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Mazatlan - A to Z Inspection

Dave's rating - Thumbs Up!

The following is Dave's professional opinion from a recent familiarization trip to Mazatlan.




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.

"Just the facts mam"


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Where is Mazatlan?

Just 745 miles south of the Arizona border, Mazatlan is the closest major Mexican resort to the United States. Mazatlan is an ideal, affordable vacation choice with endless possibilities: aquatic sports, kid activities, fishing, bird-watching, golf, tennis, horseback riding, fine dining, shopping and nightlife.

How do you get to Mazatlan?

With major airlines and numerous charter flights serving Mazatlan daily, it's easy to plan a vacation in Mazatlan. Well-established ground transportation, including buses, taxis and rental cars, enable visitors to relax as soon as they arrive.

Driving in Mazatlan- What is required?

No special permits or bonds are needed, unless you plan to continue on to Mexico's mainland. You will need a valid drivers license issued by your state of residence. Be sure to get Mexican insurance before crossing the border, as your U.S. insurance is not valid in Mexico. Do not drive in Mexico without insurance!

Where can I attend a Church Service in Mazatlan?

Churches and Church Services - There are many options for worship services in the Mazatlan area. Catholic, Christian, non-denominational and Jehovah’s Witnesses services are available in Mazatlan.

What is the legal drinking age in Mexico?

The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18 years of age. Please be careful, as over indulging is quite common and generally leads to trouble. Drinking Alcohol in Public - while this is tolerated to an extent, it is illegal to drink alcoholic beverages on the street, in vehicles, at the beach and other public places. It is an offense to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

What time zone is Mazatlan in and does the time change with daylight savings time?

Mazatlan is located within the Mountain Time Zone. The time changes here whenever Daylight Savings Time changes.

Taxi Service - What are the taxi rates in Mazatlan?

Taxis are the next cheapest means of tourist transportation.  Licensed cabs are the best bet, which can be identified by a red or green stripe down the car's side.  Make sure to agree on a fare before getting in.  The standard rate anywhere in town is around 35 pesos.

More expensive, but also the most unique form of public transportation in the area is the pulmonia.  Pulmonias look like hybrid golf carts, are open aired, and are worth riding at least once.  They are easily waved down and can be found everywhere in Mazatlan.  Getting anywhere in town should not cost more than 50 pesos.  Again, make sure to agree on a price before getting in.  Don't be afraid to negotiate, as this is part of life in Mexico.

What is the best way to get from the Mazatlan International Airport to Cabo San Lucas?

T he Mazatlan airport is located 20km south of Mazatlan on Highway 15. If you don't have a car, the only way to get to the airport is by taxi. The average price is around $15, but some drivers may go as low as $10. The trip will take around 30 minutes.

To get from the airport to Mazatlan, you have a few more options. Airport buses leave for $4 a person, but only after a flight has come in or if there are at least 5 people. The bus will drop you off wherever you are staying. Tickets for the bus can be purchased inside the airport near the baggage claim area. Tickets for the taxis should also be purchased here to avoid paying more than you should. The 'official' taxi rate can be anywhere from $16 to $18, but is a set $16 if you purchase your ticket inside. Only yellow airport taxis are allowed to carry passengers from the airport; only the local green and red taxis may carry passengers to the airport. However, if you can convince a pulmonia driver to take you, it's possible to get a cheaper rate than the eco-taxis

What about the public transportation bus system? 

The first thing that a tourist will notice about the public busses is the abundance of locals riding them.  For some this is a good thing, as it gives the opportunity to interact with locals and experience a slice of what their daily lives are like.  Busses are the cheapest means of transportation (aside from walking of course), as fares range from 4 pesos for standard models to 8 pesos for air conditioned units.  Catching busses is very easy, and can be done at marked stops or by simply waving them down at the side of the road (most drivers will stop if there is room).  Waving one down is done by pointing an index finger straight out towards the road.  Bus Drivers will give change!  Sometimes they will be slow offering it, but stand and wait until you receive your change.  Standard operating hours are from 5:30am and 10:30pm, but certain busses will run late into the night.  Routes and stops are generally written on the front of the bus at the top, or on the windshield.  Most tourist destinations are easily accessible

Weather and Climate - What is the weather like?

