Mazatlan does not share the fame of Acapulco, but fine beaches, surfing, history and friendly locals combine to give it a laid-back feel and make it an increasingly popular destination. In 2007, Mazatlan was named one of the 13 wonders of Mexico. Located on the northern Pacific coast, Mazatlan was settled by the Spanish in 1531 and the city is proud of its history. The old town has many examples of well-preserved and brightly painted 19th-century buildings, and Olas Altas Beach, with its atmospheric Malecon, or promenade, is located in the historic centre making it one of those rare places that allows you to get your fix of sun, sand and history at the same time. Mazatlan possesses kilometres of beach and offers all the water sports imaginable, including surfing, jet skiing, parasailing and water skiing. Mazatlan offers a variety of different experiences, but there is one thing that unites them all. Mazatlan is famous for its hospitality, and whatever you choose to do, here you will be welcomed by the locals.
Mazatlan Location

Historic Centre

There are two main areas for visitors - the Zone Dorada (Golden Zone), developed in the 60's where most hotels, shops, bars and restaurants are scattered along the idyllic beach, and Old Mazatlan, or Centro Hostorico (Historic Centre). Enjoy people-watching at Plaza Machado, and a spot of shopping as you'll find local vendors selling handmade crafts, Live music is played from the bandstand and there are multiple restaurants lining the plaza. Drop by at dinner time for the most lively atmosphere and get amongst the hustle and bustle or watch the world go by. Stroll through the maze of cobbled streets nearby, browse the boutiques and admire beautiful post-colonial 1800s buildings. Other buildings of interest are the Angela Peralta Theater, the old Hotel Iturbide (today Municipal Arts Centre), Mansion of Redo, Melchers House and many others.


Mazatlan Street Scene

Things to Do

The Malecón (boardwalk) of Mazatlán is considered one of the longest boardwalks in the world. Along its 21km length are high cliffs, monuments, gazebos, old buildings and hotels. At the southern end of the city is the Lighthouse of Mazatlan (El Faro Lighthouse), which is one of the highest operating lighthouses in the world. You can hike up to the peak of Cerro del Creston to see it up close. Learn about the marine ecosystem at the Aquarium of Mazatlan or visit the unique open-air museum Las Labradas, home to one of the finest collections of carved stones in the country and located right on the beach of San Ignacion 45 minutes north of Mazatlan. There are tours where you can learn about the history and traditions of Mexico. Take an enjoyable countryside ride to La Noria, including a stop at a tequila factory where you’ll learn about the production of tequila and how to prepare some of the best drinks. Head to the Sierra Madre with stops at Malpica brick factory and Concordia, renowned for its furniture and pottery factories and visit the historic mining town of Copala, with its cobblestone streets and beautiful colonial houses. For a little more local interaction, the town of El Quelite is a must. The town continues to create baked clay roof tiles that are still used in construction. Enjoy strolling on the cobblestone streets and a visit to the old bakery is highly recommended. Cruise to Stone Island aboard a catamaran and discover Mazatlan’s natural landmarks, such as Creston Lighthouse, White Twin Rock, Pirates Cave and the amazing Sea Lions Rock. 




The Malecon at dusk, Mazatlan


Foodies will love the variety of restuarants and cuisine found in Mazatlan and is is the shrimp capital of Mexico. From rustic beach shacks to romantic candlelit courtyards. From delicous fresh seafood, smoked marlin and tuna, to chilorio and roast chicken Sinaloa style. Some popular regional dishes include bearded tamales (made with shrimp), the Governor tacos and fish crackers. International cuisine is also readily available including Japanese, Chinese, fast food, vegetarian and so on. You can find a huge variety of fresh drinks such as horchata, barley, coconut, coconut horchata, Tejuino, a vanilla flavoured drink call "tonicol" and the local beer Pacifico, which has its factory in the harbor. Typical sweets to be found include coconut candies, jamoncillos, and other candy made with coconut marshmallows from the region.

Beach Restaurant at Mazatlan

Beaches & Beach Activities

There are kilometers of beaches along Mazatlan's coastline, the main one being Olas Altas. It is located in the southern part of the city, a few meters from downtown with the boardwalk passing through. There are a number of historical monuments along this part of the boardwalk, such as The Shield, which contains the shields of Sinaloa and Mazatlán, The Deer, a statue of a deer representing the etymology of the city's name and many more. Other beaches all located near the city include Playa Norte, Playa Sábalo, Playa Cerritos, Playa El Delfin and Playa Isla de la Piedra. Enjoy history at these beaches along with lots of relaxation and play. Jetskiing, waterskiing, surfing are all popular and you can even try to hook a prize-winner on a deep-sea fishing trip from the active fishing port.

Mazatlan Beach

Music, Culture & Festivals

In February each year the Mazatlan Carnival is held, which is one of Mexico's most important carnivals. The first parade brings together more than 600,000 people and at the end of this carnival is the Mazatlan Mardi Gras, another of the nations biggest bashes. The population party non-stop until the day before Ash Wednesday. There are concerts, light shows, music, poetry, colourful floats, a number of traditions and dancing to the popular traditional form of music called the Banda. This is a form of music that injects Latin energy into European Fanfare style. The bands repertoire covers various traditional styles such as rancheras, corridos, polkas, waltzes, mazurkas, and chotis, to name a few. There is also a Festival of Lights in November where over 10,000 fireworks explode in a rainbow of colours ove the ocean. It is held in conjunction witht he Pacifico Marathon.


Mazatlan Carnival
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Sportsfishing Mecca
Mazatlan was well regarded by film stars like John Wayne, Gary Cooper and John Huston as a sportsfishing mecca back in the day.