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Mazatlán Basics

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Mazatlan hotel

Mazatlán is a pleasant, busy commercial port city located in Mexico's State of Sinaloa. The city, with a population of about 400,000 people, sweeps northward for 15 miles from the El Faro lighthouse, the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

Mazatlán's economy is based on fishing, industrial activities and tourism. In addition to foreign visitors, the city is a mecca for domestic tourists. The city's shrimping fleet harvest is the largest in Mexico.

Located just south of the Tropic of Cancer, Mazatlán enjoys a tropical climate. During the Dry Season, November through May, the city's average daytime temperature is in the mid-70s F, while summer temperatures (the Rainy Season, from June through October) rise into the mid- to high-80s F.

Mazatlan map


First Impressions


As your ship approaches the port, Mazatlán seems to stretch for miles north from the port and the Old City. The resort area of the Zona Dorada, or Golden Zone, about 5 miles from the port and home to dozens of high-rise beachfront hotels, stretches a further 9 miles north. As you'll notice from the number of naval vessels, Mazatlán is also a Mexican naval base.

Your ship will dock at the commercial port, and you will be taken to the Cruise Terminal via tram. The Cruise Terminal has a frenetic atmosphere, with shops stocked with local souvenirs, liquor stores and hovering timeshare salesmen offering free taxi rides or activities in exchange for attending a timeshare pitch.

While at first glance Mazatlán appears to be like so many other Mexican cities, the city's "Old Mexico" charms will grow on you as you explore the town and surrounding areas. The locals are friendly and helpful, the seafood is fresh and delicious, and the weather is warm and inviting, making Mazatlán an enjoyable place to visit with a truly Mexican flavor.

Old Town Mazatlán is an easy 20 to 25 minute, one mile walk from the Cruise Terminal. Taxis, which are abundant, will take about 5 minutes to the center of the city. If you're planning to go to the Zona Dorada, it's a 20 minute ride.

mazatlan building

Time Zone


Mazatlán is on Mountain Time, seven hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during standard time, or six hours during daylight savings time. In Mexico, daylight savings time begins on the second Sunday of March, and ends on the first Sunday of November.

Mexican flag Mazatlán Local Time
 


Language


Spanish is universally spoken in Mazatlán; all of the shopkeepers catering to tourists also speak English.


Travel Advisory


Dept of State

The U. S. Department of State has issued this Travel Warning, dated August 22, 2017, to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico about the security situation in Mexico.

Sinaloa (includes Mazatlan): One of Mexico's most powerful criminal organizations is based in the state of Sinaloa, and violent crime rates remain high in many parts of the state.

Defer non-essential travel to the state of Sinaloa, except the cities of Mazatlan, Los Mochis, and the Port of Topolobampo. Travel in Mazatlan should be limited to Zona Dorada, the historic town center, as well as direct routes to and from these locations and the airport. Travel in Los Mochis and Topolobampo is restricted to the city and the port, as well as direct routes to/from these locations and the airport.


Dealing with Money in Mazatlán


Currency



Mexican Peso

The Peso is Mexico's official currency, and uses the "$" sign to denote the peso amount. Each peso is made up of 100 centavos. Bills come in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1000 pesos. Coinage comes in denominations of 50 centavos, and $1, $2, $5 and $10 pesos.

Just be aware that larger notes (e.g., $500 Peso notes) are often difficult to change.

The current US Dollar/Mexican Peso exchange rate is as follows:


Banks and ATMs

Banks with ATM machines are found throughout the downtown area of Mazatlán, as well as in the Golden Zone. ATM machines in the city can be found at the following locations:

  • HSBC Mexico: Angel Flores 415, in Old Mazatlán.

  • BBVA Bancomer: Ave. Camaron Sabalo 333, in the Golden Zone; and at 21 De Marzo at Benito Juarez, and Olas Atlas 67, both in Old Mazatlán.

  • Banamex: Ave. Benito Juarez, at the Angel Flores Center, in Old Mazatlán.

  • Santander Serfin: Angel Flores at 5 De Mayo, in Old Mazatlán, and at Camaron Sabalo 400 in the Golden Zone. People with Bank of America accounts aren't charged a fee when using Santander.

Mazatlán ATM Map


Map icon

See our Mazatlán ATM map for the locations of the above ATMs.



