Mazatlan Carnival closes with record attendance and benefits for hotels and shops


In economic and attendance matters, a record was broken in the Mazatlan Carnival 2020, as the number of attendees, compared to last year with 1.3 million, increased by 18.75%, totaling 1.6 million people.

Mazatlan Carnival
Mazatlan Carnival

At the coronation of the King of Joy, in the Sister Cities Park, with the presentation of Remmy Valenzuela, there was an attendance of 20 thousand people. At the coronation of the Queen of the Floral Games, at the Teodoro Mariscal Stadium, with the concert by Pepe Aguilar and his daughter Ángela, 24 thousand people attended.

There were 28 thousand people who attended the presentation of Yuri and Carlos Rivera at the coronation of the Queen of the Carnival. Finally, the coronation of the Children's Queen, with the performance of J. Balvin, was attended by more than 30 thousand people; while the concert of Los Recoditos was attended by 25 thousand people.

On Sunday, the first Carnival Parade was attended by 680 thousand people, while the second one reduced the attendance by 50%, with 340 thousand people. On the other hand, in Olas Altas, there was an influx of 1,344,600 people.

In the Naval Combat, the first show of drones was given in Mexico and the third worldwide, after China and the United States, with 150 units flying in the Mazatleca bay.

"The closing of the Carnival (of Mazatlan) was very good, with benefits for hoteliers, restaurants and commerce," celebrated the Secretary of Tourism of Sinaloa, Oscar Perez Barros.

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It's always a good idea to visit Mazatlan, but going during carnival time is something you definitely have to do at least once in your life. With 122 years of tradition, the celebration has already made a name for itself worldwide by combining partying and joy with history and culture, not to mention the destination itself: the beach, excellent food, and nature.

The most attractive thing for visitors is that it is a local party; it is easy to realize that Mazatlan's Carnival is not something made exclusively for tourists. It is the third most important carnival in the world, after Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans.

The unmissable traditions

Like many other carnivals, Mazatlán's has "La Quema del Mal humor" (The Burning of the Bad Mood) - which can be seen free of charge on February 22nd at 9:30 pm in the Olas Altas area - but with a very curious history, whose origins date back to the 19th century.

The carnival was formalized in 1898, but from 1830 onwards, carnival revelry was staged, consisting of fights between the market porters and those on the wharf to see who would win the right to keep the queens. Then rules were made and eggshells were thrown away with paint and, years later, with confetti.

Those fights were usually terminal, so they thought of a way to celebrate by first ending all the sorrows, anguish, anger, and rage of the people, so they changed the fights to the burning of a giant doll or "monigote" that represented some character that encompassed all those negative feelings. That act is "the burning of the bad mood".

In the last 25 or 30 years, the chosen character has almost always been a politician; his or her identity is revealed until the day of the burning. Donald Trump has emerged, and sometimes even the city mayor himself, and he has to put up with it!

An event exclusive to the port and which has been acclaimed by travelers is the "Naval Combat", fireworks show lasting almost an hour which also takes place on 22 February in the same place, but at 11 pm. It represents a historical event that took place in 1864, during the French Intervention.

At the end of March of that year, the powerful French army, onboard the warship "La Cordeliere", tried to take the port of Mazatlán, but the Mexican side repelled the aggression and prevented them from disembarking in the territory. The "Naval Combat" is a series of fireworks launched from land, with ships anchored in front of the Malecón to represent that event.

During the carnival nights, there is a popular party in Olas Altas, where several stages are set up for different groups and popular artists. Furthermore, you can eat and drink until about four o'clock in the morning.

Take advantage and explore Mazatlan

The city was founded by foreigners who arrived at the beginning of the 19th century and turned it into an important commercial port. It has great charm because of its architecture and atmosphere, as well as its beautiful beaches, such as Cerritos, Los Pinos, Sábalo, Las Gaviotas, Playa Norte, and Olas Altas. In almost all of them, there are usually drummers and cold beers that you can enjoy while you swim in the Pacific and admire the majesty of El Faro which is located at the top of the Creston hill.

The best way to get to know the port of Mazatlán is on board a Pulmonía, the traditional vehicle -similar to a golf cart- that goes all over the city providing taxi service.

Shortly after it began to circulate, in the mid-sixties, it became very popular and was even the competition of common taxis. To overshadow the success of the new mode of transport, the taxi drivers' union spread a rumor that those traveling in these vehicles could catch pneumonia, because the air was leaking out everywhere as they had no windows. The population made fun of this story by naming the new car "Pneumonia". It even has a monument on the Malecón.

There are tour operators that offer pulmonia rides for about 1,400 Mexican pesos (USD 75)for three people, but you can also negotiate directly with the "pulmoneros" (the drivers) to get a more economical and traditional tour, with loud band music and even stops to buy beer. These are usually tours of a couple of hours; and if you go in a large group, you can rent an "auriga": pickups that can carry up to eight or nine people.

Street food

Mazatlán is also known for its cuisine, so enjoy the culinary adventure of eating on the street through two guided tours of stalls, changarros, and restaurants that Mazatlecos are used to. They take you to Playa Norte, where fresh fish arrives every day in small boats. There they show you different types of fish, how they clean and fillet them.

You can also visit the "changueras", a marketplace specialized in shrimp. It bears that name because the "chango" is one of the tools used in the shrimp boats in their nets.

Obviously, at each place, you'll try a piece of toast, ceviche or an octopus tostada, and you can extend the experience with a homemade beer pairing at the Tres Islas restaurant. The entire tour costs approximately 1,200 pesos (USD 65) per person.

