Visit Mazatlán: Top 31 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions


Things to do in Mazatlán: The 31 Best Places to Visit and Highlights

Are you planning a trip to Mazatlán and looking for the best things to do?

You’ve come to the right place!

Nestled along a magnificent coastline, Mazatlán is renowned for its sandy beaches, charming historic center, miradors, nightlife and long seafront promenade, the Malecón.

It’s not for nothing that it’s nicknamed The Pearl of the Pacific!

To help you plan your stay, I’ve put together a complete guide, with all the best things to do, tours and places to visit in Mazatlan.

You’ll also discover the best time to go, details of how to get there by plane, bus and ferry, my tips for preparing your trip and my selection of the best hotels depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Mazatlan? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

The Best Tours in Mazatlan

Mazatlan is full of exciting activities – there’s no chance of getting bored!

To make it easier for you to pick what you like, here is a short list of the top activities you can enjoy.

To reserve your spot, just click on the activity name that catches your eye.

TicketDescriptionPrice (may vary)
Mazatlan MarketGuided tour of the Mazatlan market with tastings80 $USD
Mazatlan LighthouseGuided tour of the Mazatlan lighthouse with access to the glass viewpoint, hotel pick-up and digital photos48 $USD
Observatory TcketsEntrance tickets for the Observatory 187328 $USD
Whale watchingWhale-watching tour with biologist guide, pick-up included115 $USD
Mazatlan Food TourFood tour of Mazatlan by pulmonia (traditional cab) to discover the best local spots80 $USD
Pulmonia TourGuided tour in a pulmonia (2h) to discover the highlights of Mazatlan, pick-up included75 $USD
Isla de Venados TourGuided tour to Isla Venados, kayaking, short hike, snorkeling, and free time on the beach, pick-up included67 $USD
10 Islands TourTour with biologist guide to Mazatlan's must-see islands, pick-up included106 $USD
Sightseeing BusTour of Mazatlan's attractions by double-decker bus, pick-up included30 $USD
Guided electric scooter tourGuided tour of the malecon and historic center on electric scooter, pick-up included119 $USD
Bike and Beer TourBike tour through the Zona Dorada and the Malecon with guide, music and craft beer from La Bichola60 $USD
Kayak River TourGuided kayak excursion on the Presidio River, with lunch and tequila tasting, pick-up included106 $USD
La Noria TourGuided tour of La Noria, mezcal tasting at Los Osuna, typical lunch, pick-up included107 $USD
Quad TourGuided quad bike tour, tequila tasting and lunch, pick-up included130 $USD
Zip-line course12 zip lines, tequila tasting and lunch, pick-up included130 $USD
Quad tour + zip linesGuided quad tour, 12 zip lines, tequila tasting and lunch, pick-up included215 $USD
Grand Aquarium and Mazatlan TourAdmission to the Grand Aquarium, followed by a private tour of the city in a pulmonia, pick-up included58 $USD
Airport ShuttlePrivate transfer from Mazatlan airport to your hotel (or vice versa)300 $USD
Cruise Port ShuttlePrivate transfer from cruise port to your hotel (or vice versa)240 $USD

Must-see attractions in Mazatlan

1. Plaza Machado

The Plazuela Machado or Plaza Machado is Mazatlan’s main square.

Built in 1837 by wealthy Filipino merchant Juan Nepomuceno Machado, it is now a popular meeting place for locals and travellers alike, lined with cafés, bars and restaurants with terraces, hotels and the Angela Peralta Theatre.

It’s a very lively square, especially from Thursday to Sunday. During these days, cars are banned to make walking around easier for everyone!

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Plazuela Machado, Mazatlan
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Plaza Machado, Mazatlan
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Angela Peralta Theatre, Mazatlan

2. Plaza Republica and the cathedral

The Plazuela República or Plaza Revolución is one of Mazatlan’s most emblematic landmarks.

Initially established in 1870 as a main square and market, it is now the social heart of the city, hosting numerous cultural events, demonstrations and more.

The Plaza Republica is encircled by the majestic Basilica-Cathedral of the Inmaculada Concepción. At its heart, you’ll find a Gothic-style kiosk, a gift from the Melchers, one of the German families instrumental in the city’s growth.

In contrast to the tourist-centered Plazuela Machado, Plaza Republica has preserved its authentic local essence!

Plaza República Mazatlan
Plaza República Mazatlan
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Mazatlan Cathedral

3. Colorful houses

You can’t miss the Casas de Colores, a major Mazatlan attraction, located in the city’s historic center, on Calle Angel Flores.

Originating in the 19th century, the tradition where ship captains would use surplus paint to adorn homes has led to the vibrant facades that are now a key aspect of the city’s streetscape.

These brightly colored buildings, having been renovated, are now used as private homes, hotels, and shops, representing the rich history of the city.

It’s a perfect spot for wandering and taking pictures!

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Colorful houses of Mazatlan
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Colorful Mazatlan houses

4. The Pino Suárez market

Located in the heart of the historic center, between Aquiles Serdán and Melchor Ocampo streets, the Pino Suárez municipal market is a must-see in Mazatlan to discover real local life.

Since 1900, this place has been a bustling market for meat, fish, seafood, spices, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, sweets, clothes, crafts, and many other items.

  • Open Monday to Saturday from 6 AM to 6 PM, and Sunday from 6 AM to 2 PM. However, I suggest not arriving too early to avoid finding some stalls closed (I’ve experienced this!).

