Is Mazatlan Worth Visiting (on a Cruise or on Your Own)?

From its historic charms and gorgeous golden beaches, Mazatlan is one of Pacific Mexico’s best. Also called the “Pearl of the Pacific”, Mazatlan’s old-world flavors, modern delights, and lovely beaches make the coastal city one of the best cruise stops on this side of the Pacific.
Is Mazatlan Worth Visiting
Table of Contents

Mazatlan’s diverse appeals have contributed much to its steady fame, further cementing its place on Mexico travel lists. With plenty of things to do and sights to see, and a hot cruise destination Mazatlan is definitely worth a visit.

What Is Mazatlan Known for?

Mexico has no shortage of beautiful beach towns to explore and revel in, with tropical beauty, warm and sunny beaches, and charming towns. Mazatlan also called the Pearl of the Pacific, is one of them. This coastal city has the beauty you expect to see in a historic town, coupled with a lovely stretch of golden coast.

From its historic Old town, the must-visits of Malecon, golden sands of its 13-mile coast, and the iconic Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Mazatlan has a plethora of sites to see, things to enjoy, and offers a diverse experience that makes it one of Mexico’s best.

What Is There to Do in Mazatlan Today?

A socially and economically diverse city, you’ll never run out of things to do in Mazatlan. From popular water activities like jet skiing and surfing, a pulsating nightlife, golfing, to even learning Spanish with its friendly and warm locals.

First on the list is definitely a rite of passage, perhaps in many of Mexico’s coastal cities as well. Stroll the Malecon. This promenade stretches for several kilometers with gorgeous views of the ocean.

Along the promenade, you’ll see statues and monuments. There are also plenty of street food vendors, bars, cafes, and restaurants along the way.

Doing a walking tour of the Historic Centre is also a must in Mazatlan. The city’s Old Town is one of its many iconic attractions.

With a plethora of stunning architecture, plazas, and fascinating museums. You can do a self-guided walking tour with a downloaded guide, you’ll see many historic buildings in the area, and you can choose which museums you’re curious about – all at your pace.

Visiting the iconic Basilica has to be a must-do in Mazatlan, at least once when you’re here. When you visit the Old Town make sure you pay a visit to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Finished in 1899, the gorgeous is display in a Baroque-Revival style, famous for its imposing beauty.

Hitting the beach is a common way to enjoy Mazatlan, but don’t just settle in Playa Olas Altas or Playa las Gaviotas. Make sure to check out Playa Sabalo as well if you like calm waters.

You can also chill out at Stone Island or Isla de la Piedra if city life overwhelms you.  While technically not an island, it feels like that, with its own beach.

You can hop on the local ferry for a quick 5-minute ready to the island. You can try horseback riding, and enjoy the food served at the few restaurants along the beach.

If you’re visiting in February, make sure to join in the Carnaval fun. The Malecon get packed and full of people during the Carnaval, with several stages and live bands and tons of things to buy from vendors, like food, costumes, and drinks. There’s also a huge parade and grand fireworks display.

What Is There to Do in Mazatlan Old Town?

A relaxed stroll around the Old Town is one of the go-to activities, reveling and taking pictures with historic landmark buildings will provide a nostalgic yet warm feeling of what was Mazatlan before. A colonial town during the Spanish era, Mazatlan has turned much of its neoclassical buildings as part of its quintessential appeal.

You can do a self-guided tour around the area from downloadable pdfs online, lovingly curated by travelers and other Mexicans who have seen and captured the beauty of this historic town.

Another important stop in the Old Town is the Plaza Machado, named after the Filipino entrepreneur who helped finance the town, Juan Nepomuceno Machado. The square is the most picturesque point of the Old Town, considered as the heart of Centro Historico.

A stop in the most iconic part of the Old Town and the entire Mazatlan as well is the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Aside from its beauty and historical value, the basilica is also famous among catholic devotees.

What Is There to Do in Mazatlan in January?

With milder temperatures and plenty of diverse activities, January is on Mazatlan’s high season. You can frolic and lounge at the beach, swim, jet ski, paraglide, and surf as the weather’s typically mild, and the water temperature is comfortable and enjoyable.

Inland activities are also ideal, with 0 rain, and a comfortable temperature, walking tours around town, especially the historic Old Town is ideal. Excursion to nearby places and the famous Stone Island is ideal as well.

