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Old 03-23-2011   #1 (permalink)
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Mazatlan

Not a TR... yet!

I am dying to get away at the beginning of May, but I can't find decent flights from YEG to CUN ; however I did find some to Mazatlan. I have been there via cruiseship, and loved it, but I don't really know much about the area. Does anyone have any tidbits of advice for Mazatlan? We will be going with a package deal, as it is the most affordable, and are considering The Inn at Mazatlan, El Cid Marina Beach, or Royal Villas Resort.

I did a search on here and didn't find anything (which could be due to my inferior search-abilities). And I could also find a Mazatlan forum, but then I'd have to join it, and learn how to fit in with the peeps over there

I am aware that there has been some violence over there, but at this point I am still pondering this trip. In lieu of Mazatlan advice, I'll take a miracle flight to appear to CUN no red-eyes as I'll have my kids.
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Old 03-23-2011   #2 (permalink)
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Violence in Mazatlan? not much, not like the nearby city of Culiacán, cradle of many drug lords.

Mazatlán is more laid back like Zihuatanejo, haven't been there in more than 40 years, but I don't read much news about problems there.
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Old 03-23-2011   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'm not really too worried, but a US travel advisory is issued for the state of Sinaloa. I can usually read through the lines, and gauge things, and I don't figure this travel advisory will overly affect me. After all, I was crazy enough to hang out in Mexico for a month during April/May 2009, and I managed to not catch H1N1! Actually, I may have had it, and it was so minor that I didn't realize what it was <--- I have really good genes when it comes to building immunity.
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Old 03-23-2011   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'm not really too worried, but a US travel advisory is issued for the state of Sinaloa. I can usually read through the lines, and gauge things, and I don't figure this travel advisory will overly affect me. After all, I was crazy enough to hang out in Mexico for a month during April/May 2009, and I managed to not catch H1N1! Actually, I may have had it, and it was so minor that I didn't realize what it was <--- I have really good genes when it comes to building immunity.

If you read the posts by locals and regulars on the Maz forum on TA, they also cannot really figure out why there is an advisory for Maz and Sinaloa in red ink at the top of that forum- but not one for Acapulco, Guerrero, which has seen more violence and incidents at local clubs and stuff than Sinaloa. And Guerrero has a travel advisory in place just like Sinaloa (at least for Canadians). Dumb.

anyway- I would not hesitate to head to Maz for a vacation- just use regular precautions like normal. It might be a good idea to avoid any of the seedier seeming clubs late at night, even in the tourist zone (based on what I have read on that forum)- but you likely wouldn't be going to those anyway!

I think the only real incident was an ex pat/long term stay fellow from BC who hot accidentally shot in the leg, hit by stray gunfire during a shootout. It was in the tourist area, unfortunately. But the guy even said he was still going to visit Maz. So there you go.

Maz is one place we've never been to yet, and still want to travel to. Have fun.
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Old 03-23-2011   #5 (permalink)
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I have been to Mazatlan three times since 2008. My father in law was living there in the winters so we went to visit him and went back twice more because we liked it so much. It is very inexpensive, you can rent a beachfront condo for $700.00 per week, has great restaurants and very friendly and helpful locals. The beaches are of course nothing like the Caribbean side, but they are quite level and the sand packs down well so it is very easy to walk along the beach for miles. The Ocean in the Golden Zone, where the three islands provide some shelter from the waves, is safe to swim. The water is a little cool and not clear but it is fun to splash around in the surf especially with a boogie board.

The downtown or centro area is quite unlike anything you will find in any other Mexican beach town. Many of the buildings date back to the nineteenth century and have been restored in the past decade or so. Visit the cathedral, the Mercado Centro (definitely a cultural experience), the Teatro Angela Peralta and the Plaza Machado.

Unfortunately violence has definitely increased in the past year or so. Not crime aimed at tourists, which remains very rare, but some kind of gang war over control of the city, primarily the port facilities I would guess. There were over 300 murders in the Maz area in 2010, and it has not decreased this year. I still felt perfectly safe the last time I was there ( in March of 2010) and would go back tomorrow if I had the chance.

