The Zona Dorada—the start of which is marked by a kitschy white castle that houses a dining and dancing complex—has blocks of high-rise hotels, shops (including car-rental offices and a few pharmacies), restaurants, and nightclubs, along with the city's best swimming beaches. The malecón connects this zone with the historic center to the south. The southern part of the city is where all of Mazatlán's charm lies, along with most of the museums and sights. There are some stunning viewpoints from the seaside promenade on this end, but there's virtually no beach access unless you want to do as the locals do and pick your way over rocks to catch the sunset from one of the jetties.
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Playa Olas Altas
Playa Olas Altas
In this small cove, named for its high waves and edged by rocky hills, you can forget that the rest of Mazatlán exists. A couple of hotels—La Siesta, Belmar, Casa Lucila, and Posada Freeman—and several cafés line the waterfront. At the north end, a saltwater swimming pool is filled and drained by the tides. Excluding the one plaza where vendors hawk tacky souvenirs to tourists, this stretch is a favorite spot of locals.
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