Sunset walk on the beach in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico (Guillermo Aldana/Mexico Tourism)

Mazatlan Mexico Scenic Look Out Point (iStockphoto)

Calm Waterway in Mazatlan (iStockphoto)


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What to do in Mazatlan

If you figured the Spanish developed Mazatlan, you’d be wrong. A group of enterprising German immigrants actually put the “Pearl of the Pacific” on the map and gave it its European character. Mazatlan stumbled into tourism almost as an afterthought. The first few hotels that popped up in the Olas Altas area of Old Mazatlan were booked primarily by sport fishermen. Pacific sailfish, marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and dorado hooked actors like Gregory Peck and John Wayne, and the hotels and resorts followed. Colonial El Centro (downtown) is all about colorful heritage and rich culture, where iconic pulmonías transport vacationers among 19th-century buildings. Zona Dorada (the Golden Zone) is where tourists flock for beaches, bars, nightclubs, shopping, and classic hotels.

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