People who don't like Maz say it is dirty and not "nice" while those who like it say it is a real Mexican city and not just a tourist town. These things are just flip sides of the same coin and both true. Mazatlan is not pristine, but I have never been to any large city that is. It is on the other hand a very interesting place.
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Old 03-23-2011   #6 (permalink)
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I have been to Mazatlan three times since 2008. My father in law was living there in the winters so we went to visit him and went back twice more because we liked it so much. It is very inexpensive, you can rent a beachfront condo for $700.00 per week, has great restaurants and very friendly and helpful locals. The beaches are of course nothing like the Caribbean side, but they are quite level and the sand packs down well so it is very easy to walk along the beach for miles. The Ocean in the Golden Zone, where the three islands provide some shelter from the waves, is safe to swim. The water is a little cool and not clear but it is fun to splash around in the surf especially with a boogie board.

The downtown or centro area is quite unlike anything you will find in any other Mexican beach town. Many of the buildings date back to the nineteenth century and have been restored in the past decade or so. Visit the cathedral, the Mercado Centro (definitely a cultural experience), the Teatro Angela Peralta and the Plaza Machado.

Unfortunately violence has definitely increased in the past year or so. Not crime aimed at tourists, which remains very rare, but some kind of gang war over control of the city, primarily the port facilities I would guess. There were over 300 murders in the Maz area in 2010, and it has not decreased this year. I still felt perfectly safe the last time I was there ( in March of 2010) and would go back tomorrow if I had the chance.

People who don't like Maz say it is dirty and not "nice" while those who like it say it is a real Mexican city and not just a tourist town. These things are just flip sides of the same coin and both true. Mazatlan is not pristine, but I have never been to any large city that is. It is on the other hand a very interesting place.

I have heard people say the same thing about Manzanillo- and it is a real working, port city, indeed. But Maz is better in that it has the colonial architechture, and historical buildings...I have heard good things about the Golden Zone.

I have also heard there is great shopping and restaurants in Maz.

What has always stopped us from visiting is the fear in winter of running into some cool weather, and the ocean is cooler, and not very clear,as you say- and we are real beach people. So we keep choosing Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo or Huatulco or towns north of Manzanillo (the Coste Alegre area) instead.
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Old 03-23-2011   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Rissask

Each time I have been to Maz was in March. The weather was always warm and very sunny. Even in particularly cool winters it has always warmed up by then.

Many have told me the perfect time to visit Mazatlan is October or November. The beastly hot and humid weather of summer is over but the Ocean is still very warm. In March the water is as I said a little cooler than the Caribbean but certainly not unbearable, particularly to anyone who grew up swimming in Canadian lakes.
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Old 03-23-2011   #8 (permalink)
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In Smocity what we hear about Mazatlan is in carnival season and of food and fishing.
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Old 03-23-2011   #9 (permalink)
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Hi there Jesus! How is 'Smogcity' these days? Can you only drive on certain days, still?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenneth121 View Post
Hi Rissask

Each time I have been to Maz was in March. The weather was always warm and very sunny. Even in particularly cool winters it has always warmed up by then.

Many have told me the perfect time to visit Mazatlan is October or November. The beastly hot and humid weather of summer is over but the Ocean is still very warm. In March the water is as I said a little cooler than the Caribbean but certainly not unbearable, particularly to anyone who grew up swimming in Canadian lakes.

I am sure March would be okay ....it's just that we often go Dec-Feb in winters....so I would typically go for the 'sure thing' of hot and sunny weather over somewhere more iffy. Also iff in those 3 months are Cabo, PV ....and Playa .


I hear ya on the Canadian lakes! I actually don't mind if the ocean is a bit cooler....we have been in August a couple of times and the ocean was bathtub warm ....not refreshing at all.
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Old 03-23-2011   #10 (permalink)
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My husband and I vacationed in Mazatlan beginning of Dec. 2010..
Not once did we feel not safe but we have no desire to return..
Since our trip.. Drug related Violence in Mazatlan has increased greatly and although tourists are not targets there are incidents that are happening in the Golden Tourist Zone...
(Some photos in the newspaper articles may be disturbing)
Sinaloa Governor say...Don't worry Be Happy...
Borderland Beat: Sinaloa Governor: Don't Worry, Be Happy!

I read... Periódico Noroeste .... daily..(Use google translate)

Balacera en La Zona Dorada

I base my decisions on what I read in some of the papers not what I read on TA...
(Some pics from our trip ..kind of long )
Mazatlan has a wonderful beach for walking long walks..I loved the Olas Altas area and we found a few fav...places to hang out in the eve.
Mazatlan Dec. 2010 Slideshow & Video | TripAdvisor

Mazatlan is Friendly


You keep our camera we''ll keep your riding machine....


