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Mazatlán - Compiled Info : Beaches & Snorkelling

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I have done some research by compiling info from various threads here and from other sources, as I am dreaming about a MR cruise, hopefully soon. A big thank you to everyone who has contributed, I have learned so much already. Please help me to edit this info for accuracy, as I have never been to Mazatlan. Please feel free to add any useful information that I may have missed.

 

Stone Island – "Closest beach to the ship, you can see it from the ship. Look past the triangle shaped rock with the trees growing down the slanted side. The dark green plumes of Mexico’s third-largest coconut grove follow the length of the wide beach. The island is an excellent place to enjoy beautiful, quiet beaches and try fresh seafood, horseback riding, ATV’s, catamarans, banana boats, coconut trees, umbrella-shaded areas with lounging chairs/hammocks. Stone Island is a peninsula, and not an island anymore. Landfill from the airport construction has joined it to the mainland. Not a great beach for snorkelling. A village with 4000 residents, a laid back place with mainly farmers and fisherman. Small houses nestle between stands of coconut trees with 12 miles of wide pristine sandy beaches. One must be born on the island in order to reside there. Nearby is TortugaIsland where sea lions rest during the months of November through April to give birth to their babies. There are 10+ restaurants that have shrimp, you eat right on the sand, with hammocks to lounge in. Sit under their palapas, drink beers or margaritas and look out at the beautiful beach. No shopping areas, but there are vendors wandering around. You really get an old Mexico feel there, its not crowded with a more relaxed and rustic atmosphere as opposed to the high-rise Golden Zone. Huge 5”sanddollars, lots of shells.

 

We picked Victor's which was at the far end. Prices for food (shrimp) and beer are less expensive than on the mainland. Incredible huge seafood lunch with ice cold beer, rustic restrooms and showers. Get a plate that has both garlic & coconut shrimp. We hung out in front of Victor's on his lounge chairs until we were ready to eat. Victor's out weighs Moloky 5 to one. The food is excellent, the prices are great and the service is good. You do get more for your money at Victor's than at Moloky. Molokay they have a lot of space all under palm trees and palapas with tables in the sand. Pronounced mo-lo-ki, it has great Garlic Shrimp, I think it's around $20. We like Lelli's, they supply chairs and lounges at no charge, food and drinks are very reasonable. Garlic and Coconut Shrimp was great. We did El Papagayo and had a delicious lunch. The view was great. Lety's, Victors and Pili's are all together at the end. We went to Pili's, he had an ATV to rent as well as horses.

 

We rented ATVs, which was excellent because the beach there is wide and perfect for ATVing, with palm lined miles of coastline to ourselves. ATVs($35/hour) for rent, but not any jet skis. (waiter can arrange for you). We paid $25/ hour and rented from the guy just before Lety's. You can fit 3 people on. Towels available to rent for $3. 30 mins horse back rides $5 right behind Molokay’s.

 

Coco Loco rum drink served in a baby coconut, where they poured out the coconut milk, poured in rum, ice and some fruit juice, and then poured the coconut milk back in, and handed you the coconut. YUMM! We were at Molekay in Jan and all they had was beer. Victor's does not have Margaritas. The restaurant I went to, was several "huts" down from Victors, they definitely DID have filtered water (they all do, from what I understand), and they did have margaritas. You can get a margarita at Lety's which is right next to Victors. Very potent. There are many restaurants to choose from but Victor's really is the best bang for your buck.

 

How to get to Stone Island : It’s a short boat ride across Navigation Channel. There are 2 ways to get to a water taxi. Depending on which place you leave from, is the way the restaurants on StoneIsland are lined up.

 

1. Take a taxi to the embarcadero (dock) closest to the Navel base, they tend to be more reliable. Taxi 30 pesos, $3 (7 minute ride) to the water taxi dock. The crossing takes 8 minutes, cost is 15 pesos, ($1.50us roundtrip) once on Stone Island Carmilita's restaurant would be first.

