Family Vacations to Mazatlan, Mexico
|Winding down the day with a stroll on the beach in Mazatlán (Guillermo Aldana/Mexico Tourism)|
Mazatlán Family Travel Tips
- Soak up the local ambiance by strolling the six-mile oceanfront Malecón.
- Sun on bustling beaches or on uncrowded island shores.
- Hike to the 2nd tallest lighthouse in the world for a spectacular view.
- Catch swordfish and marlin in this sportfishing capital.
A popular cruise port along Mexicos Pacific coast, Mazatlán lies at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The destination appeals to families because it offers affordable lodging, golden sand beaches, and a revitalized historical section. With a population of nearly 600,000, Mazatlán is far from a sleepy village, but the tourist areas have ample charm.
Soak up the local ambiance by strolling the recently refurbished malecón. This 6.21-mile (10-kilometer) promenade fronts the ocean, connecting the resorts of the Golden Zone to the lively streets of Old Mazatlán. Along the way, sun at the beach, snack on fresh seafood from one of the many palapa-shaded eateries, and watch the cliff divers plunge 45 feet off Ice Box Hill into tide pools.
Mazatlán features a variety of beaches. Teens prefer the bustle of vendors selling T-shirts and other souvenirs at the crowded Playa las Gaviotas. Just north of this beach, popular Playa Camarón Sábalo is lined with concessionaires. Watch the surfersbut dont swim in the rough watersat Playa Bruja, site of the annual international surfing tournament. Playa Isla de la Piedra, the beach on Stone Island, has miles of mostly uncrowded sands (unless its Sunday when locals flock there). The island also offers golf, horseback riding, and snorkeling. Isla de los Venados (Deer Island), easily reachable by boat from the resort area, also features a sandy beach and good snorkeling offshore (bring your own gear).
Older kids and teens looking for a work-out can take the challenging hike to the hilltop El Faro, Mazatláns lighthouse. The 500-foot structure is reputed to be the worlds second highest lighthouse (Gibraltars is taller). Bring binoculars and water, and visit early when the heat is more bearable.
Old Mazatlán, a 180-block district, is known for its 479 national historic landmarks. Some of these 19th-century buildings, with pastel fronts, balconies, and iron railings, now house boutiques, art galleries, jazz clubs and restaurants. To add to the ambiance, the city is adding theatrical lighting, mostly along Angel Flores Street. Buildings of note include the Teatro Angela Peralta, home to a contemporary dance company, as well as the Catedral Basilica de la Immaculada Concepcion, touted as the worlds only Roman Catholic Church to display the Star of David in each of its 28 stained glass windows.
Mazatláns aquarium, a good stop for young kids, displays more than 200 species of marine life, including sea lions, and lies nearby a playground and a botanical garden. With tweens and teens, try sportfishing for swordfish and striped marlin (December to May) and for sailfish and blue or black marlin (May to December).
Tip: Take your teens and twenty-somethings to Carnaval Mazatlán, reputed to be the third largest Mardi Gras in the Americas after celebrations in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro.
Nearby: The towns of El Quelite, Concordia, and Cosala.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication