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Comparison Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan – Which is the Better Vacation?

Comparison Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan – Both in Pacific Coast, Puerto Vallarta is more modern, while Mazatlan is more laidback and budget-friendly.

Puerto Vallarta is located on the Pacific coast and is known for its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and rich cultural scene. The city also has a charming old town with cobblestone streets and traditional Mexican architecture. There are also many outdoor activities like fishing, sailing, and hiking in the surrounding area.

Mazatlan, on the other hand, is located on the Pacific coast and is known for its historic downtown, long beaches, and water sports. It is also known as the “Pearl of the Pacific” and is a popular destination for retirees and ex-pats. The city also has a lively cultural scene, with a number of museums, galleries, and theaters.

Both cities have a good variety of hotels and resorts, but Mazatlan tends to be less expensive than Puerto Vallarta. Either way, you can’t go wrong so we’ll compare them both in this article.

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Getting a Sim Card for Travel – Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan

We don’t recommend buying a sim card at Puerto Vallarta Airport or Mazatlan Airport. Getting your travel sim cards from airports, though deemed convenient, can get pretty expensive. For convenience, you can buy an eSim online or if you aren’t in a hurry, just go around phone shops in the city and compare prices to buy the cheapest sim card in Puerto Vallarta or in Mazatlan.

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Booking Your Travel Insurance – Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan

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Comparing Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan

Mazatlan Beaches - Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan, Mazatlan vs Puerto Vallarta
Mazatlan Beaches – Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan

Climate – Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan

Both cities have a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and high humidity year-round. However, Puerto Vallarta tends to be slightly cooler than Mazatlan, with average temperatures in the low 80s Fahrenheit (around 27-29 degrees Celsius) during the day and low 70s (around 22-24 degrees Celsius) at night. Mazatlan, on the other hand, tends to be hotter, with average temperatures in the high 80s (around 31-32 degrees Celsius) during the day and low 80s (around 28-29 degrees Celsius) at night.

Beaches

Both cities have beautiful beaches, but they are quite different in terms of character. Puerto Vallarta is known for its long stretches of golden sand, clear blue waters and lively beach scene with many water activities like jet-skiing and parasailing. Mazatlan, on the other hand, is known for its wide and long beaches, with a more laid-back atmosphere. The beaches of Mazatlan are also great for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Nightlife

Both cities have a lively nightlife scene, but they are different in terms of atmosphere. Puerto Vallarta has a more upscale and sophisticated nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from. Mazatlan, on the other hand, has a more laid-back and casual nightlife scene, with a mix of bars, clubs, and street parties.

Food

Both cities have a wide range of dining options, from street vendors to high-end restaurants. Puerto Vallarta is known for its seafood and traditional Mexican dishes, as well as its international cuisine. Mazatlan, on the other hand, is known for its seafood, and traditional Mexican dishes, and its “Pescado Zarandeado” (grilled fish) is famous.

Attractions

Both cities have a variety of things to see and do, but they are different in terms of focus. Puerto Vallarta is known for its natural beauty, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and sailing. Mazatlan, on the other hand, is known for its historic downtown, museums, and cultural scene.

Cost

Mazatlan is generally considered to be less expensive than Puerto Vallarta, with lower prices for accommodation, food, and activities.

In summary, both cities are great destinations with a lot to offer, but they have different characters. Puerto Vallarta is a more upscale and sophisticated destination, with lively nightlife and natural beauty, while Mazatlan is a more laid-back and casual destination, with a focus on history and culture.

Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan – Beaches in Mazatlan

Mazatlan Beach - Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan, Mazatlan vs Puerto Vallarta
Mazatlan, Mexico – Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan

Mazatlan is known for its beautiful beaches, which are some of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Some of the most notable beaches in Mazatlan include:

Playa Norte

Also known as North Beach, this is one of the most popular beaches in Mazatlan. It is known for its wide, sandy beach and calm waters, making it perfect for swimming and sunbathing. It is also a great spot for water sports like jet skiing and parasailing.

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
El Cid Marina Beach Hotel
El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel
Hotel Playa Mazatlan

Playa Olas Altas

Also known as High Waves Beach, this is a great spot for surfers and bodyboarders, as the waves can get quite big. It is also a popular spot for beach volleyball and other beach games.

Hotel Playa Mazatlan
Hotel Riu Emerald Bay
The Inn at Mazatlan
Hotel Villas El Rancho

Playa Bruja

Also known as Witch’s Beach, this is a quieter and more secluded spot, perfect for those looking for a more peaceful beach experience. It is known for its clear blue waters and beautiful sunsets.

Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa
Hotel Riu Emerald Bay
The Inn at Mazatlan
Hotel Villas El Rancho

Playa Gaviotas

Also known as Seagull’s Beach, this is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing. It is also a popular spot for snorkeling and diving, as the waters are clear and teem with marine life.

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
El Cid Marina Beach Hotel
El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel
Hotel Playa Mazatlan

Playa Cerritos

Also known as Little Hills Beach, this is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing, with beautiful views of the nearby Cerritos Hills.

Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa
Hotel Riu Emerald Bay
The Inn at Mazatlan
Hotel Villas El Rancho

Most of the beaches in Mazatlan are public beaches and free to access, but some of the more exclusive beaches, located inside some of the beach clubs or hotels, may require a fee or a membership to access them.

