Tourism and fishing top the list of economic drivers in Mazatlan—basically it accounts for a significant portion of Mexico’s shrimp industry.
Other leading products of this strong economy include the world-renowned Pacifico Beer, Marino coffee and Latin America’s largest tuna processing plant.
Humid and warm, with plenty of sunny days. Temps average from lows in the upper 60s (16ºC) to highs in the lower 80s (27ºC).
Known as “Mexico’s Breadbasket,” Sinaloa’s economy is based on agriculture, livestock breeding, commerce, industry and fishing—the latter performed with the second largest fishing fleet in the country, which sails out of Mazatlan.
The Mazatlan International Airport (MZT) receives nonstop flights from Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Phoenix.
The city’s Golden Zone, home to the majority of its hotels, received a million dollar investment in new roads, renovated sidewalks, added signage and more. This is where you’ll find the iconic El Cid Resorts, a complex of three hotels, with a fourth, the El Cid Marina Beach Hotel, just minutes away. Together they offer 14 large event halls and conference spaces, the largest of which can accommodate 1,500 people, plus an onsite DMC, a marina and a golf course.
New in the Zone, the Holiday Inn Mazatlan has 164 ocean view rooms and a dedicated 164-ft² (15 m²) meeting room, as is the Pacific Palace Beach Tower Hotel, adjacent to the El Cid Golf & Country Club, with 147 rooms that have kitchenettes with refrigerators and microwaves.
The five-star Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan Beach Resort takes full advantage of its location in the Golden Zone, just minutes from the heart of Old Mazatlan. The resort offers indoor meeting and banquet facilities for up to 80 guests, many with ocean views, as well as gardens and pool terraces. Built on 20 ocean front acres (8 hectares) in New Mazatlan, about 15 minutes from the Mazatlan International Center, sister property Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay has Four-Diamond service, with 378 spacious junior and master suites and over 7,000 ft² (650 m²) of indoor and outdoor event space. Anchored by one of Mexico’s top rated Robert Trent Jones Jr. 18-hole championship golf courses, the Estrella del Mar Resort has 71 rooms on a secluded 3.5-mile long beach just 10 minutes from the airport, as well as meeting rooms with space for up to 150 people and—bonus—an on-site turtle sanctuary.
Mazatlan also boasts several boutique properties for boardroom retreats, including the top-ranked Casa Lucila, just a short walk away from the historic center; and The Jonathan, located next to the famed Angela Peralta Theater.
The cutting-edge Mazatlan International Center is the area’s largest venue, with 28 rooms and seven business centers spread out over nearly 303,951 ft² (28,238 m²) of constructed space. Special events can be held in Old Mazatlan’s Plaza Machado, as well as in the beautifully restored Angela Peralta Theater with more than 800 seats and galleries for art exhibits.
The best way for groups to get a feel for Mazatlan is with a city tour from the Golden Zone hotels to Old Mazatlan following the coastal boulevard and the malecón. A walk along the endless malecón, or boardwalk, dotted with sculptures is a must; it turns into fiesta central every year in February during the world-famous Mazatlan Carnaval.
The historic downtown has been restored, renovated and repackaged, a great place to visit day or night. Tour the Pacífico brewery, watch the famous cliff divers or head out on the high seas for some award-winning sport fishing.
There are several islands just offshore that are great for snorkeling, bird watching and even sea lion sightings (seasonal). One of the most popular outings is to Stone Island (actually a peninsula). The best way to get there is aboard the Catamaran Sábalo on an Adventure Island Tour for a 90-minute ride—complete with music, open bar and bathrooms—that takes groups past the commercial docks and fishing fleets, the ferry to Baja, the sport fishing fleet, the lighthouse, and the bird sanctuary for a three-and-a-half-hour stay on a secluded beach. After the tour, the catamarans dock right in front of La Puntilla Restaurant, a simple, open-air eatery with a view of the ferry and the incoming shrimp boats, one of the best places to indulge in Mazatlan’s famous seafood dishes.
Coming Up: As of press time, construction was underway on the 124-room Holiday Inn Express Mazatlan Marina less than a mile from the Golden Zone, which will be part of a mixed-use development, as well as a new Pacific Sands property. Work on the Mazatlan Museum, designed by architect Fernando Romero, who designed the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City, is still underway. The museum will have an IMAX theater, exhibition and gallery areas, a restaurant, classrooms for workshops and a virtual street that will transport visitors to the annual Carnaval de Mazatlan. One of the biggest resort projects underway is Playa Espiritu, about 50 miles south of Mazatlan, which is slated to have 100 hotels totaling 44,000 rooms. The first phase—with 10,000 rooms—is slated to open by the end of 2018.