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1,078km (668 miles) NW of Mexico City; 502km (311 miles) NW of Guadalajara; 1,561km (968 miles) SE of Mexicali
In recent years, Mazatlán has shed its image as a spring-break party haven and today attracts mostly families, retirees, and package tourists with an eye for value. Visitors don't step off the plane in Vuitton slacks or Prada heels -- you'll be out of place wearing much beyond a bathing suit and sandals. More than any other beach resort in the country, Mazatlán represents the expansive golden beaches, affordable accommodations, and beckoning bars and restaurants that typified Mexico's early appeal 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.
A trip to Mazatlán forces you to slow down. Get lost among the cobbled streets of the old town, where you can absorb the colonial splendor of the 19th-century Italian-style Teatro Peralta; meander past restored neoclassical homes resplendent in warm tropical colors; and pause in a traditional cafe for a robust Mexican coffee. Sit in the tree-lined Plaza Mechado amid a creative crowd of artists, musicians, and writers.
Mazatlán claims to be the shrimp capital of the world, and whether or not it's true, shrimp of all shapes and sizes comes dressed up in just about every way imaginable on the menu. Don't expect haute cuisine, but foodies will love the fresh, spicy ingredients that accompany grilled fish and succulent seafood. Do expect casual open-air settings with ocean breezes and friendly service.
Mazatlán has its share of clubs and discos -- it always seems to be happy hour at Señor Frog's, and Joe's Oyster Bar attracts an all-day party crowd. But my favorite nightlife is in the old town, where old-school cantinas bring as much warm energy to the night air as the hip modern bars. Enjoy an icy cold cerveza at Café Pacifico amid the sounds of jazz and vibrant Mexican rhythms swelling from the central plaza. The spring-break party spirit comes back in force for 2 weeks in March for Carnaval celebrations, which in Mazatlán are among the biggest in Mexico.
Head to the Mexican Riviera for utter relaxation with American Airlines flights to Mazatlan. Located on the Pacific Ocean at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains, this friendly resort city has gorgeous views for miles. Sport fishing, unwinding on the beach or shopping for handcrafted treasures are just a few of the fun things to do in Mazatlan. Here are some ideas to help you get started planning your getaway.
With its enviable location near the Baja peninsula, one of the most exciting activities in Mazatlan has to be sport fishing. The waters off the coast are home to a wide variety of big game fish, including marlin, wahoo, sailfish and amberjack. The blue marlin that have been caught in this area weigh hundreds of pounds, with some tilting the scale at 1,000 pounds or more. Not for the faint of heart (or muscle), sport fishing in Mazatlan is the focus of many tournaments, attracting anglers from around the world.
Of course, no one says you have to go out in a boat and hold a rod and reel to enjoy the water. One of the most relaxing things to do in Mazatlan is to simply stretch out on a beach. Playa Olas Altas is relatively short in distance, but long on history and it's one of the most well-known beaches in the city. Surfers come here for the tall waves, but it's not ideal for casual swimming. Playa Camaron Sabalo, in the hotel zone, is one of the most popular beaches for sunbathing, shopping, surfing and even parasailing. If you like to swim in the ocean, head to Playa Norte, where the calmer waters at the south end are perfect for a dip. Want to go where no one else is? Hire a boat and go to Venados Island, where you'll escape the crowds to find calm water perfect for swimming and snorkeling. There are even petroglyphs on the island well worth investigating.
On beaches and almost anywhere else you visit, you'll see why shopping is one of the easiest activities in Mazatlan, because vendors can be found throughout the city. You can find everything from handcrafted pottery, wooden sculptures, jewelry, clothing and, yes, even sombreros. The Mazatlan Arts and Crafts Center is where you'll find a concentration of artists and craftsmen offering their wares. For a traditional Mexican market, visit Mercado del Centro in Old Mazatlan, where you can shop for everything from shrimp to jewelry.
From shopping to fishing, there are so many ways to have fun in Mazatlan. Why not start planning your trip? We've made it easy and convenient to fly to Mazatlan so scheduling your getaway is stress-free. Browse our flights and reserve your trip today!
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