For a full experience, consider joining a guided tour of the Pino Suarez market. A local guide will show you around, letting you try delicious local food and meet the people who make this market special

Book the tour here:

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Mazatlan market
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Fruit stall at the Mazatlan market
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Pino Suarez market, Mazatlan

5. Mazatlan lighthouse (El Faro)

Located on top of Cerro el Creston at 574 ft high, the lighthouse, known as ‘El Faro,’ is a key attraction in Mazatlan.

It provides stunning views of the bay, port, and sea to those who climb its 336 steps.

A highlight since 2018 is the ‘glass bridge,’ an observation deck with a clear floor, offering a unique perspective.

My tip
 To visit the Mazatlan lighthouse without the hassle of arranging transport, consider booking this tour. It includes hotel pickup, a guide, entry to the viewpoint, and digital photos of your trip.

Book it here:

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panoramic view faro mazatlan
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El Faro Bridge, Mazatlan

6. Isla de Piedra

Stone Island (Isla de Piedra) is a favorite spot in Mazatlan, famous for its extensive beaches with gentle, shallow waters, perfect for families.

My tip
Despite its name, Stone Island is actually a peninsula.

It’s commonly thought of as an island because most visitors arrive by a brief boat ride, rather than by land, creating the feel of an island escape.

The beach is lined with restaurants serving up fresh fish, seafood, beer, micheladas, and coconuts – all the essentials of a classic Mexican beach outing!

For adventure seekers, there’s horseback riding, quad biking (30 minutes for 400 pesos), bodyboard rentals (50 pesos for 1 hour), and various water sports like banana boat rides (150 pesos per person).

On weekends, the vibe is lively with music and bustling with families and friends enjoying their day out.

If you prefer a quieter spot, just walk three blocks away from the main beach area to find a more secluded beach, where peace and tranquility await.

How to get to Isla de Piedra

  • By car: 40-50 min
  • By water taxi: 35-40 pesos round trip (5-10 min one way)
  • With a tour: Booking a tour to Isla de Piedra is convenient as it usually covers your round trip, lunch, and 3 hours on the island (costing between 600-700 pesos, with departures at 10 AM, 12 PM, and 2 PM daily). If you go through an agency, hotel or cruise port pickup is often included.

To reach Isla Piedra, boats set off from three locations: the main pier on Avenida Gabriel Leyva; Playa Sur pier on Avenida Emilio Barragán; and Embarcadero Iguana, near the lighthouse. Parking at any pier is 40 pesos.

Once at Isla de Piedra, getting to the beach is possible by either a 2km walk or a quick truck ride for 60 pesos. Although I usually prefer walking, the intense sun made the truck ride a much-appreciated shortcut to the beach

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Restaurants in Isla de Piedra, Mazatlan
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Isla de Piedra pier, Mazatlan
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The Iguana pier for Isla de Piedra

7. Observatorio Mazatlán 1873

Directly across from the lighthouse, on Cerro del Vigía, you’ll find the Observatorio 1873, a top spot in Mazatlan.

This attraction is built around the former seismological and meteorological observatory, located 246 ft above sea level.

The moment you ascend via the brief funicular ride, the stunning vistas of Faro de Mazatlan and the ocean will capture your attention!

At the summit, five experiences await:

  • A house museum replicating a Mexican Revolution era dwelling
  • An iguana sanctuary
  • A bird sanctuary
  • The agaviario, showcasing 30 varieties of agaves and cacti
  • A distillery where you can discover how mezcal is produced

Be sure to visit the Sky Bar, tucked away on the rooftop. With its unparalleled views, it’s arguably the best spot for a drink in Mazatlan!

Tickets for the Mazatlan Observatory are available here:

My advice
For a comprehensive guide on what to do there, check out My article on visiting the Mazatlan Observatory! 
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The view of the lighthouse from the Sky Bar at Observatorio 1873, Mazatlan
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The interior of the house, Observatorio, Mazatlan
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Iguana sanctuary, Observatorio, Mazatlan

8. The Zona Dorada

Mazatlan’s Zona Dorada (Golden Zone), located 5 miles north of the historic center, stretches from the Valentinos nightclub to the marina.

Here you’ll find numerous hotels, restaurants and boutiques, as well as beautiful beaches such as Playa Camaron, Playa Gaviotas and Playa Cerritos .

The area is also known for its lively nightlife, with numerous bars and nightclubs.

More than fifty years ago, it was a marshy lagoon, but thanks to major investments, it has become Sinaloa’s most emblematic area!

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Zona Dorada, Mazatlan

9. Mazatlan’s beaches

There are miles of beaches in Mazatan! Some are more lively and family-friendly, others much quieter.

For a calm swimming experience, especially when visiting Mazatlan with kids, I recommend Isla de Piedra or Isla Venados. These spots offer gentle waves and shallow waters, ideal for peace of mind

Here are some other beautiful Mazatlan beaches:

Playa Brujas is located in Cerritos. It’s a very wide, clean beach, a little far from the center and therefore less crowded than other Mazatlan beaches. Ideal for those who want peace and quiet. It’s not ideal for swimming, as the waves are quite strong, but it is great for surfing.

Playa Cerritos, not to be confused with the rocky Punta Cerritos, lies near Playa Brujas, closer to the malecon and the Marina. It offers a broad stretch of sand, perfect for escaping the high season crowds. However, it’s important to note that swimming is not advisable here.

In the bustling Zona Dorada, Playa Camarón and Playa Gaviotas sit among numerous hotels, restaurants, and bars, offering vibrant atmospheres and a variety of water activities.

Playa Los Pinitos is a local family favorite in Mazatlan, thanks to its gentler waves and patches of shallow water. You’ll find vendors here offering seafood, coconuts, and beer, complete with tables and chairs for a comfortable beach day. Just be cautious of the sea urchin-studded rocks near Fuerte 31 de Marzo!

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Playa Los Pinitos, Mazatlan

Playa Norte is bustling with local fishermen early in the morning, returning with their catch. You have the chance to buy fresh fish directly from them for a small price.

It’s a fantastic spot for photography in Mazatlan, though for sunbathing, you might prefer other beaches.

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Playa Norte, Mazatlan

Plage Olas Altas, located in the historic center, stands out as my favorite beach in Mazatlan. It’s smaller and more intimate, offering a peaceful escape without the clutter of numerous beach stalls.

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Playa Olas Altas Mazatlan

10. Whale watching

From December to March, whale groups migrate from the chilly Alaskan waters to the warmer Sea of Cortez for mating and reproduction.

Many humpback whales pass through Mazatlan on their way to Puerto Vallarta to give birth, offering us the extraordinary chance to witness them.

Joining a small group aboard a semi-rigid boat from the Mazatlan marina, guided by Arturo, our biologist, we ventured into the sea.

We were treated to various breathtaking sights, including a female whale being pursued by three males. Their impressive dance and songs, aimed at winning her affection, were truly remarkable experiences! 😍

You can book this tour here:

My advice
For FAQs and insights from my whale watching tour in Mazatlan, see My Guide to Whale Watching in Mazatlan! 

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Mazatlan whale-watching tour
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humpback whale watching in Mazatlan

11. Take a Food Tour of Mazatlan

Reflecting on my Mazatlan food tour experience, I only wish I hadn’t waited until the last day!

Discovering those excellent spots so late meant missing out on the chance to revisit them.

Maaike introduced us to some of the city’s culinary gems: modest, often overlooked by tourists, committed to serving the freshest ingredients.

The tour offered more than just tasting local dishes; it was a chance to encounter local figures like the vibrant Lalo, the sweet Moni, or the lively Vanessa.

Her engaging conversations and lively explanations added a special flavor to the experience, making it memorable.

I suggest booking this culinary adventure in Mazatlan, where you’ll explore various street food vendors by auriga (a traditional taxi):

My tip
Learn more about my experience on this gastronomic adventure: My Mazatlan Food Tour Review!
aguachile mazatlan
Aguachile de crevettes à Mazatlan

12. Take a ride in a pulmonia

Curious about those little white taxis in Mazatlan? Those are pulmonias!

Pulmonias are white, open-air vehicles, resembling golf carts, with no doors or windows, offering comfy seating.

Upon my first visit to Mazatlan, the term “Pulmonia” caught me by surprise, sounding like the word for “pneumonia”!

This unique name traces back to the 1960s, credited to local entrepreneur Miguel Ramirez who repurposed 3-wheeled motorized vehicles for passenger transport.

Competitors tried to deter people by saying the open design could lead to catching pneumonia.

Clearly, it didn’t deter anyone—70 years later, pulmonias are not just transport; they’re an iconic part of Mazatlan.

They’re handy for quick trips or even better, for a sightseeing tour.

My tip
Book a 2-hour pulmonia tour,  including hotel or cruise port pickup.

Explore everything from the Zona Dorada to the historic center, the malecon, beaches, and enjoy breathtaking views from Cerro del Vigía.

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Pulmonia in Mazatlan

13. Stroll along the malecon

Mazatlan’s malecon stretches 5 miles along the Pacific, from the lighthouse, El Faro, to the castle-like Valentino’s marking the Zona Dorada‘s beginning. Or so I was told.

Yet, some say it actually starts at Puntillas near the cruise port and runs 13 miles to Sabalo Cerritos, potentially making it Mexico’s longest malecon and one of the world’s longest!

It’s a fantastic spot for a walk or a bike ride, with pulmonias cruising by. Along the way, you’ll pass numerous beaches, eateries, and sculptures like the Monumento a Pedro Infante and the Mazatlan letters, perfect for a photo op.

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Malecon de Mazatlan
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The colorful letters of Mazatlan, next to Valentino’s on the malecon
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Monumento al Pescador, Mazatlan
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Monumento a la Mujer Mazatleca, Mazatlan
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Monumento a Pedro Infante, Mazatlan

14. Isla Venados

Opposite Playa Gaviotas in the Zona Dorada, you’ll find Isla Venados.

Part of a protected area since the 1970s, it’s the only one of its neighboring islands with a beach, renowned for its serene, clear waters. Visitors enjoy swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or lounging under an umbrella. I was drawn by a short hike offering stunning panoramic views.

My tip
Since 2019, the Gulf of California’s i9slands and protected areas have been listed by UNESCO as in danger.

When visiting, choose a tour operator permitted by the National Commission on Protected Natural Areas (Conanp) to ensure adherence to wildlife protection regulations.

Consider booking a tour to Isla Venados with a reputable agency, including hotel pickup, a guided tour, kayaking, a hike to explore the island’s natural beauty, snorkeling, and leisure time on the beach:

  • You can check out my Detailed Guide to Isla Venados in Mazatlan to find out everything you need to know about the island, with tips and information to help you plan your visit!
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isla de venados mazatlan
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Isla de Venados, Mazatlan

15. Isla de Pajaros

Sinaloa stands out for its rich biodiversity, hosting over 400 bird species, including 35 endemic and 20 migratory species visiting from October to March.

While Isla de Venados, with its beautiful beach, gets more attention, Bird Island (Isla Pájaros) is a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts, ecotourists, and birdwatchers.

Its attractions include a seasonal waterfall “Ensenadita” and diverse birdlife, like the stunning Red-billed Tropicbird.

My advice
 It’s crucial to visit Isla Pajaros through a reputable agency with the right permits, as it shares its protected status with Isla de Venados and Isla de Lobos.

I recommend a comprehensive 4-hour speedboat tour led by a biologist guide, covering Isla de los Pajaros, Isla Venado, Isla de Lobos, and several other key spots. This tour promises sightings of turtles, dolphins, manta rays, and numerous bird species, including snorkeling opportunities.

Book the tour to explore Isla de los Pajaros and more, with hotel pickup included:

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Mazatlan’s three main islands. From left to right: Isla de Lobos, Isla de Venados, Isla de Pajaros
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Isla de Pajaros, Mazatlan. Photo: All Over Mazatlan

16. El Clavadista

While exploring Mazatlan’s malecon, specifically Paseo Claussen, I stumbled upon a crowd gathered around something intriguing.

It turned out to be the famous “Diver,” El Clavadista -this spot is where daring divers leap into the ocean from a cliff about 46 feet high.

The scene instantly made me think of Acapulco‘s famous Quebrada.

While families snack and watch the divers, I stare at the water, realizing how risky it is. Compared to the calm Riviera Maya, these choppy waters and rocky depths seem dangerous. Diving here requires athleticism, skill, and a real love for adventure.

  • There isn’t a fixed schedule for the dives. During peak tourist season, it seems there are multiple jumps daily, but otherwise, they only happen on weekends. That’s what I discovered during my time in Mazatlan.
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“El Clavadista”, the Mazatlan diver

17. Take the tourist bus

The double-decker bus offers a 3-hour panoramic city tour, with a guide, music and a great atmosphere. It’s perfect for first-time visitors, groups, or families!

Starting from the malecon, you’ll witness the daring dives at Clavadista, explore the historic center, including the cathedral and market, and visit the Zona Dorada and Marina Mazatlan.

  • Departures are Thursday and Saturday at 4 p.m.

Book your sightseeing bus tickets, with hotel pickup and drop-off:

My advice
And remember, the Mazatlan sun is strong, so sunscreen and a hat are essential, especially if you opt for the open roof!
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Fun Bus, Mazatlan’s tourist bus

18. The Devil’s Cave

La Cueva del Diablo, located on Paseo Claussen, is just across from the Clavadista.

This cave has sparked many stories over the years, from tales of dark rituals to hidden pirate treasures. While you can’t enter as there’s a fence around it, it’s fun to let your imagination run wild.

In reality, it used to be a storage place for dynamite when they were building the Olas Altas boardwalk in the early 20th century. The smell of sulfur coming from it added to the spooky rumors that the devil lived there.

You know how stories can spread and stick around!

Whether you believe in the devil’s hideout or not, nowadays it’s a favorite spot for visitors to snap some cool photos.

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La Cueva del Diablo, Mazatlan’s devil’s cave

19. Take a ride on an electric scooter

A fun way to explore Mazatlan is to take a guided tour on a chopper-style electric scooter.

You’ll cruise along the malecon, enjoying the sea breeze and views of the Pacific, and witness the diver’s jump (El Clavadista), before discovering the must-sees of the historic center: the Plazuela Machado, the basilica-cathedral, the Pino Suarez market.

You can book the tour here, which includes hotel pick-up:

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Mazatlan electric chopper tour

20. La Carpa Olivera

La Carpa Olivera was established in 1914 by chef Antonio Olivera as a gathering and entertainment spot for both tourists and local Mazatlan families.

It featured a two-story restaurant and a sea-water pool fed by ocean waves.

Sadly, in 1954, it fell victim to a hurricane and remained abandoned for many years. However, in 2004, the municipality decided to revitalize this iconic Mazatlan landmark through a series of renovation phases.

Today, while the restaurant no longer exists, an interesting addition to the site is the toboggan.

My tip
While the Carpa Olivera should ideally be functional and accessible, during my visit in February 2024, it was closed. I couldn’t determine if this closure was temporary.

Nevertheless, it’s worth a stop along the malecon to appreciate its design at the very least. 

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Carpa Olivera, Mazatlan

21. Watching the sunset

Around 5pm, I take a relaxed walk along the malecon towards my hotel, curious if Mazatlan offers any stunning sunsets. Soon enough, I will get my answer.

With no rush, I pause now and then to people-watch. I see lovers enjoying ice cream, elders peacefully observing the young, and families engaged in lively conversations while kids play around.

As the sunlight shines, the windows of buildings begin to sparkle, enhancing the magic of the scene. The further I walk, the brighter the light gets.

The sky transitions from yellow to orange, then to shades of red, eventually blending into hues of pink and purple.

To complement the scene, the beats of the bandas, Sinaloa’s traditional music, fill the air with a festive vibe along the beach.

Now I grasp why everyone gravitates here. If I were a resident of Mazatlan, I’d surely make it a nightly ritual too!

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Beautiful sunset in Mazatlan
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Mazatlan skyline

22. Facades of Mazatlan

The historic center boasts some of Mazatlan’s most stunning buildings, many designated as national historic landmarks. As you wander through the cobblestone streets, you’ll encounter a variety of architectural styles: colonial, tropical neoclassical, and art deco.

It’s one of the prime spots for capturing memorable photos!

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mazatlan historic center
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23. Mazatlan Museum of Archaeology (MUSAM)

Near the malecon and Olas Altas beach lies the Mazatlan Archaeological Museum, tucked away in a charming early 20th-century building.

Though not very large and somewhat dimly lit, the museum remains a valuable resource for delving into Mazatlan’s rich history.

Here, you’ll learn about the cultures of Sinaloa, the lifestyles of its inhabitants, religious practices, burial customs, ceramics, archaeological sites, petroglyphs, and the Spanish conquest of the region.

