person was and because of all of the hype about Mazatlan being dangerous. This was the only time I didn't feel safe and actually took a photo of the lady on the shuttle in case she was a "bad" person and robbed us. I know that sounds silly but my husband and I both felt uncomfortable with the situation.
Shuttle to and from Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan- NO Air conditioning! It was so hot on the shuttle that I felt like I was going to be sick. July in Mazatlan is hot and humid and riding on a bus full of people without air conditioning is not acceptable. The last time we went to town we took a cab (100 pesos). I don't know if the air conditioner was broken and was going to be repaired but it did not work the entire time we were there.
Swimming pool- We liked the adult pool best. The only problem we found was that the tile in and around the pool was very slippery. I fell on the steps going into the pool and injured my knee and ankle. While there we saw numerous others fall. The staff did clean the steps and ledges daily so I'm not sure why they were so slippery.
Non-residents at resort?- We noticed several people who didn't seem to be residents hanging out at the pools. On more than one occasion, we saw a pickup load of people (several kids in the back of the truck), clad in swimsuits, being let into the front gate. The pool was full of people who weren't using the towels provided by the resort (you are given a towel card to exchange for beach towels each day), people who brought 2-3 gallon jugs of water and picnic food instead of getting water from the pool waiters, and people who avoided questions about what building they were in. It was a bit suspicious.
Trip to PB Mazatlan- We were going to spend the day at PB Mazatlan as the beach at Emerald Bay is not safe for swimming. (Rocky) Unfortunately we could not get a chair on the beach there. There were all taken by 9 AM.
We did eat at their beachside restaurant, Cilantro's, which opened at noon. We had shrimp imperial (excellent!) and skirt steak arrachera (also good but the shrimp was exceptional!) There was a nice breeze in the restaurant and it was a great experience.
Fortunately we had enough pesos with us for what we planned to do that day but talked to a family who was upset because Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan would not exchange money for them since they were staying at Emerald Bay.
We went to the market, Mercado Pino Suarez, and bought a few souvenirs. Prices there are better than they are at the shops near the beach. From the market we explored the Cathedral and a couple of plazas. We ate lunch at the Shrimp Bucket which was recommended by friends. The open air cab from PB Mazatlan to the market was $100 pesos.
Stone Island tour:
The tour company the concierge called for us was not the best. My friend took a big white boat to the island, had lounge chairs on the beach there, and what seemed to be a nicer experience.
We were picked up by a nice tour guide on a nice air conditioned bus. The nice part stopped there. Coming home we were told that we had to ride in the back of a pickup truck! The boat was green and not very nice. I was horrified when I had to go to the restroom on the boat. The door would not latch, there was no toilet seat, and the sink was hard to operate. Once we got to the restaurant on the island we were shown to tables with white plastic chairs. There were no beach chairs to lounge on so we basically were stuck in the chairs for a few hours. We did walk down the beach. The waves were so rough that day that the lifeguard wanted everyone to stay in a small area of the beach. If you take the tour to Stone Island make sure you look on the internet before going and ask the concierge to call for the nicer tour.
Overall we had a nice experience at PB Emerald Bay but probably won't go back. We like Cabo best.