Mazatlan’s tourist zone is quite spread out, so it is likely that you will need some form of transportation. Taxis are plentiful, although I have been told that they are somewhat more expensive in Mazatlan than in some of the other major resort areas. When we were in Mazatlan the Taxis were not metered. This is probably still true, so be sure to agree on a price before entering the car. Most hotels in the area posted the average rate for a taxi so that you knew what you could expect to pay. Or you can hop aboard a “pulmonia”, which is a funny little open-air vehicle with a fringe on top. Pulmonia are a trademark of Mazatlan, and although in an accident you would be at the loosing end of the crash, they are heavily used. Pulmonias are generally 1/2 - 1/3 less expensive than the taxies. Like the taxis be sure to settle on your price before entering the Pulmonia. There is also a public bus service, or you can rent cars, mopeds, and bicycles. And of course, there is always the opportunity to arrange a boat trip to get out on the Ocean.
We used pulmonias almost exclusively when we were in Mazatlan... It was cheap and fun.. Nothing like the cool air on your face... We had on trip to the lighthouse and and back.. our driver took us up icebox hill..WOW!!!!! the view was spectacular!!! we took lots of pix and had lots of fun.. we tipped him generously and made a day of it!!!! Fantastic!!!!
Pulmonias were the most convienient way to get around and were pretty cheap... We would negotiate the price before getting in...It was fun to feel the warm air on your face... It may prove more diffficult with large groups.. But it is great otherwise..
Taxis are a fast an inexpensive way to get around Mazatlan. They can be hailed just about anywhere. Since there are no meters in the cabs be sure to agree on a price prior to getting in. If the driver won't reduce his price, simply wait for another cab. One will usually pass within 10 seconds. There are 3 different types that cruise the streets:
Knowing how to negotiate in Spanish can help you get a better price since most think a tourist don't know any better and will charge a higher price. Trips from the Zona Dorada to El Centro should cost around 30 pesos, and trips within the Zona Dorada will usually run about 20 pesos.
Looking like souped-up golf carts, pulmonias can be bit more expensive than the Eco-taxis, but they're a lot more common and give an entertaining ride. Mine happened to have a speaker box with 2 6X9s and 2 12' sub-woofers crammed beneath the dash. The driver was bumpin' Shaggy all the way into town. Needless to say, we got lots of looks especially at spot lights. Pulmonia can carry 3-5 passengers.
Eco-taxis look like normal cabs and are better suited for getting to the airport, or driving at night. For some unknown reason, these are usually cheaper than pulmonias.
If you're travelling in large groups, this is the only way to get around the city. Affectionately referred to as 'cattle carts', camions are red pickup trucks with a tarp roof and two rows of benches in the back. These vehicles can carry up to 8 people and will usually charge as much as a eco-taxi.
The most common and traditional public transport in Mazatlán is the pulmonia (they are so popular that you will even find a monument for them in the levee), this taxis seems like golf cars, but they have a motor. As popular as they are you will only find them in this city, some years ago they tried to introduce them in other places in the Sinaloa state, but they weren`t successfull.
The name was given by the drivers of the regular taxis, as the new transportation was leaving them without customers they tried to convince people that, as the pulmonias are air-opened, if you travel in them you would get a pneumonia (pulmonia in spanish) and very soon the name of the disease was used everywhere to name this transport. I really enjoyed traveling on them.
Collective's are meant for large groups of people, they may carry up to eight people, or nine if the driver allows someone to sit in the front with him. They are not very comfortable but they will come in handy if you are traveling with friends or family.
Despite the pulmonia's success you will find some regular taxis, i never used one so i can't really tell you anything about them, I heard they where cheaper but the only time i tried to board one it would charge me the same as the pulmonia. The price depends on the driver so iIsuppose you may find some of them which is actually cheaper.
None of the three transportations has a taximeter, so you will have to agree on the price with the driver before boarding. A trip between my hotel and the golden zone was usually around fifty pesos. As we divided the cost between all the persons traveling on a vehicle we found the collective's to be cheaper.
This is a do-it your-own-way to discover Mazatlan. There isnt a fixed itinerary, it is not a tour. A pulmonia is a taxi that looks like a souped-up golf cart. Hundreds of these roam the streets. They are very popular among locals. They will pick you up at your hotel at your convenience. Tell the driver what are you interested in seeing or simple tell him to drive you around and get familiar with Mazatlan. You can have a Pacifico or Corona beer if you want. Enjoy the sea breeze and be careful with your hats, they can blow away ! You are going to be dropped off at your hotel or at the place of your convenience. Relax, there are no schedules here ! Do you feel like having a snack or seafood? Want to know where the locals go to eat? Ask the driver, he´ll take you to the non touristy spots.
By the way, the name Pulmonía (pneumonia) comes from the idea of old residents that riding an open air car can give you a cold !!
I would say closer to $15 to include tip. Zona Dorada, depending on where exactly you are staying, is a good maybe 25 minutes. Once you are there you can walk as much as you can or higher the golf cart taxis to run you to the different parts of the city for about $5 each way.
When I was there in December of 2007, pulmonias cost from 30-80 pesos a ride, depending on where you wanted to go. Always negotiate your price with the pulmonia driver, and if he won't come to a price you like ,you can just walk away. There will be another one along in a minute, guaranteed. The biggest thing is to make sure you both come to a reasonable agreement before you hop on. I saw a pulmonia driver try to charge a couple fresh from a cruise ship almost two hundred American dollars for a five minute ride that should have cost them fifty pesos.
But don't let that discourage you. I highly advise taking a pulmonia . They're uber fun and if you talk to your driver, you can get interesting information about the area. Tip him if he does an excellent job, like unload luggage or drive without taking out an innocent pedestrian. (Just kidding about that last one.)
Have fun on your trip!
Pulmonias are the "wild ride in the wind" taxis of Mazatlan. You can find one on any corner, sidewalk, or street while in the Zona Dorado (Golden Zone). They can sit three in the back (squeeze) and one up front with the driver. Open air, golf cart style vehicle that gives you a thrill a minute if the traffic is heavy. You can hail one down and barter the price down after the driver gives you a quote before getting in, if you feel it is too high. But remember that this is an experience , so treat the driver right. If the price is too low he may not go. Tip big, if a great ride and feel good knowing you helped out the economy in Mexico. Make sure you ask if the price is in pesos or dollars. Big difference. I find them to be cheaper than car taxis and a lot more fun. Cruise ship arrivals will find them lined up outside the dock area. If you are arriving at the airport, they no longer can pick up inside the grounds.
Taxis run along the streets of Mazatlan constantly, so if you don't think your getting a fair price haggle with them, if they still won't give you a fair price tell them to be on their way and stop another one. You shouldn't have to pay more than $3 to go anywhere in the hotel zone. They also tend to give you a better rate if you speak Spanish. So, if nothing els learn how to say "How much to.... " in Spanish.
Pulmonias are a great way to get around town, and the drivers are usually fairly open to negotiating the price...don't pay the price they originally give you, always negotiate!
You definitely must check out these funny Pulmonias and take ride through the city. If you need to go anywhere you can easily catch a bus as well