Located on the Pacific Ocean in the southwestern corner of the state of Sinaloa, Mazatlán lies about 135 miles south of Cuilican, Sinaloa’s capital and largest city, and about 370 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. It is due east of the tip of Baja California Sur across the Sea of Cortez.
The city sits at sea level but the majestic Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range rises to the east of Mazatlán and nearby hills provide plenty of biking and hiking opportunities for outdoor adventurers.
Mazatlán is known for its over 17 miles of golden beaches but the city’s shoreline extends nearly 50 miles. The large Huizache Lagoon occupies about 40 square miles and attracts bird watchers from all around the world. It is fed by the Ostial estuary and also receives water from the Presidio River.
Several islands lie in the Pacific just west of Mazatlán: Isla de Pajaros, Isla de Venados and Isla de Lobos. You can get to them by boat to enjoy water sports and eat in the palapa-covered restaurants.
Mazatlán is divided into three distinct zones: Centro Historico, or Old Mazatlán;, the Zona Dorada, or Golden Zone; and, Nuevo Mazatlán, or New Mazatlán. The port and downtown area in Old Mazatlán are located at the southern end of a peninsula that separates the Pacific from its major saltwater estuary. North of downtown about four miles is the Zona Dorada, It is home to nearly all of Mazatlan’s major attractions for visitors. Between those two major areas is a long, curved stretch of beach that separates the port from the resort zone, which allows the resort community to co-exist with one of México’s busiest commercial ports. Many expats live in the Nuevo Mazatlán area north of Zona Dorada.
Mazatlán is in the Mountain Standard Time zone and observes daylight saving time beginning the first Sunday in April and ending the last Sunday in October.