Mazatlan

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Travel Guide North America Mexico Mazatlan

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Introduction

Mazatlan

Mazatlan

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Mazatlan is an important harbour city along the Pacific coastline of the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. It has around 400,000 inhabitants.

Mazatlán is a Nahuatl word meaning "place of deer." The city was founded in 1531 by an army of Spaniards and indigenous settlers. By the mid-19th century, a large group of immigrants arrived from Germany, in particular a large group from Westphalia. Together, with the hard work of the Natives, they were able to develop Mazatlán into a thriving commercial seaport, importing equipment for the nearby gold and silver mines. It served as the capital of Sinaloa from 1859 to 1873. The German settlers also influenced the local music, banda, with some genres being an alteration of Bavarian folk music. The settlers also established the Pacifico Brewery on March 14, 1900. This in one of the most famous beers in all of Mexico.

Mazatlán is the second-largest city in the state. It is also a popular tourist destination for Mexicans as well as Canadians and U.S. citizens; its beaches are lined with resort hotels, clubs, bars and restaurants. A car ferry crosses the Gulf of California, from Mazatlán to La Paz, Baja California Sur. The municipality has a land area of 3,068.48 km² and includes smaller outlying communities such as Villa Unión, La Noria, El Quelite, and El Habal.

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Sights and Activities

  • Malecon - An unimpeded sidewalk extends for 5 kilometres along the beach from old Mazatlan's Playa Olas Atlas to the newer developments in the Golden Zone. Many beachfront seafood restaurants housed under palapas line the malecon.
  • Clavadistas - These brave cliff divers perform daily when tide conditions permit. You can view them atop their rocky perch above the waves from the malecon, just north of Playa Olas Atlas.
  • Mazatlan Lighthouse, called El Faro Lighthouse, is located at the peak of Cerro del Creston, at the southern end of Mazatlán. The lighthouse has the distinction of being built atop of what was formerly an island, and has a length of 641 m by 321 m and with a height of 157 m, making it the highest natural lighthouse in the Americas, and one of the highest operating lighthouses in the entire world. A pleasant trail heads up and around this island leading to the top with amazing views of Mazatlan, the port and out to sea.
  • Mazatlan Aquarium. Since its opening on September 13, 1980, Mazatlán Aquarium has been one of the most complete and best of its kind in Latin America, besides being the largest in all of Mexico. According to the institution.

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Events and Festivals

Day of the Dead

Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries except Mexico (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexciowhere where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.

Other Events and Festivals

Grito de la Independencia - September 15th is Mexican Independence Day! A massive celebration involving plenty of singing, dancing and fireworks takes place in the Zócalo. Everyone here awaits an appearance from Mexico's president who rings a bell from a central balcony of the Palacio Nacional overlooking the Zócalo. The president then shouts out the Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores which was Father Hidalgo's famous call to arms against Spanish rule in 1810

  • Dia de la Candelaria. Candlemas is held February 2nd and commemorates Jesus being introduced into the temple 40 days after his birth. This nationwide celebration sees many different ways of celebrating and many towns hold processions, bullfights and dances. Of course, plenty of delicious, traditional foods are served during Dia de la Candelaria as well.
  • Carnaval is held in late February or early March throughout all of Mexico. This big party is meant to celebrate the 40 day penance of Lent. Carnaval always takes place during the week or so prior to Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Sunday. Mexicans celebrate this holiday with fireworks, food, dancing, parades, dancing and drinking.
  • Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a huge celebration which starts on Palm Sunday. This is a very popular time for Mexicans to take a short break; as a result, it seems most of the country is on the move, with buses and hotels often booked out. As for the celebration of Semana Santa, expect colorful processions and many masses at churches everywhere.
  • Día de Nuestra Seňora de Guadalupe, or Day of our Lady of Guadalupe, is held December 12th. There is a week-long build up to this religious celebration in honour of the Virgin who appeared to the indigenous Juan Diego in the year 1531. Since then, the Lady of Guadalupe has been Mexico's religious patron and her veneration is very significant. It is traditional for young boys to be dressed as a Juan Diego and for young girls to be dressed in indigenous garb and brought to a special mass, held at many churches throughout the country.

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Weather

Mazatlán has a tropical savanna climate bordering a hot semi-arid climate, with a marked and rather long dry season and an average annual temperature of 25 °C. Note that during the summer months, with the humidity factor, temperatures usually feel well above what the thermometer shows. During the period of 1940-1980, the municipality experienced an average annual 748 mm of precipitation, with a maximum of 215.4 mm in 24 hours, and 90.4 mm was observed in one hour. During the same period the average evaporation rate per year was 2146.80 mm; the prevailing winds are in a northwesterly direction at an average speed of 5.0 meters. Thermal sensation in summer is quite marked.

