Mazatlan: the scoop on Mexico travel

Mazatlan: the scoop on Mexico travel

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Laura Cooper

Pack your bags and visit Mazatlan: a small Mexican resort town on the pacific, where shrimp are big in popularity and in size, and where culture leaks out from the city onto the beach that lines the town. The town is known for its history, culture, shrimp-infused dining, and golden beaches that offer miles of walking and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. One of Mexico’s many resort towns, the charm of Mazatlan will entice you to return for vacation after vacation, year after year. Our Mazatlan travel guide will help get the Mexican wanderlust started and begin your Mexico travel.

Visit Mazatlan for your Mexico travel for a budget-friendly destination

Who should visit Mazatlan?

Mazatlan is a hub of value-minded vacations for travellers looking to treat themselves without splurging. Miles of golden beaches and blue lagoons line the shoreline here, making it a perfect destination for the beach babe or sun seeker. Once known primarily for its 20 kilometres of beaches, Mazatlan is now known for its historic core and city centre, overflowing with culture. With a city centre rich in history, crawling with local restaurants, and a long stretch of golden beaches, a Mazatlan vacation is perfect for the traveller looking to experience authentic Mexico: from the tacos to the coastline, and the lively culture in between. Mazatlan is most popular with travellers not looking to experience a lot of excursions, but rather the traveller looking for a value or budget vacation, really enjoying all that Mexico all-inclusive vacations have to offer.

Things to do in Mazatlan

Mazatlan tends to be known for its outdoor adventures, and culture-filled city for travellers that are looking for an all-inclusive vacation but want to venture into the city, as well. With deep sea diving a strong sport here, you won’t find a plethora of watersports here like other Mexico trips and destinations (there are no PADI-recognized scuba or snorkel operators in the area).

Shore excursions for travellers visiting Mazatlan by water include walking tours and cliff diving shows, ecological reserve tours, and island adventures to see more of the area.

Your Mexico travel should include a visit to Mazatlan

Between enjoying local and independent restaurants for a taste of Mexico, opt for other cultural activities in Mazatlan like an agave mezcal tour from Mazatlan, where you’ll see traditional and modern production of the prize-winning alcohol. Other activities include embracing the outdoors, with canopy zipline tours, ATV adventures through the jungle, or getting a feel for the city with a Mazatlan sightseeing tour.

One of the best things to do in Mazatlan, though, is let time slow down as you wander the old city looking at the architecture, enjoying jewelry shops and small eateries, and a crowd of artists and musicians in the Plaza Mechado. For those looking to speed things up, no Mexico vacation is complete without a visit to Senor Frog’s for the area’s best nightlife, or choose to wander the old town to visit other open-air bars and to experience the vibrant music that rings through the streets.

Mazatlan all-inclusive resorts

Leave your worries behind and enjoy a Mazatlan all-inclusive vacation from 8 gateways across Canada. With options ranging in budget, star-rating, and resort specialities, find a Mexico all-inclusive resort that fits what you’re looking for. Our favourite options will have you soaking up the sun and leave you wanting another week.

For family vacations: Riu Emerald Bay, 5-star

Visit the Riu Emerald Bay for family travel on your Mexico travels to Mazatlan

Enjoy the bright blue waters of Mazatlan with a vacation at the Riu Emerald Bay which features over 700 rooms, 3 pools, 4 restaurants, and 5 bars. Featuring an on-site kids club, playground, children’s pool, on-site spa, and plenty of daily and nightly activities, a vacation at the Riu Emerald Bay has something for the whole family to truly enjoy your Mexico travel.

For value-minded travellers: El Cid Resort Castilla, 4-star

For the best value in a Mazatlan vacation and a Mexico resort, consider this El Cid property that brings together the attractive beach town and the history and culture of Mexico’s west coast. With a kids and teens club, restaurants spread across the El Cid properties, and an array of watersports for the whole family, a vacation here will keep everyone busy and begging for more of the Mexican sun.

When should I visit?

Mexico travel is best in the winter months, when Canada is experiencing colder weather and travellers are looking for an escape from the snow. Mazatlan typically experiences highs of around 26C and lows of 15C year-round, with fluctuations by a few degrees depending on season. Mazatlan is not as far south as other popular Mexico vacation destinations like Cancun or Playa del Carmen, meaning it’s not the hottest of Mexico destinations by temperature, but always a hot spot for budget-minded travellers looking for a bit of sunshine.

Mazatlan, Mexico travel offers budget-friendly options

Travel style

Visitors to Mazatlan opt to do so on an all-inclusive vacation, though the area also has a cruise port which has seen the area named as the Pearl of the Pacific.  An all-inclusive vacation will give you access to some of Mazatlan’s best golden-sand beaches and busy on-site schedules of watersports, land activities and nightlife, but the fun doesn’t stop here. Flag down a taxi and explore Viejo Mazatlan (Old Mazatlan), where you’ll find the historic city center full of postcolonial buildings and a totally different side of Mazatlan from the Golden Zone (tourist area). Cruise ship passengers may opt to take the local bus or enjoy provided shuttles from the port to popular city centre areas, while taxis – or pulmonias as they’re called – range from $4 CAD to $8, depending on time of day, time of year, and your bartering skills. A range of excursions and day trips, leaving from both your resort and from the city centre, are also available to make your Mexico vacation in Mazatlan a memorable one.

Getting there

Arrive at the General Rafael Buelna International Airport (MZT) with flights from several Canadian destinations. Direct flights from Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver fly into Mazatlan, while other Canadian gateways are connecting flights, with higher flight frequency in the winter months. Flights to Mazatlan from Canada are seasonal, operating November through April.

Getting around

If you opt to purchase an all-inclusive Mazatlan vacation, your transfer between the General Rafael Buelna International Airport (MZT) and your resort will be included by your tour operator. Other options to travel between the airport and your resort include city bus and taxi options. Day trips and excursions purchased in advance or organized at your resort will include round-trip transportation, as well.


Mazatlan vacations range in price from $700 to $1700 depending on resort star-rating, time of year, gateway, and supply and demand. Busy travel periods like Christmas and March Break often see the steepest prices, while spring and fall months – when weather might not be the best – see cheaper prices due to fewer travellers during these times. The average cost of a 4-star resort from Toronto is $1200. Use trip matchmaker to find a Mazatlan vacation that matches your budget and preferences.

Currency: The Mexican Peso is the currency of Mexico, but the US dollar is accepted for excursions and at resorts. Some resorts have ATMs.

Language: Spanish

Electricity: 110V, as per voltage of North America

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