We spent one week at Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan (see separate review) and one week at Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay. Between the two resorts, we much preferred Emerald Bay. At the end of this review is a comparison of the two resorts.
Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay is located north of Mazatlan, about 5 miles north of the marina (which is just north of the Golden Zone). It is important to note that it is very isolated from the other resorts and businesses in the area, so take this into consideration. If you are doing the all-inclusive (we did not), this may not matter to you. However, you will find yourself having to take a taxi to most places off resort due to the isolated location. We did walk to other resorts, restaurants and stores nearby, but most people did not, staying on location. There is a Walmart about 4 miles away (taxi is 80-100 pesos) north of the marina as well as a new shopping center across the street. Or you can take the shuttle to Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan, where you will find the Scorpio II Market across the street, as well as Henderson’s Meat Market further left (north) one block. If you take the shuttle to Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan, there are two good restaurants right across the street—Pancho’s is across the street and to the right and Fish Market is across the street and to the left. The shuttle runs every hour during the day and every half hour in the evening. Note that the downtown (“centro”) area is pretty far away and will cost about 180-200 pesos for a taxi if you go there directly from the resort. Alternatively, you can take the shuttle to Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan and take a taxi/pulmonia from there for 80-100 pesos.
Note that this resort is a timeshare, so although you can purchase rooms like a standard hotel/resort, many of the people here are timeshare owners. So you will be mixing with those who bought into the timeshare concept (we are not owners, just stayed here). You will be hit on to buy a timeshare while you are here, so make sure you do not leave as an owner. Hint: if you are even possibly considering it, you can buy this timeshare (and others) on the secondary market for a fraction of the cost. Don’t give in to the high pressure timeshare sales pitch. Better yet, turn down any offers to go to the presentation, even though they will offer you $200+ in resort credits. It’s not worth ruining your vacation to be stuck in a high pressure sales pitch. They say it is 90 minutes, but they often go 4-5 hours and only end when you say yes. Just say no at the outset and they will leave you alone.
The resort itself is very well maintained, with beautiful grounds, three pools (the main pool area in the center of the resort is huge), two large hot tubs and a variety of activities available to all guests, whether you are part of the all-inclusive or not. There is a beautiful spa with a 10-station relaxation experience and workout gym. Unfortunately, the spa and the gym are not included and you will have to pay to go there. Normally it is $17/pp per day. Tip: if you purchase any of the $10 classes at the spa, you will get the spa and gym included, so you get a class and save $7.
Although the entire resort is fronted on the ocean, not many of the rooms have a clear ocean view. We stayed in 1844 (Building I, Canobbio Building, Building 18). Note that every building has essentially three names—a letter (such as “I” in our case), a number (“18” in our case) and a name (“Canobbio” in our case). When you check in, they will refer to the building by either letter or number. Tip: the ideal rooms are in building I/18 and J/19, which are both 4-story buildings fronting the ocean and close to the main pool. All of the other 4-story buildings have 2-story buildings in front of them. If you are staying I/18 or J/19, best rooms are 4th floor. The lower floors are somewhat blocked by the palm trees. If you cannot get into I/18 or J/19, buildings K/20 and L/21 are 2-story buildings, also fronting the ocean (try for 2nd floor for better views due to shrubs blocking the ocean view of the first floor).
Tip: do NOT take the resort’s offered shuttle service from the airport. The cost of a taxi is about the same as the shuttle for two persons and you will be first in line for available rooms (and without the extra 30 minute wait at the airport for the last person off your plane).
- Beautiful resort grounds and beautiful near-new rooms, excellent price for value
- The location can be a positive for you (if you want to be remote and separate from the rest of Mazatlan)
- Kitchenette in each unit with nice sized fridge, sink, microwave, two-burner stove, coffee maker and toaster along with all of the pots, pans, dishes, silverware and utensils included
- No local hawkers on the beach due to the remote location
- Beautiful area to walk the beach—you can walk more than 8 miles north on the beach (hint: you can also walk south if you take the path over the rocks just before the end of the beach, then follow it out to where the beach begins again)
- On-site restaurants and bars are decent although prices are somewhat higher than other establishments in town, since you are paying a premium for on-site convenience
- Free wifi by the deli, although it can be slow and spotty (OK for checking e-mail, although don’t plan to do any intensive Web browsing or video)
- No added resort fee surprises at the end of your stay
- Location locks you into either taking a shuttle or taxi to most places or eating on-site
- All-inclusive fees are extremely high ($89/pp per day)
- Timeshare pitch by the “concierge” when you check in, they won’t give you the key until they finish explaining several different “offers” to entice you to attend the timeshare presentation (just say no and be firm, it will take you about 10 minutes to get your key)
- You have to return your pool towel every day by 8p or be charged $25 per towel
- Although the resort is relatively new, the quality of the materials and craftsmanship are lacking. For example, screen doors that are broken and off track, cracked stucco, over use of caulking in showers and tubs, etc.
- Smoking is allowed pretty much anywhere outside (including the entire pool area), so it’s luck of the draw whether a smoker sits down in the open lounger next to you at the pool; to be fair, that’s pretty consistent for most resorts and outdoor seating at restaurants in Mexico, although we did have a problem with even cigars being smoked by the pool during our stay
- Service for drinks by the pool was extremely slow, probably due to the number of people using the all-inclusive. It took from 15 to 30 minutes to get a drink order.
- We requested a late checkout of 1 p.m. (normal checkout is 10 a.m.) several days in advance, yet our room card stopped working at 10 a.m. on our checkout date. I was told I would have to come to the front desk to get a new keycard, since the system automatically locks you out at 10 a.m. I asked why this was done, since we requested a late checkout in advance and was told that the system requires it. Yet I was not told in advance, only found this out when I tried to get back into our room. Then I had to go to the front desk and wait in line to get new cards. Poor systems and poor customer service defending the poor systems rather than the customer needs.
We also stayed one week at Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan (our first week of our two week stay), so following is a comparison of the two properties, in case you are deciding between them:
Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay:
- Location is more remote (6 miles north of the Golden Zone), better if you want privacy and plan to stay on property most of your vacation or have a rental car for getting around
- Newer property and more luxurious (in our view, it is a 4- to 5-star vs. 3-star for the other property)
- Resort is more spread out, long walk to the outer edges of the resort (which may be an advantage for you if you don’t mind walking and want more privacy)
- Several large pools including an adults-only pool
- More couple friendly property (although families will enjoy it as well if you plan on staying at the resort most of the time)
- Smaller studio rooms have balconies but most 1BRs do not (although ours did, they are subject to availability when checking in, make sure you ask in advance and call the morning you arrive)
- Beach is OK for laying out (and no vendors hawking you), but most of the ocean area is rocky, so less desirable for swimming, boogie boarding, etc.
Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan:
- Location at the north end of the Golden Zone is best for access to local restaurants and businesses off property
- Older property, more typical of hacienda-style Mexican properties
- Resort is more compact, everything in easy walking distance
- One main pool in the center of the resort and a smaller pool on the south side of the resort
- More family friendly property
- Fully equipped kitchenettes in all rooms
- All rooms (including 1BR) have a balcony
- Beach is better for swimming, boogie boarding, body surfing, etc. in the ocean
Building 18 and 19 fourth floor have the best views of the ocean
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.