Where is Calle 13? It is the road off Benito Juarez with the Big Blue Marlin statue-Monumento al Pescado–marking the beginning of its newly paved street.
In the last few months, the once crumbling street of Calle 13 became concreted. With the new face lift, new life spreads and a few different shops and restaurants opened up and several of the late night gentlemen’s clubs closed.
Now, Calle 13 seems a little brighter and more lively.
Recently on a Sunday evening we parked at the very end (near Peñasco del Sol and Marina Pinacate condominiums) and took an evening stroll down Calle 13. This is what we found: New eateries, a new boutique, new taco shops, a new Chinese restaurant and plenty of stops to have a cold drink, ice cream or snack. It is a leisurely 20 minute walk down to the Marlin, if you start at the end by the water. Also, one of my favorite Italian restaurants—Pane e Vino—is on the main Blvd, just to the south of Calle 13 (where the train tracks cross). And, if you walk across the main Blvd—watch out, the Tequila Factory with tastings is directly south of Calle 13, on the corner of Calle 12.
Here are 13 ways to have fun on Calle 13
1. Max’s restaurant- this is at the very end of Calle 13 in a plaza near the water…a consistently great eatery, delicious breakfast burritos, tasty lunch sandwiches, hamburgers and casual upscale dinners. Even free Wi-Fi and Vonage line for customers. Cold iced lattes can’t be beat in the early AM. Also, it offers an Ice cream shop next door for dessert.
2. Wrecked at Rick’s- Have a cold beer, watch some sports on the flat screens, sit on the roof deck or listen to some music upstairs at Ricks. (Med, a new restaurant just opened up below Rick’s but was closed when I tried to visit.)
3. Peñasco del Sol- the hotel (located right beside Marina Pinacate which has great condo rentals) has a delicious breakfast buffet, a nice restaurant Miguel’s, and a cool round bar called Chill.
4. Stop at the El Mariachi (owned by the Rocky Point Beach club owner) for an ice cold Indio beer.
5. Eat a whole fish–expertly fried and tasty—with the head on it at Gamma’s or try any one of their fish specialties, if you’re not feeling adventurous.
6. Take a bike ride, rent a bicycle, rent an ATV, rhino or golf cart
7. Experience some Asian flavors: Chinese and Japanese. Calle 13 now has Sushi Sun, Lucky House, Sapporo Sushi (next to Hotel Señorial) and a new one called Fu Lai Wan.
8. Walk up and down and do a taco shop taste test, try a different flavor at every place (pastor, carne asada, chicken, shrimp, fish), compare and then go back one more time to your favorite.
9. Pizza? Have a pie or a slice. Yes there is Valentino’s Pizza place right next door to the old Keno’s (now closed).
10. Try some authentic Mexican food at Anita and Jesus.
11. Go snacking- Try Root Beer 13- you guessed it root beer floats served here, among other tasty snacks. And not too far from the Marlin, at the end of the street is a snack shop, Tu Loco Antojo, filled with an interesting crunchy snack bar and salsa’s.
12. Shop? Yes, there are some curios shops, T-shirts and a pharmacy. Hats, rafts and souvenirs are here on Calle 13, and now even boutique shopping- Calle 13 has two apparel clothing shops.
13. Try a pineapple drink, a coconut drink, some ceviche or any other interesting edibles sold by the food trucks which set up at the intersections offering good tasty food.
So, next time you feel like going for a stroll, try Calle 13. Take a picture with the fish-Monumento al Pescado – and come with an appetite and a little curiosity.
One word of advice for Calle 13, Remember, NO LEFT TURN off Benito Juarez onto Calle 13 from the South (when coming from Old Port).
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” ― James A. Michener
Anita Kaltenbaugh is the Mexico travel examiner at examiner.com and author of the book “Travel Secrets- Insider guide to planning, affording and taking more vacations” available at Amazon.com. Photos by marcia Brockmeyer.