Using US Dollars in Mazatlán

As US dollars are widely accepted in Mazatlán, you don't have to change your dollars into pesos. If you're using dollars alone, make sure to bring smaller denominations to pay for incidentals and taxi rides.


Weather


Located just below the Tropic of Cancer, Mazatlán enjoys a tropical climate, but with cooler temperatures than other tropical Mexican ports. Evening Pacific breezes refresh the city, making it comfortable, whether outside or in.

From late fall through late spring, the daytime temperatures average in the mid-70s F, with evening temps in the mid-60s F. Summer daytime temperatures jump to the mid-80s F. July through September is the rainy season, with storms bringing between 6 to 9 inches of rain each month.

It's humid in Mazatlán, ranging from the low- to high-80% level throughout the year.

Fall brings the hurricane season, lasting from September through mid-November.

Average Temperatures

Average Precipitation

Keeping In Touch


Internet Access in Mazatlán

Internet Cafes in Old Mazatlán and surrounding areas are plentiful, and aren't hard to find. You'll also find internet cafes in many of the hotels in the Golden Zone. Rates at a cafe run from $10 to $20 pesos per hour. The following establishments provide internet access:

  • Cruise Terminal: There is an internet cafe in the cruise terminal building.

  • Web@ccess, Ave. Camaron Sabalo # 610 Suite 12, right across the street from the Costa de Oro Hotel in the Golden Zone. Open daily, year round, from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm.

  • Super Cocina D'Paulina, at Venus 45 just off Sixto Osuna, is both a restaurant (with cheap but good grub) and several computers, located in the Centro Historico. Open daily (except Sunday) from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.

  • Cyber Cafe, Ave. Camaron Sabalo # 204, Suite 9, next door to Dominos Pizza, in the Golden Zone. Open daily, year round, from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. They have 10 stations and provide free coffee and soda.

Mazatlán Internet Access Map


Map icon

See our Mazatlán Internet Access Map for the locations of the above internet access points.


Internet Cafe

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Customers of U.S. wireless carriers can expect the following levels of service in Mazatlán:

Verizon

Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service in the Mazatlán area is provided by local partner Iusacell.
Data services: Through partner Iusacell, Verizon offers EVDO coverage in the greater Mazatlán area.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services pricing and coverage maps.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service in the Mazatlán area is provided by Telcel and Telefonica.
Data services: AT&T offers 3G service in the Mazatlán area through its partners Telcel and Telefonica.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage maps.

Sprint

Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service in the Mazatlán area is provided by partner Iusacell, and with partners Telcel and Telefonica when using a quad-band GSM phone.
Data services: Through Iusacel, Sprint offers EVDO coverage in the Mazatlán area. Sprint also offers 3G coverage in Mazatlán when using a UMTS-capable device with an active SIM card and global plan.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage maps.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service is available in the Mazatlán area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 2G service in the Mazatlán area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage maps.


Samsung Galaxy S III

Mazatlán Telephone Information

Travelers with American or Canadian cell phones should be aware that their carriers will add a variety of international roaming charges when their phones are used in Mexico. You can also buy an international roaming plan and/or a "Mexico plan" from your carrier; check with your carrier for the precise details.

If you plan on using your cell phone a lot while on your cruise, you may want to consider getting a SIM card for your trip from OneSimCard.com. These SIMs work in over 200 countries, and provide very affordable prepaid talk, text and data plans. Not only will you save a lot of money, but you'll also avoid a big cell bill surprise when you get home.

Country Code: 52

Mazatlán Area Code: 669

Local Phone Numbers have seven digits: XXX-XXXX

Calling Mazatlán from the US or Canada: Dial 011-52-669-XXX-XXXX

Using your US or Canadian cell phone in Mazatlán

To make a call from:

Mazatlán to the US or Canada: Dial 001 (area code) XXX-XXXX

Mazatlán to a US or Canadian cell in Mazatlán: Dial 001 (area code) XXX-XXXX

Mazatlán to a local Mazatlán number: Dial 001-52-669-XXX-XXXX

Woman with a cell phone

OneSimCard - prepaid international roaming, works in over 200 countries, free calls in over 150 countries

Local Events, Holidays & Festivals


Local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Mazatlán in 2018:

  • Ano Nuevo (New Year's Day), Monday, January 1. National holiday celebrated with dances and fiestas.

