Mazatlan may be an underrated Mexican destination, but these beautiful beaches say otherwise.
“Playa” means beach in Spanish, and the city of Mazatlan on Mexico’s Pacific coast has plenty of fantastic sandy beaches to enjoy. The beaches range from peaceful, shallow waters for families to excellent surf spots. This article reviews each of the beaches in the area so that travelers can choose which ones will make their vacation heavenly.
Find out more about Mazatlan
Mazatlan is in the province of Sinaloa. It sits just across the Gulf of California from Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja California. Getting to Mazatlan is easy – it’s just a two and a half hour flight from LAX. As well as some wonderful beaches, the town also has the ‘malecón’, one of the longest waterfront promenades in the world (18 km), a fantastic aquarium (where you can swim with the sharks!) and a beautiful historic center. As if that weren’t enough, Mazatlan won the World Travel Award for “Leading City Destination” in Mexico and Central America in 2021, 2020, and 2019. Best of all, this Mexican beach destination isn’t expensive; according to Booking.com, a kitchenette suite for a family of four can cost as little as US$300 for a week.
Mazatlan’s Best Family Beaches
Toddlers know how to enjoy the beach – it should be programmed for them from birth. Kids love playing in the sand, building sandcastles, chasing the waves and looking for seashells on any beach. They squeal with delight when they see the strange creatures that live in tidal pools like those at Playa Los Pinos. However, it is not always easy to find a good beach for children to play in the water. Waves and undertows are dangerous. Playa Isla De La Piedra (Stone Island) in Mazatlan is a fantastic beach with shallow water for the whole family.
Los Pinos Beach
Los Pinos is a fun beach to visit with children at low tide. The pools and puddles left by the ocean are teeming with life. The little ones will be delighted to see crabs going about their business, spiny sea urchins and starfish.
“The sea in this part is full of underwater rocks, where there are sea urchins, sea snakes and other species,” Jorge Plaza wrote in his Google review of Los Pinos.
Los Pinos has something for everyone. Beginner and intermediate surfers will find waves adapted to their level. Anglers can easily jettison rocky outcrops. Anyone there early in the morning can buy freshly caught seafood. If they’re not in the mood to cook it themselves, vendors also offer fish on a stick, one of Mazatlan’s favorite street foods.
Isla De La Piedra Beach
Joaquin Rangel V. wrote this about Playa Isla De La Piedra in his Google review: “Quiet beach ideal for the whole family, you can eat in a variety of restaurants under the palapas facing the sea, there are vendors street food, a banana ride, good fresh fish and live music.To get there, you have to take the boat from the pier which is at the entrance of the hill of the lighthouse… Don’t forget to try the zarandeado fish, very good.”
What Rangel didn’t mention are the gently sloping sandy beaches that offer up to four meters of shallow water for kids to splash around in safely. This beach is widely considered the best in Mazatlan since a spit of land protects it from violent waves and ocean. Often, Stone Island Beach is less crowded since swimmers have to take a boat to get there.
The best beaches for surfing in Mazatlan
Mazatlan is well known to surfers for its waves. Several agencies offer surf lessons and rent surfboards to visitors. The best known beaches for this water sport are Playa Olas Altas and Playa Bruja.
Olas Altas Beach
The name of this beach translates to “high waves” and surfers love it. Even people who don’t know how to surf love to visit this stretch of sand to sit under one of the palapas to enjoy seafood and watch the surfers ride the waves.
Playa Bruja and Cerritos
People say that the name of this beach, “bruja” or “witch” comes from the rituals that female witches used to perform there. The truth about this legend is unknown, but surfers and bodyboarders flock here when the waves are high.
These beaches also have soft, beautiful sand to lie on for sunbathing and it’s not hard to find seashells there, but the water is too choppy for swimming.
Best Beaches for Seashells in Mazatlan
Mazatlan has beautiful seashells that naturally wash up on its beaches. People can see the creatures that make these shells at the aquarium or visit the “Museo de Conchas”. This seashell museum exhibits and sells an incredible range of sea-caught treasures. Beachcombers looking for their own seashells should head to the beach closest to the shell shop, called Playa Gaviotas, and its neighbor Playa Camarones. Both of these beaches are in the “Golden Zone” where most of the resorts and hotels are located.
Visitors who are unsure which beach they want to visit should take a stroll along the Malecon or the beachfront promenade. This will take them to several beaches and they will find upscale restaurants along the way. It’s best to hike the Malecon early in the morning or in the evening when it’s cooler. Imagine a warm evening stroll, the sound of the waves lapping gently in the background. Next, stop at a colorful waterfront restaurant. Time flies for customers sitting outside, sipping their “cervezas” and eating prawns. The sun begins to set and the sky turns scarlet and orange. It is an unforgettable moment of pleasure.
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