If you’re currently making plans for winter travel, and why wouldn’t you be with polar vortexes holding many of us in its icy grip already, then you need to put Mazatlán at the top of your travel list. Before you go to Mazatlán though, I’ve pulled together what you need to know before you go!
What You Need to Know Before You Go To Mazatlán
As a travel writer I’m always open to visiting new places. My job title however, doesn’t automatically make me objective. I’m human after all, and so I often arrive in a destination locked and loaded with a virtual suitcase of fully formed biases. I don’t pay extra to bring it, but it’s can definitely be a pain to lug around. That’s why I love when I can unpack my misconceptions and leave them behind. I arrived in Mazatlán expecting to be underwhelmed, and I left with plans to return as soon as I could.
Dated Experiencing a Renaissance
In my mind, I assumed Mazatlán, as a destination, had peaked around the same time as The Love Boat and The Cher Show. In other words, it was a relic from the 1970s. The reality though is that Mazatlán has gone through a rebirth and is now the place to get to before the masses discover it. With a 19% increase in travelers already in the first half of this year, you’ll want to book now so you can call yourself an early adopter.
“There is no other tourist town in the whole country (Mexico) that is receiving more investment and investing more in it’s infrastructure than in Mazatlán”, says Carlos Berdegue, Head of El Cid Hotels and VP of the Mazatlán Hotel Association.
It’s quite impossible not to notice the investment. Many of the the public parks and squares, in addition to the historic buildings in the Old District in Mazatlán, have been refurbished while keeping their authentic Mexican charm. The malecón, the second largest in Latin America at nearly 21 km is freshly paved for bikers and pedestrians alike and has many beautiful public works of art to enjoy along the way.
Coming up, the city is currently working on a new 32.5 acre Central Park that fits perfectly with it’s positioning as a top family-friendly destination. Within the park will be a new aquarium, a museum, a malecón around a new lagoon area, new playgrounds and much more. A tram is also in the works, so that travelers with mobility issues can visit the top of El Faro Lighthouse for exceptional 360 views of Mazatlán. Finally, the expansion of the Old District continues with historic buildings receiving a facelift and streets an upgrade.
Expensive a Best Value Destination
Compared to other destinations in Mexico, Mazatlán is the clear winner when it comes to value. Hotels like the El Cid are positioned to offer families exceptional value when visiting the area. The one bedroom suites at the El Cid El Moro where I stayed, have kitchenettes, meaning you can whip up something quick for around the pool yourself, or if you’re feeling fancy order something poolside off the a la carte menu. Either way, you’ll find the prices quite reasonable for accommodations and food in Mazatlán.
For those who are feeling the squeeze on their travel budgets this year, Mazatlán offers everything you could hope for in a winter escape, at a price that won’t leave you out in the cold.
There’s no point ignoring the elephant in the room. There is simply no way to avoid the headlines of cartel violence in Mexico, and headlines can invoke a sense of panic. They are meant to do that. Perspective is a powerful thing though, and personally I know just from quickly researching the stats that gun violence is actually comparable in another country that currently has no travel advisory hanging over it. I’ve written about this before when sharing my thoughts on Cabo San Lucas, but it’s worth mentioning again.
Before you travel anywhere on earth, it’s always wise to check your government’s warnings about a destination. Canadian warnings regarding Mexico are here. For Mazatlán, specifically, I found this article offered some practical tips. At the end of the day though, travel anywhere really depends on your comfort zone. Personally, I never felt anything but safe wandering around Mazatlán, and look forward to returning again with my children.
Not all travel destinations can offer a well-rounded experience—culinary, culture, history, tranquility, and adventure—but here comes Mazatlán being all that and a bag of chips. Everything your little wandering heart could want is here.
Mazatlán has been around since the early 1500s, and as such has gained much wisdom over the years to compliment her beauty. The recently restored Teatro Ángela Peralta in the historic centre offers shows rich with Mexican culture and music. Also nearby, the Immaculate Conception Basilica will awe both sinners and saints with it’s breathtaking architecture.
Adventure seekers, like myself, will find a wide variety of activities to get the heart pumping like ziplining, ATV’ing, and scuba diving. Those seeking more sedentary pursuits will find miles of glorious beaches to stretch out on with a good book. Go-go-go or slow-slow-slow, Mazatlán has it all.
The Culinary Scene is
So-So Worth the Plane Ticket
I’m not gonna lie, I truly did not expect to be blown away by the culinary scene in Mazatlán, but in the end stretchy pants were required for the trip home. I literally could not stop eating and I have zero regrets.
From unexpected but absolutely delicious authentic Mexican food experiences on excursions, to street food, to upscale dining, there wasn’t a single meal that disappointed me.
Worth noting, if you love seafood then rejoice because Mazatlán is your new heaven. Shrimp season in Mazatlán is from September to February, so come prepared to pull a Bubba and try it all the ways! Fresh tuna and snapper are also in abundance for hungry pescatarians!
No matter what you’re craving though, you’ll find something to make your taste buds happy in Mazatlán.
Overdeveloped a Nature Lovers Dream
When you’re close to the call of the Pacific Ocean, you definitely want to feel like you can commune with nature. Thankfully Mazatlán has miles and miles and swimmable beaches to get salty on. They’re also doing a great job of keeping the concrete jungle at bay.
Tour companies like All Over Mazatlan can get you out on the water to see whales, dolphins, sea lions, and birds. Of course, you’ll also want to dive in so there’s plenty of time built in for fun too.
Hard to Get to Within Reach
Canadians can now access direct flights to Mazatlán from 12 cities (Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria and Abbotsford) during the winter months with Sunwing Vacations!
No matter what kind of vacation you’re seeking this winter, Mazatlán is sure to not only meet your needs but exceed them. Be sure to check out Go Mazatlán Now for even more travel inspiration.
Disclosure: I was invited by Go Mazatlan Now to come experience Mazatlán for myself and share my opinions with my readers here and on What She Said. All opinions are mine.