16 Best Things to Do in Mazatlan

Mazatlan skylin
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Mazatlan has been known worldwide as a resort town but with a historic charm.

It offers a wide array of attractions any tourist can enjoy.

You will surely have a great time while on vacation at this resort town, from gorgeous beaches to historical buildings, from quiet escapes to bustling tourist hubs.

Here are the 16 best things to do in Mazatlan, Mexico:

Stay at Zona Dorada

View at Zona Dorada
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For a more touristy location, check out Zona Dorada, also known as Golden Zone.

This area in the city features a lot of high-end hotels, stores, and other fun establishments that you can visit.

Apart from that, it also features a 3-mile stretch of some of Mazatlan’s most charming beaches.

View at Zona Dorada
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If you love shopping and partying, don’t miss out on visiting this area.

Even though it’s a tourist hotspot, many visitors say that locals have been welcoming, adding to the amazing experience they have while staying here.

From here, you’ll find some nearby attractions, too, with it being connected to the Malecon waterfront strip.

Attend the Carnaval

Carnaval at Mazatlan
Monica Guadalupe Delgado Del Real, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When you’re planning out a trip to Mazatlan, definitely consider going during the Carnaval.

While the ones at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and New Orleans in the USA are the most popular, the Carnaval at Mazatlan is just as fun.

The Carnaval takes place around February to March.

Carnaval at Mazatlan
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During the festivities, you can experience the lively crowds in Malecon and the nearby areas.

Vendor stalls that you don’t normally see for the rest of the year line up the city's streets.

Bands' live performances and other forms of music hype up the party.

You can also witness a massive parade and astonishing fireworks as the Carnaval nears its end.

It’s a fantastic event where you can have one-of-a-kind and unforgettable experiences with those you want to travel with.

Watch Cliff Divers at El Clavadista

A Cliff Diver at El Clavadista
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An impressive sight to see when coming to Mazatlan is the daring cliff divers at El Clavadista.

The cliff itself is 14 meters high, and numerous brave people have visited the spot to try and enter the waters of the Pacific Ocean from such a height.

Most of the divers start their jumps at noon, and usually, it ends right before midnight.

The cliff-diving tradition at the Rodolfo Sanchez Taboada Glorieta started back in 1960.

While not as popular as the one in Acapulco, watching divers at this spot in Mazatlan is just as poetic.

Through the years, however, word got out about these thrill-seeking cliff divers, and they now manage to draw crowds from all over the world.

So, when you’re in Mazatlan, don’t miss out on this interesting sight.

Explore Centro Historico

When you visit Mazatlan, consider heading to Centro Historico for your first stop.

Filled with many historical buildings, this place was developed between the 1820s and 1830s.

Once a small town on an estuary, Mazatlan has evolved to become the biggest port on the country’s Pacific coast.

Centro Historico has gone through many things, but in the 2000s, efforts to restore the many Neoclassical buildings here have begun, and now, you can witness the fantastic ambiance and look of this place.

Also commonly called Old Town in English, at Centro Historico you can go around riding golf carts, which are now used as public transport.

Apart from amazing architecture, you can also find many establishments here, as well as street food stalls and shops where you can find souvenirs.

Don’t miss out on experiencing the beauty of this city today by going to its heart - Centro Historico.

Stroll Through the Malecon

Scenic View of Malecon
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Consider it a must to stroll down the Malecon while on your holiday in Mazatlan.

Considered one of the longest beachfront promenades worldwide, the Malecon has a total length of 5.2 miles, and it stretches from Zona Dorada all the way to Old Town.

Night at Malecon, Mazatlan
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At this expansive waterfront promenade, you can find many galleries, street food stalls, and even bars.

However, the most popular activity to do at the Malecon, and with good reason, is catching a gorgeous view of the sun setting on the horizon.

While in Mazatlan, spend some time exploring this impressive waterfront stretch.

Go Shop at Plaza Machado

View of Plaza Machado
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Found in the city’s historic district, Plaza Machado serves as the main hub for anyone looking for establishments within the city.

The plaza itself has an interesting historical background, with its construction dating all the way back to 1837.

View of Plaza Machado
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In this lively area, you can find numerous restaurants, a variety of amazing shops, and a number of impressive art galleries where you can go to.

If you need a meet-up spot, this is the perfect place to consider.

Learn About the Turtle Sanctuary at El Verde Camacho

Turtles are adorable, and a lot of people from around the world aim to protect these charming sea creatures.

Annually, sea turtles go on a journey to find a place to lay their eggs.

However, in many places around the world, including on the beaches of Mexico, the development of tourist hubs has caused this natural ritual to dwindle.

Luckily, there are numerous sanctuaries in Mazatlan that aim to protect places where sea turtles can safely lay their eggs and reproduce.

While in the city, you can learn more about these conservation efforts by visiting El Verde Camacho.

Here, you can explore their sea turtle sanctuary, as well as learn about sea turtles and their efforts to protect these interesting creatures.

By doing so, you can help protect these charming but endangered sea creatures.

Go Surfing at Playa Olas Altas

View of Playa Olas Altas
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Located near Centro Historico, you can find Playa Olas Altas, one of the beaches you can find in Mazatlan.

With a name meaning “high waves,” it’s no surprise that many water sports are popular at this beach.

So, when coming to this amazing part of Mexico, check out this quiet part of the beach and try riding the waves by surfing.

