Mazatlán Carnival Comparable only to that of Rio de Janeiro and Mardi Gra, Carnivál's week-long celebration occurs every year just before Lent.
Mazatlán’s inhabitant’s life is pleasantly enhanced with great celebrations, exquisite gastronomy, the bullfights and the callejoneadas and the public parties on the streets to which everyone is invited. More than a tourist, in your Mazatlán vacations you will be an endeared neighbor during your stay. So if you want to find all the best of Mexico in one place, get to know the history and culture of a colonial-style city, and at the same time spend a matchless vacation in the beach, you just have to visit Mazatlán, because Mazatlán has it all!
A quick walk to the Plaza Machado and you will find an array of restaurants serving American and Mexican cuisine, quaint coffee shops and bistros, and live entertainment nightly.
The center and heart of the city is Plaza Principal (also known as Plaza Revolución) with its neo-Gothic, twin-spired cathedral, Basílica de la Immaculada Concepción. Day and night the plaza bustles with Mazatlecos shopping, eating and reviewing the daily turn of events.
Two blocks up Calle Benito Juarez from the plaza sits the Mercado municipal, one of the truly great markets in Mexico. This market displays an amazing array of fresh foods for remarkable prices.
A few blocks from the Plaza Principal, on the way to Olas Altas is the Plazuela Machado. Named for a Filipino immigrant, Juan Machado, the plaza is the antithesis of the tourist areas that rock and roll day and night. At one time the plaza was the commercial center of the city, but now is being resurrected as the cultural and entertainment center. Its outdoor cafes and old stately buildings are attracting the intellectual and artistic community and travelers of Mazatlán.
Just off the corner of the Plaza Machado is the Teatro Angela Peralta, built in 1865 as the Teatro Rubio. It is now fully restored after five years of work. Angela Peralta was a much admired opera star from the 19th century who, after giving her only Mazatlán performance, died of yellow fever in the hotel Iturbides, next door to the theater. Entertainment of all varieties is now performed in this beautiful building, and you can also tour it during the day.
Plan on having lunch or dinner at Plaza Machado. Two recommended restaurants are Cafe Pacífico and Hostería Machado. This is where you can meet the intellectual and rising-class people of the city.
One of the most striking aspects of Mazatlán Viejo is how many stately old buildings stand empty, presumably waiting to be restored.
This was the beach when Mazatlán first became a tourist destination, primarily by sport-fishermen. John Wayne used to keep a boat here. Later the surfers discovered why it was named Olas Altas (tall waves). Best of all, this beach hasn't changed much over the years. The entire stretch of sand, located between rocky points, is fairly short, perhaps a seven minute walk end-to-end on a parallel sidewalk.
El Shrimp Bucket restaurant, the flagship of the countrywide Carlos Anderson's chain of restaurants. Besides serving some of the best seafood in Mazatlán, this is a good place to get your day started with a plate of machaca and a bracing cup of café.
Just south of the Playa Olas Altas the road curves to El Faro, the second highest lighthouse in the world at almost 500 feet. For a spectacular view, walk the trail that leads up to the top. From here you can see north up to the tourist zone, the city, and to the south, the sport fishing fleet and harbor. That tall building just past the town center is the Pacifíco brewery. You might be able to arrange a tour if you inquire.
Just south of the lighthouse, across the water, you will see Isla de la Piedras. This is a nice way to spend a day, walking to the far side where there is a long, sandy beach and several palapa restaurants.
The several-mile-long beach you usually see in postcards of Mazatlán is Playa Norte. This was the second wave of tourist development that occurred during the sixties and early seventies. The beach here can get some heavy surf, so swim with caution.
Proceeding north, the next point of separation is Punta Camaron. This is the start of the massive row of hotels commonly referred to as the Zona Dorada (Golden Zone).
The Mazatlan Arts & Craft Center
Take a little Mazatlán culture home with you. The Mazatlán Arts and Crafts Center holds a huge selection of handicrafts from Mazatlán and all over Mexico. Stop into to browse through the huge selection of items that will accent your home perfectly and make great gifts.