Mazatlan's phenomenal beaches are one of its main draws, and with miles of Pacific coastline on either side of the Golden Zone, you’ll have no shortage of golden sand to choose from. Here's a breakdown of some of best beaches in this Mexican resort town.
Things to do in Mazatlan
Welcome to Mazatlan
Perched on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, adjacent to the southern tip of Baja California Sur, is Mazatlan. Thanks to a recently renovated historic center and endless stretches of sandy shore, the coastal city magnetises travelers with a penchant for outdoor adventure and beachside relaxation. At the top of all Mazatlan itineraries should be a cliff-diving show, during which visitors can watch fearless divers plunge into the Pacific Ocean from dizzying heights. In Centro Historico, the likes of Plazuela Machado and Teatro Angela Peralta make for gorgeous walking tours, while in Zona Dorada (Golden Zone), Playa los Sabalos and Playa las Gaviotas swell with visitors soaking up year-round sunshine. From the city, day trips to the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains for ATV rides and ziplining are a popular choice for thrill-seekers. Culture connoisseurs can gain insight into local culture during a tour of El Quelite, while Stone Island (Isla de la Piedra), home to coconut tree-fringed beaches and authentic Mexican restaurants, is a great place to escape to for half a day. Also within easy reach of Mazatlán is El Rosario, renowned for its artisan crafts, the Estero Ecological Reserve, home to more than 270 species of bird, and La Noria, where blue agave plantations and tequila distilleries abound.
Top 10 attractions in Mazatlan
This offshore island is a popular excursion stop for cruise ship passengers docking in Mazatlan, but most of the visitors are locals on weekends and it’s not very crowded on non-cruise weekdays. The main reason to visit is to lie on the beach, swim, and eat grilled seafood at a thatched-roof restaurant, but you can also explore the island by horseback or on walking trails. The beach here is a good spot for seashell collecting....
The lighthouse of port city Mazatlan–also known as El Faro–has been shining since 1879, guiding ships coming up the Sea of Cortez. It can be seen 30 nautical miles away. For tourists, the main reason to come here is to see the divers. From a high platform, young men sometimes make daring high dives for assembled crowds for tips....
The heart of the historic district is this leafy rectangular plaza, with leafy trees and palm trees both in place, many buildings painted bright colors. It is lined by restaurants, shops, and museums, plus the Angela Perlata theater is nearby, making this a good place to linger from lunch time onward. Built in 1837 by the wealthy businessman it was named after, in the center is a wrought iron gazebo from 1870....
Near historic Old Mazatlan, Olas Atlas Beach (Playa Olas Altas) fronts the original tourist zone. Here a long and wide malecon sidewalk is popular with joggers and in-line skaters moving past the city’s first waterfront hotels, like the Freeman—the first building in town to have an elevator. It’s a pleasant place for a stroll, with a shady cocktail or beer being just across the street....
A deserted stretch of sand just a few decades ago, the Golden Zone of Mazatlan is now the area where package tourists spend most of their time. Lined with hotels, restaurants, and bars, it pulses with activity from the morning until the wee hours. All the usual watersports are on offer and sailing trips depart to nearby islands....
This aquarium is a bit of a cobbled-together affair with displays in multiple buildings spread throughout the grounds. It contains more than 300 species of fish, plus crowd pleasers like porpoises, rays, turtles, and sharks. If you pony up extra money, you can swim with those sharks or feed them yourself....
While this area of Mazatlan has gone through several periods of ascent and decline, a government focus on restoration incentives and sensible zoning laws has resulted in spruced-up buildings that are also functional. The exteriors remain historic, but inside the owners have flexibility in making the (often deteriorated) space work for current needs. So there’s a good range of nightclubs, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and residences. Many buildings in the Old Mazatlan area date from the late 1800s and early 1900s, when the bustling port city was wealthy from shrimp, fish, minerals, and an iron foundry. The historic sights of Old Mazatlan are concentrated in a rather limited area near the Plazuela Machado, a small, tree-filled square with a wrought-iron kiosk in the center. Nearby is the ornate, neoclassical Teatro Angela Peralta, which opened in the 1860s and was later renamed for the singer: she died of yellow fever a few days before she was to perform here....
This pride and joy of the historic district of Mazatlan has been through a tumultuous history. Built in the late 1800s, it was named after a famous singer who contracted yellow fever upon traveling here to perform and died. After a period of glory the building served as a movie theater, boxing arena, and eventually an abandoned ruin. Renovated and restored to its former glory, it reopened in 1992. You can tour the neoclassical structure for a nominal fee with a guide or catch a performance at night. Except for big-name concerts, the ticket charges are nearly always a bargain and this is a center for student performances of dance, music, or theater. An art gallery near the entrance shows off temporary exhibitions by local and international artists. Tours also visit a museum upstairs shows the building in ruins and at different stages of restoration....
Mazatlán, the "Pearl of the Pacific," has drawn people to its shores since pre-Columbian times thanks to its gorgeous beaches. Add an architecturally outstanding old town, the festive, hotel-lined Golden Zone, and top-notch shopping, dining, and nightlife, and it's no wonder that this is a heavily trafficked cruise stop. This is Mexico's largest commercial port, so even the largest boats can pull right in. The enormous port is less than two kilometers (about one mile) away from Old Mazatlán, the historic old town. You can walk there along the scenic seaside malecón, or paved oceanfront walk, one of the longest in the world, or even continue the 7km (4mi) to the hotel-lined Zona Dorada, or Gold Zone. Inexpensive taxis wait at the port—as do pulmonías, topless, fiberglass taxis that are cheaper but sometimes targeted by thieves; keep valuables close by....
This estuary nature park area is quite close to Mazatlan, making it a popular excursion for those who want to explore the coastal wildlife while in the area. Some 270 kinds of birds make their home in this area, which is a mix of streams, mangrove swamps, and beach. You’re sure to see herons, egrets, and other sea birds, as well as smaller ones feeding on this ecosystem....
Top activities in Mazatlan
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Things to do near Mazatlan
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