Things to do in Mazatlan

Things to do in  Mazatlan

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Perched on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, adjacent to the southern tip of Baja California Sur, is Mazatlan. Thanks to a recently renovated historic center and endless stretches of sandy shore, the coastal city magnetises travelers with a penchant for outdoor adventure and beachside relaxation. At the top of all Mazatlan itineraries should be a cliff-diving show, during which visitors can watch fearless divers plunge into the Pacific Ocean from dizzying heights. In Centro Historico, the likes of Plazuela Machado and Teatro Angela Peralta make for gorgeous walking tours, while in Zona Dorada (Golden Zone), Playa los Sabalos and Playa las Gaviotas swell with visitors soaking up year-round sunshine. From the city, day trips to the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains for ATV rides and ziplining are a popular choice for thrill-seekers. Culture connoisseurs can gain insight into local culture during a tour of El Quelite, while Stone Island (Isla de la Piedra), home to coconut tree-fringed beaches and authentic Mexican restaurants, is a great place to escape to for half a day. Also within easy reach of Mazatlán is El Rosario, renowned for its artisan crafts, the Estero Ecological Reserve, home to more than 270 species of bird, and La Noria, where blue agave plantations and tequila distilleries abound.

Top 10 attractions in Mazatlan

Mazatlan Lighthouse (El Faro)

Thought to be the highest lighthouse in the Americas, El Faro in Mazatlán sits 523 feet above sea level and has been in operation since 1879. Now a Mazatlán landmark, visitors can walk along the glass lookout platform, admire panoramic views over the port city of Mazatlán, and catch some of the city’s best sunsets.More

Plazuela Machado

One of the oldest squares in Mazatlán, leafy Plazuela Machado dates from 1837 and is a jumping-off point for further exploration of the Mazatlán Old Town. Surrounded by brightly colored restaurants, galleries, and the Ángela Peralta Theater, visitors can soak up the laid back, family-friendly atmosphere at Plazuela Machado by day, and enjoy live music performances by night.More

Stone Island (Isla de la Piedra)

With calmer, warmer waters than other popular beaches in Mazatlán, plenty of opportunity for snorkeling, and several open-air seafood restaurants, Stone Island is one of the most popular day trip destinations in Mazatlán. Palm-lined Isla de la Piedra—which is not technically an island—is also a hub of soft adventure activity, such as horseback riding and hiking, as well as relaxation.More

Golden Zone (Zona Dorada)

Once an unoccupied stretch of sand and swampland, the Golden Zone (Zona Dorada) is now the top tourist district in Mazatlán, dominated by hotels, resorts, and several popular beaches. A jumping-off point for further exploration of the region, travelers can visit the modern marina, lounge on Sábalo or Gaviotas Beach, and party all-night in the bars and clubs.More

Old Mazatlan (Centro Historico)

A few blocks away from the popular Olas Altas Beach, Mazatlán’s Old Town is a neighborhood filled with restored, French-style 19th and 20th century buildings. Centered around the leafy and laidback Plazuela Machado, visitors can explore art galleries, small museums, boutiques, and a range of bars, restaurants, and cafes, as well as historically significant attractions such as the Ángela Peralta Theater.More

Olas Atlas Beach (Playa Olas Altas)

Perhaps the best-known beach in Mazatlán, Playa Olas Altas was the center point of Mazatlán’s burgeoning tourist industry in the 1950s. Situated just blocks from the city’s historic Old Town, Olas Altas is a popular surfing spot where visitors can marvel over ocean sunsets, take a dip in the saltwater swimming pool, and escape the crowds of Golden Zone beaches.More

Angela Peralta Theater (Teatro Angela Peralta)

Originally built in the late 19th century, the Angela Peralta Theater (Teatro Ángela Peralta) is a landmark of downtown Mazatlán with a tumultuous past. Over the years, it served as a boxing arena, movie theater, and opera house, before falling into decline, but visitors can now tour the neoclassical building, catch live performances at the intimate 841-seat venue, and visit the onsite art galleries.More
Mazatlan Aquarium (Acuario Mazatlán)

Mazatlan Aquarium (Acuario Mazatlán)

Marvel at over 800 species of jellyfish at Mexico’s largest jellyfish exhibition and admire seahorses, octopuses, and clownfish in one of several saltwater tanks at Mazatlán Aquarium (Acuario de Mazatlán). Ideal for families and animal lovers alike, there are also daily live animal shows, an onsite marine museum, botanical garden, aviary, and more.More

Mazatlan Cruise Port

Mazatlan, the “Pearl of the Pacific”, has drawn people to its shores since pre-Columbian times thanks to its gorgeous beaches. Add an architecturally outstanding old town, the festive, hotel-lined Golden Zone, and top-notch shopping, dining, and nightlife, and it's no wonder that this is a heavily trafficked cruise stop.More
Estero Del Yugo Nature Preserve

Estero Del Yugo Nature Preserve

Saltwater and freshwater lagoons, 1.5 miles of nature trails marked by wooden boardwalks, and tropical deciduous forests make up the 11 hectares (27 acres) of the Estero del Yugo Nature Preserve in Mazatlán. Excellent for nature lovers, look at for over 250 species of native and non-native aquatic and tropical birds, crocodiles, and mammals such as ocelots, and lynx.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Mazatlan

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All about Mazatlan

When to visit

Winter sunshine fills Mazatlan’s golden beaches with sun-loving crowds, and a lineup of big events keeps the energy high through spring. Parades and puppets mark the start of Carnival in February, and Mazatlan becomes party central for spring break revelry that hits a fever pitch in March. For sun-soaked relaxation without the crowds, October and November are a sweet spot after a steamy summer.


People Also Ask

What is Mazatlan best known for?

Situated on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Mazatlan offers seemingly endless stretches of sand and a vibrant historic center. Originally a popular destination for sportfishing, drawing Hollywood stars like John Wayne and Gary Cooper, Mazatlan has experienced a rebirth thanks to an investment in its public parks and squares.

What is there to do in Mazatlan?

In Mazatlan’s Centro Historico, explore 19th-century landmarks such as the performance hall Angela Peralta Theater and Immaculate Conception Basilica. Watch divers plunge into the Pacific Ocean from dizzying heights at a cliff diving show. In the Golden Zone, visit Playa los Sabalos and Playa las Gaviotas to soak up the sunshine.

Is Mazatlan on the coast?

Yes. Mazatlan is located on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, directly east of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. It’s a port town found in the western part of the Sinaloa state, about a five-hour drive from Mexico City. It experiences almost perfect weather year-round and boasts many beautiful beaches.

Is Mazatlan worth visiting?

Yes. Although Mazatlan might not top the list of most popular Mexican beach towns, it offers plenty of things to do and see, plus fewer tourists. It’s a historic colonial town with thriving beach culture—offering the best of the coast combined with the sensibility of a city like San Miguel de Allende.

What activities do people do in Mazatlan?

From sightseeing to sunbathing to sportfishing, Mazatlan offers a range of activities. Popular options include strolling along the city’s Malecon, the longest boardwalk like it in Mexico; exploring Old Mazatlan with its cobblestone streets and colonial buildings; hiking to the El Faro summit; and spending a sunny day on Playa Sabalo.

Is Mazatlan dangerous for tourists?

No. Mazatlan is considered safe, but travelers are advised to stick to tourist-friendly areas such as the Golden Zone, Old Town, and Malecon where police have a presence. Mazatlan is located in the Sinaloa state of Mexico, which, due to an increase in violent crimes, some countries advise against visiting.

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