Mazatlan Travel Guide

Mazatlán is a well-established tourist destination that still maintains its Mexican traditions and atmosphere. The vibe is laid back and tranquil, but there’s no lack of fun thanks to the host of water sports and wildlife watching activities available. Mazatlán represents the expansive golden beaches, affordable accommodations, and beckoning bars and restaurants that appeals to travelers.

The world-class golf scene, luxury-yacht harbor, and myriad watersports activities are largely accessible to even those with a tight budget. Take a short boat ride to Deer Island, where you can spend the day swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. Check out the cliff divers near the old lighthouse, and watch the sunset over the long golden beaches. Grab a surfboard and paddle out to the small, consistent waves. Deep-sea fishing for marlin and sailfish is among the best in Mexico. Hiking, bird-watching, and quiet beach walks here will lift your soul.  To learn more about all the beautiful beaches of the Mexican Riviera, visit here.  Now view our Mazatlan Travel Guide to help plan your next Mexican Riviera vacation!

Matzatlan Weather – When to Visit

The best time to visit Mazatlán is in October or November. The rainy months of summer are over, and the expensive, hectic winter travel season has yet to start. Start your search early.  If you are lucky, you could find a vacation package (hotel & airfare) for around $700 per person. You can also save by visiting in April or May

Best Mazatlan Beaches

Playa Las Gaviotas, Mazatlán Travel Guide, Mazatlán beaches, Mexican Riviera, best beaches in Mexico, best Mazatlan hotels, best Mazatlan restaurants, best Matzatlan bars, best Mazatlan beaches, things to do in Mazatlan, Mazatlan Tours & ActivitiesPlaya las Gaviotas

This is the most popular and one of the best beaches in Mazatlan. Playa las Gaviotas is in the “Golden Zone” famous for its waterfront hotels. The  waters here are calm, making it perfect for swimming. At low tide, you can walk out into the water for quite a distance.  Sunsets are amazing here and it does get lively at this beach.

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Playa Sabalo is great for parasailing, windsurfing and swimming.  There is also the famous Valentino’s disco close by. This beach is in the Golden Zone or Zona Dorada. Swimming along this beach is one of the safest as it is protected from the nearby islands.  There are plenty of vendors here selling a variety of souvenirs.

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Playa Bruja, Mazatlán Travel Guide, Mazatlán beaches, Mexican Riviera, best beaches in Mexico, best Mazatlan hotels, best Mazatlan restaurants, best Matzatlan bars, best Mazatlan beaches, things to do in Mazatlan, Mazatlan Tours & ActivitiesPlaya Bruja

Playa Bruja is the best beach in Mazatlan for surfing, and is not as busy of a beach since it is a surfers beach and a little ways out of town.  Some vendors are available to rent boards from, but be prepared for serious surfing. Waves at Playa Bruja can reach heights of 8 – 10 feet.  Swimming  is not recommended at this beach, but is great for relaxing and getting away from the crowds.  There are open air restaurants that offer great seafood.

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This beach is for individuals looking to relax. With a good stretch of beach, you will be able to enjoy a nice romantic stroll and enjoy the sunset.  Not recommended for swimming as you may find strong waves and undertows. If you are not into surfing you can enjoy watching those who do.

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Playa Norte is a long white, sandy beach. It is the longest stretch of beach in Mazatlan. This beach has a beautiful seaside promenade called The Malecon which overlooks the beach.  There are smaller swells for beginning and intermediate surfers. If you would like to fish you can also do it here by casting off the rocks.  The waves here can be forceful, but there is not much of a drop off so it is fairly safe. Swimming at this beach is best in the southern part.