 

2. Walking – this way is closer to the ship and you can walk there in 6 minutes. As you exit the port area, go out the gate where the taxi's drive thru and turn left. Walk about 4 blocks to where the street makes a sharp right turn, cross the street and walk straight onto a gravel road along a fence where you will see 100’s of new cars. At the end of the fence & path, is a little yellow ticket booth on the waters edge. Buy a round trip ticket for 15 pesos ($1.50), Hold onto your ticket. When you arrive on the island, someone will be there to offer you a taxi ride. It was faster to walk. If you prefer to walk, there are 2 ways to get to the restaurants. 1. Go straight up the ramp and walk straight across the little gravel hill, to the beach, then turn left and you will see a beautiful stretch of beach in front of you. – Its a 20 minute walk down the beach (3/4 of a mile) to Victor's. We walked to Molokay about 7 restaurants down 400 yards. Once on Stone Island Maria and Lulu's restaurant would be first. 2. Or you can turn left and walk on the dirt road for a block till you see another dirt road going to the right. This will also take you to the beach and the restaurants. The walk down the beach is a nice, easy 10 minute walk.

 

Both docks charge the same price. The water taxis are row boats with motors on the back, holds 11 people and runs back & forth every 10 minutes. Last trip back from StoneIsland is 5 p.m.

 

Once you get to Stone Island, if you don’t want to walk, you can either hop on one of the pick truck taxis with a bench on the back, or you can ride through the village in a charming horse drawn 2 wheel wagon ($2) that will take you along the beach to the restaurants. We felt transportation was unnecessary, it was a pleasant walk. Lety's and Victor's are almost towards the end. When you leave, walk back the same way to the water taxi. Allow 40 minutes to get back to the ship,(10 mins walking to ferry, 10 mins waiting, 10 mins crossing, 10 mins walking to ship). The taxi came back in the afternoon and took us back to the water taxi dock. $2. The fish market, near Playa Norte beach (a 10-minute ride by water taxi) can also be reached from StoneIsland.

 

Just west of downtown and 4 blocks from the MarchadoPlaza, is the historic area of Olas Altas (Big waves) with spectacular ocean front scenery, situated at the start of the Malecon. This beach is within walking distance of the ship. Taxi : 30-50 pesos. 8 blocks to the west from the cathedral. Playa Olas Altas beach is where Mazatlan's tourism began in the 1950s. The seafront road has a few faded '50s hotels. Olas Altas, on a deep cove, is uncrowded, a popular spot for surfers, but not good for swimming because of crosscurrents. A mystery associated with this narrow beach, is that its sands shift according to season. At times the sand is found at the extreme north end of the beach, and six months later it may be concentrated at the southern end, with the exposed rocks on the opposite side.

 

Heading north, in the shadow of Icebox Hill, Boulevard Olas Altas becomes Paseo Claussen. Continuing past the fort, you’ll come to the tiny, picturesque Los Pinos beach, beside the modern Marine Sciences House and FortCarranza at the intersection of Paseo Claussen and 31de Marzo. Popular with surfers and sunbathers.

 

Playa Norte is the longest stretch of beach in Mazatlan. A mile and a half north the street widens, becomes Avenida del Mar along a shallow bay three miles wide. The first portion of the beach, near the Fisherman's Monument at Avenida Gutierrez Najera, has fine, white sand and gentle surf, but a sewer outlet mars the water. Filled with palapas (thatch-roofed, open-air) restaurants. Playa Norte ends at a rocky promontory near the Golden Zone.

 

Best beaches with the first being the closest to the ship : 1-Playa Norte, 2- Playa Gaviotas, 3- Playa Bruja ( about a 40 minute taxi ride from ship) If you like resorts and pools, this is a good place to go to. If you prefer a nice quiet beach then Stone Island (across from the ship) is the place. Mazatlan is one of only a few resorts in Mexico where surfing is common on central town beaches.

 

Snorkelling - Puerto Vallarta and Cabo are much better for snorkelling. If you are only planning one snorkelling excursion, I would not choose Mazatlan, as the clarity in the other locations is much more predictable. Mazatlan doesn't have any snorkelling from the beach. The two main snorkelling areas are Deer Island and Stone Island, with Deer Island being better with clear waters and no strong currents on the East side. The visibility is often limited, though when it's clear it's very good. When the visibility is low, you just snorkel in very shallow water. Rent gear at El Cid Hotel. Snorkelling is ok at StoneIsland, where the water is a little stirred up. You have to rent a boat to safely get out to Cardon island (at Molokay restaurant). Snorkelling ($35 for all day plus $7 rental), scuba diving($50 for two hours) and boating ($35 for all day ) Excursions can be arranged at any of the beach-side hotels.