I also discovered that they used to play “Ullamaliztli,” the local version to the famous Mesoamerican ball game. This ancient sport, now known as “ulama,” is still played (albeit in a simplified form) in certain Sinaloa communities today!

  • Admission 70 pesos
  • Explanations in Spanish and English
  • Tue-Sun 10am-5pm
  • Address: Sixto Osuna 76, Mazatlán
  • Museum Facebook page
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Mazatlan Archaeology Museum
Musée archéologique de Mazatlán
Mazatlán Archaeological Museum

24. Mazatlan Art Museum

Just a short walk from the Archaeology Museum is the Mazatlan Art Museum.

It’s a quaint, admission-free museum featuring a permanent exhibition space housing works by renowned Mexican artists and illustrators like Rufino Tamayo, José Luis Cuevas, Francisco Toledo, among others.

There’s also a temporary exhibition area highlighting contemporary artists from Sinaloa and other parts of Mexico, showcasing sculptures, paintings, photography, and more.

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Mazatlan Art Museum

25. Discover Mazatlan’s Craft Beer Scene

After the whale-watching tour, I opted to walk from the Mazatlan marina to my hotel, passing through the Zona Dorada and the entire malecon.

In theory, a 2-hour and 40-minute stroll, armed with good shoes, seemed like a great plan, especially on a sunny day. However, I had forgotten about the main element: the renowned sun.

So, after an hour of wandering through charming streets with names evoking the sea that brought a smile to my face (like Atun, Pez Vela, Langostino, Camaron, Tiburon, reminiscent of Mahahual), I stumbled upon “La Bichola” and couldn’t resist stepping inside, drawn by the promise of air conditioning and a refreshing cold beer.

The bartender recommended their Peanut Butter Stout, and although it wasn’t what I initially craved to quench my thirst, I accepted out of sheer curiosity.

It boasted a bold peanut butter presence, with hints of roasted cereals and dark chocolate, yet surprisingly light. Honestly, it was delicious!

Next, I tried the English Pale Ale, a very refreshing brew with a well-balanced blend of sweet fruity notes and bitterness.

I would have loved to sample more, as they were truly good, but I still had a journey ahead, and I could already feel the alcohol taking effect. 😆

  • Tasting sizes are priced at 4 for 120 pesos, glasses range from 60 to 70 pesos, and pints from 70 to 80 pesos.
  • Location: Av Camarón Sábalo 6292, El Dorado, Mazatlán. Another branch can be found near the Mazatlan bus station.
  • To explore other microbreweries in Mazatlan, check out Navegante Brewery and Tres Islas Brewery

My tip
To elevate your experience, consider joining Bichola’s bike tour, which guides you through the Zona Dorada and part of the malecon, accompanied by a guide, music, and, of course, craft beer!

Book the tour here:

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Bichola’s bike tour with beer
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Stout, Bichola, Mazatlan
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Pale Ale, Bichola, Mazatlan

26. Kayaking in the wilderness

Set off on a kayaking adventure along the Presidio River!

Your day starts with a convenient hotel pick-up, followed by a scenic drive to the village of Veranos (a 40-minute ride), where you’ll be equipped with all the necessary gear.

This activity isn’t about adrenaline rushes, as the river’s current is gentle. Instead, it’s a chance to soak in stunning scenery in a tranquil setting away from the hustle and bustle of Mazatlan’s tourist areas.

After paddling approximately 7 miles in around 1.5 hours, you’ll be treated to a delicious, hearty traditional lunch, along with a tasting session featuring several varieties of tequila.

Secure your spot for the kayak tour here:

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Kayaking on the Presidio River, Mazatlan

27. Crafts and tequila at La Noria

La Noria de San Antonio, often simply referred to as “La Noria,” is a traditional village in Sinaloa.

Its charming atmosphere, with vibrant bougainvillea and cobblestone streets, has made it a must-visit spot in Mazatlan, just 30 minutes away from the beaches nestled at the foothills of the Sierra Madre.

Visitors flock here not only for leisurely strolls but also to explore its crafts scene, which predominantly features leather and clay works, and to venture into the agave fields of La Vinata Los Osuna.

Established in 1876, this is the largest blue agave plantation and the oldest mezcal distillery in the state of Sinaloa.

My tip
 It’s worth noting that while Los Osuna products are crafted from blue agave, they are categorized as mezcal, not tequila, due to their place of origin.

Tequila can only be labeled as such if it’s produced in the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, or Tamaulipas. 

Every Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can enjoy the tianguis gastronómico (food market), an outdoor market offering a wide array of typical dishes and products to sample.

How to reach La Noria from Mazatlan

  • By Car: Take Highway 15N before turning onto Carretera a la Noria. The route is straightforward, and GPS navigation (using apps like Waze or Google Maps) is reliable.
  • By Bus: Daily departures at 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. from the Mazatlan bus station (“zona de camiones tropicales”). The last return from La Noria is at 3 p.m. One-way ticket costs 45 pesos.
  • With a Day Trip: For a hassle-free visit to La Noria from Mazatlan, consider joining this guided tour, which includes hotel or cruise port pick-up, a guided tour of La Noria, a fascinating exploration of the mezcal-making process at Los Osuna complete with tasting, and lunch at a typical restaurant. Book here:

la noria mazatlan
La Noria, Mazatlan
la noria los osuna tequila
Los Osuna, La Noria, Mazatlan

28. The village of El Quelite

Located just over 19 miles from Mazatlan, on the banks of the river bearing the same name, El Quelite is a charming village boasting cobbled streets and picturesque houses adorned with vibrant flowers and cacti.