  • Dia de los Santos Reyes (Day of the Three Kings), Saturday, January 6. A national holiday celebrating the New Testament story of the arrival of the three wise men who each brought a gift to the Christ child. It's the day that children receive their Christmas gifts as well as shoes full of candy, and people buy a pastry called the rosca de reyes.

  • Dia de la Constitucion (Constitution Day), Monday, February 5. Public holiday commemorating the signing of the Mexican Constitution of 1917. The day is usually marked by festivals and street celebrations.

  • Carnaval
  • Carnaval (Mardis Gras), February 7 to Tuesday, February 13. The big party is held on Tuesday night, the 13th. Mazatlán's Carnaval is one of the biggest in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of celebrants every year. Throughout the city, you'll find venues featuring music, food, costume parades, fireworks, art exhibits and more.

  • Birthday of Benito Juarez, Tuesday, March 21. A public holiday celebrating the birthday of Benito Juarez, who rose from humble origins to occupy the Presidency of the Republic in the second half of the 19th century. Since the day falls on a Tuesday, Mexicans get Monday, the 20th, off to observe the holiday.

  • Semana Santa (Holy Week), Sunday March 25 to Saturday March 31. A religious and a secular holiday in Mexico, where you'll see processions and passion plays taking place in the city. Easter takes place on Sunday, April 1. During Semana Santa, banks are closed on Maundy Thursday, March 29 and Good Friday, March 30.

  • Primero de Mayo (Labor Day), Tuesday, May 1. A national holiday.

  • Cinco de Mayo, Saturday, May 5. A Mexican holiday that commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican army defeated a French force twice its size just south of Mexico City. This holiday is really only celebrated (outside of the Gringo bars) in Puebla.

  • Election Day, Sunday, July 1. A national holiday.

  • Dia de Independencia (Independence Day), Sunday, September 16. Look for the delivery of the "El Grito de Dolores," the official grunt that marks the day. Since the day falls on a Sunday, Mexicans also get Monday, the 17th, as a day off.

  • Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day), Friday, October 12. Dia de la Raza is how Mexico celebrates Columbus Day.

  • Mazatlán Cultural Festival, Mid-October through mid-December. This is a two month long gala comprising a diverse array of concerts, arts and cultural events. The performers come from China, Cuba, Japan, Korea and the US as well as Mexico. In keeping with tradition, the Day of the Dead street procession fills Mazatlán's old town on November 1, and the Christmas Gala takes place in the Angela Peralta Theatre every evening of the festival in December.

  • Mariachis
    ©2013 Inocencio Vasquez Melchor, under cc-by-sa 3.0 license
  • Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Thursday, November 1 (which is All Saints' Day) and Friday, November 2 (which is All Souls' Day). Two days when celebrants honor the deceased.

  • Revolution Day, Tuesday, November 20. A national holiday celebrating the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Since the day falls on a Sunday, Mexicans also get Monday, the 19th, as a day off.

  • Inauguration Day, Saturday, December 1. A national holiday commemorating the inauguration of the new president of Mexico.

  • Fiesta de la Inmaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), Saturday, December 8. Marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration season.

  • Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe), Wednesday, December 12. Commemorates the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint.

  • Las Posadas, Saturday, December 15 to Monday, December 24. Commemorates the New Testament story of Joseph and Mary's search for shelter in Bethlehem. Consists of candlelight processions as well as stops at various nativity scenes.

  • Navidad (Christmas Day), Tuesday, December 25. A public and religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.

  • Vispera de Ano Nuevo (New Year's Eve), Monday, December 31.

Cruise Port Schedules


Cruise ship in Mazattlan
©2005 Stan Shebs under cc-by-sa 3.0 license

Due to drug gang-related violence, Mazatlán has shrunk and become a boutique port on Mexican Riviera cruises; as recently as 2010, it was the third most popular port for ships making 7- and 10-day cruises from Los Angeles and San Diego to the Mexican Riviera, after Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.

In 2018, cruise ship passengers can expect to spend an average of around 9¾ hours in port.

In 2018, Mazatlán is slated to host 237,400 passengers sailing on 89 ships. For further information, see our Mazatlán Cruise Ship Schedule - 2018.


Cruise Lines Making Port


The following cruise lines will make port in Mazatlán in 2018:

Carnival icon Carnival Princess icon Princess
NCL icon Norwegian hal icon Holland America
Crystal Cruises Disney Cruises
Azamara Regent
       
Cruise Ship


       
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