Mazatlan Vacation Guide: Cheap Things to Do in Mazatlan, Mexico

Looking for a coastal destination in Mexico shouldn't be difficult, as the country has many travel destinations with beaches as their main attractions. 

Compared to other destinations in Mexico like Tulum or Playa del Carmen, Mazatlan can be an alternative place to go if you're looking for a beautiful beach destination in Mexico. Even better, as you can easily find some cheap things to do in Mazatlan to make the most of your stay in this coastal town! 

This time, we have Matt and Heather from Reason2Roam to share some of the best places to visit in Mazatlan, especially if you're a budget traveler looking to make the most of your Mazatlan holidays without breaking the bank. So, here's your Mazatlan vacation guide!

9 Things to Do in Your Mazatlan, Mexico Holidays

Welcome to Mazatlan, the ‘Pearl of the Pacific'. Over 7,000 expats call this city home for a few weeks, months or all year. Many services are available to cater to the visitors and English is widely spoken.

Whether you want to join a sightseeing tour with some beach destinations in Mazatlan or just focus on the Mazatlan city tour to immerse yourself in the colonial architecture around the center, there are so many things you can do in Mazatlan, Mexico!

While you can easily find some excursions to join in Mazatlan, planning a DIY trip to this coastal town shouldn't be too expensive. For as low as 200 pesos (around $10 USD), you can get various alternatives on what to do in Mazatlan, Mexico. 

Here are some of our favorite things to do in Mazatlan that cost even less than that!

Mazatlan Mexico Letters on the Malecon.

1. Strolling around the Golden Zone

There are 50 miles of beaches in this city, which means there is no shortage of places to dip your toes in the ocean.

Beaches are public property in Mexico, so there are lots of beach accesses if you are not staying right on the water. A short walk from anywhere in the Golden Zone will bring you to warm tropical sand, where lounging, swimming and beachcombing await.

With only around $7.50 USD (150 pesos), it will buy you a chair with an umbrella for the day.

Sunset on the beach.

Pack your own food and beverages purchased from the grocery store, and you are well under the $10 USD for this at most of the resorts. If you buy food and drink this cost is often waived, although expect to pay more here for services than you will at the local supermarkets.

2. Exploring El Centro

Mazatlan has put a lot of energy into revitalizing its downtown core, and the results are spectacular!

Vibrant hues of color cover the colonial buildings and the public squares are a delight to rest in and recuperate in. Exquisite architecture can be found with many buildings and the Cathedral is the highlight.

Plaza Machado is the place where many community events are held, and should not be missed. Best of all, walking around is FREE.

If you are staying away from El Centro, then the city bus is around $0.45 cents (8.5 pesos) per ride or $0.55 cents (11 pesos) for the air-conditioned coach.

3. Biking through the Malecon

The Malecon is a 13-mile ribbon of pavement and bicycle paths parallel to the ocean. It was updated and had bike lanes installed in November 2018, so it makes for fantastic riding with no cars!

Bikes can be rented by the hour for $3.50 (70 pesos) from a number of places. We recommend you take at least 2 hours to complete the round trip, which will leave you enough time for a cool down beer to celebrate your ride.

There are many Instagram-worthy stops along the route, including the large letters that spell Mazatlan, as well as numerous statues.

Biking the Malecon.

4. Lounging around Stone Island

Stone Island is a 13 mile superb stretch of flat sand that is protected from the outer surf, which makes it calm and serene. It is not actually an island, but rather an isthmus that is accessible via land. There are many tours for sale to Stone Island, but it is not necessary to use an operator.

Take an air-conditioned bus (Sabalo Centro) to the boat departure (Embarcadero). Hop on one of the small boats that take you across the bay and then walk about 5 minutes to the beach.

Once you are at the beach, pick a restaurant with a nice looking lounger and umbrella and you are set for the day. This beach is less crowded on weekdays, and the swimming is a little easier without the larger waves of other beaches in Mazatlan.

For the journey alone, it only costs you $1.10 (22 pesos) for the return with the bus, and $1.55 (30 pesos) for the boat. Beer at your favorite lounger would be $1.55 (30 pesos). But hey, you could get it for a cheaper price if you buy it by the bucketload!

5. Indulging in Mazatlan Craft Breweries

Mazatlan is home to two craft breweries. Both seem to make an excellent product, and one has been in business since 2016!

Tres Islas brewery is a microbrew near the Cruise Sip dock and has a strong following on Facebook. Beer is about $3.50 (60 pesos) at either place.

Garagardo is quite new, opening in the spring of 2016 and my favorite beer brew here is Cueva del Diablo. Garagardo has particularly spacious seating arrangements.

6. Watching the sunset at Freeman Hotel Rooftop

Freeman Hotel is one of the first hotels to make Mazatlan a vacation destination.

Sunset at the Freeman Hotel.

Right on the beach, this 12-story building only has an elevator to the 10th floor and stairs to the top. The top has a spectacular view of both the beach and El Centro.

It is a great place to watch the sun set into the ocean while having a Gin & Tonic for $4.00 (80 pesos). A comfortable and elegant method to watch the sun kiss the ocean goodnight!

7. Watching the Sunset along the Malecon

If you would prefer a more DIY approach to drinking the sundown, you can do as many locals and full-time expats do. Everyone has their own favorite spot with a view of the ocean – either on a wall at beach access or along the Malecon.

Pick up a 1-liter beer or a few cans and find your perfect wall to sit on. There are numerous OXXO's, and beer stores littered all along the beach access road to choose from.

1-liter bottles are 2 for $2.25 (50 pesos) or a can for $0.70 (13.5 pesos). Sundown in December is at about 5PM.

8. Watching El Cladavistas

Cliff diving is a thrilling spectator sport, and takes place along the Malecon at the Glorieta Rodolpho Sanchez Taboada Plaza.

These death-defying leaps by athletic divers are from about a 50′ height into water that is about 10′ deep, but only if the waves are exactly right. It's about 4′ deep if the waves are wrong!

Diving happens most afternoons, but it is not a scheduled event, and some waiting may be required. Divers will certainly hustle for a tip at the conclusion of any dive, and it is well worth a couple of bucks for the spectacular entertainment, and the great photos!

Sea Horse at the Aquarium.

9. Visiting Mazatlan Aquarium

Located 2 blocks from the Malecon, it is an easy location to access by bus.

The aquarium has a large terminal with many tanks filled with colorful fish and the ever popular seahorses. One wing is filled with skeletons (whale, seal, turtle, etc). Other pavilions include parrots and local deer.

The event stadium is a highlight as the seals perform for the guests. This can be skipped if you have ethical issues with animals performing for people.

The bus to the Aquarium is $0.45 (11 pesos), and the entrance fee is about $6 (115 pesos). All ‘shows' are included in the price of admission.

Contributor: Matt and Heather from Reason2 Roam

Matt and Heather are active, young at heart adventurers. The aim of their blog is to encourage and support people to add adventure to their lives and travel. They do this by sharing stories of their tales from the road and provide tips and tricks to help others infuse adventure into their travel. They want you to find your own Reasons 2 Roam!

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