Mazatlán is going through a renaissance. "The Pearl of the Pacific" saw its original heyday along with Acapulco during the glamorous 50s and 60s, when Hollywood stars mixed with Mexico's elite for sun and fun and cocktails. By the 90s, however, Mazatlán was worn around the edges and run down, a forgotten tourist relic while the Caribbean coast's Cancún rose to world fame. Well, Mazatlán is back, baby-- back to its former glory and more.
If your hotel is in the touristy souvenir-filled "Zona Dorada" (Golden Zone), be sure to spend your days in the Pueblo Viejo (Old Town) and its charming, fully renovated historic center steps away from the beach. The cultural scene here is vibrant--live theater and dance performances, tasty eateries, unique boutiques, and several interesting museums. Of course, getting out in the sea and sun will also be a priority. Surfing, sportfishing and horseback riding are all popular here, but the real don't-miss activity is a whale or dolphin-watching expedition. Onca Explorations (www.oncaexplorations.com) offers popular daily ecotours to observe marine mammals.
At the end of the day, a drink at a beachside bar is in order. As you people watch and enjoy the dramatic Pacific sunset, you can ponder whether you're in the mood for watching a concert at the Teatro Angela Peralta or dancing the night away at one of Mazatlán's many Zona Dorada nightclubs.