Mazatlan Tours & Activities

Half-Day Tour to Tequila Factory and El Quelite Village

Experience the traditions of Mexico up close on a half-day tour from Mazatlan to villages known for their tequila and other locally made products. Stop at the picturesque villages of La Noria, La Vinata, and El Quelite, where you can visit a tequila distillery, browse the handicrafts and stroll along cobblestone streets. Learn about the process of making tequila, see a blue agave plantation, and sample tequila from the producer. Your tour includes guide, entrance fees, round-trip transport from Mazatlan, and the option to upgrade to include lunch.  Read more about Mazaltan to Tequila Factory and El Quelite Village Day Trip

Shore Excursion: Mazatlan Bike Tour

See more of Mazatlan on a bike excursion led by a local guide who’ll show you all the places the locals love. Learn about the history of this port and its famous beaches and see Plazuela Machado, home of the Angela Peralta Theater, as well as a fort, cathedral, Olas Altas, and the Pino Suarez Market. You’ll also ride one of the longest boardwalks in the world to view the beach and surf.  Read more about the Mazatlan Bike Tour Shore Excursion.

Old Town Mazatlan Segway Tour

Forget the walking tour—glide effortlessly through Mazatlan and cover two centuries of its history aboard a Segway. During this guided tour of Old Town and the waterfront, zip around landmarks such as the Plazuela Machado, the beautiful Cathedral, Olas Altas, and the Clavadista. You’ll discover more with less effort and time with a Segway. This small-group tour is limited to six people, ensuring personalized attention.  Read more about the Old Town Mazatlan Segway Tour.

Sierra Madre Villages Half-Day Cultural Tour

Escape Mazatlan’s bustle in favor of the rustic charm of Concordia and Copalia, colonial towns cradled by the Sierra Madre Mountains, on a 5-hour tour from Mazatlan. Visit 16th-century stone temples, admire colonial architecture, and observe artisan crafts such as bread- and tile-making. Refreshments and hotel pickup and drop-off in Mazatlan are included on this small-group tour, limited to 15 people.  Read more about Mazaltan to Sierra Madre Villages Half-Day Cultural Tour 

Mazatlan Countryside and Old Town Combo Tour

Get a peek at everyday life in rural Mexico during this enriching small-group visit to the Mazatlan Countryside, with a stop at the colonial-era town of Concordia. Get off the beaten track, swapping the chaos of the city for serene village life. You’ll get an insider’s tour of artisan workshops, from a rustic brick factory to an oven bakery. Check out 16th-century colonial sights and stop for a savory lunch spread.  Read more about Mazatlan Countryside and Old Town Combo Tour

Best Mazatlan Restaurants

El Presidio  $31 – 60

This is a sophisticated upscale Mexican and international restaurant.  The chef brings a worldly fusion complexity to all of the dishes including the mole and duck burrito, Mexican fried noodles topped with grilled zarandeado shrimp, roast chicken with chipotle and vanilla glaze, or black angus ribeye steam with habanero and lime butter.  Simply a great place to relax under the stars.  Telephone:  669-149-5054  Web:  El Presidio.

Pancho’s  $11 – 30

Pancho’s offers an extensive menu of Mexican food and a substantial wine list made up of mostly Mexican, Chilean and Spanish wines.  There are many seafood specialties including Camarones Pancho — a delicious tast treat where fresh jumbo shrimp are wrapped in bacon and fried, topped with cheddar cheese, and drizzled with a mouth watering shrimp sauce.  Pancho’s is famous for their Pescado Zarandeado — red snapper combined with tomatoes, green peppers, and onions.  Telephone:  669-914-0911  Web:  Pancho’s.

Topolo Mexican Restaurant & Wine Bar  $11 – 30

This is one of the most elegant restaurants in Mazatlán with excellent food and wine.  Topolo restaurant and bar is about the beauty of a garden setting and the delicious flavors of old and contemporary Mexico.  This is one of the more highly recommended restaurants in Mazatlán.  Telephone:  669-136-0660  Web:  Topolo Mexican Restaurant & Wine Bar.

Angelo’s  $31 – 60

Angelo’s serves fine Northern Italian and international cuisine in a graceful setting.  Angelo’s is one of Mazatlán’s best Italian restaurants featuring homemade pastas, shrimp dishes including superb scampi, and a large selection of imported wines.  The atmosphere is romantic, with candlelight, flowers, and live piano music.  Telephone:  669-989-8900  Web:  Angelo’s.