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Getting There

By Plane

General Rafael Buelna International Airport (MZT) offers flights to a number of places, including cities in the USA like Los Angeles, Houston, Denver and Phoenix, and Canada, like Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Edmonton. Mexican destinations include Mexico City, Guadalajara, Tijuana and Puerto Vallarta.

By Car

Federal Highway 15 runs north to south along the coast and passes through Mazatlán; this route comes into the city north from Culiacán and from Tepic to the south. Highway 40 enters Mazatlán from the city of Durango

By Bus

Central de Autobuses - Calle Ferrusquilla, off Avenida Ejercito Mexicano - All bus lines from points north, east and south operate from this modern bus station, 3 blocks inland from Playa Norte. Destinations include Culiacán Rosales, Durango, Los Mochis, Tepic, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey and beyond.

For an overview of schedules and connections, check thebusschedule.com. Also check out rome2rio.com.

By Boat

Baja Ferries transports vehicles and foot passengers between La Paz, Baja California Sur and Mazatlan several times a week. Baja Ferries offers a range of ticket classes for the 18 hour passage across the Sea of Cortes, ranging from private sleeper berths to row seating in the passenger lounge. NOTE: - Much of Mexico is on vacation during the months of July and August - book passage well in advance during this time.

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Getting Around

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.

Uber is in Mazatlán and always about half the price of a pulmonía. 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 US$4 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 Public Transport

Unique to Mazatlán are pulmonias which look like a cross between a VW Beetle and a large golf cart. In true Mexican style these vehicles have fancy tires, gleaming wheels and usually blast loud music. These can be cheaper than taking taxis as long as you agree upon a fare in advance of your ride.

Intra-city buses ply nearly every main street in the city and are cheap; expect to pay a few pesos for any route. Major points along the way of each route - markets, plazas, malls, hospitals and so on - will be displayed in the front window of the bus. Most people wait for their bus at designated stops but it is often possible to flag down a bus anywhere.

By Foot

Getting around on foot is easy in Mazatlán. The malecon is a great way to take in all the best sights and services of the city, even without walking the entire length of it. Of course, you can always access the beach very easily from the malecon as side steps lead down to the sand at regular intervals along the way. The street that runs along the malecon path is where all the hotels, clubs, bars and restaurants you will need as a tourist are located.

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Eat

  • El Molcajete Loco - Calle Guillermo Nelson Nte. 2600, Centro Tel: 52 669 910 2645 - Mexican seafood standards like ceviche, shrimp cocktails, fried fish and octopus dishes are served at this popular locals restaurant.
  • Mariscos Puerto Viejo - Paseo Olas Atlas 25, Centro Tel: 52 669 982 1886 - One of the quieter full service restaurants on Playa Olas Atlas, serving Mexican dishes, antojitos and seafood.

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Drink

  • Bar Belmar - This bar is located within Hotel Belamar. The oceanfront setting makes this a great place for a large bottle of Pacifico beer or their legendary micheladas. Address: Paseo Olas Atlas 166B, Centro, Phone: 52 669 985 1112, Hours: Daily, 1 PM - 12 AM
  • Joe's Oyster Bar, Av Playa Gaviotas 100, ☎ +52 669 983 5333. Joe's Oyster Bar is located on the beach in the Hotel Ramada Mazatlan (formerly the Hotel Los Sabalos). It is a palapa (grass roof) bar. It is 2 for 1 beer (about M$40) all day and night. It opens around noon and stays open until 2am weekdays and 4am weekends. During the day you can sit on the ledge over the beach and listen to classic rock music. They have a volleyball court in the bar if you wish to play. It is great for happy hour and watching the sunset. At night, it turns into a nightclub where you can dance on the chairs and tables. Many people hang out on the beach in front of Joe's just to listen to the music. It gets very busy on Friday and Saturday nights and has a small cover charge (M$60) which includes your first 2 beers or 1 mixed drink. During the day, food is served. A visit to Joe's Oyster bar is a must when you visit Mazatlan.

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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.

