20 Best Things To Do in Mazatlan, Mexico

Mexico has no shortage of beach towns for you to choose from for a sun-drenched vacation. There are endless fun things to do in Mazatlan, which is affectionately known as the Pearl of the Pacific. This coastal city is one of the top places to visit in Mexico, and for good reason. 

Long a favourite of surfers and expats, Mazatlan has a lot to offer travellers!

Here you can explore the historic Old Town, take part in a wide variety of water sports, attend one of the biggest parties in the world, and so much more. If you’re wondering what to do in Mazatlan during your holiday, we have you covered.

Read on to plan your trip to this beautiful Mexican city as we share the 21 best things to do in Mazatlan. 

1. Stroll the Malecon

The first item on your list of things to do in Mazatlan should definitely be a stroll along the oceanfront Malecon. This promenade stretches for several kilometers up the coast, making for a beautiful place to walk, jog, or cycle. 

Along the way, you’ll see several unique statues and monuments, including the iconic Fishermen Monument. Make sure you bring your camera, because this is a seriously photogenic place. 

things to do in mazatlan walk the malecon

Should you need some refreshments on your stroll, there are plenty of street food vendors, restaurants, cafes, and bars to choose from. You could easily spend the entire day enjoying all that the Malecon has to offer and not get bored.

*If you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta, don’t forget to check out the Malecon there as well – it’s one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta

2. Walking Tour of the Historic Centre

While the coast of Mazatlan is picturesque, you’ll want to be sure to explore the city’s historic centre as well. The Centro Historico (commonly called “Old Town” in English) is full of stunning architecture, tree-lined plazas, and some great museums.

An excellent way to cover some serious ground in Old Town is following this self-guided walking tour. You’ll see some of the most historic buildings in the city, get to choose between a few museums, and so much more. 

☞ See Also: Things To Do in San Miguel de Allende – Mexico’s Colourful City

3. Visit the Basilica

However you decide to explore the Old Town, be sure to include a visit to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It was finished back in 1899 in the Baroque-Revival style. Admiring the gorgeous church is definitely one of the top things to do in Mazatlan.  

Mazatlan Basilica
Admiring the beautiful basilica. | Photo by Sasha Savinov

One interesting aspect of the basilica’s design is that it features the Star of David on stained glass windows inside. This was added as a show of thanks to a Jewish family who helped to fund the construction of the church. Click here for directions.

**Don’t miss our epic Mexico Travel Guide which has all the information you’ll need for visiting this country, including details on Mazatlan.

4. Hike to the Lighthouse

For some of the best views in Mazatlan, take a hike up to El Faro (The Lighthouse). There’s a trail leading up the hill to the lighthouse that takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

Fun fact — this is actually the highest natural lighthouse in the Americas, at around 160 metres above sea level.

Be sure to wear some good shoes and bring plenty of water for this hike. You’ll definitely want your camera for this one as well to snap some photos of the incredible views. Click here for directions to the lighthouse. Entrance to the lighthouse is free. 

5. Hit the Beach

What better way to cool down after a good hike than chilling out on the beach? There are several beaches in Mazatlan to choose from, including Playa Olas Altas right downtown. Just be warned that this beach (with a name meaning High Waves) isn’t the best for swimming.

Up in the Zona Dorada (Gold Zone), you’ll find the bustling Playa las Gaviotas. This beach is always lively, so don’t expect peace and quiet here. It’s fun to check out for a while if you’re prepared to deal with the countless vendors.

Surfers in particular love the beaches in Mazatlan, however, if you’re looking to swim in calm waters, you’ll want to check out Playa Sabalo

*Note: If you’re looking for powdery white sands and turquoise Caribbean waters, you’ll want to check out the Yucatan area of Mexico. Chilling on the best is one of the top things to do in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, Tulum and Cozumel!

visiting the beach is one of the top things to do in mazatlan mexico

6. A Day at the Water Park

One of the top things to do in Mazatlan for families is spending a day at the Mazagua Water Park. There are several different water slides here, as well as a wave pool, an artificial beach, volleyball courts and more. 

The park is open daily from 10AM-6PM and costs around $8 to visit. You can even make a day of it and combine a visit to Mazagua with a trip to the nearby Playa Cerritos. Click here for directions to the water park.  

7. Chill Out at Stone Island

If the hustle and bustle of the city centre gets to be too much, you can make a quick escape to Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island).

It’s not really an island, but it sure feels like it. Due to the geography of the area, it would take a few hours to drive there. Instead, hop on the local ferry for the quick 5-minute ride.

