Mazatlan is one of Mexico’s west coast hidden gems that is rich on history and culture, as well as beautiful beaches and fun excursions.
RCI® TRAVELER: ADRIENNE
Mid February | Stayed at #DG43, #DG87, #DG72 (Marina Beach, Granada Country Club, Moro Beach)
"If you’re looking for a new twist on a Mexico vacation Mazatlan is worth a visit!"
This trip was very exciting to me as I have never been to Mazatlan, or any of the west coast destinations in Mexico, and had heard great things about it. When I started to do my research about this trip I found so many great reviews that talked about how different Mazatlan was from other tourist destinations in Mexico, mostly due to its rich culture and history. After visiting Mazatlan I can certainly see how it differs from Cancun or Los Cabos and is a great place to try for a different side of this great country.
As far as what kind of traveler I am I like a mix of fun, adventure but also relaxation. You will usually find me exploring outdoors during the day time, relaxing by the pool or in the spa/fitness center mid-day and then I enjoy getting dressed up and trying out local restaurants for delicious meals and interesting cocktails. I love learning from locals and striking up conversations everywhere I go, as well as visiting museums or historical monuments.
No. I have been to other areas of Mexico, and actually spent a few months living and working in Cancun, Mexico as a vacation tour guide which was a lot of fun when I was right out of college. I love the culture in Mexico and you cannot beat the year-round warm weather and friendly people.
To get to Mazatlan I flew from Newark International Airport (EWR) to my connecting flight in Dallas Texas (DFW). At the airport I met up with my travel buddy, Corey, who is on the RCI North American Marketing Team. There was no direct flight from EWR to MZT so we made plans to meet in Texas to do the last leg of our trip together. Our final stop was a 90 minute flight to Gen Farael Buelna Airport (MZT). Once we arrived to the Mazatlan we had a car transport waiting for us from the team at El Cid Resorts who took us to our home for the week, El Cid Marina Beach Resort which is about 25 minutes away from the airport. Upon arrival we were greeted by their team with a lovely local cocktail of choice, a smooth check in which was complete with a spread of tiny pastries and treats which were much appreciated after a long morning of flying.
What amenities are on the property?
The Marina Beach Resort has a variety of amenities on property that are all-included in your vacation stay, and all within walking distance of your room. There is an on-site fitness center which has everything you need to get in a nice workout. The gym is also connected to their beautiful spa which has services including full body massages, pedicures, facials and a full salon for hair or makeup.
There are two very large pools on the property that are right outside your door. One pool is a bit more lively and has a swim up bar to enjoy a nice cocktail in the sun, lounge chairs to relax, a volleyball net which has games throughout the day, and a variety of day time activities including pool side bingo! This pool area also has food and drink service so you can order snacks, drinks and meals right to your chair, or you can grab a table to get out of the sun to enjoy your food. (All drinks and food is part of your all-inclusive package so you can try a bit of everything on the menu which is great!)
The other pool is closer to the back side of the property and is a bit quieter, so if you want to relax and read a book or listen to your headphones you may choose this spot. It has a lot of space to spread out, has a grotto area and is surrounded by the tranquil view of the water. At both pools you can grab friends to play a game of pool volleyball, and when you get to working up a sweat, you can go to the swim up bar for a drink to cool down. I also highly recommend getting in a game of poolside bingo which was a lot of fun! When you work up an appetite you can order food and drinks right to your beach chair, or a nearby table, and taste a bit of all the great appetizers and light bites for lunch!
One other amazing amenity on property is the room service! When I arrived to my room the first thing I saw was my room service menu and it is so nice to be able to order breakfast to your room if you want to just sleep in a bit, or get a late night snack sent up after a long day/night. I absolutely love the convenience of all-inclusive room service and the food was so delicious, especially the breakfast on my patio overlooking the marina. The staff also had a nice cozy set of slippers and a robe which was a nice touch.
Please describe your room:
My room at the Marina Beach Resort was a one bedroom unit which had a full kitchen, living room, two balconies overlooking the pool and marina, two queen beds and two makeup vanity areas with double sinks. There was a TV in the living room for lounging, and another one in the bedroom to watch at night while relaxing. My favorite part of the room was the balcony area that I could enjoy a cup of coffee on each morning.
Describe the area the resort is located in, what is there to do nearby and how far from town/attractions, etc.
The resort is located right on the marina, tucked away in a very tranquil, peaceful area. You can take a very short cab ride into the busier part of town, where the boardwalk area is, when you want to explore. Not far from the resort is the historic area of Mazatlan where you can walk around, or take a Pulmania. Pulmonias were first seen on the streets of Mazatlán in 1960, when a local named Miguel Ramírez convinced the government to allow a parade of these peculiar vehicles. Modified golf carts were used at first and later replaced with fiber-glass structures, which are still in use today. These are open are small cars/taxis that can take you up and down the boardwalk, Malecon, area. While there you can walk for miles, visit the Old Town center and enjoy dinner, drinks and a lively environment at night time.
PACKING TIPS & WEATHER
What would you recommend packing for someone visiting for the first time?
When packing for a trip to Mazatlan I recommend packing for both relaxing by the pool and venturing out for some site seeing. While at the resort you can spend the day in very casual clothes by the pool. There are two pools and they have fun activities for everyone like bingo, pool volleyball and shuffle board. You can order lunch and cocktails right from your beach chair so make sure to pack your bathing suits, sun hats, flip flops and pool attired.
At night time most dinner venues are casual. You can wear a sun dress, pair of jeans or slacks. Most of our dinners were on property and we would always opt to sit outside so we would wear clothing that was light and airy. You will also want to wear comfortable shoes in case you want to venture out after to walk the boardwalk or head downtown.