Set inside a beautiful cove in the Pacific Ocean, Mazatlan. enjoys temperate, tropical weather year-round. With temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-90s, Mazatlan. is an ideal destination any time of year.

Month Average High Average Low
January 80 - 82 66 - 68
February 81 - 84 67 - 70
March 83 - 86 70 - 72
April 84 - 87 72 - 74
May 87 - 90 66 - 68
June 88 - 90 77 - 79
July 90 - 92 78 - 80
August 90 - 92 76 - 79
September 88 - 95 76 - 78
October 87 - 89 74 - 77
November 83 - 85 70 - 72
December 81 - 83 68 - 70

Where are the United States Consular Agency and Canada consulate located?

Name Telephone Address Email
AG Consular de Edos. Unidos de América 9-16-58-89 Rodolfo T. Loaiza 202 CP 82110
Consulado de Canadá 9-13-73-20 Hotel Playa Mazatlan, Ave. Playa Gaviotas 202, Local 9, Zona Dorado
Consulado de Canadá Mazatlan 9-14-66-55 201 s/n Cp 82110
Consulado de Italia 9-85-14-78 Paseo del centenario S-n S/N CP. 82000
Embajada de Francia 9-85-12-28 CII 1008 s/N CP 82000

What Currency is used in Mazatlan?

The currency is the Mexican Peso. Exchange rates at booths and hotels are slightly lower than banks, but you may have to wait in line a lot longer. Banks are open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or later, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some do not exchange travelers check's. Ask before you line up. Shops and restaurants accept dollars and credit cards. Both towns have ATMs and American Express offices. Cash is dispensed in pesos.

Will I be able to use credit cards?

All major credit cards are accepted in Mazatlan and in Mexico - VISA and MasterCard are the most widely accepted. American Express is accepted in some stores and restaurants, but VISA and MasterCard are preferred. The Discover Card is not yet accepted. It is suggested that you ask the merchant, in advance, which credit cards are accepted.

Will I be able to get cash from the banks with my credit cards?

All of the banks will give cash advances, most have ATM machines at their locations, for after hours cash.

Water - Can I drink the water in Mazatlan?

The water here is treated and purified, but the distribution system is not so perfect.  In most hotels and restaurants, you will get purified water, if in doubt - ASK.  (Auga purificada?)  I would not drink the water from a private home or condo, unless you know there is a purification system installed, and working.  Buy bottled water; why not be completely safe?  Don't take the chance of ruining your vacation? .

How can I access the Internet to receive my e-mail?

Many of the major resorts have internet access and there several internet cafes in the Mazatlan area that provide internet access service.

What about hospitals, and doctors?

Medical Services

Private Ambulance: 983-1000  
Clinica Balboa:  916-7933 Zona Dorada (English - 24 hrs)
Dr. Arturo Angulo: Cellular direct - 044 (669) 919-1064
Hospital Sharp: 986-7911 (Accepts U.S. Insurance) 
Red Cross: 981-3690  
Regional Hospital: 982-5648 (24 hrs)

What do you need to travel in Mexico? - Mexico's Entry Requirements:

To enter Mexico you need to obtain a Tourist Card (FMT). To get your Tourist Card you will need to prove citizenship, a passport is required. Please visit the U. S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs web site at for more information.

At DTR Travel, Mexico family vacations are our specialty. We plan more Mexico vacations than any other destination. Whether it is an all inclusive family Mexico vacation or a Mexico honeymoon vacation package for a new family just starting out, we can find the Mexico vacation specials you are looking for.


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