 

The Golden Zone begins where Avenida del Mar narrows and intersects with avenida Rafael Buelna and becomes avenida Camarón Sábalo. Take a Sabalo-Centro bus to the Golden Zone. The two-mile-long, wide curving stretch of beach has several names, beginning with Playa Cameron, then Gaviotas and finally Sabalo, which is the best place to swim and people watch.

 

The more southerly Playa Camarón is narrow and steep, with coarse yellow sand. Small shells on the beach are sometimes plentiful. It's one of the best beaches in Mazatlan. If you are looking for water sports, food or just laying in the sun...this is the place! Gentle waves, white sands and three offshore islands. Hotels here testify to the beauty of Playa Camarón and Playa Gaviotas. These shining beaches give meaning to the label Golden Zone. Golden memories for visitors and gold in the pockets of the Mazatlán folks lucky enough to own or work here.

 

Deer Island, in the middle, is the largest of Mazatlan's secluded coastal islands. Only DeerIsland is officially open to visitors. It’s about 1/2 mile from the mainland and has been designated a natural reserve for protection of native flora and fauna. Petroglyphs have been found here. In the centre of the island are rock paintings of historical value. It is a great place for hiking, fishing, snorkelling, shell hunting, swimming, and privacy. The beautiful sandy beach is nice, much more relaxing with no vendors to bother you and the water is clear for snorkelling. Bring your own picnic and drinks. There is an easy trail leading up to the top of the hill, a 45 minute hike (15-20 minutes) for amazing views of Mazatlan. This is the best place in Mazatlan for snorkelling. It’s the best on the northwest side of the island (to the left when facing the water) but you have to stay close to the shore in the rocks in the shallow water (4-5 feet). Eel, baby lobster, small octopus and a spectacular display of thousands of brightly colored fish. Some unusual rock formations lie just offshore and make for an interesting undersea exploration. There is no coral, just rocks. I snorkelled in water about 2 feet deep and could see quite a few fish. I went up to the end of the island (to the left as you stand on the beach looking at the city), the visibility improved a lot, but the water got a bit rough. A novice might be uncomfortable here being so close to the rocks.

 

Transportation to the island is provided by panga, (small boat) or a World War 2 amphibious vehicle painted to look like a shark with lots of teeth. Every hour 80 pesos ($8) roundtrip p person, 30 minute boat ride or by renting a HobieCat/ catamaran (about 40 minutes) My favourite thing to do is take a hobiecat over to DeerIsland. Stop at a corner store buy beer and snacks, rent the snorkel equipment ($5ea) from the same guys that take you across. They pick you up at whatever time you want. $30 roundtrip, 4 people can fit on the boat for that price. Find the boats in front of Hotel Los Arcos, next door in the empty lot. The taxi from the ship is $10.

 

Back on the mainland, About 500 yards north of the point, Playa Camarón becomes Playa Gaviotas in front of Hotel Sabalos and Hotel Playa Mazatlan. With soft golden sand, this is the most popular beach in town. Very pretty but fairly crowded. The islands offshore prevent most large waves from hitting this beach. Catch a boat to DeerIsland from here. Jet skiing and parasailing here. The ride lasts about ten minutes and the views from up to 400' above the bay are spectacular! $30. Make sure the boat has two people in it, so that one of the occupants will serve as a spotter to keep an eye on you while you’re airborne.

 

Another quarter mile north around Hotel El Cid, Playa Gaviotas becomes its identically lovely northward extension, Playa Sábalo, considered by many to be Mazatlan's best and most popular beach. Past the rocks of Punta Sábalo, the final three miles of beach begin near the Camino Real Hotel, here a bridge over a boat channel flows in and out of a tidal lagoon, popular for bird watching. The beach boulevard loops a mile inland, curving north past the Marina Mazatlán, and back to the beach, where it becomes Playa Cerritos (Little Hills Beach). The hotels thin out as it continues past grassy dunes and venerable groves to a sheltered cove. This beach, with grass growing atop its dunes, is quiet and undeveloped and a good place to check for shells at low tide. Cerritos is accessible by bus, look for ''Cerritos'' written on the windshield. There are no hotels, bars, or restaurants. Situated at the northern end of Mazatlan, north of Playa Cerritos, the beach becomes Playa Brujas, named for the brujas, female witch doctors, who used to perform their rituals there. This beach is great for surfers and for those who wish to avoid the crowds, very quiet and secluded. "

