Mazatlán International Airport | MazatlanVisit.com

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Mazatlán International Airport

Mazatlán International Airport in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico

The Mazatlán International Airport is called the General Rafael Buelna International Airport.  It is a mid-size 2 terminal 2 story airport that does domestic, international, and charter flights.  It is located about a 20-30 minute drive south from the main tourist area in Mazatlán.  The airport handles about 1 million passengers per year.

The airport is not very big so you can get in and out fairly quickly.  This page will describe the process of arriving, going through immigration, collecting your luggage, going through customs, obtaining ground transportation, and even how to obtain ground transportation back to the airport.

UPDATE(April 2019): A new Mazatlán Bypass has officially opened.  It is connected to the airport and is basically a modern highway that goes through the city.  It eliminates the very dangerous left turn onto the highway when leaving the airport.  It should lower the travel time to places such as Emerald Bay and Cerritos.

Arriving at the Mazatlán International Airport

When your airplane arrives at the Mazatlán International Airport you may or may not be connected to a gate.  If your airplane doesn't connect to a gate they will roll stairs up to the airplane after you land for you to disembark upon.  The stairs are steep and this can be an issue for disabled people.  Sometimes, the airplanes have a rear exit ramp where the back of the plane can disembark.

Going Through Immigration at the Mazatlán International Airport

immigration form in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico

The first thing that you need to do after arriving at the Mazatlán International airport is to go through immigration.  This process is similar to going through immigration when entering Canada or the United States.  You will need to show your identification, i.e. passport, and present your immigration form and visa is you require one.

Most airlines will hand out the immigration forms to you on the airplane.  Fill it out when you are on the airplane to save time.

VERY IMPORTANT: There are two sections to fill out on the immigration form.  They will return one section to you.  You will need to KEEP THIS SECTION and return it when you check in to leave the country.  DO NOT LOSE IT OR IT WILL CAUSE YOU PROBLEMS!!!  You do not need to carry this form with you if you stay in the city of Mazatlán.  However, if you are travelling outside of Mazatlán, you should take it with you.  I was stopped once by Mexican immigration while travelling north of Mazatlán without it.  Luckily, they didn't arrest me, but I had to abandon my trip and return to Mazatlán!

The immigration officer will typically not ask you any questions.  He/She will just fill in the number of days that you are allowed to stay in the country, typically 180.  If you are staying for an extended period of time, you should tell the immigration officer how long you will be staying to be sure that he has filled in enough days on your form.

Collecting your Baggage at the Mazatlán International Airport

Baggage area at the Mazatlán International Airport in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico

Next, you will proceed to the baggage area to collect your bags.  There is only 1 baggage carousel so you can't miss it.  Sometimes it can take quite a while to get your bags because they are unloaded by hand.  This area hasn't yet been upgraded so it has been the same for the last 20 years.  There is a washroom here for you to use while you wait.

Going Through Customs at the Mazatlán International Airport

customs form in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico

Next, you will proceed through Mexican Customs.  First, you will need to put all your bags through an x-ray machine.  After having your bags x-rayed, you will approach the Customs checkpoint.  There is a stop light pillar with a red and green light.  You need to hand in your Customs form, the other form you received on the airplane, to the Customs official.  They will direct you to push the button on the stop light.  If the light shows green, you are free to exit into the main terminal.  If the light shows red, they will open your bags and inspect the contents.  I have been checked many times so don't sweat it.  They usually only do a simple search.  After the search, you are free to exit into the main terminal.

Ground Transportation at the Mazatlán International Airport

Taxi/Shuttle kiosk in Mazatlán International Airport in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico

Next, you will proceed into the terminal area.  First you will the car rental kiosks.  The taxis and buses are so cheap and easy to use in Mazatlan that you probably don't need to rent a car.

Next, you will see all the drivers holding signs for the people/hotels that have pre-arranged transportation.  Talk to the appropriate person if you have pre-arranged ground transportation.

Walk past out into the terminal and on your right is the kiosk where you can pay for a taxi or shuttle bus to get to where you are going.  See below for approximate prices.

Getting Back to the Mazatlán International Airport

red eco taxi in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico

There are no city buses or rapid transit to go from the tourist areas to the airport in Mazatlán.  So, if you do not have a hotel to airport transfer as part of your vacation package, you must take a taxi or van to the airport!

