We are booked in Mazatlan already, in the Hotel Tramonto Mazatlan arriving Sat. Apr 6 afternoon and departing the following Saturday Apr 13 which will hopefully bracket the bulk of the mob a bit. We were actually in Mazatlan mid-February on a pre-Eclipse scouting vacation (it was -40C at home!!) and were quite taken with the Avenida Playa Gaviotas area which is near the N end of the Malecon (boardwalk). We were there during Carnival where apparently the .5M population of Maz swells to 3M and were pleased that there wasn't any congestion at all except at parades, fireworks etc. so Maz appears to be able to handle large influxes well. Gaviotas is a really nice area with lots of shops, restaurants, and bars with live music for a few cervasas to cool down (Lucky B's is a favorite!)
For those who might be looking to book in Mazatlan there are three areas. The Golden Zone in the middle are where all the hotels are, generally on the beach although there are some inland as well. The Mercado boardwalk extends just to the South of Avenida Playa Gaviotas all the way down to Centro and Playas Del Sur. For accommodations the Marina is pretty far out and will require transportation to get anywhere you might want to go in Mazatlan, as is the northern parts of the Golden Zone so I suggest anyone looking for accommodations close to the Gaviotas area or off the Mercado. Centro is probably going to be a bit noisy as there is a motorcycle festival going on at the same time, I understand. So probably a hotel right on the Malecon might be a bit noisy as well.
Zooming in a bit on Gaviotas you can see it's off the main drag (Av Camaron Sabalo) which turns into Av Del Mar which the Malecon runs along. The side streets are full of neat stores, restaurants and bars that cater to the gringo crowd. The Malecon is a quick walk down to Valentino's at the bottom of the image. Lots of transportation comes down Gaviotas or you can pop up to Sabalo and catch a frequent bus. Hotels on the ocean side are obviously preferred and have beach access.
We stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton the first time round which is at the N end of the Golden Zone where all the big hotels are - it was a grind to walk down to the Malecon a lot so we ended up taking the ubiquitous Pulmonias a lot (150pesos a trip) but it's easy to get around with Uber (quite cheap) and even buses (13pesos). The Doubletree was wonderful and had a great deck area for observing the eclipse but noisy at night - there are two clubs on the block that pounded out music all night. Perhaps because it was Carnival but I suspect they're going all the time.
People may have some concerns about safety in Mazatlan but there was not a moment we didn't feel completely safe in the area of the city near the Malecon / Beaches. The Policia presence is very heavy (federales in tactical gear with M16s riding around in the back of pickups down to rent-a-cops at individual venues). If you don't plan on travelling outside the tourist enclave you'll be as safe or more safe than at home. I definitely would not be chasing clear skies by heading out into the countryside however!!
If you're interested in any more info on Maz from the ground there's a Facebook group I found very helpful: https://www.facebook.../MazatlanExpats
I'm also happy to share my experiences, we've only been back a couple of weeks and I can't wait to go back!
Edited by gordtulloch, 24 March 2023 - 09:50 AM.