Casa Loma  $31 – 60

Enjoy a sophisticated meal like roast duck a l’Orange or the Mazatlán favorite of poached fish blanca rosa in the lovely Casa Loma dining room or outdoors by the bubbling patio fountain.  They offer an atmosphere of relaxed elegance with European style dining.  Telephone:  669-913-5398  Web:  Casa Loma.

Best Mazatlan Bars & Nightlife

Sky Room Bar

This is a top rated ocean view bar.  It is located on  the rooftop of the historic Posada Freeman Best Western.  It offers breathtaking 360 panoramic views of Mazatlán.  For some reason, it is rarely crowded.  A truly serene bar to have a drink and watch the sunset.  Telephone:  669-985-6060  Web:  Sky Room Bar.

Edgar’s Bar

Edgar’s Bar mostly attracks business people and some tourists.  Mid-afternoon they serve a Botana (appetizer) free.  Some days it is a meat stew with rice and refried beans and tacos.  Some days it is marlin stew, a Mexican version of meatball soup, a shrimp soup, or maybe a Mexican salad with seafood.  It is one of the more traditional Mazatlán Bar/Cantinas.  Telephone:  669-982-7218  Web:  Edgar’s Bar.

The Last Drop

This is a popular sports bar in Mazatlán.  They have lots of televisions, pool tables, and serve a nice range of delicious bar food including excellent pizza, Mexican BBQ, ribs and seafood.  Constantly rated among the best sports bars in Mazatlán.  Telephone:  669-121-0410  Web:  The Last Drop

Habanero’s Wine Bar

Habanero’s will take you on a sensual journey with an evening of intimate romantic lighting.  They offer a top rated selection of wine from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Italy, Spain, France, and the U.S.  They carry Casa Madero, which comes from the oldest winery in Mexico.  They also have a large selection of premium Mexican tequilas, popular and exotic Mexican Cervezas, and a good selection of find spirits.  Telephone:  669-136-0660  Web:  Habanero’s Wine Bar.

Puerto Viejo

This popular bar is located right on the Malecon at Olas Altas Beach.  Enjoy the ocean view while sitting in the outdoor seating.  This is one of the most recommended bars among resident gringos who gather for the sunset and happy hour.  They offer a delicious bargain menu of daily specials.  Telephone:  669-982-8226  Web:  Puerto Viejo.

Best Mazatlán Hotels

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa


Each suite comes with a panoramic ocean view from your private balcony and has amenities like outdoor Jacuzzis, a beauty salon with mini-spa and tennis courts nearby. Relax below 150-year-old mangroves that surround a free-form pool and stroll the shoreline by the bay. Located next world famous sport fishing waters, golf courses, and the Gold Zone, you can enjoy any number of nearby activities on both land and water.

thelocal Hotels Mazatlan

All accommodations include complimentary Wi-Fi access, flat-screen TVs, minibars, balconies and free parking. If you’re traveling with kids, consider the family suite, which has a balcony with ocean views and can sleep five occupants.  You will find a private beach, five swimming pools, two restaurants, three bars and lounges and a spa with steam rooms and a sauna.

Casa Lucila Hotel Boutique


With only eight rooms, Casa Lucila Hotel Boutique provides guests with sweeping pacific ocean views, located just a short walk to the area’s art galleries, museums, restaurants + bars, and boutique shops.

Isla Mazatlan Golden Resort


Luxury Club located in Mazatlan offering spectacular 3 bedroom Mediterranean style villas for up to 6 guests and a private marina with several marine services.

Park Inn by Radisson Mazatlan


Located near Mexico’s famous Golden Zone, the Park Inn by Radisson Mazatlán places you within walking distance of the gorgeous beaches that Mazatlán is known for. After a day of fun in the sun, you can rest and recharge in one of our comfortable rooms and suites, each with amenities like free Wi-Fi and coffee facilities.]

