Top Things To Do In Mazatlan

Believe it or not, I sometimes do take from architecture as a profession and hobby. During these times I travel to far flung places. Here is one of those places. I hope you too also take a break from architecture, buildings and designs and taste something different for a change.

Located along the Pacific Coast, at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains, Mazatlan is Mexico’s biggest commercial port and a sought-after tourist destination for both, land-based vacations as well as cruise trips. Once a party destination for spring breakers, the resort town of Mazatlan has emerged into a travel spot for families, older tourists and budget travelers. Nicknamed as the “Pearl of the Pacific” because of its golden beaches and marine life, Mazatlan offers attractions and activities to suit everyone’s tastes.

Best Time To Visit Mazatlan

The best time to visit Mazatlan is during the months of October and November. The rainy season is over, temperatures are in the high 80s and many hotels still offer very good deals, but to enjoy all these perks of the fall season, you must do you bookings well in advance. December to March is peak season so expect inflated hotel rates and crowds. June to September is a soggy wreck with frequent rainstorms. You can also save a buck by visiting in April or May.

Getting Around in Mazatlan

The public bus system in the city is simple to use and easy on the pockets too. If you plan to tour the town with many stops in between, you can opt for a taxi or rent in a car.  Another option to tour Mazatlan is in the open-air carts or Pulmonias. They are pricier than taxis but allow you to experience the local culture closely!

Must-See Attractions in Mazatlan

In Centro Historico or Old Mazatlan, check out the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, a magnificent 19th century cathedral and your cameras will not stop clicking. Treat your taste buds to some delicious shrimp tacos and papas locos (giant baked potatoes) available with the street side vendors. Stroll by the beautiful statues of the Malecon and watch an evening performance at the Teatro Angela Peralta, the Opera House. Also, a must-see is the sea lion show and the bird theater in the Mazatlan Aquarium, the largest of its kind in Mexico. Take a tour of the Pacifico brewery that offers samples of ales and lagers only available south of the border and check out Pueblo Viejo or the ‘Old Town’ characterized by its cobbled streets and historic buildings. If you have time, you must experience the sunrise from atop the El Faro, the highest operating lighthouse in the world.

Outdoor Activities in Mazatlan

Water sports rule in this seaside resort town. Tourists can hire water sports equipment like kayaks, banana boats and snorkeling gear (for snorkeling & diving click here for more destinations) from the several tour and travel companies scattered throughout town. Jet skiing and kayaking excursions are also available. Surfing, sport fishing and whale watching are popular activities here and the city is home to the choicest of surfing spots. Birding and horseback riding tours offer a more easygoing beat. In recent times, golf courses designed by Lee Trevino and Robert Trent Jones Jr. have aided Mazatlan evolve as a golfing destination.

Accommodations and Dining In Mazatlan

Like most resort towns, Mazatlan offers a variety of accommodation options. Golden Zone or ‘Zona Dorada’ features most of the beachfront hotels, resorts, and restaurants. Room tariff is economical as compared to room rates in the US. Hotels in the downtown area tend to be less expensive but the rates rise as you move north and into the Zona Dorada. Mazatlan also offers a varied assortment of eateries, from fine dining restaurants to the budget ‘loncheries’ which serve only lunch. Mazatlan is home to one of the biggest shrimp fleets in the world, which is why fresh shrimp is usually on the menu.

Nightlife in Mazatlan

Mazatlan parties late into the nights. American students throng here for spring break and at the end of February, the locals get on to the streets with live music and dancing to celebrate a weeklong festival. Each Sunday night, the Hotel Playa Mazatlan exhibits a free fireworks display on the beach in front of the hotel.

Shopping In Mazatlan

There are plentiful of shopping options available in Mazatlan. Shop for local goods like pottery, clothing and crafts right outside the historic center. Zona Dorada may have the biggest collection of shops, but tourists need to be careful as this area is a major tourist trap. Mazatlan also has open-air markets and indoor shopping mall for goods like local arts and crafts, silver jewelry and souvenirs.