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Mazatlan – General Overview

Mazatlan is a very popular getaway for people all over the globe. Its close proximity to the US, even within driving distance for many in the southern states, makes it a quick and affordable getaway. The beaches here are spectacular and offer all types of water sports including swimming, snorkeling, diving and fishing. Many people head to the region to charter trips for deep sea fishing or whale watching. The friendly people who live here make this an unforgettable getaway, perfect for escaping your cares.

Most Popular Mazatlan Beaches

The Isla de la Piedra offers miles of beaches, great to explore by horseback. These beaches also offer lots of open air restaurants, and you can find place to charter boats to take day trips as well.

The Playa Olas Atlas, near old Mazatlan, is the home of where the boardwalk begins and is a favorite spot for surfers in the summer months. Not the best place for swimming, you can still enjoy the great views and the outdoor cafes.

The Playa Los Pinos is near the Fisherman’s Monument, where you can buy fresh fish daily. Get there early to get the freshest fish just off the boats when the fishermen return.

Playa Norte is a popular location for locals and you will often see an impromptu game of soccer or baseball starting up. A beautiful spot to relax and watch the waves roll in.

Play Martin and Playa Sabalo are big tourist spots for white sand beaches and sunbathing. Be ready to encounter numerous vendors who comb the beaches selling their food, jewelry and more.

The least crowded beaches are near the north end and include Playa Brujas and Playa Los Cerritos, and these are also popular surfing spots.

Traveler Facts

Travel & Transportation

Most travelers arrive via air at the Rafael Buelna International Airport, which is only minutes from the resort area. However, some do choose to drive down Highway 15 from Nogales, but tolls will cost you around $40 for the trip. Roads can be a little tricky, so be sure to take your time if you plan on driving. There is a train stations where some guests arrive from Nogales and Guadalajara, but the service is notoriously unreliable. The cost from the Mexican border is about $40. The Marina in Mazatlan is also popular with leisure boaters and yachters. There is also a ferry offering services to and from La Paz and Baja California Sur.

Entry Requirements

To enter Mexico, visitors need a tourist permit (tarjeta de turista) which is free and available through airlines, Mexican government tourism offices, Mexican consulates or at the border customs office when crossing by land. The card is only good for one entry of a maximum of 180 days. You are also required to have a passport if flying or if driving or arriving by sea, you can provide proof of citizenship.

Languages Spoken / official language – Spanish is the official language, but English is widely spoken in the resort sector.

Currency – The Peso is the official currency, but English is widely spoken in most hotels and shops.

Tipping - The standard tipping at restaurants is 10-15%. There is generally no tipping at the taco stands or food carts. Taxis also appreciate a similar tip. Tipping is prohibited in many all-inclusive resorts.

Taxes – The VAT is around 15% and will be added to most purchases, including hotels and restaurants. There is a departure tax when leaving by plane of around $35.

Electricity - Generally you will find 110 volt, 60 cycle electrical outlets of either the three prong (American) type outlet or, in older locations, the 2 slot outlets without a ground. You may need to purchase an adapter for the 2 slot type.

Immunizations Health Issues - No immunizations are required to visit Mexico. Be careful what you eat and where you eat it. In the resort zone (Golden Zone) most water is filtered and so it the water used for ice and preparing food. Outside of that area, you never know what you are going to get. Just use common sense and stick to bottled water and bottled drinks.

Mazatlan Marriage Licenses Requirements & Wedding Information

The suggested arrival time is 2 - 4 days before the wedding to complete all the requirements. All documents should be originals or certified originals.

THE REGISTRO CIVIL - The Registro Civil, found in every city and pueblo, serves as the city hall marriage license bureau. The bride and groom will have to make their application at the Registro Civil serving the area where they plan to be married.

At the Registro Civil, the betrothed couple will be asked to:
-file an application
-present the original and copies of their passports
-prove they are legally in Mexico (FMT, tourist card, FM-3, FM-2 or other visa)
-present certified copies of their birth certificates
-present medical tests results (From blood test required to be done in Mexico prior to the wedding)
-be accompanied by two legally qualified witnesses* who will be present at the civil ceremony.
*Photo identification is required by all participants.

The certified copies of each birth certificate must bear the apostille of the Secretary of State in which the document was issued. And then it must be translated by an approved translator.

The couple must also complete a statement contained in the application designating whether the couple plans to be married under the system of joint or separate property.

Once the necessary paperwork has been completed a fee is charged [$30-$40 USD] and the license is issued. Civil ceremonies can be performed at the Registro Civil. After the civil ceremony is completed the next step is to obtain a certified copy of the marriage certificate [acta de matrimonio]. It is a good idea to obtain several copies.

Mazatlan Tourism Office Information

An “official” tourist office is not present in Mazatlan, but the tourism board has small “tourist kiosks” located around the city where employees answer questions and hand out brochures and maps.  The tourism office can be reached at (669) 914-3222

The local hotel association can be found online at:

Other Mazatlan Related Websites

Climate Information (When is the Best Time to Travel)

The weather is very pleasant from November until May. From June until September, it is quite hot and humid. Most would advise to avoid visiting from July to September because Mazatlan has a very intense rainy season. January through March are cooler months, an the average daytime temperatures are in the high 70’s to low 80’s, whereas evening temperatures are in the low 60’s.
The temperatures drop in the evening because of the high water content in the air, so you will probably want to carry a jacket or sweater in the evening.

High & Low Season for travel - The high season is from mid-December to mid-April and the low season is from mid-April to mid-December.

Map of Mazatlan

Local Attractions & Must Do’s

While in Mazatlan, take the opportunity to check out the 3 islands off the coast, each with its own unique personality. Regular boat trips leave the area near the El Cid Resort. There is also a great Aquarium and Botanical Gardens in Mazatlan where you can see exotic plants and animals from around the world.

The Shell City Museum in the heart of the Golden Zone and boasts an amazing collection of shells, coconut art, wind chimes, and more. It is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind collection that you have to see to believe.

While you are there, check old Mazatlan where you can get a taste for the local life. Offering numerous vendors and a great place to interact with locals, this is a favorite among tourists. You can also see the beautiful Catedral de la Purisma Concepcion, which took nearly 40 years to build, a breathtaking sight.

You have to take the time to explore the history of the city, and the numerous historical buildings and landmarks. Also, be sure to take some time to visit the Mercado central, which is a huge indoor/outdoor marketplace offering all the bargaining and shopping you can handle.

Most Popular Hotels

The Hotel Faro Mazatlan Beach Resort is an amazing beachfront resort that overlooks the Punta del Sabalo. It features four-star amenities and accommodations, all set in a lush tropical garden on top of a dramatic rock formation.

For a great village-style hotel, the Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay offers amazing service and luxurious rooms. It’s just a few minutes from all the excitement of the Golden Zone, but has enough to keep you busy right on the property that you may never leave the hotel grounds.

If you are searching for something off the beaten path, the secluded Bosta Bonita Condos & Beach Resort might be just the place for you. Set in tropical gardens with beautiful walking trails, it boasts a secluded beach that is perfect for relaxing. Not too far from the Golden Zone, the excitement of the city is not far away, but it’s just far enough to give the secluded feel many are seeking.

For a great Mega Resort, try the properties of the El Cid Marina Beach Hotel, which boasts three hotels, beautiful beaches, luxurious accommodations, and its own country club. The list of amenities is endless and the accommodations are amazing.

If you want to go the all-inclusive route, the Holiday Inn Sunspree offers all-inclusive stays (optional) with and a name tourists trust for high quality rooms and service.