The old Mazatlan & Olas Altas

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Old 03-23-2011   #11 (permalink)
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Nice pictures Sylvia. They do bring back fond memories. Pulmonias are only found in Mazatlan, having been blocked by taxi unions everywhere else. They are very fun to ride in.

The troubles in Mazatlan actually began in the summer of 2008 when there was a spate of murders including one on the local public golf course. In September of 2008, a large group of gunmen were arrested after taking a wrong turn after a botched payroll robbery and ending up surrounded on the rocks near Playa Bruja. Apparently these guys were one of the gangs fighting over Mazatlan because things quieted down considerably after that until December of 2009 when a police officer was killed in broad daylight near the Mega store, six people were shot at a nightclub called Heradurra soon afterward and "narco-banners" began appearing. That ushered in the current round of problems which have not really increased very much this year over last year, but show absolutely no sign of stopping either.

I would still go to Mazatlan and I am sure I would still have a great time. However I don't sugar coat or minimize what is going on there.
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Old 03-23-2011   #12 (permalink)
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Nice pictures Sylvia. They do bring back fond memories. Pulmonias are only found in Mazatlan, having been blocked by taxi unions everywhere else. They are very fun to ride in.

The troubles in Mazatlan actually began in the summer of 2008 when there was a spate of murders including one on the local public golf course. In September of 2008, a large group of gunmen were arrested after taking a wrong turn after a botched payroll robbery and ending up surrounded on the rocks near Playa Bruja. Apparently these guys were one of the gangs fighting over Mazatlan because things quieted down considerably after that until December of 2009 when a police officer was killed in broad daylight near the Mega store, six people were shot at a nightclub called Heradurra soon afterward and "narco-banners" began appearing. That ushered in the current round of problems which have not really increased very much this year over last year, but show absolutely no sign of stopping either.

I would still go to Mazatlan and I am sure I would still have a great time. However I don't sugar coat or minimize what is going on there.



Too many of the 'regulars' on TA forums do that. It's too bad, IMO.

There should be a middle ground between the 'don't go there, it's totally unsafe, people are getting shot left and right!' contingent (who usually don't have a clue anyway) and the other end of the spectrum with their heads in the sand, denying and/or brushing under the rug everything negative that happens.

I feel the same about Zihua.....yes there has been troubles there, but as a tourist you are still quite safe, just use your brain.

Nice pics, Sylvia.
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Old 03-23-2011   #13 (permalink)
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I used to live in Mazatlan. I wouldn't recommend over many of the other wonderful resort towns on the Pacific side. It's a little more run down and their are a ton of American college students that visit during that time of year. If you were to primarily stay at the resort then it might be worth it.
Manzanillo itself is the same way. More industrial and busy. The best part about Manzanillo are the number of smaller towns up and down the coast nearby that you can stay at or visit.
I've also lived in Puerto Vallarta and that is my choice for vacation. It's full of culture and tradition and the beaches are much nicer than Mazatlan.
Here are some pictures of some of the towns on the Pacific side. Granted, they are a few years old but the areas are still semi similar.

http://www.playa.info/playa-del-carm...-pix-past.html
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Old 03-23-2011   #14 (permalink)
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American college students in May? That is final exam time, not spring break, at most colleges isn't it? Mazatlan has not been a major spring break destination for years. It attracts a lot of retirees from Western Canada these days.

Nothing could be more subjective than the relative niceness of beaches in different locations, but I know many people who would strongly disagree with the statement that PV has better beaches than Mazatlan.
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Old 03-23-2011   #15 (permalink)
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I've been to Mazatlan a couple of times, once about 20 years ago, in February, after my cousin's wedding (a couple hours away in Cosala, Sin.), staying at the original El Cid on the beach. The last time was in early December, around 10 years ago, staying in a 2 bedroom condo at El Cid Marina. That was really nice, but a little hike into town (we didn't have a car), however we got around very easily in the pulmonias (even to the airport). That trip we also spent a couple extra nights, in the old town/Olas Altas area which was fun, and then on the beach in the Motel Marley, a cute, inexpensive little place that I loved.
I will agree with kenneth121 that I preferred the beaches in Mazatlan to PV- that being said I loved the charm of PV, and the restaurants.
I'd go back to both Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta but would like to explore some of the other Pacific coast towns as well.
We hired a driver to take us up to Punta Mita when in Maz last time and loved it- loved the great waves for boogie boarding (my surfing days are long behind me)- it was the best I've ever experienced. I'd like to make it up a little further to Sayulita sometime.
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