Located in Western Mexico in the state of Sinaloa, Mazatlan has become one of Mexico’s most captivating beach destinations. With 12.4 miles of beautiful beaches, Mazatlan’s “tropical-neoclassical” feel manifests a playful yet tranquil attitude in this pearl of the Pacific. Mazatlan has a population of about 440,000 people, making it the second-largest city in the state of Sinaloa. Additionally, due to considerable investments in infrastructure, the economic and social diversity of the city has skyrocketed in the past few years.
Mazatlan, meaning “Place of Deer” in Náhuatl, was settled and established by Spaniards and Indigenous groups in the early 1820s. Although human settlement dates as far back as 10,000 years ago, the Spanish conquistadors used slavery and disease to force the native groups out of the region during the 16th century.
Today, Mazatlan has undergone tremendous transformations. The place is vastly different compared to 30 years ago. Last year, the cities mayor Quirino Ordaz Coppel stated, “You are watching the transformation that Mazatlan is undergoing because we’re interested in giving a new face, a new urban image [to the city] because it needed a real shake-up.” This involved a stark increase in infrastructure, international direct flights, and reparations for the historic centers. Currently, Mazatlan is gearing up to be the next Cabo San Lucas.
Make sure to head out of the Zona Dorado—the cities tourist district—and into the old towns and communities such as Malecón for unforgettable sunsets free from rental chairs and vendors.
Overall, the new urban setting with interesting architecture, art and a lively dining scene couples nicely with the wild nature that’s home to world-class surfing and fishing.
If you are looking for colonial atmosphere chalk-full of history, head over to the Centro Histórico. The highest rated hotel reknowned for their location and 19th-century neoclassical architecture would be The Melville Boutique Hotel. With the best restaurants at Plazuela Machado Square (650 feet from the hotel) and at Olas Altas Beach (0.6 miles from the hotel), guests are able to completely immerse themselves in Mexican culture all while basking in the glory of Old World romance.
For a traditional resort experience, stay within Mazatlan’s “Zona Dorada” or “Golden Zone” for a family friendly and luxurious means of travel. This area arguably offers the most scenic vistas in the country. For this area, we recommend Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan or Luna Palace. Both resorts are conveniently located directly on the beaches of Mazatlan with delicious restaurants, local shops, and a bustling nightlife in close proximity.
Lastly, for those budget travelers that still want access to a gorgeous beach, take a look at Hotel Playa Victoria. Located just outside the Golden Zone on Avenue Del Mar, this hotel provides excellent scenery at the expense of some amenities. Playa Victoria is perfect for young travelers who are looking for a clean and comfortable hotel in an unbeatable location.
The best time to visit Mazatlan is during the months of October and November. This way, you are past the rainy months of the summer and before the winter price spikes. The dry season is through late November to early May, and the “peak” season denotes to December through March. Your likely to save a hefty amount of money traveling in the summer months, but risk heavy rainfall—especially in August. Overall, it is recommended travelers book their trip in the months of October and November while all Mazatlan tours, activities, and expenses are at their lowest price.
It’s possible to squeeze in all the tourist attractions in Mazatlan in about 3 days, but a longer stay will allow for more time to explore sites off the beaten path. Main attractions in Mazatlan and the surrounding area include:
Check out our Mazatlan Tours above for additional details…