Mazatlan, Pacific Coast
Mazatlan is a perennial favorite with North American sunbirds and snowbirds alike. Endowed with a shoreline sprinkled with beckoning islands, a lovely seaside promenade, miles of golden beaches and blue lagoons, it really lives up to its moniker, "Pearl of the Pacific
Sometimes, when you're planning your holidays, you have to make a decision: sun and sand or culture and history? Mazatlan has the distinction of offering the best of both worlds: in the newer Zona Dorada (Golden Zone), developed in the 1960s, you'll find most of the major hotels, shops, bars and restaurants scattered along the idyllic beaches; meanwhile, in Old Mazatlan or the Centro Historico (Historic Center), life carries on as it did before tourists arrived in the markets, cafes, churches and shady plazas throughout the traditional neighborhoods.
Foodies will love the variety of restaurants here—from rustic beach shacks to romantic candlelit courtyards. Shrimp doesn't come any sweeter or fresher and the talented chefs all over town have mastered local recipes. Try them breaded in coconut, marinated ceviche-style in lime juice, mothered in garlic and butter, flambéed in tequila, spiked with a Diablo sauce or just plain steamed.
Situated just south of the Tropic of Cancer, Mazatlan enjoys temperate semi-tropical weather year-round. The average temperature is between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius (77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit). With an average of 300 sunny days per year, it's always beach weather here. Don't forget your sunscreen.
LonelyPlanet: Mazatlán Carnival
Celebrated here since 1898, Mazatlán's carnaval is said to be the third-largest in the world
and, in contrast to similar parties in places like Rio, the celebrations here have a far more family-oriented feel. A series of coronations takes place across the city, beginning with the Rey de la Alegría
(King of Joy) and culminating with the Reina de Carnaval
(Queen of Carnival), each ceremony accompanied by concerts attended by enthusiastic crowds who cheer on national and international performers.