MAZATLAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Mazatlan Restaurants - Click here for price key
Restaurants like Marismena, downtown on the waterfront road, and the venerable El Cuchupetas (Calle Reforma 301 at Jesús Carranza, La Unión, tel. 669/967-0460, outside town on the road to the airport), cater to locals as well as to savvy travelers. Super fresh seafood and good service keeps the locals---their bread-and-butter clientele---returning year after year. Downtown in the historic center, eateries like El Túnel and Café Memorial cater to after-theater crowds with economical eats, coffee, and yummy desserts, all geared toward the local’s price point. For more of a vacation scene, Mangos, Senor Frogs, and Joe’s Oyster Land provide good eats as well as a proverbial late-night party.
Heather’s Place ($$; Av. Camarón Sábalo 300, tel. 669/914-2999) features Canadian comfort foods prepared by its namesake owner, as well as Mexican dishes. Sr. Peppers ($$$; Av. Camarón Sábalo s/n across from Hotel El Faro Mazatlán, tel. 669/914-0101, dinner only) is a fancy-dancy restaurant for a romantic or simply upscale evening out. Continental dishes like steak and lobster are served with soup or salad, potato, and steamed veggies, accompanied by a pianist.
Attached to the retro-feel bar Dionysius, Ambrosia ($; Calle Sixto Osuna 26, downtown, tel. 669/985-0333) serves varied vegetarian fare. The lunch specials are a good value, and all of the salads and mains are healthful. There’s original art throughout, and it’s just across from lively Plazuela Machado.
Halfway between Old Town and the Zona Dorada, El Shrimp Bucket ($$--$$$; Av. Olas Altas 11 at Hotel Siesta, tel. 669/981-6350) is one of the more sedate members of the infamous Carlos ‘n Charlies chain, as well as its original. Yes, the shrimp comes in a bucket, and yes, it’s tasty. The restaurant attracts local business people in the morning and more boisterous types admiring the whacky decor later in the evening.
Where to Stay - Click here for price key
As far as lodgings, sun-and-fun seekers will gravitate to the resort-style hotels and beach action of the Zona Dorada.
Prices here are generally lower than those of comparable resort hotels in Puerto Vallarta, Cancún, and Los Cabos. Among the most stylish hotels are El Cid and Faro Mazatlán.
Originally belonging to the Camino Real chain, El Faro Mazatlán (Punta El Sábalo s/n, tel. 669/913-1111) is a pretty and recently redecorated resort hotel perched above a tranquil cove. Tennis, gym, and the usual creature comforts. Rooms are in the $200 range.
El Cid Megaresort (Av. Camarón Sábalo s/n; tel. 669/913-3333; www.elcid.com) is actually four separate properties. Hotel El Cid Marina overlooks the yacht club and marina; the other three properties (El Cid Moro, Granada, and Castilla) are on or across the street from the beach and the golf course. Guests have access to the other facilities for mega tennis, golf, swimming, spa-ing, and other upscale experiences. Water-sports equipment can be rented at the aqua sports center, and tours booked through their tour desk.
As far as chain hotels, the medium-rise Posada Freeman Best Western (Paseo Olas Altas 79, tel. 669/985-6060), is a remodeled throwback to mid-20th-century architecture. Benefits include proximity to both the Old Town and downtown beaches, and an extensive breakfast buffet. On the downside, the relatively small rooms, full of oversize furniture, are cramped. The cost is comparable to that os Best Westerns in Ixtapa, Los Cabos, and even Cancun: just shy of $100 per night.
In the Zona Dorada, Holiday Inn Sunspree Mazatlán (Av. Camarón Sábalo 696, Zona Dorada, tel. 669/913--2222 comes in at just under $100 (prices of chains fluctuate depending on season and availability, check the web for current prices), while those of Los Cabos and Cancun offer all-inclusive plans only.
Penny-pinchers should check out the Hotel Central (Calle Domínguez 2, tel. 669/982-1866), equidistant from Playa Olas Altas and lively Plazuela Machado, downtown, or the even more economical Hotel México (Calle México 201, tel. 669/981-3806), a few blocks in from Playa Norte and a 10-block walk or bus ride from downtown’s central market and picturesque plazas. Moderately priced La Siesta Hotel (Paseo Olas Altas 4, tel. 669/981-2640, www.lasiesta.com.mx) is across the street from the beach at Playa Olas Altas.
In Mazatlan’s historic district, the new Melville Boutique Hotel (Calle Constitución 99, tel. 669/982-8474 or 669/136-0281; www.themelville.com) occupies one of Mazatlan’s classic late 19th-century structures. Its 20 rooms offer a/c, wireless internet, and cable TV for around $80. It’s a newish venture, and prices may go up once it’s established, but for now it’s a super deal combining comfortable lodgings in a historic building with access to downtown’s many delights.