Fun in the Sun
Fun and sun go hand-in-hand in Mazatlán. With miles of glorious beaches and warm waters, you're sure to find plenty to keep you busy during your stay.
Mazatlán offers fifteen miles of clean, expansive beaches, with better surfing than other Pacific resorts. In fact, it's one of the only resorts in Mexico that permits surfing on town beaches. You'll find the waves best at Playas Cerritos (Hills Beach) and Bruja (Witch Beach), north of the Marina El Cid. Playa Los Pinos, north of the fort, known in surfing circles as “The Cannon,” is also good. Local surfers seem to favor the high rollers at Playas Los Sábalos (Shad Beach) and Olas Altas (High Waves). The water temperature hovers between 65 and 75ºF year round. Boogie boards rent for $4 per hour on Playa Los Sábalos.
While other resorts may have more miles of beach, Mazatlán's beaches are probably the most active — a reason why it's so popular with students during Spring Break. Beaches in the Zona Dorada begin at Punta Camarón, where the beach widens into the silky smooth sands of Playa Los Sábalos, followed by Playa Gaviotas (Seagulls Beach), the focus of the action. Here, gentler waves make for good swimming.
While other Mexican beach resorts have banned beach vendors, Mazatlán has not. To avoid being harassed, sit closer to the surf or go to one of the less touristy beaches to the north of the Zona Dorada.
Beyond Punta Sábalo, you'll come upon Playa Bruja, a glorious wild stretch of beach with grass-topped dunes and a shore littered with shells and driftwood, named for the shaman women who used to perform rituals there. The beach boulevard ends at Playa Cerritos, probably the best inshore fishing and shell-hunting spot in Mazatlán.
You can take boat rides to Tres Islas (three islands) off Punta Camarón from the El Cid Marina. While the quiet seclusion of Isla de los Venados (Deer Island) and Isla de los Chivos (Goat Island) may suit you, others prefer to go bird-watching on Isla de los Pajaros (Bird Island), where hundreds of species nest.
For about $30, you can also head south aboard either the tour-boat
Daily overnight car and passenger ferries leave from Mazatlán for La Paz in Baja California Sur, and vice versa. (669-981-0643)
If you want to see the sites of Mazatlán's harbor, you can take your family on a three-hour cruise aboard the Yate
Snorkel, Scuba, Fish
Scuba diving and snorkeling are best at Isla Los Venados, just off Playa Los Gaviotas. You can rent snorkeling equipment for $8 dollars per person.
There are places to scuba dive in Mazatlán, but there are better places to dive in Mexico.
Mazatlán is the deep-sea fishing capital of Mexico and has been for a long time. The waters teem with tuna, marlin, sailfish, dorado, bonita, yellowtail, and sea bass. Charter boats moored in the Marinas Mazatlán and El Cid, and in Marina del Crestón by the lighthouse, head out for marlin all year except December, for swordfish in the spring, for sailfish in the spring and early summer, and for tuna and bonita year-round. If you prefer catch-and-release fishing, just ask your captain. The port hosts numerous large sport-fishing fleets, many with more than thirty years' experience. You'll pay about $80 to $100 per person per day to join a group, or from $200 to $450 to charter a boat for your family from the following fleets:
• Aries Fleet Marina El Cid: 669-916-3468,
• Escualo Fleet Marina Mazatlán: 669-918-1173
• Star Fleet Marina del Crestón: 669-982-2665,
• Viking's Fleet: 669-986-3484
If you prefer fishing for Spanish mackerel, black snook, grouper, red snapper, and roosterfish closer to the shore, hire a
PWC Rentals, Kayaks, Parasailing
Mazatlán's beaches overflow with Hobie Cats, WaveRunners, and banana boats. Any water sport you can imagine is just steps away from your resort hotel in the Zona Dorada. Beaches bustle with concessionaires just waiting to provide you with thrills by the half hour. Jet Skis rent by the half hour for $54 for a one-seater and $63 for a two-seater. Or fly over the waves on a banana boat for a half hour for $8 per person. You can rent sea kayaks for $10 an hour for a one-person, $20 for a two-person, and paddle over to Isla de los Venados. Or if you prefer to sail, rent a
You'll see people floating high above Playas Costa de Oro, Los Sábalos, and Gaviotas, where you can go parasailing for $25 for ten minutes.
Unlike other Pacific resorts, you won't find horseback riding on Mazatlán's beaches. However, you can rent horses on Isla de la Piedra from Stuart's Ghostriders (669-985-4618) from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. or from Ginger's Bilingual Horses (669-922-2026) on Playa Bruja north of the Zona Dorada. Ginger's also offers burro cart rides for your kids.
Playing tennis with a view of ocean may not make your game any better, but being able to practice on some of Mazatlán's many courts will. Courts rent for $10 an hour. While most major hotels have public courts, the following offer fine facilities and lessons ($20 an hour) to the public:
• El Cid Golf and Country Club: Seventeen courts (669-913-5611)
• Playa Real Hotel: Two courts on a bluff with a view of the sea (669-913-1111)
• Racquet Club Las Gaviotas: three clay and four hard courts (669-913-5939)
• Sports World Kaoz: three hard courts, squash courts, and pool (669-983-3922)
Golf took a back seat to fishing in Mazatlán until recently. With the addition of a magnificent course on Isla de la Piedra, you'll get hours of enjoyment and a chance to improve your skills:
• Club de Golf El Cid: This twenty-seven-hole beauty is only open to the public during off season (El Cid Mega Resort, 669-913-5611).
• Club de Golf Estrella del Mar: A public eighteen-hole course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., this one skirts the ocean south of town on Stone Island (Camino Isla de la Piedra, 669-982-3300).
• Club Campestre: An older nine-hole course, twenty minutes from town near the airport, that needs some work (Camino Internaciónal al Sur, Km. 1195, 669-980-1570).