Discover the passion and enchantment of the real Mexico in beautiful Mazatlán, one of the securest, most pristine beach destinations in the country. Like nearly all tourist hotspots in Mexico, Mazatlán is safe for visitors, and travelers should exercise the same common-sense cautions as they would in any vacation area. With so much to do and see in Mazatlán, it’s almost unthinkable to pass up such a stunning, culturally and historically rich beachside city.
Once populated by hunters, fisherman and farmers, Mazatlán, which means “land of the deer” in the state’s native Náhuatl language, began to attract tourists in the 1930s. In the 1950s, hotels were built along Playa Olas Altas, Mazatlán’s first tourist beach, and from the 1970s onward, a long strip of hotels and visitor hotspots spread north along the coast. Since the downtown area’s restoration in the 1990s and early 2000s, more travelers have rediscovered the glory of buildings key to the area’s history, including the Gothic- and Baroque-styled Mazatlán Cathedral, built in the late 1880s.
Today, Mazatlán remains a major tourist destination along the Mexican Gold Coast, pulling in more than one million visitors annually, including close to 8,000 North Americans who choose to stay for much of the year due to the area’s peacefulness and tropical splendor. Whether you travel by plane, boat, car or a combination of those, you, too, will come to love this extraordinary Mexican jewel.
One of the biggest draws to Mazatlán, if not the biggest, is its coastline — 15 miles of soft, sandy beaches kissed by the lulling waters of the Pacific Ocean. Mazatlán is located just south of the Tropic of Cancer, establishing the city at the start of the Mexican tropics. The weather is perpetually warm and summer-like, which makes the area a refuge for many during the wintertime. With its golden beaches lined with gracefully swaying palms and dotted with crystal-blue lagoons, it’s no wonder Mazatlán’s nickname is “The Pearl of the Pacific.”
Mazatlán offers visitors an endless array of recreational activities. Given its location on the Sea of Cortez, water sports abound, with surfing, snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking and diving all represented. Sport fishing is a major attraction, and the area boasts a long list of species exclusive to this destination. Hiking is also popular for both tourists and natives alike, and Mazatlán doesn’t disappoint with its breathtaking views, fascinating flora and fauna, and scenic access to the surrounding historic villages. Golf enthusiasts, too, will enjoy Mazatlán — the city features three professionally designed courses, each with varying levels of difficulty.
To see the heart of Mazatlán, though, venture beyond the traditional tourist areas near the resorts and into the city’s pueblo viejo, Old Mazatlán. Stroll ancient cobblestone streets to amaze at weathered statues, exquisitely aged buildings and a growing number of restored gems. Catch a theater show at the Teatro Ángela Peralta, then grab a bite at the Plazuela Machado. Step into one of the many small museums to get an informed look at local history, or hunt for trinkets and treasures in a nearby boutique. Here in Old Mazatlán, life goes on as it has for centuries, with an awe-inspiring vibrancy permeating the bustling markets full of flowers, fruits and wares; stately churches; and tree-encased plazas throughout the neighborhoods.
So come, be pampered in one of Mazatlán’s numerous luxury resorts, visit the historical attractions, and enjoy hiking, bird-watching or aquatic sports. No matter how you choose to spend your days and nights, beautiful Mazatlán is a tropical paradise no traveler should overlook!