Why go to Mazatlan?
A focus on history, art and beachy fun have strengthened Mazatlan's stronghold with cruise lines
Parts of the city aren't so nice; be careful if venturing out on your own
This Mexican destination is a mix of city grit and beachside luxury
Mazatlan Cruise Port Facilities?
Mazatlan's cruise port shares space with commercial industrial activity -- and because it's a bustling cargo port, a free tram takes you among the shipping containers to the cruise terminal. There, you'll find a festive atmosphere with timeshare vendors trying to give you free rides (if you will look at their properties), craft vendors and shops, including a pharmacy where you can buy Viagra and other medications without a prescription. Tables are set up under shade trees if you have a hankering for a cold beer (Pacifico is brewed across the street from the cruise terminal).
There's also a second, quieter crafts market across from the chaos of the cruise ship terminal. There are no ATMs in the terminal, however.
Good to Know?
As a city, Mazatlan is quite spread out. Make sure to allow enough time to make it back to the cruise terminal if you're heading to the Golden Zone or the malecon.
By Foot: It's a 1-mile (15- to 20-minute) walk to Old Mazatlan. The city has added the "blue line" to direct walkers to the historic center; traffic cops help pedestrians cross. The city's "blue shirt" volunteers -- North American expats who are interested in promoting Mazatlan -- can also help you with directions at the pier and along the road.
By Taxi: You'll need a cab to get to the Golden Zone (about 4 miles from the pier) or the gorgeous malecon. Cabs are readily available outside the cruise terminal as are open-air, golf-cart-type vehicles called pulmonias. The fare to either Old Mazatlan or the Golden Zone is about $10 per cab.
By Car: Major car rental locations are in town; National Car Rental is right at the pier.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
ATMs are widely accessible if you want to get Mexican pesos, but U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. If you are making an expensive purchase in a shop, you are best off paying with a credit card. Having dollar bills to pay for cab fares and trinkets is helpful.