If you’re into people-watching, come here during the morning and watch fishers return from their trip and sell them to the restaurants nearby.

You can also catch romantic views of the sunset from this gorgeous beach.

Try Out Water Sports at Playa Brujas

If you want to try out a wide variety of watersports, check out Playa Brujas.

According to legend, witches once loved to perform their rituals at this beach, giving birth to its current moniker, which literally means “Witches Beach.”

You likely won’t find any witches here now, though.

View at Playa Brujas
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Today, this place attracts many tourists for the myriad of water sports that you can try out here.

From surfing to paddling, to any other thrilling water sport, you can try it all at Playa Brujas.

Apart from being loved by sports junkies, those who want some peace also go here.

The place is tranquil and relatively secluded, so not a lot of people come here.

Definitely check this place out when you’re in the region.

Visit the Mazatlan Cathedral

View at Mazatlan Cathedral
Shane Smith, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to get away from the beach for a while and see the most fantastic sights around the city, head over to the Mazatlan Cathedral.

Featuring bright yellow spires and structures made of Italian marble and first constructed in the 1800s, this cathedral serves as the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

It serves as a great showcase of the times’ most prevalent architectural style.

Inside View at Mazatlan Cathedral
Carlos Ginard from Chicago, Illinois, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


It also provides visitors a feel of how Old Mazatlan looked like.

Admiring it doesn’t have to stop at its exterior; its interior also features breathtaking architectural components that will leave you in awe.

If you are interested in learning more about this beautiful building and the city’s history, you can book a guided tour that takes you to this cathedral as well.

However, since this still serves as a church, try to be respectful and visit when no service is ongoing.

Watch a Performance at Angela Peralta Theater

While in the city, don’t forget to catch a show or at least visit the amazing Angela Peralta Theater.

Constructed in 1874, this place underwent restoration back in the 80s to serve as a venue for more performances.

Outside View at Angela Peralta Theater
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The theater is named after a popular opera singer from Mexico who succumbed to yellow fever during the epidemic that broke out in Mazatlan.

If you’re lucky, you can catch one of the performances hosted by this stunning theater.

If not, it’s still open for visitors who want to admire the place’s awe-inspiring architecture.

Spend a Day at Acuario Mazatlan

Looking for something wonderful to do with your entire family?

If so, stop by Acuario Mazatlan.

This aquarium features more than 250 fish species in many impressive tanks.

Apart from having an aquarium, you can also explore its marine museum, aviary, and live shows featuring the animals housed here.

If you’re bringing kids, they can also spend time in the play areas.

Make great memories with your family by visiting Acuario Mazatlan.

Hike Up the Mazatlan Lighthouse

View of Mazatlan Lighthouse
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If you want to stay active while looking for one of the most scenic views in Mazatlan, head on over to the popular lighthouse.

Situated at the city’s tallest hill, Cerro Creston, the top of this lighthouse goes as high as 523 feet above sea level.

Given that height, a hike to the top of this lighthouse will provide you with the most beautiful views of Mazatlan and the nearby ocean.

The climb from the trail and the stairs would take you around 30 minutes, but just a glimpse of the scene you’ll discover from the top is all worth the effort.

Go Whale Watching With Onca Explorations

If you want to witness the marine life up close and personal, consider booking a boat ride with Onca Explorations.

With them, you can go on a guided swim tour and encounter the wonderful sea creatures that you can encounter.

You can swim with the dolphins, and if you come here during the right time of the year, you can also spot some majestic humpback whales during your trip.

If you’re not up to directly swimming with the creatures, you can make use of the hydrophone and listen to the dolphins and whales speak.

You can also learn more about the stunning marine life in the area with their informational guides.

Going boating is a great way to appreciate the great outdoors and learn new things along the way.

Learn About Pre-Hispanic History at Museo Arqueologico de Mazatlan

Outside View at Museo Arqueologico de Mazatlan
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The history of this city didn’t start in the 1800s, as its architecture suggests.

If you’re interested in learning about the pre-Hispanic history of Mazatlan, head over to Museo Arqueológico de Mazatlán.

This place houses collections of archeological finds that showcase the region's way of life prior to Spanish colonization.

It has five rooms, with each showing exhibits that educate people on how Mazatlan developed.

Here, you can discover around 200 artifacts that can give you a glimpse of what this area was like before colonization.

It’s an interesting place to visit, so consider adding it to your to-do list.

Have the Temazcal Experience at Hotel Playa Mazatlan

View at Hotel Playa Mazatlan
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Temazcal is a steam bath that many of Mexico’s indigenous people have used for centuries.

If you want to experience this for yourself, head over to Hotel Playa Mazatlan as they offer it to visitors who are interested in trying it out.

View at Hotel Playa Mazatlan
Kfengler, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The experience at this hotel features traditional methods used in Temazcal as they were done for hundreds of years.

If you want to unwind and relax, this is something that you should definitely try out.

Be pampered and try out one of the best experiences you can have by heading to Hotel Playa Mazatlan.

Final Thoughts

This amazing port city has a lot to offer to its visitors.

From breathtaking beaches to impressive architecture, you can make a lot of wonderful memories while visiting Mazatlan.

If you want to experience the beauty of old Mazatlan and the liveliness of the modern aspect of this city, consider this place as your next holiday destination.