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Best Things to Do in Mazatlán: A Perfect Day from Your Cruise in 2024

Mazatlán, with its blend of historic charm and beachside allure, is a delightful stop on any cruise itinerary. For those lucky enough to have Mazatlán on their cruise route, a day in this vibrant city offers a unique opportunity to immerse in local culture, savor delectable seafood, and soak in the natural beauty. Whether you’re planning your Mazatlán cruise itinerary or looking for the best things to do in Mazatlán, here’s a guide to make the most of your day.

Brief History on Mazatlán

Mazatlán, known as the “Pearl of the Pacific,” boasts a rich history that spans centuries, from indigenous roots to colonial influences and its emergence as a renowned tourist destination.

Spanish Colonization

The Spanish arrived in the 16th century, but Mazatlán’s harsh terrain and the presence of indigenous groups deterred significant settlement initially. It wasn’t until the 17th century that the Spanish established a more permanent presence, attracted by the area’s natural resources, particularly its deep-water harbor.

19th Century Growth

Mazatlán’s strategic location as a port city led to its growth in the 19th century, serving as a key shipping and receiving point for goods in the Pacific. The city saw an influx of immigrants, including Germans, French, and Americans, which influenced its architectural, cultural, and economic development. We saw this firsthand as Suzuki cars were being loaded onto a Hong Kong bound ship.

The Golden Age

The late 19th and early 20th centuries are often referred to as Mazatlán’s Golden Age. This period saw significant architectural developments, with the construction of beautiful buildings in the Historic Center, many of which still stand today. The city also became an important cultural hub, with the establishment of institutions like the Angela Peralta Theater.

Contemporary Mazatlán

Today, Mazatlán is a blend of historic charm and modern amenities, with its restored Historic Center, bustling Malecón, and thriving arts scene. It remains a significant port, with its economy bolstered by fishing, manufacturing, and, of course, tourism.

Best Things to Do in Mazatlán – Morning Exploration

1. Arrival at Mazatlán Port
As you step off your cruise, the pulse of Mazatlán greets you. The port, buzzing with energy, serves as your gateway to an unforgettable day.

Best things to do in Mazatlan: Mechado Plaza

2. Historic Old Town Walking Tour
Dive into the heart of Mazatlán with a walking tour of the Centro Histórico. Stroll through the quaint streets, marvel at the architectural beauty of Plaza Machado, the Angela Peralta Theater, and the majestic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Each corner tells a story of Mazatlán’s rich past.

Best things to do in Mazatlan: Church of the Immaculate Conception

3. Stop by the Mercado Pino Suarez
Just a short walk from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was a bustling local market with fresh foods and various items to purchase as souvenirs. Pick up a hat or grab some fresh ceviche for a snack.

Stop by a local market on your Mazatlan Cruise Itinerary

Midday Delights

1. Lunch at a Local Seafood Restaurant
No Mazatlán cruise itinerary is complete without indulging in its famed seafood. From the zesty flavors of shrimp aguachile to the freshness of ceviche, local eateries in the Old Town and along the Malecón promise a culinary journey.

2. Stroll Along the Malecón
Post-lunch, meander along the Malecón, one of the longest seaside promenades. Its sculptures, murals, and ocean vistas offer a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely walk.

Mazatlán Cruise Itinerary – Afternoon Adventures

1. Visit the Clavadistas
A must-see spectacle is the clavadistas at Glorieta Rodolfo Sanchez Taboada. Watch in awe as divers plunge into the Pacific from towering cliffs—a tradition that continues to captivate.

2. Hike up Parque Natural Faro Mazatlán
For breathtaking views, venture to Parque Natural Faro Mazatlán. The hike rewards with panoramic vistas from the hilltop lighthouse and the thrilling crystal sky bridge. The hardest park of the hike was up the 336 steps to reach the top and the wait for the sky bridge. After the climbing to the top, we all felt this was the best things to do in Mazatlán.

3. Explore the Golden Zone
Spend your afternoon in the Zona Dorada, a hub for shopping enthusiasts. From artisan crafts to chic boutiques, it’s a treasure trove for souvenirs and local finds.

Evening Relaxation

1. Relax at the Beach
As the day winds down, unwind at Playa Olas Altas or Playa Norte. These beaches offer a tranquil retreat to reflect on the day’s adventures and watch the sunset.

Go shopping or relax at the beach on your Mazatlan cruise itinerary

2. Dinner with a View
Cap off your day with a dinner along the Malecón or in the Golden Zone. The oceanfront settings serve up not just sumptuous meals but also panoramic views that make dining a memorable experience.