During the Mexican Revolution of 1910, it served as the backdrop for clashes between the military and rebels, notably “Los Laureanos”, a revolutionary group notorious for attacking stagecoaches laden with gold and silver bound for Mazatlán from the mines.

Today, far removed from its tumultuous past, the village warmly welcomes travelers while still retaining echoes of its history. One of El Quelite’s must-visit establishments is the renowned restaurant, El Meson de Los Laureanos.

Here, visitors can savor traditional cuisine crafted from organic, locally sourced ingredients, all within a colorful setting adorned with rustic decor.

Some claim it to be the finest restaurant in Sinaloa!

How to get to El Quelite from Mazatlan

  • By car: Take the Culiacán-Mazatlán/México 15 N highway, then head towards El Quelite – Cuates/60 (approximately 45 minutes).
  • By bus: Daily departures from Mazatlan bus station (“zona de camiones tropicales”) at 6:45 am, 11 am, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm, and 6 pm. One-way ticket costs 45 pesos.
el quelite sinaloa restaurant laureanos
Restaurant El Meson de los Laureanos, El Quelite, Sinaloa

29. The Sierra Madre Village Route

While Mazatlan is renowned for its stunning beaches, the nearby Sierra Madre is home to several picturesque villages that are well worth exploring.

If you appreciate colonial charm and local craftsmanship, I recommend following the Carretera El Salto-Villa Unión/México 40 to discover them:

  • Malpica: A village famed for its delectable artisanal bread baked over wood fires and its exquisite handmade mosaics
  • La Concordia: Founded in 1565, it stands as one of the oldest towns in the state of Sinaloa. La Concordia is celebrated for its silver mines, artisanal wooden furniture, pottery, ornate baroque church, and refreshing fruit raspados (shaved ice treats)
  • Copala: Once a bustling mining town, the closure of its silver mines led to the departure of many residents, lending it an intriguing ghost-town ambiance. Visitors can explore the historic old prison, San José church, and meander along cobblestone streets adorned with vibrant bougainvillea and other indigenous flowers.

My tip
You can also reach Concordia by bus from Mazatlan.

Numerous daily departures are available between 6 am and 10:15 pm from the Mazatlan bus station (“zona de camiones tropicales”). The last return is at 7:40 pm, and the fare is 40 pesos each way.

copala sinaloa
Copala, Sinaloa

Things to do with kids in Mazatlan

Mazatlán is renowned as one of Mexico’s top family-friendly destinations, offering a plethora of beaches and activities suitable for all ages.

Here are three standout family-friendly activities in Mazatlán:

30. Embark on an Adventure:

Explore the rugged terrain of the Sierra Occidental mountain range on an exhilarating adventure.

Start with a thrilling course of 12 zip lines that provide awe-inspiring aerial vistas of the forest and cityscape below.

Following the adrenaline-pumping zip-line experience, hop on a quad to traverse diverse landscapes, including beaches and agave fields.

Conclude your adventure with a delicious local lunch and a tasting of mezcal or tequila.

You can book various tours, each including hotel pick-up, tequila tasting, and lunch:

Whichever tour you choose, it’s bound to be a fantastic family activity in Mazatlán!

quad mazatlan
Quad in Mazatlan
tyrolienne mazatlan
Zip-lining in Mazatlan

31. Mazagua Water Park

Spend a fun-filled day with your kids in Mazatlan, at Mazagua Water Park.

This expansive park features numerous slides, a buoy river ride, a large wave pool, an artificial beach for children, a volleyball court, and a restaurant.

Located at Avenida Sabalo Cerritos, entronque al Habal, Mazatlán, the park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Located at Avenida Sabalo Cerritos, entronque al Habal, Mazatlán
  • Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Mazagua website
  • Admission is 300 pesos, and children aged 2 and under enter for free.
mazagua parc aquatique mazatlan
Mazagua, water park in Mazatlan
Mazagua Mazatlan
Mazagua, Mazatlan

32. The Great Mazatlan Aquarium

Discover the impressive Mazatlán Aquarium, the largest in Latin America dedicated to the Sea of Cortés (Gulf of California), celebrated for its rich biodiversity.

Within just 1.5 to 2 hours, you’ll explore over 30 habitats teeming with 700 fish species, 30 mammal species (including flamingos, crocodiles, birds, sea lions, Humboldt penguins, hammerhead sharks, and starfish), as well as various sea turtle species.

To grasp its enormity, consider its main tank, holding a staggering 4.7 million liters of water!

  • Operating daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last admission at 4 p.m.),
  • Av. de los Deportes 111, Tellería, 82017 Mazatlán, Sin., just 5 minutes from the malecón.

To skip the queues, it’s highly recommended to purchase your tickets in advance.

You can easily do so online via the official website. For a comprehensive experience, consider booking a tour that not only includes aquarium admission but also offers hotel or cruise port pick-up and a private tour of Mazatlán’s highlights in a traditional pulmonia vehicle.

Secure your Mazatlán Aquarium tickets now:

grand aquarium mazatlan
Mazatlan’s Grand Aquarium

Where to stay in Mazatlan: The Best Hotels

When it comes to finding the perfect place to stay in Mazatlán, you have two fantastic options: the charming historic center, adorned with colonial buildings, or the lively seafront Zona Dorada, with numerous bars and restaurants.

