On the Pacific shoreline of Mexico sits an undiscovered gem. With its relaxing vibes, magical history and many resorts to choose from, Mazatlán is the covetable spot for a vacation. Its sandy beaches are inviting, but the city’s rich culture is what really sets it apart from other beautiful beach destinations. Factor in its vibrant food scene and countless must-explore sights and it’s clear that Mazatlán deserves a place on everyone’s travel bucket list.
Mazatlán blends beach life with striking neoclassical architecture. Find bright sun-kissed colours, Paris-esque cobblestoned streets, buzzing café patios, boardwalks with lively performers and almost 500 nationally designated historic buildings. In the old Historic District, you can discover many of those buildings, as well as Mazatlán’s unique culture, first-hand. Visit Plaza Machado, the district’s central social hub, to find galleries, restaurants, boutiques and live entertainment; the Teatro Ángela Peralta, a landmark Romantic-style opera house dating back to the 19th century; the Cathedral of Mazatlán, a neo-Gothic basilica that has served as the city’s main religious building since 1899; and so much more.
Mazatlán is making a mark on Mexico’s culinary scene, with standout dishes and eateries to be found across the city. Being right by the ocean, it’s hard to go wrong with fresh seafood – in fact, Mazatlán is known for its shrimp and ceviche. Go for a stroll and you’ll be greeted by rows of food trucks and carts serving authentic local fare – like tacos, grilled chicken and chili-lime corn – but there’s also no shortage of options for elevated dinner dates on nights when you want to venture beyond your resort. An added bonus? Mazatlán is located in the northwest of Mexico, an area that is known for its agriculture, so you know that every time a plate is set down in front of you, you’ll be eating fresh local ingredients.
Room to discover
Start by strolling along over 32 kilometres of picturesque beaches in Mazatlán. From there, there’s so much to explore, including the Historic District and beyond. Golden Zone is a popular tourist area thanks to its scenic views, numerous hotel options, laid-back restaurants, craft vendors and energetic bars. If you’ve rented a car, check out nearby El Quelite, a village known for its charming rural community, colourful shops and local cuisine (think fresh cheese and pork gorditas). And don’t forget to visit Mazatlán’s lush islands, including Deer Island (great for snorkelling) and Bird Island (a pristine spot that’s home to hundreds of bird species).
Where to Eat and Explore in Mazatlán
Casa 46 is a restaurant that contributed to the revaluation of the downtown area. It combines an aesthetic and sensory experience with cuisine of a very high standard. Casa 46 offers regional Mexican food, in which traditional flavours are highlighted with a touch of innovation. The restaurant is located in the heart of the historic centre in a 19th-century building, and it boasts a panoramic view of the majestic Plazuela Machado.
Observatorio Mazatlán 1873
One of the oldest buildings in the city, the Observatorio Mazatlán 1873 was once a military observation post that sits atop a hill 75 metres above sea level. Today, you can learn about the history of Mazatlán, tour a bird sanctuary, walk along cacti and agave plants, and visit a mezcal distillery.
Gran Acuario Mar de Cortés
Gran Acuario Mar de Cortés is a landmark aquarium in Latin America, and it more than lives up to the distinction. Dedicated to the Sea of Cortez – which boasts such a rich, biodiverse ecosystem that famous explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau once called it “the world’s aquarium” – the spot is home to 25 habitats that let visitors see everything from colourful fish, fascinating snakes, mesmerizing jellyfish and so much more. The aquarium focuses on education and research, aiming to spark imagination and connect people to the natural world.
Tomatl Food Tours
With so many food options to choose from, why limit yourself to just one or two dining spots? Created by a Mazatlan local, Tomatl food tours highlight the city’s vibrant culture through its amazing culinary scene. Excursions include a taco and beer tour, which will take travellers to the best, under-the-radar taco stands in various neighbourhoods, as well as one that will immerse you in Mazatlan’s history as you eat fresh seafood, traditional fare and Spanish-inspired dishes.