30 Comments

  1. Stefan

    Hi there Leahrae

    Mexico, my favorite central American country.
    I have been to Mazatlan about 33 years ago. I don’t remember too many details anymore but I think, looking at the pics, it grew bigger.
    I would like to go again and see these Petroglyphs at Las Labradas
    great post, I enjoyed it again

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Stefan, I am glad you enjoyed “revisiting” Mazatlán. I am sure that it has grown in 33 years for sure. The petroglyphs at Las Labradas are definitely something worth seeing. I hope you can make it back soon! Thanks for visiting.

      Reply
  2. Sarah Gaddes

    This article is so helpful! My husband and I are currently trying to decide on a good place to vacation next summer and this article has honestly helped us more than a lot of other google searches. I liked how you included hotel and restaurant information as well. I’ll be sure to keep checking back for more info.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Sarah and I am glad this will help you in your vacation planning. You will honestly love Mazatlán and all it has to offer. Please let me know if I can help you in any other way. Thanks for reading the Mazatlán Travel Guide!

      Reply
  3. Shawn

    Hey Leahrae,
    I haven’t been to Mexico yet but man does Mazatlan make me want to go!! I appreciate you breaking down some of the amenities of the area, especially doing so by price!! That is extremely helpful!! Great post. Hopefully someday soon my wife and I can experience a place like Mazatlan.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes Shawn, you will have to experience Mazatlán and the Mexican Riviera. It is a beautiful area with so much culture, great food, great beaches, and lots of outdoor activities to keep you busy. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com.

      Reply
  4. Ronnie

    Wow, beautiful shoreline and I like that it is pretty affordable. You have dazzled me again with a gorgeous place to put on my wish list. I love the areas you pick out. Thank you for all this wonderful information. You are making it very hard for me to choose a vacation destination!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Ronnie, Glad I am making it tough on you 🙂 Just need to take a lot of mini vacations maybe. Yes, Mazatlán is pretty affordable and a great way to enjoy a beach vacation on top of it. Glad you enjoyed!

      Reply
  5. Penelope

    I had no idea these islands had petroglyphs! Very cool, and cool to think about our ancestors living somewhere tropical. I also had no idea that Mexico was so strict about passports and wouldn’t accept them if the pages were torn. I need to take better care of mine pronto!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The petroglyphs are cool, and they are right there for anyone to see. Amazing that they have lasted this long for sure. I know that there are other countries are also strict with the passport pages. I guess, it would be hard to stamp on a torn page, LOL. Thanks for visiting the Mazatlán Travel Guide.

      Reply
  6. Craig

    Thanks for the tips on getting around in the open air golf cart type taxis. Every time I visit a foreign country I wonder what is a reasonable rate and if I need to tip or not. My first visit to India ended up with me paying an arm and a leg (in local terms) to get from A to B only to find out later I had been charged quadruple the normal rate! Glad to know the general prices and to negotiate before getting in, that is always key to avoiding arguments!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree Craig. There are certain places, Mexico being one, where it is always good to make sure you have agreed ahead of time. Otherwise, as you say, you could get charged an arm and a leg. Glad you enjoyed. Thank you for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com.

      Reply
  7. Irma

    Wow what an awesome review! I forgot all about Mazatlan, with all the hubbub about Cuba and the Caribbean. I have not heard anyone speak of the petroglyphs before, which would be the first thing that I would want to see there!
    My child is 20 years old…which resort do you think would have enough activity to keep her interested?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much Irma! Mazatlán is a wonderful beach destination. There are three hotels that would be great, simply because they have great facilities and are close to the beach or have a private beach. These would be the El Cid Marina Beach Hotel, Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay, or the Hotel Playa Mazatlán. These are great hotels that would keep your daughter interested and having fun. Thanks for reading !

