You can always find taxis (inexpensive and plentiful), or be a little adventurous and hop a pulmonia. These 3 to 5 person, open-air taxis are a cross between a carriage and golf cart (literally meaning 'pneumonia'). Each vehicle carries its own unique name, which might give you a clue as to the driver's roadside manners. The drivers are all most always very friendly and willing to give you the scoop on the places to go and things to see!
the only way out of the airport is one of the many airport to town only cabs. If you are staying at the LaSiesta, great place, it will cost you$25 US from airport. Wait to change dollars to pesos until you are in town, or have 300md for cab with you, save 5% in town never use a pulmonia without having an agreed price! these guys are pros at price raising! The local taxis are airconditioned and cheaper! Buena Suerte
After taking a skiff from the island to the mainland, we had lunch and then had to make it back to the ship on time...or else we would have been stuck in the city. So we hailed a cab and enjoyed a thrilling ride through the city to the pier.
When you arrive at the airport you can take a van that fills up with people and makes a number of stops. I think it's about $7 U.S. per person. Or you can take a taxi for $26 U.S. to the central part of Mazatlan. We stayed at La Siesta. Not sure how much more it would be to go to the Gold Zone. Also beware, you'll be approached by smooth talking very fluent guys who offer you a free limo ride and will try and get you to sign up for a timeshare presentation. It's HUGE there! Be prepared to walk by and say NO NO NO unless you really want to sit through one of those things.
A great way to see the city as well as get to the islands is to take a cruise...as you can see, our boat was pretty wild.
all of the taxi's look like golf carts and seems scary, but it beets taking a bus. Do checks before you go somewhere how far it is, because alot of places are alot closed than you think.