Mazatlan

Mazatlán is a city in Sinaloa state, Mexico, known for its fine beaches.

Understand

Overlooking the historical downtown section.

Mazatlán is a socially and economically diverse city, with more than 350,000 welcoming people of all races. It is a popular vacation and retirement destination for Europeans, Canadians and Americans, and also provides opportunities for working immigrants. It has several distinct inner city districts, as well as outlying suburbs that are mainly inhabited by poor and middle-class Mexicans, but there are two primary areas of interest to visitors: the Zona Dorada where the tourists go and the Centro Historico with several lovely plazas and many recently renovated 18th century commercial buildings and private residences.

Get in

By plane

Mazatlán has an international airport - General Rafael Buelna International Airport (IATA: MZT), also known as Mazatlán International Airport. It receives international travelers from: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Houston, South Shore Harbor, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. You can reach Mazatlán from many other international origins via Mexico City.

By train

Mexico's passenger rail system including the old Nogales-Guadalajara route that passed through Mazatlán went out of service in the late 90's.

By car

Mazatlán is approximately an 18-hour drive from Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. There are many considerations when bringing a car into Mexico.

By bus

Mexico has an extremely well developed bus route system and one can easily find a bus to wherever one needs to go. Mazatlán is about 12 hours away from Mexico City (~$90 one way), 6 hours from Guadalajara (~$40 one way), 15 hours from Nogales (~$50 one way), and only about 2 hours from Culiacán. Note: for whatever reason, the bus companies crank up the A/C, so bring a sweater!

By boat

Baja Ferries runs a ferry between Mazatlan and La Paz in Baja California. The trip takes 16 hours or more and leaves Mazatlan almost daily (check for weekend departures). Also, Mazatlán has a busy port which accommodates a number of cruise ships that sail up and down the western coast of the Americas. From the port, it's a five-minute taxi ride to the southernmost hotels or fifteen minutes to the more modern (and more expensive) places to the north.

Get around

By taxi

Besides normal taxis, the tourist areas (Zona Dorada and Centro Historico) always have many small white open-topped taxis called pulmonías that look like dodgem cars. These are unique to Mazatlan. Although you'll never have to wait long for one (they're always whizzing back and forth) ask the price before you get in and then bargain. The correct price will usually be about 30% less than the original quote. Don't overdo the haggling, though. It'll cost you less than $4 US to go between downtown and the tourist district. You may want to give the driver a little tip as appreciation for a safe and enjoyable journey.

By bus

There are two different types of public transport buses that run in Mazatlán. The larger green ones run along the main tourist strip right along the water and either turn off at Rafael Buelna Anvenue or continue on along the Malecon to downtown. These are the equivalent of coach buses, they are very well air-conditioned and in great shape. They cost around $.70 US (9 pesos) per trip. The city is also served by regular local buses which are cheaper and only cost around US $.45 per trip (5 or 6 pesos). Be sure to check the windshield of the bus as the bus route is typically written on it. These buses serve the entire city well but can be confusing without a thorough knowledge of the system. The buses that go along the Malecon between downtown and the tourist district are the "Sabalo-Centro" buses.

By car

Mazatlán is approximately on the intersection of highway 15 and highway 40. In-town transportation is mainly motorized, except for the Centro Histórico, which is a very nice walking district. For tourists, cabs can be found in sparse supply compared to the number of pulmonías in town. Pulmonías are essentially open-air taxis, many of them old Volkswagens. They're as safe as any cab, just as cheap, and offer a far better view of the city on a nice day.

See

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Do

Learn

The more Spanish you know, the richer your experience will be. Mazatlán's language school is considered to be one of the best in northern Mexico. The people of Mazatlan are very friendly, so you'll have opportunities to practice what you learn.

Make sure to visit all of the Mazatlan beaches. High waves (Olas Altas). The beach is in the Centro Historico of Mazatlan, in the southern part of the city, a few blocks west of the Plaza Machado. Along the boardwalk, the (Malecon)which runs of Olas Altas north into the tourist zone, can be seen several monuments, including The Shield, the coat of arms of Sinaloa state and Mazatlan, a statue of a deer ("Mazatland" in the language of the precolombian natives meant "place of the deer", a monument to the famous Mexican singer Pedro Infante, a monument to the continuity of life, and a monument dedicated to Mazatlan Women.

Buy

Eat

There's a restaurant to suit everyone's taste and budget. They're keen on seafood, especially prawns (camarones) and steaks.

Budget

There's also a restaurant in the middle of the Square located at Zaragoza and Nelson. Ham and eggs with tortillas, toast, and beans—30 pesos. The iguanas in the square are fun to watch, too (but terrible to eat).

Mid-range

Drink

Just like the restaurants, there are plenty of bars to choose from, depending upon taste, budget and comfort. Tourists occupy the seafront bars whereas locals head inland where the atmosphere can be excellent.

You must try Pacífico, a beautiful locally brewed beer. Sold everywhere for 15 to 20 pesos (about $1.50 or £0.75). 10 pesos for a can if you buy it at a deposito.

Sleep

Mazatlán is well known for offering the best value of any of Mexico's major resorts. Both affordably priced lodging as well as food can be easily secured. Outside of January (when the city can be a little cold) it is one of the most attractive seaside destinations in Mexico.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Mazatlán has the problems that all large Mexican cities do. It's wise to walk in groups or with someone else in any city after dark. Some places in the Centro Histórico and Golden Zone are well lit and occasionally busy at night. Don't let this deceive you into believing it is safe to walk around after dark. Don't be afraid to walk around the Cathedral, Malecon or Plaza Machado during the day. In most areas of the city there's almost no activity at night, and it would be unsafe to be anywhere after dark. Incidents of chain-snatching and robbery at knife point have been reported as occurring directly in front of Valentinos Disco in the Golden Zone even when it is very busy and several hundred people are standing outside. Avoid having any jewelry whatsoever, or wearing nice clothes so you are not targeted by the thugs in this large city. Unoccupied lifeguard stand are on all main beaches, however lifeguards are rarely present. You'll usually know if jellyfish are in the water by looking at the flags (white) on the beach but stings are still possible, you may want to bring a small container of vinegar to ease the sting. They will also warn you of other dangerous conditions (red flags), so be sure to look for them and heed their warnings.

Cope

Consulates

Canadian Consular Agency in Mazatlan, Mexico Centro Comercial La Marina Business and Life Blvd. Marina Mazatlán 2302, Office 41 Col. Marina Mazatlán 82103 Mazatlan, Sinaloa Mexico

Go next

Routes through Mazatlan

Culiacán La Cruz  N  S  Villa Unión Tepic


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