Home Mazatlán Carnival of Mazatlan, a festival of joy and colors

Carnival of Mazatlan, a festival of joy and colors

by Brent May

Known as the Pearl of the Pacific, Mazatlán is located 35 kilometers from the Tropic of Cancer, in the state of Sinaloa. The city is one of the oldest tourist destinations, thanks to its kilometers of beaches and amazing year-round climate. The Centro Historico is also one of the city’s main attractions: a maze of small cobbled streets, where historical monuments and cultural centers make up the charm. And above all, every year since 1898, Mazatlán vibrates to the captivating rhythms of its Carnival, which is a real institution. So if you haven’t been yet, it’s time to make plans to get to Mazatlan!


Mazatlan Carnaval February 2023

This year, Carnival in Mazatlan begins on Thursday, February 16 and ends on Tuesday, February 21, 2023. However, the party atmosphere can be felt in the week leading up to the official start of Carnival. Mazatlan Carnival is undoubtedly one of the most unique and vibrant celebrations in all of Mexico and absolutely worth experiencing. One of its main characteristics is the abundance of marching bands, as well as the sounds of Tambora music that can be heard day and night throughout the city for the duration of the carnival.

As an intergenerational family celebration, you will see grandparents hanging out with children, youth and adults of all ages. The party atmosphere takes over the entire city, and everyone surrenders to enjoy the feelings of excess. All the streets of Mazatlan are transformed into a sea of people drinking, socializing and dancing the night away with the different bands that line the Malecon.


The Most Spectacular Carnival in Mexico

The Mazatlan carnival is the city’s top event and exhilarates its inhabitants and tourists for a whole week. A colorful spectacle with music and entertainment, the carnival is a grand tradition in South America and takes place every year on the same date: 40 days before Easter, at the end of February. The Mazatlan carnival is one of the most spectacular in Mexico and is considered the best in the country. It’s an invitation to dress up and be someone else for a few days. During this week of joy and madness, parades, shows, dances and concerts happen 24 hours a day and the whole city lives to the sound and rhythm of the party.

Three days before Ash Wednesday, it is estimated that nearly one million people attend the 8- kilometer parade route. There are floats decorated with incredible, impressive figures. The parade is followed by the symbolic ritual of sending away the bad mood. The city is decorated with monigotes, those gigantic papier-mâché characters. The highlight of the show is the crowning of the carnival queens.

The parade is more and more amazing each year as competitiveness pushes the float makers to be more attractive and original. Since the 90’s, the floats are illuminated for the night parade.

Then, dancers and musicians from Mexico and the rest of the world offer colorful shows and encourage everyone to dance to the rhythm of the legendary Samba. Children have as much fun as adults at the “Children’s Ball”. In addition, there are cultural events such as prize-giving ceremonies for literature, poetry and painting. The week includes a Costume Ball, the Battle of the Ships and a Carnival Fair.


Gastronomy at the Mazatlan Carnaval

A visit to Mazatlan is not complete if you don’t try the local dishes. There are walking tours to visit the street food stands, as well as popular restaurants. There are many fish dishes. You can visit the “changueras”, the shrimp markets, and taste their products. Street vendors offer ceviche tostadas”. Agave liqueur is also produced here. You can also make a visit to the tequila distilleries in the area

Read more about the Mazatlan Carnival events.

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