3. Return to Your Cruise
With a heart full of memories, make your way back to the cruise ship, ensuring you allow ample time for boarding to complete the Mazatlán cruise itinerary.

Traveler’s Tips

  • Getting Around: Opt for Uber for convenience or haggle with local tour guides for a more personalized experience.
  • Currency & Payments: While USD is widely accepted, having some pesos can be beneficial for smaller transactions such as an emergency stop at the toilets!
  • Stay Hydrated & Safe: Keep water handy and remain vigilant, as you would in any tourist locale.
  • Bargain and Stay Firm: The locals know when the cruises arrive, especially if you did not book a tour or excursion from the trip and want to do you own thing. Start with at least half the price they ask for and work your way from there.

Your day in Mazatlán, from the historic streets to the serene beaches, promises a blend of adventure, culture, and relaxation. Customize your itinerary based on your interests and the cruise schedule, and embrace the spirited vibe of Mazatlán. Whether you’re navigating the city on your own or with a guide, Mazatlán’s charm is sure to captivate. We hoped you enjoyed this guide to the best things to do in Mazatlán. Contact us if you have any questions.

Go hiking for the Best Things to do in Mazatlan

FAQ on Traveling to Mazatlán with Children

Q1: Is Mazatlán a family-friendly destination?
Absolutely! Mazatlán offers a variety of activities and attractions suitable for families, including beautiful beaches, interactive aquariums, and parks. The city’s blend of culture, history, and natural beauty makes it an ideal destination for travelers with children.

Q2: What are some must-do activities for families in Mazatlán?
Families visiting Mazatlán should consider exploring the city’s beautiful beaches, such as Playa Sabalo or Playa Brujas, visiting the Mazatlán Aquarium, taking a fun ride in a “pulmonia” (open-air taxi), and enjoying the interactive exhibits at the Mazatlán Archaeological Museum. The city also offers various eco-tours and water sports that are suitable for older children.

Q3: Are there child-friendly accommodations in Mazatlán?
Mazatlán has a wide range of accommodations that cater to families, from all-inclusive resorts with kids’ clubs and family suites to budget-friendly hotels close to the beach and main attractions. Many properties offer amenities such as children’s pools, play areas, and special activities for kids.

Q4: Can I find restaurants in Mazatlán that are suitable for children?
Yes, Mazatlán boasts a diverse culinary scene with plenty of restaurants that welcome families with children. Many beachfront restaurants and cafes offer casual dining with kid-friendly menus, and some even have play areas.

Q5: What is the best time of year to visit Mazatlán with children?
The best time to visit Mazatlán with children is during the dry season from November to May. The weather is pleasant, with minimal rain, making it ideal for beach activities and outdoor exploration. Keep in mind that December and January can be busy due to the holiday season.

Q6: Are there any safety concerns for families traveling to Mazatlán?
Like any tourist destination, it’s important to take general safety precautions. Stay in well-populated and well-lit areas, keep an eye on your belongings, and use reputable transportation services. Mazatlán is generally considered safe for tourists, but always stay informed about current travel advisories.

Q7: What kind of transportation is recommended for families in Mazatlán?
For a unique local experience, families can enjoy rides in pulmonias or golf-cart-like taxis that are open-air and fun for short distances. For longer trips or more comfort, consider using regulated taxis or ride-sharing services like Uber. Many families also enjoy walking along the Malecón and exploring the historic district on foot.

Q8: Are there any cultural experiences in Mazatlán suitable for children?
Absolutely! Children can enjoy performances at the Angela Peralta Theater, participate in art workshops, and experience local festivals and parades, especially during Carnival, which is a vibrant and family-friendly event. Visiting the historic district and learning about the local history and architecture can also be educational for older children.

Q9: What should I pack for a trip to Mazatlán with children?
Essential items include sunscreen, hats, swimwear, comfortable walking shoes, insect repellent, and any necessary medications. It’s also a good idea to bring along some entertainment for downtime, such as books, games, and beach toys.

Q10: Can I rent baby or child equipment in Mazatlán?
Yes, you can find rental services for baby and child equipment in Mazatlán, including car seats, strollers, and even beach toys. Some hotels and resorts may also offer these items, so it’s worth inquiring when you book your accommodation.

Traveling to Mazatlán with children can be a rewarding experience, offering a mix of relaxation, adventure, and cultural enrichment suitable for all ages.

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