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Your Questions about Mazatlán, Answered

Dec 21, 2022

Each day our reception desk receives phone calls from curious guests. Our friendly associates answer questions about everything from directions to pronunciation and tours to taxis. And don’t get us wrong, we’re happy to deliver relief, satisfaction, or a simple solution. What we’re leading to, here, is a list of some of your most frequently asked questions with their answers. Our hope is that by availing yourself of them before you visit, or even by referring to them when you’re here, you’ll feel more confident about your every day and reserve that extra energy you’d have spent wondering, diving into your vacation with zeal. 

Q: Why visit Mazatlán?

A: Why not! Underscoring what you’ll read in any of our blog posts about Mazatlán, is that there is something here for everyone. So much more than just a beach resort, Mazatlán is a large colonial city with countless attractions, activities, sites, and events. Whether you choose to visit the largest aquarium in Latin America (opening during the first quarter of 2023) or time your visit to attend the third largest Carnival in the world, not to mention the miles of fabulous beaches, you can do as little or as much as you want in Mazatlán and never do it all!

Q: How do I get to and from Mazatlán?

A: You can arrive to our beautiful city by air, land, or sea. A number of airlines from

cities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico operate direct flights to Mazatlán’s

international airport. Mazatlán has an international airport supporting flights from all over the world, and all over Mexico, every day. If you feel like a road trip, there are now two superhighways to get to Mazatlán, one from Durango in Northwest Mexico and one from Tepic in Southwest Mexico. There is also a car ferry that runs daily from La Paz on the Baja Peninsula that you can take to get to Mazatlán.

Q: What are the different areas of town to visit in Mazatlán?

A: Mazatlán takes pride in its neighborhoods, each with a unique character and offerings for tourists. Some areas we think you should visit while you're here include: the Golden Zone for its tourist attractions, the Marina, to witness the days’ catch flop onto the docks in the morning, Malecon for its iconic seawall, Historic Old Town and Downtown for its dynamic and colorful history, Olas Altas to stroll along the bay, Cathedral for its architecture and grand plazas, Stone Island, and Paseo Claussen. 

Q: When is the best time of the year to visit Mazatlán?

A: If it’s the sunshine you’re after, anytime is a good time to visit Mazatlán since the average temperatures stay relatively consistent throughout the year. November through April tend to be drier with sunny days and cooler nights while July averages about 83 °F. Both spring and summer draw crowds. If it’s events that you’re interested in, whalewatching season runs from mid-December through mid-April with the best time for fishing running from May through November. Mazatlán Carnival is a wonderful celebration to witness, and that takes place six days before the first day of Lent, which lands somewhere between the months of February and March. The Day of the Dead, at the end of October, would be another great day to visit Mazatlán, when the city comes alive with painted faces, a grand parade, and brightly colored alters.

Q: What does the word Mazatlán mean?

A: Mazatlán means "Land of the Deer".

Q: What currency is used in Mazatlán?

A: Mazatlán uses the Mexican Peso.  Most hotels, restaurants, and shops will accept smaller US dollar bills as payment, but they won't give you as great of an exchange rate, and you’ll almost definitely receive any change in local currency. Also, the US bills must be in perfect condition or they won't accept them. Canadian dollars and coins are not accepted anywhere. For every reason, we recommend converting some currency to Mexican pesos when you arrive and spend the pesos. Our front

desk staff will be happy to assist you with this!

Q: What does 2x1 mean in a bar?

A: 2x1 is a commonly used phrase in the city to mean ‘two for one’: if you order one they will give you two. It usually refers to beers but can refer to mixed drinks as well. Usually, they don’t allow you to order just one beer if it is 2x1; you have to take two beers.  So when you order, be sure to order the correct amount.  If we are ordering more than one, we usually say "dos por quatro", i.e. two for four, or "tres for seis", i.e. three for six, etc. just to be clear to the server.

Q: How do I say "Cheers" in Mazatlán?

A: In Mexico, the common why to toast with a drink is to say, "Salud"!

Q: What is the big white castle in Mazatlán?

A: The big white castle on the point is an entertainment and food complex called 'Punto Valentino'. It’s at the corner of Avenida Rafael Buelna and Avenida Camaron Sabalo where the Malecon ends and the Golden Zone begins. Previously, the complex was called ‘Fiestaland’ and was home to two famous nightclubs, Valentinos and Bora Bora, along with some restaurants. But Fiestaland fell into disrepair and most of it closed by 2020. In 2021, new owners took over and renamed it 'Punto Valentino'. New construction is still incomplete, but so far, there’s an outdoor beach club called Onaki Beach Club that opened in the summer of 2021, and a seafood restaurant called Onaltica that opened in August 2021. Eight bars and restaurants are projected to be open by the time construction ends.

Q: How much should I tip in Mazatlan?

A: It’s generally accepted that tourists in Mazatlán will tip about the same as they would in the US or Canada which is about 10%-15% on average depending on the service.

Q: Where is the United States consulate in Mazatlán?

A: In the unfortunate event you lose a passport or have a customs-related question, you can find he United States consulate office on Avenida Playa Gaviotas. As a helpful visual, it’s directly across the street from the Hotel Playa Mazatlán in the Golden Zone. Just tell any taxi driver to take you to the Hotel Playa Mazatlán, and then cross the street.

Q: In which time zone is Mazatlán located?

A: Mazatlán follows Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) which is two hours earlier than the US East coast (EST) and seven hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in the United Kingdom.

Q: When is the 2023 Carnival in Mazatlán?

A: Carnival is a fabulous annual event that is usually in February, but always six weeks before Easter. For 2023, Mazatlán will celebrate Carnival from Thursday February 16th to Tuesday, February 21st. Check out the Mazatlán 2022/2023 calendar for a full list of the Carnival events and more!

Q: Does Uber operate in Mazatlán?

A: Yes, and you can book a ride using the exact same app as you use in the US. Average prices tend to be slightly lower than for taxis/pulmonias. You’re also likely to get an Uber ride much faster than a taxi if you’re outside of the Golden Zone.

Q: What is the most popular taxi service in Mazatlán called?

A: Pulmonias! Mazatlán’s waterfront alone can’t be covered in a day, so hire a set of wheels! The typical pulmonia varies greatly in appearance from a golf cart or jeep style vehicle to a closed vehicle with full doors and seatbelts. See one you like? Hail it before someone else does! Legend has it that the pulmonia, which translates to English as pneumonia, got its name from a rival taxi driver who rumored riding in one of the open-air contraptions would make you sick. But don’t worry–it was all a ruse to steal business!

All right, that’s 15 of our most asked questions, answered, and they’ll stay right here for your reference, any time you need them. But don’t worry, if life gives you a question you don’t see here, please give us a call. We’ll be happy to give you an answer!