Day three of the road trip found us on our way to Mazatlán in the state of Sinaloa. Not my first time to Mazatlán, I have distant memories of this city located on the Pacific coast.
Mazatlán is a city of some 433,000 souls with tourism and fishing as the main industries. A popular tourist destination, the city is quite lively on weekends with people visiting the beach, eating out, or dancing at one of the many clubs.
After we arrived in the city, we bypassed the resort part of town and drove straight to the main drag, a boulevard along the coast.
A few blocks inland is Centro Histórico, a town plaza surrounded by restaurants with plenty of outdoor seating, and colonial buildings radiating out in a gridiron street plan.
Recommended by Lonely Planet’s Mexico guidebook, we stayed the night at Hotel Central. The hotel had a common room where Wi-Fi was available, an outdoor patio for smokers, and a pretty basic hotel room. The bathroom had only one small bar of soap and one towel, not to mention a cockroach in the shower. But the room fit our budget and our needs: somewhere to sleep for the night.
After dinner we walked a few blocks over to explore the coastal promenade. Even after dark it was full of people: families, groups of teenagers, couples, kids on bikes, and people selling souvenirs and food. But this was where we discovered El Diablo lives in a cave.
A cave in the cliff side – the ominous red lights, trident and gate are what caught our eye. Wanting to know why there is a cave dedicated to El Diablo I searched around and found one source that reveals the cave was used for fiestas and dancing in the 1800s. But a newspaper article from 1897 shared another version of the story: the cave was used as a public latrine because the city lacked a sewage system. Whatever the case, at some point in the past twenty years the cave was gated up to prevent entry, with the mask and trident of El Diablo added.