The languid resort of MAZATLÁN is far less dominated by tourism than Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta, its direct rivals, though hotels still flank its 30km of enticing sandy beaches and activities such as horseriding and ziplines have enhanced its appeal in recent years. Yet Mazatlán’s greatest pull remains its old-fashioned seaside resort atmosphere and the museums, cafés and galleries of its resurgent centro histórico, where much of its nineteenth-century core has been sensitively restored in recent years. Most tourists stay in the Zona Dorada, the “Golden Zone” along the beach, and penetrate the centro histórico only on brief forays, but the latter has far more character. Mazatlán actually peaked in the 1980s, and today much of the seafront looks decidedly tired, despite the steady flow of visitors. Stories of muggings and drug violence have also taken their toll, with a consequent decline in overseas visitors, though in reality you’ll have little more to dodge than pelicans fishing in the surf, and joggers on the malecón.

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