Rows of shoe shine booths at the Plaza Republica square outside the Church of Immaculate Conception in the historic old town of Mazatlan, Mexico.

© Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock

Old Mazatlán

Top choice in Mazatlán

Mazatlán's restored old town is a picturesque compendium of noble 19th-century buildings and pretty plazas. It's set back from Playa Olas Altas, a small cove beach where the waterfront road – with its old-fashioned bars and hotels – strongly evokes the 1950s. Though overlooked by the ugly radio masts of Cerro de la Nevería, this old quarter is delightful, with student life and numerous art galleries, cafes, restaurants and bars.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mazatlán attractions

1. Plaza Machado

0.08 MILES

Surrounded by splendid 19th-century buildings, this gorgeous tree-lined plaza comes alive in the evening, when market stalls pop up, couples stroll hand…

2. Teatro Ángela Peralta

0.12 MILES

Named after a 19th-century soprano and constructed between 1869 and 1874, this 1366-seat theater just off Plaza Machado was a thriving center of local…

3. Museo Arqueológico de Mazatlán

0.18 MILES

This absorbing museum focuses on pre-Hispanic Sinaloan civilizations. Among obsidian tools and ceramics, standout exhibits include beautiful Aztatlán…

5. Museo de Arte


This is a small museum in a sprawling colonial courtyard complex, which makes a convincing case for the vitality and innovation of contemporary Mexican…

6. Playa Olas Altas

0.23 MILES

In Old Mazatlán, the crescent-shaped Playa Olas Altas is where tourism first flourished from the 1920s onwards, although the rocky beach is buffeted by…

7. El Clavadista

0.35 MILES

Although not as famous nor as spectacular as Acapulco's cliff divers, local clavadistas cast their bodies from a couple of platforms at the eponymous…

8. Playa Norte

0.72 MILES

Flanked by a broad malecón (beach promenade) popular with joggers and strollers, the golden sands of Playa Norte begin just north of Old Mazatlán. Fishing…