Mazatlan is not a “rising” destination.
It’s not “off the beaten path.” And it’s absolutely nothing like what you imagine when you think “top Mexico beach town.” In fact, unless you’re from the Southwest US, Canada, or Mexico, you’re probably not thinking of Mazatlan at all. And that sucks for you.
Mazatlan is often glossed over by Americans in favor of shinier, sugary sands in Cancun, or posher digs in Los Cabos, or boho chic in Sayulita. Not a lot of Americans are going here. Their loss, frankly. Mazatlan is one of the most unique destinations in Mexico, and speaking as someone who spends more time in Mexico than anywhere else, I do not say this lightly.
It is one of the rare spots in the country that offers both historic colonial city and thriving beach capital. It’s like if San Miguel de Allende and Puerto Vallarta had a baby. Picture cobblestone streets flanked with vibrantly painted colonial houses. Leafy plazas in a crown of cafes and restaurants, whose tables spill out into the street. There are beautiful churches, a historic theater, street vendors, and murals. And just a few blocks away, picture a sprawling malecon (boardwalk), the longest in Mexico, that hugs the Pacific shoreline, lined with beach resorts and palapa’d beach bars slinging ceviche and frosty Pacifico beers. It’s all right here in one, neat little Mexican microcosmic package.