I just got back from my first trip to Mazatlan and thought I would post a report because this site was so helpful to me before I went on my trip!
We stayed at Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan. The hotel employees were so friendly and the beach was great, I also loved the fact that the hotel made it easy to get to restaurants, bars, etc. With that said, when I stepped foot at PB Emerald Bay, I was blown away. It was so beautiful and I immediately wished we would have stayed there! It wasn't near as far away from everything as I had thought and the shuttle made it easy to get into town. I would stay at PB Emerald Bay the next time I visit Maz for sure!
A few other notes...
I was a little nervous about some of the safety concerns, but I have to say that I felt completely safe the entire time I was there! People of Maz were friendly and helpful!
We took a taxi to and from the airport and it was super easy and much cheaper than the shuttles.
We exchanged our money into pesos and it was very easy. You can do this at your hotel or any of the exchange houses. Just take a look at the exchange rate so that you are getting the best bang for your buck.
Lastly, here is a rundown of the restaurants we ate at...
Topolo- Amazing, cute place, delicious! Pork shank was fantastic!
Cueva de Leon- Great shrimp and great prices!
Playa Bruja- Fun atmosphere, great coconut shrimp!
Panchos- great view, molocajete was delish!
Pedro y Lola- just okay, overpriced
Los Zarapes- okay food, but fun waiters
The last thing I must recommend is Salsa and Salsa. It is a class at the Royal Villas (you can find more about it by searching on TI). There are two fun ladies that teach you how to make different salsas and margaritas. It is so fun to snack and drink and then you get to learn how to salsa dance. Very fun!!
Hope this helps any new travelers! Hope to visit Maz again!