Mazatlan is one of Mainland Mexico's Best Bargains for authentic Mexican cuisine, great hotel accommodations, unlimited shopping, Golf and Big Game fishing. Take our word for it! The Sailfish fishing here is as good as it gets anywhere and at a much more affordable cost. Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, and Dorado are also common catches. We have personally chosen a few Cruisers and Captains to put more catching into your fishing so don't overlook the Sportfishing at this forgotten destination.

Warm and beachy Mazatlan is just 13km (8mi) south of the Tropic of Cancer. This is the Me-hee-co you come to when all you want to do is lie back on the sand, tip that sombrero way down over your chin and soak up the relaxed coastal rays.

As well as being a prime resort area, Mazatlan is Mexico’s principal Pacific coast port for fishing and trade. It’s famous for sport fishing, with thousands of sailfish and marlin tagged and released each year, and is home to Latin America’s largest fleet of commercial shrimp vessels.

The heart of Old Mazatlan is the large 19th-century cathedral with its high, yellow twin towers and beautiful statues inside. Finished in 1890, it faces the lush trees and bandstand of Plaza Principal. A couple of blocks southwest, the attractive Plazuela Machado is the center of a large historic area of Mazatlan that has been extensively renewed.

The main beach, Playa Olas Altas, is where Mazatlan’s tourism began in the 1950s. The seafront road has a few faded ‘50s hotels facing the water, but erosion and construction have reduced the beach to a small crescent at the northern end of the cove. To the north, the coast road passes Cerro de la Never?a, where cliff divers plunge into the ocean below. Further along, Playa Norte is a sunset fishing spot for pelicans and other birds.

At the southern end of the peninsula, a particularly prominent rocky outcrop provides the base for El Faro, 157m (515ft) above sea level and supposedly the second-highest lighthouse in the world (after Gibraltar). You can climb up there for a spectacular view of the city and coast.

Mazatlan has 16km (10mi) of sandy beaches stretching north from Old Mazatlan to beyond the Zona Dorada. Playa Norte begins just north of Old Mazatlan and arcs toward Punta Camar?n, a rocky point dominated by the conspicuous white walls and turrets of the Fiesta Land nightclub complex. This is the southern end of the Zona Dorada, an unashamedly touristy precinct of hotels, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. The fanciest hotels face the fine beaches of Playa Las Gaviotas and Playa S?balo, which extend north of the Zona Dorada.

Three rocky islands can be seen from Mazatlan’s beaches - Isla de Chivos (Goat Island) is on the left, and Isla de P?jaros (Bird Island) is on the right. In the middle, Isla de Venados (Deer Island) has been designated a natural reserve for protection of native flora and fauna; petroglyphs have also been found on the island. Secluded beaches on the island are wonderful for a day trip, and the clear waters offer great snorkelling. Boats depart from El Cid Mega Resort.

East of the Mazatlan peninsula, Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island) is a short boat ride from town, though it’s not really an island anymore - landfill from the airport construction has joined it to the mainland. The wide, sandy beach here is lined with coconut groves and open-sided, palm-thatched palapas restaurants, some of which have music and dancing on Sunday afternoons and holidays. Good surf breaks and some very cheap accommodations make it popular with surfers.