Tourism development in Mazatlan, Mexico, is exploding. Although historically not as fancy as Puerto Vallarta to the south or Los Cabos to the west, it's getting there and is now one of Mexico's fastest-growing Pacific coast resort areas.

A middle-sized city that used to depend on its shrimp fleet and a few other industries for its livelihood, Mazatlan has sprung to life with aspirations of becoming a major beach resort as renowned as Los Cabos or Cancun. Its long-stagnant marina development has received injections of new capital, and the state of Sinaloa has renovated a now sparkling malecon (seaside promenade) that stretches more than 8 mi/13 km from Olas Altas north to the edge of the Zona Dorada (Golden Zone). There is also major construction ongoing between the marina and the continually expanding northern edge of the city.

Because tourism isn't its only business, Mazatlan accepts its visitors gracefully. Unlike some resort towns that become completely consumed (and jaded) by the travel trade, Mazatlan maintains its Mexican character and offers vacationers the things they go for—relaxation and entertainment in a pleasant seaside setting. In a single visit, travelers can experience comfortable resorts, as well as the sights and smells of a traditional Mexican city. It's as simple as moving from one part of town (Zona Dorada—the tourist area) to another (Old Mazatlan). Because Mazatlan is as popular with Mexicans as with foreigners, prices are more reasonable there than in the purpose-built tourist zones such as Los Cabos and Cancun.

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