Ambiance-It had been years since I was in Mazatlan and I forgot how much charm it has. Of all the beachfront major destinations in Mexico, I feel Mazatlan has the most local feel to it. Yes it is a tourist destination but I found as I walked along the Malecon and in town, the were more locals than gringos.
Beach- The beaches in the Golden Zone are very typical for this region being on the Pacific ocean. As you get north of town up in what they call Nuevo Mazatlan the beaches are nicer.
Distances- The Golden Zone and town is around 35-40 minutes from the airport.
Entertainment-You have to go to the Fiesta Mexicana Show at the Hotel Playa Mazatlan, it is a must. Also, the Teatro Angela Peralta is a great venue to see the Philharmonic orchestra or a ballet. Take time to learn about the history of the theater, it is very interesting. You have to take a stroll along the Malecon. It was completely restored and widened in 2004 and now one of Mexico's longest and prettiest walkways.
Food- Do you like shrimp? Welcome to the shrimp capital of the world. And I love shrimp! There are some all inclusive resorts in Mazatlan but I say this is the one place you want to get out and savor the local restaurants. You have to have lunch over at the Shrimp Bucket (did I mention Mazatlan is shrimp capital of the world?). Also, treat yourself and go into old town and have dinner at Pedro Y Loya. Sit at an outside table and listen to the local music and people watch. It is a locals favorite.
Getting Around- Taxis are plentiful here but Mazatlan is known for the Pulmonia. I call it a sooped up golf cart but it is an open-air taxi that looks like an oversize golf cart. Each one has it's own name and can give you a clue about the drivers roadside manner.
Interesting Fact-If you are there in late February you will experience one of the largest Carnaval celebrations in the world rivaling Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans.
Jackets and Ties-Keep them at home! This is a very informal town.
Kids-Children are always welcome in Mazatlan but don't expect the formalized children's programs like you will see offered at many of the all-inclusive's in other destinations. This is a destination where the family makes their own fun by experiencing the warmth of the people and local culture.
Languages-English is widely spoken, but I suspect those who speak spanish do much better in negotiating a taxi fare.
Medical Services-Mazatlan does have medical facilities readily available. Make sure you have insurance that covers you and even so, I suspect you pay them now, collect from insurance later.
Negatives-I see it as a positive but Mazatlan does not have the advertising budget like Cancun or Cabo to promote the destination. This is why you don't hear much as about it in the states. But that can be good for if you want to visit a place and feel like you really are in Mexico, this is the place. People who have discovered Mazatlan, go back year after year so they have a loyal following.
Nightlife- There is nightlife in Mazatlan but not the crazy nightlife that you will find in Cancun or maybe Cabo San Lucas. Yes, Mazatlan has it's Senor Frogs but if you want to go where the locals go for nightlife, you have to head over to Joes Oyster Bar.
Opportunities-A great little town 45 minutes north is called El Quelite. It is worth a few hours to go up and walk the town, stop in the local bakery, have lunch and enjoy the locals. Ask me about he roosters.
Pools-Every resort has great pool areas, but my favorite pool is at the Emerald Bay Pueblo Bonito.
Protection-Mazatlan is very safe but always be prudent as a tourist.
Recreation-Fishing is not only a sport but a way of life so if you are into fishing this is the spot. You of course have your water sports, beaches and golf.
Resorts- This is where Mazatlan shines. Where they lack in the new mega, try to be bigger than the next guy resorts, they make up for it in service and hospitality. Yes the Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay is one of the largest in the area and still growing but places like the Hotel Playa Mazatlan and the Inn at Mazatlan are two of my favorites. Oh, you can't mention Mazatlan without mentioning the El Cid resorts.
Shopping-You have an excellent selection of local stores and shops. Not a problem for you shoppers.
Terrain-Some of the coastline is very dramatic with the rock formations. Tropical with some character.
Updates- Mazatlan is reinventing itself. They know they have lost visitors to other Mexican beach destinations but they are also very stubborn in not losing their charm and culture to the almighty tourist dollar. Yet with the renovation of the Malecon and work they have done in Old Town, they know they must invest in the infrastructure.
View-Excellent views especially if you get up to the lighthouse.
Weather-They range on average from the high 70s in the winter to the high 80s in the summer. July through August would be considered rainy season and they hardly get any rain at all in March through May.
WOW Factor-It's local charm and hospitality, that is what they strive for.
X-Y-Z-If you want a beach side resort vacation and feel like you are in another country, this is a great choice. Enjoy the dining and local atmosphere.
More Pictures Of Mazatlan Click Here
To view the video of all Mazatlan has to offer. Click on the icon to the left.