 

Maps : http://www.allaboutmazatlan.com/areamaps.htm

http://www.frommers.com/images/destinations/maps/jpg/141_mazatlanarea.jpg

http://books.google.com/books?id=cAhRmoMxN40C&dq=mazatlan+cannon&jtp=169#PPA175,M1

http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?location=CUcbBJ93Ky30Hkw2y5yzSBIGYcIsG3o0T0WhX0C1Z9%2fRJjP%2fx4qxkLicIRi5viJDDvLzUTtcLZE%3d&address=&city=mazatlan&state=&country=MX

Google earth : http://cruisetip.tpkeller.com/maps/portmaps.php?mapid=mxmzt

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This is an awesome guide, exactly what I've been searching for post by post.

(and the boards take soooooooooooo darn long to load, I've been getting very discouraged and using Google instead)

 

You put it all into one, GREAT!:D

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Fantastic post!! Thank you for taking the time to gather this information about beaches and snorkelling. This is just what I was looking for. I'll make great use of this when we visit Mazatlan early next year!

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Bumping this one up as it might be helpful to anyone going for the 1st time. Its a post of last year, if some of the info has changed, please feel free to ad new info or edit some of this.

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Thank you!! This is incredible! I've found planning for our upcoming Mexican Rivera cruise harder than any of the others we've taken. Since the information is so scattered into various ports of call it's confusing at times as to which port of call is being discussed etc. This simplifies it and presents a good solid amount of information. Wonderful to read! I wish there were such threads for PV as well (my last port I'm planning currently). Thank you again!

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I am just back from Mazatlan and I can confirm that walking to the boat that takes you to Stone Island is the way to go! Follow the directions posted earlier - it's a straight shot to the boat. I think the prices went up a little, but still very cheap. There's no need to take a taxi. We met one couple from our ship who paid $10 for a taxi to take them the long way to a different boat. No need to do that!!..By the way, the kids LOVED the sand by the water for making sand castles. It was very easy for them to mold and make their castles.

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Fantastic Post!! We are on the Sapphire Princess in Feb. and will be stopping in Mazatlan. Your post is really helpful. One question--aside from the dining places, where can you rent chairs/umbrellas, etc. if you want to relax for awhile?? Prices?? Best deals??

 

Thanks!!

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Fantastic Post!! We are on the Sapphire Princess in Feb. and will be stopping in Mazatlan. Your post is really helpful. One question--aside from the dining places, where can you rent chairs/umbrellas, etc. if you want to relax for awhile?? Prices?? Best deals??

 

Thanks!!

 

If you are going to Stone Island, just go to one of the restaurants and order a drink or food,and you will not be charged for the lounge and umbrella. Beer is around 1.50 and the food at Victors is reported to be the best and very reasonable in price.

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ME too!!! I don't usually print off info but your post has so much good stuff... already done! We leave day after Christmas for this cruise on the Sapphire... CAN NOT WAIT!!!!:D Thanks so much!!

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Thank you for all your work. We are heading there at the end of January, 2010. A great guide!

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Great post. Now when you say "rustic restrooms" on Stone Island what does that mean? :eek:Should I bring my own T-paper? Now are the restrooms are Deer Island? Thanks for the help.:)

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Wonderful post,, I too will print out,, this is better then a guide book!

 

Thanks so much!!

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This is very helpful. Printed and this is probably going to be our plan. I really like being able to be flexible in the event of too many cocktails the night before or other issues and hate to be tied down to a excursion schedule and this helps a ton. Cudo's!

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Just came back from stone island. It is $2/pp for round trip now. Beach was full of different kind of shells. If you have kids who love collecting shells, please take some ziploc bags/grocery bag etc.

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Great post. Now when you say "rustic restrooms" on Stone Island what does that mean? :eek:Should I bring my own T-paper? Now are the restrooms are Deer Island? Thanks for the help.:)

 

We had a drink at Lety's and they had bathrooms. They aren't fancy, and the sink to wash your hands is outside with a beach towel to dry your hands. It was better than some public restrooms I've seen!

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has anyone done the Kolonahe Catamaran Tour to Deeer Island? If so was it fun? Are there any shaded areas or umbrellas that can be rented thanks? Doug

Edited by DOUGLASH

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