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I have been going to Mexico, including as a kid with my parents, since about 1955. I have traveled all over Mexico with the exception of the Mexican Carribean area, hunted in Mexico for several years and even subcontracted for Televisa during the 1986 World Cup games.
I shy away from tourist traps and go where the locals go for the most part.
Mazatlan is my favorite Mexican city. I first traveled there in 1968 on the train out of Mexicali. I like that it's a real city and it may have the friendliest people in Mexico. I avoid places like Cancun like the plague.