It depends upon what you'd like to see/do. When we were in Mazatlan, we took an excursion as we wanted to see the colonial villages in the Sierra Madres. It was our first time in Mazatlan, and we had traveled a distance to get there. When we return to a port we've been to numerous times, we often won't do an excursion -- in fact, there have even been times we stayed on the ship. So, it's completely up to you to do as you wish.
Actually, if you have enough time in Mazatlan, you can do both!
If you just want beach there's no need for an excursion. Get one of the little open-air taxis at the pier and tell him you want to go to the Golden Zone. It was $10 last year and you have everything--great hotels that will let you use their facilities for a modest price--great restaurants--great shopping; both trinkets and good quality botiques as well.
We paid $45 per person last March (it may have gone up by now) for an independent tour through Randi's Horses. We made our reservations on the Internet. No Credit Card required to make the reservation and she only takes CASH.
$45 gave us transportation from the ship and back. A 1 hour (+ a little) horseback ride on the beach. Yes you can gallop as long as you don't lather the horses. It is not a nose to tail trail ride.
One free soda (or beer) at Victor's where you can purchase a lunch on the beach if you wish. (not required)
Randi is an American from San Francisco and has a great following. She is a hoot!! We had a great time. It was just enough for us.
Diana - I received a good suggestion from Andrealovescruising...you can go to the El Cid Resort and use their facilities, ie pool, beach, etc. for no charge. I believe she said you can rent a locker and stuff like that.
Andrea if you are out there...can you recap what you told me. I think that is what we are planning on doing.
She also said that Mazatlan is the best to pick up your silver and stuff. I will see if I can locate the last post she had sent me all the info.
Google El Cid Resort and you will love all it has to offer. It looks really fun.
Carnival Pride - September 30, 2007
When you get off the ship you take a 2 block ride on a little tram to the entrance of the port. (safety around the port) There you are bombarded by time share people, wade through them through the stores to the patio outside and there numberous tour people that want you to take their ride. We chose this fella who spoke english very well and when he filled his fan with 6 people we were off. He gave us the guided tour through town telling us all the highlights. He parked by the cathedral and waited for us for whatever time all of us wanted. We agreed on 30 minutes which gave us enough time to see the cathedral, which was beautiful, and then hit old town open air market. Back in the van he drove us to the Golden Zone again telling us all the highlights. He told us some good restraunts he eats at, which we chose the LaFlores resort. It was right in the heart of where he dropped us off and the mexican meal was outstanding. We used the beach while there (although I don't care for the waters on the West Coast so didn't go in. I'm spoiled to the carribean water) He waited for us for 2 hours this time, which was plenty of time to see, shop, and do all we wanted. On the way back he took us to the cliff divers, and on a hill overlooking the ships and stopped so we could take pictures. It was a very enjoyable day for $40.00 per person.
1998 Holiday CATALINA-MEXICO
2000 Viking Serenade CATALINA- MEXICO
2002 Fantasy BAHAMAS
2004 Esctasy CATALINA-MEXIC0
2005 NCL SAN FRANCISCO
2006 Paradise CATALINA-MEXICO
2007 Pride MEXICAN RIVIERA
2008 Paradise CATALINA-MEXICO
2008 Destiny SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN
2009 Liberty EASTERN CARIBBEAN
2010 Paradise CATALINA-MEXICO
2011 Paradise CATALINA-MEXICO
2012 Crown Princess EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN
Hi Michele. I'm here. Mazatlan is a poor port. The locals will barter on goods with you. The Mercado at the pier is reasonable on souveniors here. Especially silver pieces. Make sure it is stamped SS .925 and you'll know it will not tarnish. I believe it was baby doll who said to wade through the vendors selling you "tours of the island"! That tour is a time-share speech that lasts for hours. Don't fall into that trap unless you want to buy property in Mexico. Be firm with them and make your way to where the open air taxis are located. If you are hailed a regular taxi and you would like an open air (like we did) tell the man hailing the cabs and he'll make sure you get one. They're a blast. The El Cid Resort costs $10 each direction. There is a lovely pool, by which you're actually encouraged to sit at. Wait staff at the pool and the beach. Lockers for rent for a nominal fee. If you stay within the El Cid's ropes on the beach you will not be hounded by vendors. If you choose to venture out of the El Cid boundaries beach-wise, be prepared for bombardment of vendors selling you Corona Towels, silver (best prices here), mexican clothes, hats, t-shirts, kites, homemade necklaces, anklets, bracelets, henna tattoos, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. Literally, every 15 seconds someone will approach you. Some will come with their children and their children will cry unless you buy. Barter, Barter, Barter. Walk away from a deal if you don't think the price is fair. They will come back to you. Remember, Mazatlan, unlike Cabo, is poor and they need the American dollar. The beach and the water at the El Cid is beyond gorgeous. Waves are big. Water is very clean and warm. Hope this helps.