When heading out for excursions or day trips I recommend shorts, comfortable sneakers, light tops and a hat. I always had a small cross body bag, or waist bag “fanny pack” to hold my room keys, money, camera and phone.
Essentials: make sure you have your passport, cell phone, extra phone chargers when you are out of the room, sun screens, camera, flip flops, sun hat, and currency exchange either on property or at the airport.
What was the weather like during the month of your visit?
In the month of February the weather was warm, with average temperatures of 75-80. The hottest months are during the summer and can get up to high 90s. In February you can certainly sit by the pool in a bathing suit and soak up the sun, or enjoy a day out on a boat and soak up the warm weather. At night time to weather was comfortable with a slight breeze near the board walk and we were able to go out without the need for a jacket, or even a light sweater.
One of my favorite excursions on the trip was to Deer Island. Our hosts at El Cid Resorts coordinated a wonderful boat ride that would take us from the dock on property to visit one of the three local islands. Mazatlán is a Nahuatl word meaning "place of deer." On the catamaran we passed some seals sunbathing on the rocks, we got to see a few dolphins swimming in the water and then landed on the small private island where we had a variety of activities for a few hours to enjoy. We played a game of beach volleyball with others on the excursion, had a delicious local lunch, went out on a banana boat ride and I took a kayak out to enjoy some quiet time on the water.
Another excursion to take is to go visit the El Faro lighthouse. You can hike all the way up to the top of El Faro to take in the breathtaking view of all of Mazatlan. The lighthouse began operating in mid-1879 and is the tallest operating lighthouse in the world. The hike will take you about 45 minutes on a path that weaves and winds up the large mountain. Make sure to wear comfortable sneakers, pack a bottle of water and bring your camera. You can stop along the way to take some amazing photographs. At the very top you will want to stop for a photo op that looks like you are at the edge of the world on a cliff, overlooking the beautiful city.
While you are also at the top you can pay a few pesos and walk onto the Glass Bottom Bridge. I will admit it is a bit scary at first, but keep your head up and don’t look down. We took some amazing photos on the bridge and it’s a great way to soak up the stunning views.
Lastly, I highly recommend doing a zip lining adventure tour. I had never been zip lining before, and have to admit I was a bit nervous. We took a 45 minute drive out to the Huana Coa Canopy Adventure. This tour was a lot of fun! After some training we got hooked up with all of our gear and headed into the lush forest area and climb up to the highest point for our first line. The courses get faster as you go through the course, but after the initial first pass, which is the scariest, you will gain your courage and even attempt to tricks on the following lines. We got to do over 10 zip line courses and then after the thrill of flying was over we got to take a tour of The Original Distillery Of Blue Agave Factory "Los Osuna". We had a tour guide walk us through the history of the distillery and show us how the agave on the property becomes the final result liquor. We got to learn about how the local tequila is made today, and how it was made back many years ago. You can also spend some time tasting the products, shopping at the local vendor stands and take some great photographs
One activity that you must add to your itinerary is visiting the boardwalk and finding the spot where the Cliff Divers jump. Near the lighthouse shore, famous "divers" (called this even by the Spanish-speaking inhabitants of Mazatlán) perform daring jumps off high rocks into the Pacific Ocean, for tips from on looking tourists. There is no set time that they jump, you just have to catch it at the right time, but you can usually see them in the evening hours and crowds will gather and cheer for them. You will hold your breath as you watch them jump, down near the rocks below, but they are trained on when the perfect moment is to dive and many of the local divers have been doing these dives since they were children.
During the day time you can walk up the stairs to the top of the diving spot and look down and grab some amazing photographs. While I was standing up there I was awe struck on how these divers do this multiple times a day without any fear.
OTHER PROPERTY DETAILS:
What are some of the other resorts in the area that you would recommend to RCI Members?
El Cid Resorts have 3 properties in Mazatlan, Mexico that RCI members can stay at. El Cid Marina Beach Resort, El Cid Moro Beach Resort and El Cid Granada Country Club. All of these resorts are within a short walking distance of one another, and are all-inclusive resorts. This means for a fee per person, per day you can eat, drink and enjoy activities all as part of your package. From dusk until dawn, room service or 5 star dining, you can leave your worries behind and try a little bit of everything on the menu. If you prefer to lay out on a beach, with sand in your toes, the El Cid Moro Beach is lovely. You can eat lunch on the beach, or visit one of the many restaurants on site to grab snacks, drinks and meals. There are a variety of pools there as well. If you want a bit more relaxed and secluded resort the Marina Beach or Granada Country Club offer a bit more laid back vibe. All 3 resorts can be visited and reservations made for meals at their on-site restaurants. I especially loved dinner at La Concha at Moro Beach
Who is this resort/destination best suited for?
Mazatlan is great for families and couples. The trip is equal parts relaxation and adventure. There were a lot more couples during the time that we visited, and I would agree that it leans more toward adults than a location for young children. This location is great for those looking to reset, recharge and enjoy some warm weather, go for a hike or walking city tour, and then a great dinner in the evening. The rooms are spacious and the property has a lot to offer at El Cid Marina Beach Resort. From pools, to large living room space, private balconies and great pools, all nestled in a beautiful marina it’s the perfect place to experience Mazatlan for the first time!
There is so much beauty, and history, in Mazatlan. Many of the travelers who we met on the resort property say they have been many times and always look forward to coming back. The weather can’t be beat, the peace and calm of staying on the Marina near the water is lovely, and the sunsets/sunrises are a must-see in person; photos simply do not do it justice. I think Mazatlan has a charm about it that makes it so different than other beach destinations in Mexico like Cancun or Riviera Maya. It is well worth a visit and the El Cid Resorts will not disappoint.