  • Hotel Playa Mazatlan. Nice, beachfront hotel. 3 swimming pools, open-air restaurant, fitness center and volleyball court.
  • Casa de Huespedes Casillo, Jose Azueta.
  • Hotel Lerma, Simon Bolivar 622 (Old Mazatlan), ☎ +52 69 81 24 36. Prices range between US$5 for a single without bath and $8 for a double with bath.
  • Hotel Mexico, 201 Calle Mexico, Centro, ☎ +52 669 981 3806. Check-in: 7:00, check-out: noon. 100 pesos per night, double during Carnaval.
  • Hotel Belmar, Ave. Olas Altas 166, Centro. Check-in: 7:00, check-out: noon. M$200 per night (must negotiate), apartments on roof US$300 per month.
  • Estrella Del Mar Golf & Beach Resort, ☎ +1-888-587-0609. Camino Isla de la Piedra KM 10, Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico 82280. Estrella Del Mar is a Mazatlan Real Estate, golf & beach resort destination in Mazatlan just 10 minutes from the international airport. A gated community comprising oceanfront condominiums with pools and gardens plus homesites alongside the 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. Estrella Del Mar sits up against 5 km (3½ miles) of white sandy beachfront and also houses Mexico's largest privately funded turtle sanctuary.
  • Las Villas Hotel & Spa, ☎ +1-877-629-2852. Camino Isla de la Piedra KM 10, Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico 82280. Las Villas Hotel & Spa is a brand new 2010 built luxury beachfront Mazatlan Hotel within the gated community of Estrella Del Mar. With 71 rooms, a full service spa, restaurant and bar, pool & hot-tubs, Las Villas is situated right on the beach. An ideal location for honeymoons, weddings, family reunions, conferences and retreats or other special occasions. edit
  • El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel, ☎ +-52 669 913-3333. Av. Camarón Sábalo S/N, Mazatlán, Mexico 82110. A modern, Spanish-style resort located on the beach and a member of El Cid Resorts. The amenities of the hotel include private balconies in every guest room, two connected free form pools, a swim-up bar, children’s club, spa, fitness center, and five on-site restaurants.
  • El Cid Granada Hotel & Country Club, ☎ +-52 669 913-3333. Av. Camarón Sábalo S/N, Mazatlán, Mexico 82110. Located 135 m (150 yards) from the beach and surrounded by lush gardens, this hotel is a member of El Cid Resorts. This Mexican-style low rise hotel located on the golf course features a serene swimming pool, secluded areas for relaxing, and is within walking distance of the spa and tennis facilities.
  • El Cid El Moro Beach Hotel, ☎ +-52 669 913-3333. Av. Camarón Sábalo S/N, Mazatlán, Mexico 82110. The beachfront resort is a member of El Cid Resorts and features all suite accommodations, private balconies with ocean views, an oceanfront Jacuzzi and swimming pool, open-air restaurant, and on-site spa, fitness center, golf and fishing.
  • El Cid Marina Beach Hotel, ☎ +-52 669 913-3333. Av. Camarón Sábalo S/N, Mazatlán, Mexico 82110. A member of El Cid Resorts, this all suite oceanfront hotel features Mediterranean style accommodations, a private beach, swimming pools and on-site golf, water sports, tennis courts, and fitness center.
  • Vidanta Mazatlán, Av. Sábalo Cerritos s/n.
  • Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay, Av Ernesto Coppel Campaña, ☎ +52 669 989-0525. Set on 20 pristine acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Emerald Bay is in a new and unspoiled area that is known as "New Mazatlán." Each suite comes with a panoramic ocean view. Amidst the sound of native birds, you'll relax below 150-year-old mangroves that surround a free-form pool.
  • Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan, Camaron Sabalo No.2121, ☎ +52 669 989 8900. Authentic Mexican style unites with modern amenities. Resort features two pools, one of the longest stretches of beach in Latin America, and a number of nearby water activities. Each suite at the Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán comes with an ocean view.

View our map of accommodation in Mazatlan or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafe's are widely available and you generally can find one in the direct vicinity. Sometimes photocopy stores or photo processing stores will double as an internet cafe with a couple of computers. Look for signs reading "Acceso a Internet" or "Cibernautica" or "Cibercafe". Charges range from approx. US$1 an hour to US$3 an hour, depending on the location.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Phone cards can be purchased anywhere and are needed for the majority of public phones. To call any number outside your region you have to dial 01 then followed by the area code. If calling a cellphone from a normal phone start with with 044. If calling cellphone to cellphone just dial the 10-digit number. To make an international call dial 00 followed by the country code then the local number. To call to Mexico, also dial 00 (most of the times) followed by the national code 52.

Post

The Mexican postal service is operated by Correos de México. The post service in Mexico is pretty good although not very cheap. It is reliable regarding the sending of postcards, but it takes at least a week to send it to other countries (US/Canada), more so if you send it to Europe or Australia. For packages it is better to use international services like FedEx or UPS. If you are sending a package internationally with the Mexican postal service, take the package OPEN to the post office, they may want to inspect it. Seal it up at the post office. Post offices typically open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday. You will find post offices (Oficina de Correos) is almost any town or city in Mexico. To buy stamps it is best to go to the post office, although you can also get them at stamp machines, located outside the post offices, at bus stations, airports and some commercial establishments.

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Accommodation in Mazatlan

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Mazatlan searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Mazatlan and areas nearby.

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This is version 25. Last edited at 9:38 on Apr 26, 19 by Utrecht. 20 articles link to this page.

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