Mazatlan Stone Island things to do

Once you’re on the “island,” you can chill out on the beach, go for a swim, or even try some horseback riding. There are quite a few restaurants to choose from on the beach as well, so you can stay here all day and enjoy a little escape from the city.

☞ See Also: Things To Do in Oaxaca – 21 Things You Don’t Want To Miss

8. Watch the Cliff Divers

One of the most popular things to do in Mazatlan is seeing the amazing cliff divers. Known as clavadistas, these daring men leap off a small platform high above the crashing waves. They have to time their dive very carefully so as to not hit the rocks. 

The cliff divers jump from a spot along the Malecon called El Clavadista. They usually dive in the afternoon, with Sunday being the busiest day. The divers work for tips from tourists who stop to watch, so be prepared to chip in a buck or two. Click here for directions. 

☞ See Also: Things To Do in Guadalajara – A List of The Top 21

9. See a Show at the Theatre

When visiting Mazatlan, you won’t want to miss out on the stunning Angela Peralta Theatre. It was opened way back in 1874 and restored in the 1980s to once again host performances.

The theatre was named after a famous Mexican opera singer who tragically died as a result of a yellow fever epidemic that struck the city.

what to do in mazatlan visit the theatre

If there’s not a show going on at the theatre during your stay, you can still take a tour of the building. Head here for a guide to the upcoming cultural performances in Mazatlan, most of which take place at the theatre, and many of which offer free entrance.

☞ See Also: Things To Do in Mexico City – A List Of The Best

10. Go Golfing

If you’re a golfer, you’ll be happy to hear that there are a few different courses to choose from in Mazatlan. Here you’ll find the amazing Estrella del Mar, which was built on the Pacific Ocean and is consistently ranked among the top courses in all of Mexico.

For 18 holes in the high season, the cost is $130, including cart rental, balls, bottle of water and a scorecard. Click here for more details about Estrella del Mar. 

Even if you’re not up for playing a full round, you can head to the Pacific Food Truck Park & Golf to hit some balls on their driving range. 

*Note: Playing a round of golf is also one of the top things to do in San Pancho, just outside of Puerto Vallarta.

11. Celebrate Carnaval

Without a doubt, one of the most fun things to do in Mazatlan is celebrating Carnaval. While Rio and New Orleans may get all the hype, Mazatlan throws one of the best Carnaval parties out there. 

During Carnaval (which happens in February), the Malecon is packed full of revelers. There are several stages with live bands and tons of vendors selling costumes, food, and drinks to keep the party going.

There’s also a massive fireworks display and a big parade to wind down the festivities. Learn more about the festivities here.

See what Carnaval in Mazatlan looks like in our short video.

12. Machado Square

Perhaps the best area of Old Town to hang out in is Machado Square. This tree-lined plaza is very picturesque and is a popular place for both locals and tourists to gather.

There are many restaurants, cafes, and bars around the square where you can sit and watch the city go by. If you’re looking for a good part of town to stay in, finding a hotel or hostel around Machado is highly recommended.

Mazatlan Machado Square

⇒ See Also: Puerto Escondido, Mexico – The Ultimate Travel Guide

13. Ride the Waves

If you’re looking for more excitement than just beach-bumming, there are a few places in Mazatlan to go surfing. The most popular is Playa Brujas in the north of the city, where you can find vendors renting surfboards if you don’t have your own.

This exposed beach break is good any time of year. Even better, this remote beach is usually pretty empty and is devoid of the touts that plague the bustling Gaviotas beach.

14. Catch a Ballgame

Football is for sure the most popular sport in Mexico, but baseball is king here in Mazatlan. The city is home to the Venados de Mazatlan (the Mazatlan Deer), who play in the Mexican Pacific League.

There’s a lot to cheer about here, as the team won the league championship as recently as 2016.

In addition, major renovations just wrapped up on the stadium, which hopes to host MLB exhibition games sometime soon. Catching a ballgame is definitely one of the top things to do in Mazatlan.

☞ See Also: Manzanillo Mexico: The Ultimate Travel Guide

15. Feast on Seafood

In this coastal city, it should come as no surprise that there’s an abundance of delicious seafood!

Mazatlan is known in particular for its tasty shrimp dishes. Try some shrimp pate, which is made from ground shrimp, mayonnaise, queso crema, and chipotle chilies, or dig into a plate of spicy aguachile — raw shrimp with chili peppers, lime juice, cilantro, and onion.

eating mexican food in mazatlan

Eating traditional cuisine is definitely one of the top things to do in Mexico, and Mazatlan is no exception. Whether it’s a simple beachside restaurant grilling up fresh fish or a fancy restaurant in Old Town, your taste buds are in for a treat when you dine on seafood in Mazatlan. 

