Active Travel in Mazatlan

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Mazatlan, the” colonial city on the beach,” has undergone quite a few changes over the years, but has managed to maintain its unique culture and history. Today, the city is a vibrant Mexican destination that was designed for exploring, and offers plenty of options for active travel. Guest contributor, Neil Wolkodoff from Travel and, gives us some insider tips on how to enjoy active travel in Mazatlan.

Mazatlan is a city with a 500-year-old history. This means culture, history, and activity have a rich meld not found in the manufactured mega-resort destinations. In a word, Mazatlan is pretty darn authentic. And, it is relatively easy to navigate as most businesses and hotels run along the beach and boardwalk from north to south.

The Mazatlan beachfront
Take a leisurely stroll around the Mazatlan beachfront.

Stroll through the Old Town

History is best seen in the old city, where row houses and businesses were part of the city blocks. The Historic District is the original downtown and square of Mazatlan. Here the buildings are tightly knit along cobblestone streets. A variety of shops and eateries, most of which include outdoor seat areas await. It’s a beautiful walk for a day as there are plenty of historical notes, plus enough eateries that you can recharge.

view of the historic district in Matzalan
Make room to stroll around the historic district of town.

Take some time to stop in the plazas and imagine yourself sitting here and discussing Mexican political events of the 18th and 19th centuries and then meeting famous dissidents and philosophers that favored hanging their hats here. Wander through the beautiful plaza through the late afternoon until dinner to join the locals enjoying their early evening strolls.

Inspired to go on a Mazatlan adventure? Start your search for hotels in Mazatlan with us.

The Teatro Angela Peralta has undergone a fantastic restoration, both for a tour and to catch a production. As the two most prominent festivals of the year are Day of the Dead and Carnival, anything around those two times is sure to have some special shows. The theater has this beautiful, intimate feel with just the right size.

Matzalan historic theater on the day of the dead celebration
If you’re in the area during the local celebrations, make sure to check out the theater. (Photo courtesy of the Mazatlan Tourism Board)

The Church of the Immaculate Conception has also undergone some renovation, and in some ways, rivals what you might find in France or Italy. As Mexico is a country with an extremely high Catholic population, this restoration is as much about religious duty and tradition as it is tourism.

Church of Imaculate Conception in Matzalan
This beautiful church certainly deserves to be explored. (Photo courtesy of the Mazatlan Tourism Board)

If you want a hotel with a rich history, then the Playa Mazatlan Beach Hotel is the ticket. This property goes back 60 years as the original hotel in the golden zone. It was the off-season rejuvenation station for such legends as John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Robert Mitchum and more.

John Wayne and Rock Hudson in Matzalan
The legends knew where to go to kick back and relax. (Photos via Hotel La Playa Mazatlan)

Needless to say, when stars stay, they want a little more than the average room. And the hotel has retained those suites, with updates, so you can imagine yourself sitting on the veranda with a morning coffee with the Duke. Moreover, it is an excellent springboard to all the activities in the area.

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Take a Trip Back in Time

Baking pastries in an adobe oven
Baking pastries in an adobe oven.

Exciting tours are the norm in Mazatlan, and all include a good dose of culture, history and walking along the stops. Hop aboard Pronatours for their guided tours, as some of the spots you will want to visit are quite distant from the lodging district. One that involves a significant amount of culture, history, and geography is the restored village of El Quelite. A definite step back in time with an adobe bakery, the El Messon restaurant, and a drink to top it off at the Los Osuna Blue Agave Distillery.

Get on the Water

Fishing is a big deal in Mazatlan, and you can’t go wrong with about any sport fishing option, as the waters are rich in catchables. An early excursion is best as all boats head west past both Deer and Stone Island into the deep waters. And you get back in time for more exploring and a sunset view. If you would instead just get away from shore to an island, there are plenty of companies that offer excursions to both islands.

View of Deer Island from Mazatlan beach
Enjoy the beautiful view of Deer Island while you stroll on the beach.

This is the land of shrimp, so just about every restaurant up and down the golden zone has their own particular shrimp dish. For a view of the old town square, Casa46 is an elegant retreat. A little history with a street-side experience and nightly entertainment is Pedro & Lolas, named after two famous Mexican artists of the Sinaloa area. And for the ultimate dining experience, El Presidio takes three old houses, adjoins them at the interior walls for a stunning ambiance with equally inventive food and drink.

Disclosure: This trip was part of a press trip, and some of the sights and excursions described were part of that journey, while others were accomplished on our own.

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