      Reply
  8. Ann

    You’ve inspired me to check out Mazatlan! I’ve always wanted to go to Cancun as it’s one of the more well known destinations in Mexico. But after reading this, I’ll have to add this one to my list for sure. The Petroglyphs especially caught my interest! Thank you for sharing a great article.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Ann,

      Yes, there are so many great things to see and do in Mazatlán. What is nice is that it is more of the authentic Mexican type destination. I prefer this over the more touristy and crowded areas like Cancun. I believe you will find it interesting, fun, and relaxing. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  9. suzanne stoddart

    Hi Leahrae,
    Thank you for the beautiful review on Mazatlan. I’ve been to the Mexican Riviera but not the west coast yet. I definitely need to visit here lol. It looks beautiful! A great list of activities too. It’s always nice to get off a resort and view the area.
    Cheers,
    Suzanne

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for reading Suzanne! I am glad you enjoyed. Yes, I like to stay at a resort, but I also like to venture out and see the area. Mazatlán is very authentic and worth venturing out in. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  10. Shannon

    Hi, yet again another amazing guide on Mexico! Mazatlan was not on my list but with the cliff divers, petroglyphs and Deer Island I think I’ll have to add it to my list 🙂

    I love Mexico and you do an incredible job explaining the area, attractions, lodging and restaurants.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much Shannon, and I am glad you enjoyed reading the Mazatlán Travel Guide. Please come back when you are ready to plan 🙂

      Reply
  11. stefanie

    Hi Leahrae, another wonderful review of a beautiful place, you always make me want to go on holiday! I really need to start venturing out as I always stay in Europe. Mazatlan seems like an absolute dream, all those gorgeous beaches and water sports. I know if I ever went I would have to challenge myself to do that 13 mile walk along the promenade. And I have never heard of Petroglyphs before, how amazing they are still there after all this time for anybody to find.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Stefanie,

      Yes, you do need to get out of Europe! There are so many amazing places to see for sure, Mazatlán being one of them. Well the whole Mexican Riviera is pretty awesome really. The petroglyphs are a site to see for sure. I agree, that I can’t believe they are still there after all these years. Thank you for taking the time to comment Stefanie.

      Reply
  12. Alex

    My Dad regularly travels to Puerto Vallarta on a regular basis and it is right next to Mazatlan. I am sure he will love your thorough, in depth article. I know that he has been meaning to head over to Mazatlán and stay, so your information will be great for him! I will refer it to him. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh wow, yes he needs to go to Mazatlán and stay, just to experience Mazatlán! I think they are both unique in their own ways, and Mazatlán is definitely worth a visit for him! Thanks for reading BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  13. Deborah

    Sorry, a couple of questions. Hit send to quickly on my last comments. I did want to ask about packages. Do you know what hotels are close to the Cliff Divers? Is there any package deals for hotel and air to make Mazatlán even more economical? If you open a travel business, I will be your first customer. I am ready to head to Mazatlán. If I can get a great package deal, that will make the planning come a little more quickly 🙂
    Thank you and look forward to hearing back from you!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      There are so many hotels on the Malecon, as this is where the Cliff Divers are. I am going to send you an email to get a few more specifics. I can certainly put a package deal together for you. You will be surprised how affordable Mazatlán really is. I look forward to putting together a package for you!

      Reply
  14. Deborah

    Leahrae, I get totally lost in your articles. They take me back to the Island and I can almost smell the salt in the air. The cliff divers are awesome and if I wouldn’t kill myself trying it I would definitely be up there getting ready to soar. The details you have on the various local restaurants and places to visit are amazing. It’s almost like you checked the food, service and mileage yourself this morning.
    Thank you for my mini vacation. Great article and I look forward to your next destination.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am so glad you enjoy the articles Deborah 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to leave me comments and for visiting the Mazatlán Travel Guide. Yes, I can almost smell the salt in the air when I am putting the article together LOL. See you at the next beach!

      Reply
  15. Caz

    Wow, what a fantastic destination, I want to go there now. I will certainly be adding Mazatlán to my bucket list. Thanks again for the great information, I bookmarked your website a while back and visit regularly to check out what new beach destinations you have added.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Caz! I am glad you enjoyed reading the Mazatlán Travel Guide. Thank you for taking the time to leave comments. I hope you enjoy “vacationing” on my site. Please come back when you are ready to start planning your next beach destination.

      Reply

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