Mazatlán’s expat community is large and growing, attracted to the city by the same combination that over 2 million visitors have discovered: Miles of golden sand beaches, a 13-mile boardwalk, a sub-tropical climate just a tad cooler than Puerto Vallarta, warm and friendly people, a cost of living lower than most coastal resort cities in Mexico and plenty of things to do.
This playground on the Pacific is widely known for its beaches and outdoor activities, but its history and culture are a big draw, also. Plaza Machado is one of the top historic walking areas in the city and one of the most recommended destinations in the Mazatlán City Guide. It is the heart of the Centro Historico district and one of the loveliest plazas in all of Mexico. The plaza is home to a variety of good restaurants, some with wonderful street views.
Mexico is known for its one of a kind cuisines and Mazatlán is no exception. It offers unique seafood platters, such as its famous Aguachile, which includes shrimp, onions and cucumbers marinated in lemon juice. Other dishes you will find in Mazatlán include Pescado Zarandeado, shrimp ceviche and shrimp cocktails.
Mazatlán’s Cathedral Basilica de la Inmaculada Concepcion is also one of Mazatláns most well known landmarks. Cathedral construction was begun by the Bishop Pedro Loza y Pardave in 1856 on the site of an ancient Indian temple. The Basilica is known by its rounded Renaissance domes and Gothic arches that surround the image of the city’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Purisima Concepcion.
The city is also famous for its signature landmark, El Faro Lighthouse, which is the highest natural lighthouse in the Americas and one of the highest operating lighthouses in the world. It has been operating since 1879.
There are examples of polychrome pottery and other historical artifacts at Mazatlán’s Museo Arqueologico, which has exhibits that showcase the pre-Columbian history and culture of the state of Sinaloa. It is located just four blocks from the Plaza Machado.
If you love parades, you will not be disappointed by the Mazatlán Carnival, one of the largest of its kind in Mexico. Over a half million people flood the Avenida del Mar each year to watch the floats and hear Banda Sinaloa music, which originated in the 1920s.
Mazatlan has been one of the best fishing locations in the world for decades and has the second largest fishing fleet in Mexico. Commercial fishing is one of the city’s major economic contributors, but sport fishing is enjoyed year-round where the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez meet the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the season, you can look forward to catching Sailfish; Blue, Black or Striped Marlin; Swordfish; Dorado; Rooster fish; Wahoo; Yellowfin Tuna; Stripe; Mahi Mahi; and, Shark.
Blessed with warm weather and plenty of sunshine all year, Mazatlán is perfect for a wide range of outdoor activities and sports, ranging from golf, tennis and swimming to zip lining, sailing and much more.
If you have kids, the Aquatic Park Mazagua has pools, water slides and tables to enjoy an outdoor meal. But also make sure you do not miss the Mazatlán Aquarium. Since its opening in 1980, it has grown to be the largest aquarium in Mexico and one of the best in Latin America. In addition to the aquarium, the large botanical garden has 75 different species of trees and a wide assortment of sea lions, frogs, fish and crocodiles.
For expats, a wide range of shopping options is always important. Mazatlán has many shopping centers with “big box” chain stores like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, movie theaters and local retailers. Some of the major shopping malls in the area are Gallerias Mazatlán, Plaza La Encantada and Gran Plaza Mazatlán.