Beaches are the heart of Mexico’s Mazatlán, quite literally: One of the country's longest sections of continuous urban beach is located inside the city. And though a number of the destination's beaches pulsate with activity, plenty of others provide space and intimacy. Mazatlán is a place of both calm and culture; whether you spend your evenings partying on Olas Atlas or attending concerts at Teatro Angela Peralta, you’ll soon see why the city is known as one of the 13 Wonders of Mexico.
From cost-efficient hotels to luxury resorts, Mazatlán has a home-away-from-home to match your budget. As you wheel your suitcase across the traditional Spanish tiles of your Mazatlán hotel, take note of cultural design elements. Many of the region's resorts decorate with dark woods, native plants, and the bright colors of a Mexican fiesta.
If one of your bucket-list items is to stay in a luxurious room on the beach, then you can cross it off when you reach Mazatlán. A number of waterfront resorts feature rooms just a few hundred feet from the sand and surf. Hotels by the sea are also close to restaurants, nightclubs and shops.
You might have to actually schedule beach relaxation when you visit Mazatlán, because the destination's other sights and activities could easily pull your attention away from the sandy shores. Well-preserved historic sites stand nearby, as well as secluded spots to explore nature. Don’t leave Mazatlán without sampling the local seafood; the fresh fish here is abundant and delicious. Mazatlán's signature islands are well worth a visit, and the city's art community will immerse you in the country's diverse culture.
Scooping up a personal patch of sand is an easy task in Mazatlán—the miles and miles of beachfront property are the city's claim to fame. Beaches are located practically everywhere in the region, both in town and along the outskirts. While spending time on a Mazatlán beach, check out local dining and shopping establishments where you can enjoy authentic tacos or buy a handmade blanket.
Historical discovery and leisure time are easily combined in a place like Mazatlán. For instance, a renowned UNESCO World Heritage historic site is about an hour away from the city by bus. Approximately 600 different stone-carved petroglyphs have been preserved and are displayed at the site. Mystery surrounds the spot; scholars are still deciphering the ancient icons depicted on the stone engravings.
Another site to see is the 19th-century Catedral Basilica de Mazatlán, unique because of its Gothic and Moorish architectural design in a region that mostly features Spanish colonial-style structures.
From November to May, Mazatlán's art community hosts a public art walk on the first Friday of each month. If you're vacationing on one of these Fridays, sign up for the chance to admire and possibly purchase artwork created by resident sculptors, painters, fabric designers, and photographers. Many of these artists have restored historic homes, and they open them up for the public art walk. Touring these uniquely renovated places could be the highlight of your trip—let them inspire eclectic design ideas for your own space back home.
To get away from the bustle of the city, take a day trip to one of Mazatlán's three famous islands—Deer Island, Goat Island, and Stone Island—which protrude off the shore of Zona Dorada. They feature intimate beaches, clear water and an abundance of wildlife. Travelers often visit the islands to snorkel, so rent underwater equipment to see tropical fish, sea turtles and stingrays.
October and November are the best months to take a trip to Mazatlán. Summer can be rainy, and vacations during winter can be more costly. Fall weather is still warm enough to enjoy the beach while escaping most of the crowds.
To reach Mazatlán by airplane, fly into the General Rafael Buelna International Airport (MZT). If you like road trips, then feel free to travel to the region by car, but you'll need to acquire short-term auto insurance from Mexico. Boat transport is another option. Baja ferries travel between Baja, California, and Mazatlán. Upon your arrival, take a bus or hire a taxi to move around the city and to visit nearby historical sites.