Mazatlan:a colonial city on a beach
To be found in the on the Pacific Ocean coastnorth west of Mexico City at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains, Mazatlan is a city well known to Americans and Canadians so English is widely spoken.
The big attraction is the Mazatlan International Carnival which attracts 300,000 people during February. Regarded by many as the third international carnival in the world (and one of the oldest) after Rio and New Orleans, visitors will see the same sort of revelry, the same fantastic costumes and the same atmosphere. What is different is Mazatlan hospitality claimed by locals to be the most generous, the most warm and the most welcoming.
To explore the city, try travelling in a pulmonia a vehicle a bit like an overgrown mini-moke for those old enough to remember them. Its cheap and convenient.
It has improved its infrastructure so that travellers from the US can get there more easily, just 12 hours by car from Houston in Texas. But for us – and the tourist board admits that few Brits or Irish go there – it still involves changing flights usually in America or sometimes Spain.
But is it worth this effort to go somewhere that is a little unusual and to be one-up over your neighbours?
The beaches remain the main attraction. Virtually guanteed sunshine, warm seas and a sandy Pacific Ocean beach are what attracts the crowds. And with a strong appeal to the sea it is natural that an aquarium exists in the city. In fact, it is the biggest in Mexico but it is more than just an aquarium. There is a botanic garden with different indigenous tress in which you can find areas given over to sea-lions, thirteen different spoecies of frog, crocodiles and birds.
But Mazatlan has something that some other Mexican beach resorts don’t have. El Faro is one of the tallest lighthouses in central America and sits overlooking the city. From here mostly youths risk their necks to dive into the sea for the delight – and tips – of the visitors.
Founded nearly 500 years ago, it is the colonial culture and architecture that can be explored in Mazatland and in the neighbouring villages such as Copala which is claimed to be similar to how it was in the sixteenth century. The old colonial area of Mazatlan is called Centro Histórico and has 479 buildings designated as being national historic landmarks.
It means you can see a microsm of Mexico by visiting just one city, Mazatlan.For more information