It's a one-mile (1205- to 20-minute) walk to Old Mazatlan, but you'll need a cab to get to the Golden Zone (about four miles from the pier). Cabs are readily available outside the cruise terminal as are open-air, golf-cart-type vehicles called Pulmonia.
Where You're Docked
The commercial port--and because it's a bustling cargo port you are taken on a free tram to the cruise terminal. Here you'll find a festive atmosphere with timeshare vendors trying to give you free rides, craft vendors, and shops, including a pharmacy where you can buy Viagra and other medications without a prescription. There are tables set up under shade trees if you have a hankering for a cold beer. There's also a second, quieter crafts market across from the chaos of the cruise ship terminal.
Staying in Touch
Right at the pier is the International Communications Center; phone calls to the U.S. cost 7205 cents per minute, and Internet access is available for $2 for 1205 minutes, $3 for 30 minutes or $4 for 60 minutes. CompuSoporte (Avenue del Mar #4) is an Internet Cafe in the Golden Zone.
What to See and Do
Old Mazatlan has a surprising number of historical sites including a Moorish-style cathedral, ornate with a gold-vaulted ceiling. Across the street is the Plaza Republica, downtown's central gathering place, where pigeons frolic, shoeshine vendors do their thing and Victorian iron benches are perfect venues for people-watching. A few blocks behind the cathedral is Central Market (Mercado Pino Suarez), where you can buy anything from sombreros to raw meat (bargaining is encouraged). Walk back towards the church and continue a few blocks to the very impressive Teatro Angela Peralta, which occupies one side of the attractive square known as Plazuela Machado. The Italian-style theatre, dating to the 1800s and named for a famous diva, has been lovingly restored--it is now a national historic landmark--and is simply gorgeous. Admission is $1.30 and worth every penny. Elsewhere on Plazuela Machado and its surrounds are refreshing sidewalk cafes, pretty colonial-style historic buildings, and colorful homes, some of which are now galleries. If you want to explore the Old Mazatlan art scene you can pick up a map of galleries and artist studios at the tourist office on Mariano Escabedo. Other attractions include the free Museo de Arqueologia (archeological museum) and the Museo de Arta (art museum).
Watch the daring high-flying divers off of Divers Point, a 10-minute walk (or quick taxi ride) from Old Mazatlan. Typically they perform when a crowd gathers.
The Golden Zone has shopping, glitzy hotels, people-watching, and beach-bumming on the sunny, palm-lined beaches. The main drag is Rodolfo T. Loaiza
If you're traveling with kids, consider a stop in the Mazatlan Aquarium. Located between downtown and the Golden Zone, it boasts trained sea lion and exotic bird shows, and some 300 species of marine life.
You can go kayaking around Mazatlan's offshore islands. There's birdwatching in mangrove swamps and the Sierra Madre Mountains. Sailing trips are offered to Deer Island, a protected National Reserve.
Sportfishing for marlin.
Tour the old mining towns of the Sierra Madres, where the streets are cobbled and the rooftops red tile.
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