Mazatlan Tourist Information
Upon your arrival at General Rafael Buelna International Airport, there are a few things that you should know and have ready to ensure that your stay is the dream vacation you want it to be.
To start, you will want to make sure that you have the right travel documents. If you are traveling from the United States or Canada, all you need is a valid passport, and you will be able to avoid some of the more time-consuming tourist visa processes and will be granted this document with a passport, alone. If you plan to spend the entire winter season in Mexico, you will find it useful to know that the majority of tourist visas in Mexico are valid for up to 180 days, which is typically enough for a season’s extended stay.
To make sure that you do have all of the right documents with you, you should still check with the Mexican consulate or embassy in your own home country to make sure that you have everything you require.
If you will be driving to Mazatlan, instead, then make sure that you have a valid passport, but be sure that you have the right documentation for your American or Canadian registered car. This must also include Mexican auto insurance, which can be obtained at the border. There are many different insurers offering this service, so it is best to do your comparison shopping ahead of time so that you know whose policy you’d like to purchase. To skip the lineups, you can also purchase Mexican auto insurance from many online sites, meaning that you will be able to continue on without making the purchase at the time.
If you are driving to Mazatlan in a car that is registered in the United States or Canada, you will also need a Banjercito, which is a Mexican automobile import permit. These are issued when you enter the country and will be driving south of Sonora State, which you will when you’re headed to Sinaloa State, in which Mazatlan is found.
Once you’ve actually entered the country, you will want to make sure that you are able to make purchases. If you are using an internationally recognized credit card, then the currency conversions will be done automatically for you, but for those purchases that need to be made in cash, you will need Mexican Pesos.
Over the last few years, the value of the Peso has ranged from 7 to 10 American cents. The best exchange rates can typically be found at banks, which are open at 9am on weekdays. Some have limited hours for making currency exchanges, so make sure to check them in advance, especially because many banks have long lines. A second option can be exchange houses, where the rates won’t be as good, but they will be better than what you will receive from your hotel, restaurant or shop, as they typically take a notable cut.
It’s a good idea to carry small bills instead of larger ones, regardless of what currency you’re using, to make sure that when you buy something from smaller shops or stands, as it is sometimes difficult for them to make change for larger denominations.
Make sure that you’re using the exchanges and shopping based on the right hours by adjusting your watch to the Mountain Time Zone. Keep in mind that Mazatlan does not observe daylight savings time. The majority of businesses are open throughout the year as Mazatlan doesn’t have a slow season, but some businesses outside of the Golden Zone (tourist area) still observe the mid-day Siesta break.
Both telephone and internet availability has improved dramatically in Mazatlan over the years. Direct dial calling is available for phone calls or faxes to anywhere in the world, either form hotels or a Larga Distancia shop. Cyber cafes are also available around town and some hotels are now providing internet services.