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Mazatlan is one of Mexico’s oldest tourist resorts and home to one of the world’s three major carnivals, comparable only to those in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro. The city also hosts a number of major international sporting events, including marathons and triathlons.

Mazatlan’s beaches are perfect for water sports. A variety of facilities offer jet skiing, windsurfing, parachuting, sailing, sport fishing and almost any other kind of beach activity imaginable. The best beaches in Mazatlan are those located between Zona Dorada and the three islands which can be visited. Sabalo Beach is ideal for all types of aquatic sports, while Cerritos Beach, next to Sabalo Beach, is perfect for sunbathing. Camping near the beach is another popular activity. Travelers can head to La Posta Trailer Park located on Rafael Buelna Avenue for a quiet night near the ocean.

The Plazuela Machado (Machado Square) is the heart of Mazatlan. On the north side of the plaza is a strip of delightful restaurants, many serving up the seafood the city is famous for. One of the most famous is Pedro & Lola's, named after two famous musicians from Mazatlan, Pedro Infante Cruz and Lola Beltran. On the south side of the plaza is the newly-restored Angela Peralta Theater, a beautiful, neoclassic-style building erected in the 19th century and named after the beloved 19th-century opera diva who died after her only performance in Mazatlan, struck down by yellow fever. Today, the impressive building hosts Sinaloa State´s cultural festivals.

Mazatlan also offers several places for shopping, including Galeria Nidart, which carries both modern art and handicrafts; the Mazatlan Arts and Handicrafts Center; and Sea Shell City, a place that specializes in the exhibition and sale of seashells and other materials from the sea.

Day trips to the colonial mining towns of Concordia and Copala offer a glimpse back in time to the era when gold and silver were found in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Nature-lovers also take pleasure in climbing the hills of El Faro and El Cerro de la Neveria.