Nearby villages

The surroundings of Mazatlan are also beautiful and interesting. Whether on a tour (1,200 pesos per person) or by rental car, you can take advantage of the morning to explore them.

The tour starts at Puerta de Canoas. Here you will be shown how to make jamoncillos -typical milk and nut sweets-, how to prepare a sauce, how to make corn tortillas on a traditional comal and how to try various cheeses.

The tour includes Los Osuna tequila -actually, because of the appellation of origin it is not tequila, but a distillate of agave- to taste its varieties, while you learn about its manufacturing process.

Nearby is the Huana Coa Canopy Adventure zipline to spend some time sliding through the treetops. If you're scared, a few sips of the agave distillate will surely give you some courage (but remember, you won't be allowed to climb if you're in a drunken state).

Another recommended place to visit is La Noria, a small town where people live from leather tanning. They make portfolios, bags and even covers for your tablet.

The next stop is El Quelite, a village you enter on a road surrounded by bougainvillea. Try the typical food of the restaurant Mesón de los Laureanos.

Take advantage of the 45 minutes back to Mazatlan to sleep, because you'll only have time to freshen up and go out again to continue the party of one of the most animated carnivals in Mexico. You will see that it is an experience to be had.

The big events

Although the carnival atmosphere is lived in Mazatlan since the end of the year with all kinds of preparations (calls, galas, selection of queens), in 2020 the big party takes place from Thursday 20 to Tuesday 25 February. It starts at dusk and goes on until the early hours of the morning, so save your energy!

Coronation of the king of the carnival: 20th February, at 8.30 pm, in the Parque Ciudades Hermanas. It is free. The singer Remmy Valenzuela will perform.

Coronation of the Queen of the Floral Games (dedicated to art and culture): February 21, 8:30 pm, in the Teodoro Mariscal Stadium. Tickets: between 900 and 2,100 pesos. Pepe Aguilar will perform in a symphonic concert accompanied by the Sinaloa Symphony Orchestra of the Arts and the Camerata Mazatlán; conducted by Maestro Enrique Patrón de Rueda.

Coronation of the Carnival Queen: it is on February 22nd, at 6:00 pm, in the Teodoro Mariscal Stadium. Tickets cost between 900 and 2,100 pesos per person. Carlos Rivera and Yuri sing.

First Carnival Parade: February 23, at 4:30 p.m., from the Fisherman's Monument to Valentinos. At 11:00 p.m. there is a free concert by María José in Olas Altas.

Coronation of the Children's Queen: it is on February 24th at 6:30 pm, at the Teodoro Mariscal Stadium. The price of the tickets is between 1,100 and 2,100 pesos. Sing J Balvin. That same night, but in the Sister Cities Park, Los Recoditos give a free concert at 8:00 pm.

Second parade (according to tradition, this is the last chance to celebrate big before the beginning of Lent): February 25, at 4:00 p.m.; from the Fisherman's Monument to Valentinos. In the evening, at 11 pm, the singer Danna Paola gives a free concert in Olas Altas.

How to get there

Aeroméxico, VivaAerobus and Interjet fly from Mexico City to Mazatlán. Duration: one hour and 45 minutes.

Where to sleep

There are deals of all kinds. If you don't want to be at the epicenter of the festivities, choose options in the Zona Dorada (to the north) and with access to the beach. If you want to have the party at your hotel's doorstep, stay in the Malecón area or in Old Mazatlán (a beauty due to its colonial architecture).

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay: with an architecture that evokes the classic style of Mazatlan and modern details, in front of one of the most beautiful beaches of the Mazatlan Pacific. It is an all-inclusive luxury hotel, ideal for arriving before or staying a few days after the carnival. Take advantage of its five restaurants, a private beach, two swimming pools, exclusive gardens, and a spa.

Olas Altas Inn: In the heart of the festivities, it offers packages that include, in addition to the room, a "front-row" table in its restaurant to watch parades and the "Naval Combat", with food and drinks included.

Three and four-star options: Azteca Inn, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, and Park Inn.

All-inclusive" hotels: Cid Castilla, Playa Mazatlán and Las Flores.

Five stars: Royal Villas Resort, The Inn at Mazatlán and Park Royal.

Where to eat

El Muchacho Alegre: in Playa Norte, overlooking the sea. It is the Mazatlecan experience of seafood, beer, and band music.

Barracudas de Olas Altas: in the heart of the festivities, in front of the Malecón. Good choice for lunch, if you arrive early to get the best place. Serves breakfast and cold bar meals of seafood and ceviche.

Agatha Kitchen Bar: a more elegant and gourmet option. Recommended are roasted oysters with marrow, crabcakes and Rockefeller prawns. It also has an excellent cocktail menu.

For events

It's estimated that up to a million people could gather in the parades over five miles, so get there early to set your place aside or check if there are still places at a hotel along the route. Some people form many hours earlier. Stadium events usually have free seats, but tickets are given out several weeks in advance.

Source: El Universal


The three levels of government will participate in providing security during Carnival, where the state government's drones will be used, said the municipal Public Security Secretary, Federico Rivas Valdes.

Without giving much detail, he said that on Thursday the mayor, Luis Guillermo Benitez Torres, will be releasing the details of the security operation for Carnival.

He assured that the security operation will go well, since they have the support of the federal forces, also of the state and the municipality, being all very applied.

Rivas Valdés affirmed that he will have the support of drones, the backing of all the authorities and everything that is available will be within the reach of the citizens.

Regarding security in the rural area, the Secretary of Public Security explained that the mayor requested the support of the armed forces and will reinforce the work done by the Municipal Police in rural Mazatlán.