While January boasts some of the best temperatures and activities available, January also is the most expensive time of the year to visit.

Are There Pyramids or Ruins in Mazatlan?

There are no nearby pyramids or ruins in Mazatlan, despite it being a hub of Aztec culture in ancient times. Mazatlan is a Nahuatl word meaning “land of deers” because of the many white-tailed deers that migrate in the area during the Aztec times.

Does Mazatlan Have Nice Beaches?

With miles of golden sand, Mazatlan’s beaches are its main draws. With the mighty Pacific ocean in front of it, Mazatlan’s beach stretches have sweeping ocean views for a good backdrop making it one of the nicest beaches around.

Its long stretches of the coast have given it a plethora of beaches for visitors to enjoy, and explore. From the Playa Bruja, perfect for surfers, Stone Island, providing a quieter escape, and the Playa Los Gaviotas the liveliest and crowded beach in the city.

What Are the Beaches Like in Mazatlan?

Mazatlan boasts 20 miles of coast, this gives the city gorgeous beaches from north to south, giving different experiences for visitors. Most beaches in Mazatlan are wide and walkable, however, they tend to get hot to walk on. Beaches here are also very swimmable.

Are the Beaches Swimmable in Mazatlan?

Beaches in Mazatlan are generally swimmable compared to most of Cabo’s beaches having strong undertows from sharp drop-offs underwater. In Mazatlan, the beaches are safe to swim in as it doesn’t have the same drop-offs despite it fronting the Pacific Ocean. However, swimmers need to watch out for bigger waves in surfing beaches around Mazatlan like Playa Olas Atlas.

Is It Safe to Swim in Mazatlan?

With certain precautions, it is generally safe to swim in Mazatlan. Be sure to check the status of the water by checking out colored flags on the beach, yellow means caution, white means there could be jellyfish, and a red flag means danger, do not go in the water.

Is the Water in Mazatlan Warm?

Being a tropical destination, Mazatlan’s water is generally warm throughout the year, yet it could drop a few temperatures during the wintertime of December through March. But, this doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable, the water during these months are the best.

What Is the Water Temperature in Mazatlan?

The water temperature around Mazatlan slightly changes all year. The temperature ranges from 20.1 C or 68.1 F in March up to 30 C or 85.9 F in September. And the average water temperature throughout the year is 25 C or 78 F.

Do Cruise Ships Go to Mazatlan?

Cruise ships do go to Mazatlan, and in 2020 there were a total of 7 cruise lines that made a stop in the city. With Mazatlan’s position in the pacific, and its gorgeous beaches, and a beautiful vibrant city, this city is an ideal stop for cruise ships.

Carnival, NCL, Holland America, Disney, Regent, Disney, and Cruise & Maritimes are some of the cruise lines that stop at Mazatlan’s cruise port.

Is It Safe to Cruise to Mazatlan?

Other than petty crimes, like pickpocketing, Mazatlan is generally safe for tourists and cruisers. With safe streets and swimmable beaches, Mazatlan has kept its people safe, despite the dangers of Sinaloa’s drug-related conflicts. However, it’s best to be cautious and be vigilant.

Where Is the Cruise Ship Port in Mazatlan?

The cruise ship port of Mazatlan is located at the commercial port, together with cargo ships and containers. You can get to central Mazatlan and its beach areas from the nearby cruise terminal where you’ll find taxis.

What Is There to Do in Mazatlan on a Cruise?

A stop in Mazatlan offers diverse activities for a small amount of time. First off, you will want to stroll or wander around the Malecon, with its 13-mile stretch, the promenade connects all the cities points of interest. You can check out many different things from there.

From the Malecon, you can take the famous pulmonias that look like golf cart-looking taxis to take you around the Centro Historico or the Old Town. And from the Old Town, you can visit the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the various neoclassical buildings, and the Plaza Machado.

You can also head to Playa Olas Atlas, it’s a free beach in Olas Atlas, without the crowds or vendors. Giving you an untainted experience of one of the city’s best beaches.

What Is There to Do in Mazatlan Cruise Port?

There’s not much to do around the port apart from buying stuff from the vendors that sell there. The real Mazatlan experience can start outside the port around nearby stops. Especially around the Centro and South Malecon, and the Golden Zone and North Malecon – all walkable from the port.

From the El Faro or the lighthouse, the nearest point to the port, to the historic Old Town and the Malecon, there are plenty of things to do for a quick exploration of the city.