☞ See Also: Things To Do in Guanajuato – A Top 10 List of The Best

16. Visit the Turtle Sanctuary

Every year, sea turtles travel hundreds of miles to their place of birth to lay eggs. Sadly, the ongoing development of coastal areas in Mexico has hurt the reproductive success of the turtles.

There’s good news, though, as there are a few places in Mazatlan working to protect and conserve the turtles.

If you’d like to help out with the efforts, you can join a tour to visit one of the sanctuaries in Mazatlan. Estrella del Mar and El Verde Camacho are your best bets for helping out with turtle conservation in Mazatlan. 

17. Sunset on the Beach

As you can see, there are plenty of fun things to do in Mazatlan. However you choose to spend your days here, be sure to take some time to slow down, chill out, and catch a beautiful sunset on the beach. 

There are plenty of simple beach bars where you can use a lounger or even swing in a hammock as you watch the sun disappear on the horizon. Crack an ice-cold cervesa and enjoy the show!

Mazatlan Sunset

18. Get Up Close with Whales and Dolphins

From December to April, huge pods of humpback whales make their way past Mazatlan. Joining a tour to get up close to these majestic creatures is sure to be one of your favourite things to do in Mazatlan. 

In addition to whale watching adventures, it’s also possible to swim with dolphins in the wild. There are quite a few tour operators running both types of trips, with Onca Explorations coming highly recommended. 

*Note: Seeing whales in the wild is also one of the top things to do in Cabo San Lucas!

19. Watersports Galore

Surfing isn’t the only water sport on offer in Mazatlan. You can also enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, jet-skiing, fishing – the list goes on and on.

If you’re into sports fishing, you’ll be happy to know that during the winter months, you can catch Pacific Sailfish, Dorado (Mahi Mahi), Wahoo and Yellowfin Tuna, and Striped Marlin. In the summer, you can hook into Blue and Black Marlin. Learn more about sports fishing in Mazatlan here.

With so many options, you can spend the majority of your trip in Mazatlan out in the water and do something different every day.

20. Enjoy the Nightlife

Mazatlan is a city that knows how to party, plain and simple. While Carnaval is definitely the wildest time of the year here, the party’s always going in this popular beach town. 

You can find bars and clubs of all shapes and sizes here. Whether you’re looking for a laidback dive bar or a bumping nightclub, you can find it here in Mazatlan. One of the quintessential places to party is Bora Bora, a massive club where dancing on the table is the norm. 

party in mazatlan mexico

Now You Know What To Do in Mazatlan!

As you can see, Mazatlan offers far more than your average beach town. With its restored Old Town, oceanfront promenade, vibrant culture, and abundance of beaches, there are enough things to see and do in Mazatlan to keep you busy for a while.

Who knows — you may end up loving Mazatlan so much that you decide to join the scores of expats who have chosen to call this coastal city home. Enjoy your trip!

Some images in this post are courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

Like This Article? Pin it!

“20 Coolest Things To Do in Mazatlan, MexicoTop 20 Things To Do in Mazatlan, Mexico“20 Best Things To Do in Mazatlan, Mexico


Disclaimer: GoatsOnTheRoad.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please see our Privacy Page for more information.

Written by

Sasha Savinov

Sasha is a regular contributor to Goats On The Road where he shares his advice as a full-time traveler and digital nomad. In particular, Sasha is an expert in travelling the United States, Mexico and Thailand. He's also an online English teacher and a video producer. In fact, he studied video production at Michigan State University. He and his wife Rachel share their adventures on their website, Grateful Gypsies.

Related Posts

Jack the Ripper in old London

Top 7 Jack The Ripper Tours in London

London is a city packed with fun and interesting things to do from top museums and attractions to castles, palaces, parks, and more. But the city also has a dark history and one of the best ways to explore the underbelly of Victorian London is on one of the many Jack the Ripper tours. But ...
best beaches in mexico

15 Most Beautiful Beaches in Mexico

As frequent visitors to the beautiful country south of the USA, we’re often asked our choices for the best beaches in Mexico. With more than 9,000 km of coastline and nearly 500 beaches to choose from, there’s no quick answer. To make the question even more complex, beaches in Mexico are as diverse as the ...
what to do in medellin colombia

12 Best Things To Do in Medellín, Colombia

In this article, you’ll learn the top things to do in Medellín, including the best places to visit and the top attractions.  Watch a football match, go hiking in a nearby park, visit the local communities, party all night, or even put down some temporary roots here as many digital nomads have done recently. Nature, ...