One of the things I am discovering that I love about Mazatlán is the way it changes throughout the year. As the visitors change, so does the feel of the city. Here’s a snapshot:
November is when the snowbirds arrive from the US and Canada. US and Canadian tourists, too. The malecon is loaded with white skinned people wearing funny hats and fanny packs worn backwards. The cruise ships start arriving more regularly, usually three on Wednesday and two on Thursday. The end of November is the Mazatlan Marathon.
December and January are the same as November, above. The Maz social season is in full swing, with lots of concerts in the plazas, art exhibits, performances at the Angela Peralta theater, benefits , and home tours. Commerce slows down a lot during the Christmas holidays – government offices close in particular but people would rather party than work. (and why not?) Impromptu parades are common.
February – The dates for Carnaval change every year but the party-like atmosphere starts several weeks before. Banners go up on the malecon, things get repainted, large public art pieces are erected with the Carnaval theme, etc. Carnaval itself is a week long party. Mexican tourists come to town, lots of people from the countryside, and plenty of gringos. I wrote about 2008 Carnaval here. Next year Carnaval is from February 19-24.March – March is more US and Canadian tourists and a general exhale once Carnaval is over. Spring break up North brings lots of college students with the intention of blowing off steam. Which usually involves alcohol. We aren’t as aware of spring breakers here in Centro, thank goodness.
April – 40 days after Carnaval is Easter. And Easter in Mexico means Semana Santa. This is a big occasion for Mexicans to get away for vacation, and traditionally they love to go to the beach. The beaches are packed and there is a lively, fun atmosphere in Centro. Up in the golden zone it gets a little crazier, with some streets having to be closed due to the crushes of people. It’s a party! After Semana Santa comes Moto Week, and not long after that, the Mazatlán Triatholon and Aerofest.
May – Social season starts to wind down. People talk about “going home.” This is the month with the best weather of the year. The city feels kind of quiet. There are fewer cruise ships.
June – A pretty quiet month. Hardly any expats to be seen. One or two cruise ships per week.
July & August – These months are hot and humid, but that doesn’t stop the Mexican people from wanting to come to the beach! Hotels are at about 85% occupancy and the malecon and beaches are jammed. It’s a peaceful and fun time, with happy families and big tour busses parked here and there. Probably only one cruise ship per week.
September & October – The kids are back in school, and it’s still hot here. The weather usually breaks the first week in November. So September and October are somewhat quiet months. People are indoors more when the sun is blazing, and come out for a stroll in the evening. The month winds up with the Day of the Dead, last year we walked (with thousands of others) from altar to altar downtown following the donkey-pulled beer carts. Very fun.
So there you have it! The cycle of life in Mazatlán.