Private Beaches – Mazatlan

Playa El Cid

This is a private beach located at the El Cid Marina Beach Hotel, which is known for its crystal-clear waters and beautiful white sand. Guests at the hotel have access to the beach and can enjoy water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

Playa Pueblo Bonito

This is a private beach located at the Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, which is known for its wide expanse of white sandy beaches and clear blue waters. Guests at the resort can enjoy a variety of water sports, including snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Playa Villa del Palmar

This is a private beach located at the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa, which is known for its wide expanse of white sandy beaches and clear blue waters. Guests at the resort can enjoy a variety of water sports and beach activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and beach volleyball.

Playa Riu

This is a private beach located at the Hotel Riu Emerald Bay, which is known for its wide expanse of white sandy beaches and clear blue waters. Guests at the hotel have access to the beach and can enjoy a variety of water sports, including snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Playa El Rancho

This is a private beach located at the Hotel Villas El Rancho, which is known for its wide expanse of white sandy beaches and clear blue waters. Guests at the hotel have access to the beach and can enjoy a variety of water sports, including snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Other Top Things to do in Mazatlan – Mazatlan vs Puerto Vallarta

Visit the Old Town (Zona Historica)

Mazatlan Town - Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan
Mazatlan Town – Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan

The Old Town of Mazatlan is a charming area filled with colorful colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and historic landmarks. Visitors can take a stroll through the streets and admire the architecture, stop by the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, or visit the Machado Square to see the famous Angela Peralta Theater.

Go fishing

Mazatlan is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. Visitors can book a fishing charter and try their hand at catching marlin, sailfish, and other game fish in the Pacific Ocean.

Visit the Mazatlan Archaeological Museum

The Mazatlan Archaeological Museum is home to a collection of artifacts from the ancient cultures that inhabited the region. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of the area through displays of pottery, sculptures, and other artifacts.

Take a boat tour

Puerto Mazatlan - Mazatlan vs Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Mazatlan

Visitors can take a boat tour to explore the surrounding area, including the islands and estuaries of the coastal region. The tour typically includes stops at various beaches, snorkeling, and fishing.

Visit the Tequila Distillery

Take a tour of the Tequila Distillery and learn about the process of making tequila, taste different varieties and take a bottle home as a souvenir.

Go shopping

Quiosco en la Plazuela Machado in Mazatlan, Sinaloa - Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan

Visitors can find a wide variety of souvenirs and local crafts at the markets and shops in Mazatlan. The artisan’s market is a great place to find handmade crafts such as pottery, textiles, and jewelry.

Puerto Vallarta Beaches and Hotels – Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan

Puerto Vallarta is known for its beautiful beaches, here is a list of some of the most popular beaches in Puerto Vallarta and the nearby hotels where you can stay:

Playa Los Muertos

Also known as Dead Man’s Beach, this is one of the most popular beaches in Puerto Vallarta. It is known for its vibrant nightlife, great restaurants, and beautiful sunsets. Nearby hotels include:

Casa Velas Hotel Boutique
The Westin Resort & Spa
Hotel Mercurio
Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway

Playa Conchas Chinas – Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan

This is a quieter beach that is known for its crystal-clear waters and beautiful scenery. Nearby hotels include:

Casa Velas Hotel Boutique
The Westin Resort & Spa
Hotel Mercurio
Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway

Playa Camarones – Mazatlan vs Puerto Vallarta

This beach is known for its great surf and bodyboarding. Nearby hotels include:

Casa Velas Hotel Boutique
The Westin Resort & Spa
Hotel Mercurio
Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway

Playa Mismaloya

This is a beautiful beach that is located about 15 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. It is known for its crystal-clear waters, lush tropical vegetation and it was the filming location of the movie “Night of the Iguana” by Richard Burton. Nearby hotels include:

Casa Velas Hotel Boutique
The Westin Resort & Spa
Hotel Mercurio
Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway

Playa Las Animas

This is a secluded beach that is located about 45 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. It is known for its crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches. Nearby hotels include:

Casa Velas Hotel Boutique
The Westin Resort & Spa
Hotel Mercurio
Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway

Nightlife in Puerto Vallarta – Mazatlan vs Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is known for its vibrant nightlife scene, with a wide variety of options for visitors to choose from. Here are some of the top places to experience the nightlife in Puerto Vallarta:

The Malecon

The Malecon is a seaside promenade that runs along the coast of Puerto Vallarta and is home to a number of bars and nightclubs. Visitors can enjoy a variety of live music and dance the night away. Some popular places to check out include La Bodeguita del Medio, La Vaquita, and Mandala.

Old Town

Old Town, also known as El Centro, is home to a number of bars and nightclubs. Visitors can enjoy a variety of live music, traditional Mexican music and dance. Some popular places to check out include Bar La Playa, El Arrayán, and La Piazzetta.

Zona Romantica

This neighborhood is known for its romantic ambiance and is home to a number of bars, nightclubs, and lounges. Visitors can enjoy a variety of live music, traditional Mexican music and dance. Some popular places to check out include Bar La Playa, El Arrayán, and La Piazzetta.

Marina Vallarta

This neighborhood is home to a number of bars, nightclubs, and lounges. Visitors can enjoy a variety of live music, traditional Mexican music, and dance. Some popular places to check out include The Palm Cabaret & Bar, Andale, and The Red Room.

Final Thoughts – Mazatlan vs Puerto Vallarta

Comparing Mazatlan vs Puerto Vallarta, we pick Puerto Vallarta. While Mazatlan is popular for having long beautiful beaches, a quiet and laidback atmosphere, a cultural town and much cheaper travel, Puerto Vallarta has its festival, beaches, traditional Mexican vibe and lively nightlife. Either way, you’ll have fun. Let us know which one you ended up picking and til our next travel guide!

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