The taxis in Mazatlán are called 'Eco Taxis' and are typically Nissan Sentras which seat 4 at maximum.  These taxis are usually stationed out front of most major hotels and intersections in Mazatlán so they are easy to get.  You don't really need a reservation to get a taxi if you are near a hotel, there are always enough of them available.  With luggage, these taxis can be a tight squeeze even for 4 people.  So, if you have many people you may have to take multiple taxis or arrange for a van that can hold more people.  If you want to get a van, we do recommend that you talk to the front desk or concierge of your hotel the day before to reserve one.  Taxis to the airport typically cost US$15-20 (about 300-400 pesos) depending on how far your hotel is from the airport.  You can negotiate the price with the taxi driver, but they are unlikely to go below 250 pesos ($20US) and probably will want a small tip, e.g. 50 pesos, on top of the amount agreed upon when you reach the airport.  Vans will be more expensive and would need to be arranged beforehand through your hotel.

There is no need to arrive at the Mazatlán airport any more than 2 hours before any flight.  The Mazatlán airport is small so 2 hours is more than enough time to check in and catch your flight.

Food and Shops at the Mazatlán International Airport

gates at the Mazatlán International Airport in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico

The Mazatlán International Airport has gone through lots of renovations over the years and now there are lots of shops and food options.  The main terminal on the lower level has a bunch of small shops including a Venados Baseball team shop, and a bar.  On the second level there is a bar, full service restaurant, a Carl Jr's Hamburger stand, and a few more shops.

For international flights, there are few duty free shops at the gates after you go through security.  Note that there are limited and very expensive food and drink options at the gate after you have gone through security so we don't recommend that you go to the gate too early.  You are better to wait in the area outside the gates where it is more comfortable.

What domestic airlines service the Mazatlán International Airport?

Aeromexico, Interjet, VivaAerobus, TAR, and Volaris fly in to Mazatlán International Airport.

What international airlines service the Mazatlán International Airport?

The main airlines that service the Mazatlán International Airport are: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and their subsidiary American Eagle, Westjet, Sunwing Airlines, United Express, and Swoop Airlines.

Alaska Airlines flies in from Los Angeles, American and American Eagle fly in from Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Dallas/Fort Worth.  Westjet flies in from Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, and Toronto.  Swoop Airlines flies in from Abbotsford.  United Express flies in from Houston.  Sunwing Airlines flies in from Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto.

What is the IATA Airport Code for the Mazatlán International Airport?

The IATA Airport Code for the Mazatlán International Airport is: MZT

What is the ICAO Airport Code for the Mazatlán International Airport?

The ICAO Airport Code for the Mazatlán International Airport is: MMMZ

How much does it cost to take a taxi from the Mazatlán International Airport to the tourist zone (Golden Zone) in Mazatlán?

The airport taxis have a lock on all the taxi trips from the airport.  To get a taxi, you need to go to the taxi stand, tell them where you are going, then pay the appropriate fee for the zone that you are going to.  The taxi prices are expensive ranging from about US$30-40.

Prices vary based on what part of Mazatlán you are staying at.  For example, Cerritos is north of the Golden Zone and will cost you more.

There are shared airport shuttles that are much cheaper, about US$10, but they won't sell tickets for these unless there are at least 4 people that are taking it.  These shuttles will make multiple stops so will usually take longer than taxis because you have to wait for them to fill up and depending on if you are the first or last to be dropped off.

Tip: Be sure to have some small bills or pesos with you to pay for your taxi.

How much does it cost to take a taxi from the tourist zone (Golden Zone) in Mazatlán to the Mazatlán International Airport?

red eco taxi in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico

You can negotiate a price with a taxi driver to take you to the airport.  As of 2019, the going rate from the tourist zone (Golden Zone) to the airport using a red Eco-taxi was $300 pesos plus tip.  We don't recommend taking a pulmonia taxi to the airport because of the wind and heat on the highway to the airport.

Prices vary based on what part of Mazatlán you are staying at.  For example, Cerritos is north of the Golden Zone and will cost you more.

Note: There are ongoing issues between the taxi companies on who can take tourists to the Mazatlán International Airport.  Taxis have been blockaded a number of times.  We normally take the red Eco-taxis.

Can I take an UBER to the Mazatlán International Airport?

Yes, we have taken an UBER to the Mazatlán International Airport.

Mazatlán International Airport photos

aerial view of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico
shuttle bus at Mazatlán International Airport in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico
Mazatlán International Airport in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico

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