Mazatlán is Mexico’s largest port, situated on one of the best estuaries (bottom center of image) on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The city appears as a series of light-toned geometric blocks covering the center of this astronaut photograph. The image also shows the docks and naval yards that line the north side of the estuary. Mazatlán (population 352,000 in 2005) is growing northward from the downtown peninsula, with tourist beaches backed by hotels, and a marina and golf courses just beyond. No city growth yet appears on the south side of the estuary, where narrow rectangles of farm land can be seen.
The famous Faro Lighthouse occupies the top of a steep island—now connected by a bridge to the mainland—at the mouth of the estuary (image lower left). The Faro Lighthouse is the second tallest in the world, after Gibraltar’s. The wide, straight, almost vertical line of the railroad bisects the city.
This image shows sea features well, primarily ocean swells coming in from the southwest, which appear as a series of parallel lines covering the entire sea surface in this image. The diverse activities that go on in busy urban areas do not always mix easily: an oil slick offshore of the tourist beaches appears as a dark line along the left side of the image.