I’ll bet you didn’t know that John Wayne used to keep a boat at the Playa Olas Atlas in Old Mazatlan and Ernest Hemingway used to travel there. Are you planning to visit Mazatlan? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in “the Pearl of the Pacific.”
When I have a visitor from out of town the first place they want to see are the beaches, but I also take them to Plaza Machado – for a more local, authentic experience where he or she can see the famous Angela Peralta Theater or pick up local handicrafts.
Romance in Mazatlan, Mexico
When I want to escape the tourists, my favorite place to visit is Mexico’s Stone Island for some serious R&R.
If this is a romantic trip, I recommend Hotel Jonathon’s rooftop for kissing with a view. For more information on Mazatlan’s newest boutique hotel, visit http://www.jonathonhotel.com/
The best place to go snorkeling is Deer Island — check with El Cid Resorts for excursions to this island.
Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit the Mazatlan Aquarium where you can see more than 200 species of fish spread across more than 50 tanks.
Mexican food in Mazatlan
If you are looking for typical seafood cuisine, I recommend El Shrimp Bucket. The restaurant, started by the creators of Senor Frog’s, is located on Mazatlan’s scenic Malecon at the Olas Altas Beach. Another fun place to dine with friends is La Puntilla.
The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Molika Bakery in old Mazatlan. Run by a French-trained Mazatleco, the bakery offers a variety of pastries and treats.
Looking for cheap food in Mazatlan? Go to Los Arcos in the Zona Dorada (Mazatlan’s Golden Zone) for seafood and Mexican food. Get the stuffed shrimp and wash it down with sangria or head to La Costa Marinera over looking the water. Delicious!
The Centro Historico is the spot for late night dining — Pedro y Lola, which has been featured in a number of international publications, offers a variety of Mexican dishes — and is open until 1am. Order the banana cream pie, it is the best I have tasted!
For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Topolo Restaurant and Wine Bar, a five-star restaurant in Mazatlan’s Centro Historico. Be sure to make a reservation!
Seeing a lot of shrimp? Mazatlan is home to the world’s largest shrimp fleet and offers shrimp dishes in most, if not all, restaurants. On my trip I ate baked shrimp, stuffed shrimp, sauteed shrimp, fried shrimp and ceviche shrimp.
When you come to Mazatlan, get your picture taken with the destination’s famous cliff-divers past the Malecon and in front of Cathedral in Centro Historico.
The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Lookout Hill, which offers a panoramic view of the city.
Olas Altas offers great views, and the Malecon is the best place to watch or experience Mazatlan’s cultural events, from Carnival to the Festival of Lights.
In Mazatlan, outdoor enthusiasts will be in heaven! Mazatlan is a great destination for adventure, from surfing and snorkeling to some of the best ziplining in Mexico. There are several great hikes around town. The destination also recently debuted whale-watching excursions — great for kids!
Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the 7-mile Malecon for an ocean-side view and a stroll through Mazatlan’s cultural district.
If you are a museum lover, Mazatlan’s best museum is the Archaeological Museum nearby the Plaza Machado which features pre-Hispanic Sinaloa exhibits.
Looking for night life in Mazatlan? Go dancing at Fiesta Land, home to many bars and nightclubs in Zona Dorada, and find live Latin music at Mundo Banana’s at the intersection of Ave. Camaron Sabalo and Ave Rodolfo T. Loaiza.
Mazatlan My City (www.mazatlanmycity.com) will keep you posted on the latest happenings.
You can tell a lot about Mazatlan from visiting and taking part in celebrations around Carnaval! The destination has the third-largest Carnaval in the world, following only Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. A family-friendly celebration, Carnaval offers a wonderful showcase of Mazatlan’s rich cultural offering — don’t miss the dancing, music, parades and fireworks during the festivities in February.
In the spring you should attend Mazatlan’s Temporada Primavera, the springtime cultural festival. Last year’s spring season offered over 70 cultural activities, including ballet, contemporary dance and operatic performances, as well as musical, theatrical and film events. The festivities include activities for children, from musical performances to arts and crafts.
In the summer you should head down to the beach! Summer in Mazatlan is hot and sunny, and there’s no better time to enjoy a locally-brewed Pacifico while keeping cool in the Pacific.
Did you know that Mazatlan is known as a leading cultural destination in Mexico? Plan a visit to the renowned Angela Peralta Theater in the fall. From October until Christmas each year, the calendar of events at the Angela Peralta is booked solid, and all through the year visitors can enjoy various events at this beautiful theater, which dates back to 1881.
Come to Mazatlan for world-class fishing in the winter. Mazatlan is a great destination for fishing year-round, with some of the world’s largest marlin and sailfish, and winter is the best time for catching large numbers of fish.
Insider Tip: Check out La Vinata Tequila Distillery in the Zona Dorada where you can try and purchase locally made tequila.
Just outside of Mazatlan you can visit the charming colonial village of El Quelite. Make sure to stop for lunch at El Meson de Los Laureanos for a taste of the local flavors.
If You Go:
Visit Go Mazatlan for more information
Article, photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Mazatlán Hotel Association.