Jill Weinlein

Mazatlán is the second largest city in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico offering picturesque sights at every turn. From magnificent sunrises and sunsets, the beach is a great background dotted with palm trees and views of islands. Mazatlán lies across the tip of the Baja Peninsula, on the Sea of Cortez and has 16 miles of golden-sand beaches. The 13 mile long Malecon is considered the longest in the world. Along the boardwalk is a bike and walking pathway, important monuments, hotels, beachside restaurants and cafes.

Three cruise ships including Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line are stopping in the Pacific port town, creating a boom in tourism. Construction of the largest aquarium in Latin America is underway and should be completed by 2022.

The optimal time to visit is towards the end of October through April, when there is a cool ocean breeze and warm sub-tropical temperature. November is a special time to visit during the festivities of Dia de Muertos, and towards the end of February to March is when the third-largest Carnival takes place along the Malecon. Parades with enormous floats, costumed characters, dancing and music in the streets are some of the celebratory activities during these events.

Jill Weinlein

Two luxury hotels include Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán in the ‘Zona Dorada’ or Golden Zone, and its opulent sister property Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay. Both beachfront properties are part of the award-winning Pueblo Bonito Hotel Group offering memorable Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlán vacations.

Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán was one of the first luxe resorts built right on the beach over 30 years ago. This flagship Pueblo Bonito recently received a $26.5 million dollar refresh and is now one of the finest hotels on the beach.

The spacious guest rooms, two swimming pools, 5 restaurants, 2 bars and lobby have been renovated. Guests step onto their balcony or patio to gaze out to the Pacific Ocean and notice one or more islands. Since the name Mazatlán means ‘Land of the deer’ one of the environmentally protected islands is Deer Island. The others are Wolf and Bird Island, a refuge for sea birds. Boats take visitors to the pristine sandy shore to hike up trails to the top.

Jill Weinlein

Beach activities include parasailing, kayaking, surfing and swimming in the warm ocean water. There are miles of sand along the water’s edge to walk along in the morning, during the day and at sunset.

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One of the newest attractions is The Observatory 1873, once a military observation post named Cerro del Vigía. Not only did it serve to protect the city from enemy ships, but also pirates.

Start your journey with a 10-minute informative film about the history of Mazatlán, before taking a funicular ride up to the top to one of the oldest buildings in the city. It’s now a museum filled with photos, antique furniture and marvelous views from every window. Afterward, take a tour to learn about the traditions in making mezcal in Mexico.

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The viewing deck at Observatory 1873 offers a party atmosphere with strings of lights, a cactus garden and a bird conservation aviary filled with various kinds of rescued birds, including flamingos, scarlet macaw, yellow cheeked parrots, and toucans.

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At the very top is a bar serving light snacks and beverages. Be sure to have a Pacifico beer. Mazatlán is very proud of this beer introduced in 1899, by three German immigrants as a Mexican pilsner-style beer. This clear, golden beer is brewed at the Pacífico brewery near the Mazatlán port. Their new Pacifico Suave is a smooth beer with an ABV 3.4%, that is refreshing to sip throughout the day.

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Also from the Observatory 1873 is a view of the famous El Faro lighthouse. It’s a popular hike up a paved incline trail to 347 steps to reach the top. Still operating, it was built around 1879, and considered the highest lighthouse in the world. The maritime signals were manufactured in Paris, France, and contained a large oil lamp with mirrors. By 1905, this lamp was converted to a revolving lamp and today the 1000 watt bulb can be seen for 30 nautical miles.

Along the 30 minute moderate hike one can see the city, beaches, harbor and Sierra Madre Mountain range.

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Below the lighthouse is a glass bridge cantilevering over the Pacific Ocean. Visitors are encouraged to remove their shoes and keep their socks on when walking to the end of the glass bridge. The brilliant blue Pacific Ocean is an ideal backdrop in photos.

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Walk along cobblestone streets among beautifully painted turn-of-the-century buildings. One feels as if they are in Europe when entering Mazatlán Centro Historico, the heart and soul of the city with a lively vibe.

Many of the abandoned buildings are being renovated into restaurants, private homes and hotels. Art is displayed on walls of shops, mezcalerias, cafes and inside galleries.

Also in the historic city is the magnificent Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Built in the baroque-revival style it is home of the Catholic Diocese of Mazatlan. During construction in the mid-1850s, it took over 40 years to build the church due to a lack of funds. With the help of a wealthy Jewish family, the church was completed in 1899. Look up to see the Star of David displayed in each of its 28 stained-glass windows. They were installed as a sign of gratitude and this is the only Roman Catholic Church in the world to have these stars.

Jill Weinlein

Take a step back in time inside the mansion of a wealthy merchant that is now Pueblo Bonito’s fine dining restaurant Casa 46. Pueblo Bonito guests can enjoy a meal for just a $15 per person supplemental fee. Sit at one of the window tables to look out onto the historic square while enjoying a gourmet meal.

Jill Weinlein

For an authentic Mexican experience, drive or take a cab to the charming El Quelite village. It’s about a half-hour drive from Mazatlán with cobblestone streets, colorful homes, quaint art and crafts boutiques, horseback riding tours and El Meson D Los Laureanos restaurant. It’s Dr. Marcos Osuna Tirado’s family home, that has been turned into a museum, shop, restaurant, bar and lively venue. Lunch and dinner items on the extensive menu include carne asada, carnitas, pollo, quail and beef tongue. Dr. Osuna is proud of his village and happy to meet visitors at a local’s home for a cheese-making demonstration. He is the driving force behind the town’s tourism and educates the locals about sustainability and conservation.

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Those staying at the Pueblo Bonito Resorts in Mazatlán, can lounge by one of the waterfront pools after a day of sightseeing. The resorts offer all-inclusive amenities that captivate your senses.

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