Here are my top hotel recommendations in Mazatlan:

  • One Mazatlán (Zona Dorada): Offering great value for money, this new hotel is just steps away from the beach in the Zona Dorada. With modern amenities, comfortable rooms, and a refreshing swimming pool, it’s an excellent choice starting at only 70 $usd per night, including breakfast!
  • Royal Villas Resort (Zona Dorada): For added luxury, consider this well-appointed hotel nestled in Mazatlán’s Zona Dorada. Enjoy a pool overlooking the sea, direct beach access, and spacious rooms with kitchenettes and sea views. With facilities like a gym, spa, restaurant, and bar, rates start at just 91 $usd per night.
  • Hotel Raices de Mar (Historic Center): Perfectly situated in Mazatlán’s historic center near Plazuela Machado, this hotel is ideal for explorers. Clean and comfortable rooms, an on-site restaurant, a small pool, and a rooftop terrace await you, starting from 120 $usd per night, including breakfast.
  • Casa Lucila Boutique Hotel (Historic Center): Experience the charm of Mazatlán at this intimate hotel near Olas Altas beach. Offering stunning ocean views from its terrace with a sea-facing pool, this boutique hotel features elegant rooms, a spa, and a restaurant. Prices start at 158 $usd per night and provide easy access to the malecon and other attractions.
  • Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan Beach Resort (All-Inclusive, Zona Dorada): Indulge in luxury at Mazatlán’s premier all-inclusive resort. With accolades from Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, this 5-star property offers spacious rooms, direct beach access, multiple pools, restaurants, and a spa. Rates begin at 300 $usd per night.

My advice
 Dive deeper into my comprehensive Guide to the best hotels in Mazatlán for more insights and feedback!

royal villas resort mazatlan
Royal Villas Resort, Mazatlan

Tourist map of Mazatlan’s Must-See Attractions

How to get to Mazatlan

Getting to Mazatlan by plane

Mazatlan International Airport (General Rafael Buelna International Airport) is well-connected, receiving flights from all over Mexico, including cities like Mexico City, Los Cabos, San José del Cabo, La Paz, Monterrey, Chihuahua, Hermosillo, Querétaro, and Tijuana.

It’s also a popular landing spot for direct flights from the US, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, and Minneapolis, not to mention key airports in Canada. All these connections make Mazatlan an easily accessible destination in Mexico.

To find a great deal on flights to Mazatlan and discover the best domestic flights across Mexico, make sure to use our flight comparison tool in partnership with Skyscanner. It’s your ticket to securing the best prices!

aeroport mazatlan
Mazatlan Airport

How to get from Mazatlan airport to your hotel

If you haven’t rented a car in Mazatlan (click here to compare prices!), here are the various options for reaching your hotel:

1. Airport cab

Opting for an official airport taxi is a straightforward choice. Prices start at 480 pesos for destinations like Zona Dorada or the Historical Center, with rates increasing for farther locations.

Just head to the main hall, where you’ll find a designated area for taxis.

Unlike some other airports, there’s no need to pick between different taxi companies; you simply pay at the counter, receive a receipt, then join the taxi queue outside and hand over your receipt to the driver.

mazatlan aeroport taxi
Mazatlan airport cab counter
prix taxi aeroport mazatlan
Mazatlan airport cab fares

2. Shared cab (colectivo)

The second option is to hop on a shared cab, known as a “colectivo.”

This option costs 160 pesos per person, but you’ll need to wait for it to fill up. Additionally, payment is required in advance, as these vans are stationed in the same area as the regular cabs.

navette partagée aeroport mazatlan
Private cabs and shared shuttles (colectivos) line up at Mazatlan airport, waiting for passengers

3. Book a private shuttle✅

For those seeking maximum comfort and convenience without the hassle of arranging transportation to or from Mazatlan airport, booking a private shuttle is the ideal choice.

With this option, you can select the service that best fits your needs, whether it’s for a one-way trip, round-trip, or return journey:

Transfert aeroport Mazatlan
Mazatlan airport transfer

4. Uber⚠️

Navigating transportation, especially to and from the airport, in Mazatlán can be a bit tricky.

First off, you can’t rely on app-based ride services like Uber or Didi to pick you up at the airport.

Technically, they’re not supposed to drop you off there either, but many still do it out of convenience (including myself), rather than calling a regular taxi.

But here’s the thing: using these apps for airport rides can be a gamble.

I learned this the hard way when I had five consecutive cancellations from drivers, leaving me sweating about missing my flight home.

Finally, when a driver did show up, he told me the fare shown on the app was way too low for the trip. With time ticking away, I had no choice but to agree to his higher rate (I think it was around 350 or 400 pesos from Plazuela Machado), cancel the trip on the app, and pay him in cash.

Thankfully, I always stash some cash for emergencies like this!

If you’re still set on using Uber, my advice is to book your ride through the app at least a day ahead to increase your chances of snagging a reliable driver. But be prepared for the possibility of fare surprises.

uber mazatlan mexique
Uber in Mazatlan

Getting to Mazatlan by bus

Reaching Mazatlan by bus is a popular option, thanks to its wide network of connections with cities across Mexico, like Puerto Vallarta (9 h), Mexico City (15 h), Guadalajara (6 h 30), Tepic (5 h), Chihuahua (14h ), Durango (5 h), and Tijuana (22 h), among many others.

You’ll arrive at the Central de Autobuses (click here to see on map), the main bus terminal, which is conveniently located near the Mazatlan Aquarium.

For a comfortable and reliable journey, consider bus companies like Primera Plus, Estrella Blanca, TAP, and Futura. Check their websites for schedules and to buy tickets, ensuring a smooth trip to Mazatlan.

bus pour mazatlan
Primera Plus is an excellent choice for bus travel to Mazatlan

Getting to Mazatlan by ferry

If you’re thinking about traveling from La Paz (Baja California Sur) to Mazatlan, taking the ferry could be a convenient option.

Although it’s a bit pricey and takes approximately 12 hours, it provides a unique opportunity to admire stunning views and perhaps catch sight of sea turtles and dolphins along the way.

