Carnaval ended yesterday and I, along with hundreds of other residents of this city, breathed a sigh of relief. Traffic has returned to normal as the barricades along the malecon have been removed. Thousands of people no longer crowd Centro and Olas Altas. The deafening noise level of loud music has subsided. The fireworks were amazing, the food incredible and the parades entertaining. And a new queen was crowned.
Carnaval is celebrated in more than two hundred communities throughout Mexico, but Mazatlan has one of the most renowned celebrations. The Spanish brought this tradition to Mexico, and the year 1898 marked the first Carnaval in Mazatlan. Although Mazatlan is a tourist destination for snowbirds, the throngs of crowds are mainly Mexicans. Thousands of people filled the restaurants and bars day and night from February 4th to February 9th. The Sunday parade this year gave stiff competition to the American Super Bowl.
Prior to Carnaval, new structures such as this appeared along the malecon.
During the event, hotels were packed with tourists. Tickets were sold out quickly for seats in restaurants and boat cruises with the best viewing spots for the fireworks. And the fireworks were spectacular. The re-enactment of the Combate Naval is definitely a highlight.
I fondly recall my first experience celebrating Carnaval here five years ago. I went on a boat cruise, synonymous with booze cruise, where a few hundred of us piled onto a boat designed to hold far less. But it was easy to get caught up in the excitement with an open bar and a fabulous band. We danced the night away and I vaguely recall seeing the fireworks through a somewhat alcoholic haze. Of course that was long before I moved here. Now that I am a local, I tend to avoid the crowds and the traffic jams as much as possible. But, who knows? Maybe next year I might once again be ready for another boat cruise…………………