This mode of transport is especially useful for those who want to bring their vehicle along.

Baja Ferries (operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 7 pm) is a popular choice among travelers, while TMC (available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 5 pm) primarily focuses on cargo transport.

However, both companies offer services for passengers and vehicles alike.

  • In addition to the standard ticket, there are various cabin options available for an additional fee. Children under 3 years old can travel for free, but it’s essential to make a reservation for their ticket.
  • The TMC Ferry ticket includes breakfast and dinner, whereas the Baja Ferries ticket comes with a dessert and soft drink.
  • It’s important to arrive at the port at least 3 hours before departure.
My advice
For a seamless journey to your hotel from the port, consider booking a private transfer.

You can opt for a transfer from the port to your hotel, from your hotel to the port, or a round-trip transfer for hassle-free travel.

Book it here:

baja ferry mazatlan
Mazatlan Ferry

Rent a car in Mazatlan

Renting a car is for sure the best way to explore Mazatlan and make the most of your stay!

To rent a car, personally, I always use Cars, for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare the rental cars prices between all the agencies: for sure the easiest way to find the best rate!
  • Cancellation is often offered free of charge: no need to worry if you change your mind
  • Booking Cars offers full insurance coverage at a lower price than the rental companies, so it’s an instant saving with no effort

Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

My advice
 If your hotel doesn’t offer parking, you can park for free on the streets in Mazatlan. However, finding space can be challenging, especially on weekends or during the high season.

Just make sure to avoid parking on the yellow lines to avoid hefty fines!

For longer stays, it’s advisable to opt for paid parking, which is secure and monitored. Parking rates typically range around 30 pesos per hour or 100 pesos per day.

location de voiture mazatlan
Car rental in Mazatlan

Getting around Mazatlan

Mazatlan is a sizable city, but getting around is relatively easy even if you haven’t rented a car. Here are some convenient options:

1. Rent a bike

If you prefer not to walk long distances but still want to enjoy the outdoors, renting a bike in Mazatlan is a fantastic choice.

Baikas is a reliable option with branches strategically located in the center at Olas Altas and in the Zona Dorada (click to locate on the map).

Rental prices are reasonable, ranging from 70 pesos per hour to 300 pesos per day, including a helmet and chain with a padlock. Baby seats are available.

location velo mazatlan
Bike rental in Mazatlan

2. Pulmonia

Pulmonias are distinctive white vehicles resembling golf carts that can comfortably accommodate 4 to 6 people.

They’re everywhere along the malecon and can be used as taxis or for guided tours around Mazatlan. Prices vary depending on factors like distance, duration, and negotiation skills.

pulmonia taxi mazatlan
Pulmonia in Mazatlan

3. Auriga

Aurigas are those bright red vans with benches at the back, capable of carrying up to 10 people. They’re also handy for moving larger items, like furniture.

At first sight, they reminded me of the colectivos you find in Puerto Escondido (Oaxaca), but they’re more modern.

Towards the end of my Mazatlan trip, I joined a food tour and, pleasantly surprised, our guide had arranged for an auriga to help us get around.

While it may not be the roomiest, especially if you’ve got long legs 😁, the ride was comfortable and shielded us from the sun with its roof.

Though not the fanciest option, traveling by auriga is definitely an experience worth having!

auriga mazatlan
Auriga in Mazatlan
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The rear of the Auriga, Mazatlan

4. Buses

Buses are an economical way to travel around Mazatlan, with the Sábalo-Centro (green) bus being particularly convenient.

This route passes through many attractions between Paseo del Centenario and Punta Cerritos, including the Zona Dorada, the Malecon, the city center, and the beaches. And it stops just a 5-minute walk from the lighthouse!

With fares priced at 12 pesos per ticket and frequent service, buses are a popular choice for locals and visitors alike.

  • Runs every 10-15 min
  • Air conditioning on board
autobus mazatlan
bus mazatlan

When to visit Mazatlan?

Late November to May: This period offers the best weather in Mazatlan, with minimal rainfall and plenty of sunshine. Temperatures range between 70°F and 80°F, making it perfect for beach strolls and outdoor activities.

February: Mazatlan Carnival, the city’s largest celebration, takes place during this month. It’s a vibrant event filled with music, parades, and dancing, attracting visitors from all over.

If you enjoy festivities, February is the ideal time to visit, but remember to book accommodations in advance as the city gets crowded!

June to early November: It’s advisable to avoid this period due to the rainy season and the possibility of storms and hurricanes. While Mazatlan is generally less affected than the Baja California Peninsula, it’s still best to plan your visit outside of these months to avoid any weather-related disruptions.

My experience
 Personally, I visited Mazatlan in early February, just before the Carnival festivities.

The weather was fantastic, with plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures, perfect for leisurely walks and enjoying the cool breeze from the ocean.

I found that there were fewer tourists around during this time, which I appreciated.

However, as a solo traveler, I encountered some challenges in booking tours due to fewer participants. Nonetheless, I was able to enjoy numerous activities in Mazatlan by reaching out to multiple agencies. 

What to bring to Mazatlan

Here are some essential items to pack for your trip to Mazatlan:

  • Sunscreen to protect against sunburn
  • Light, comfortable clothing suitable for warm weather
  • A sweater or jacket for cooler evenings, especially in winter
  • Two swimsuits to enjoy the beaches and water activities
  • A small backpack for excursions or sightseeing
  • Sandals for the beach and comfortable shoes for exploring the city
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Waterproof bags to keep belongings dry and protected from moisture and sand
Book your trip now and save money!

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visit Mazatlan mexico
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I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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