The Pearl of the Pacific

The Pacific port of Mazatlan is a great representation of all that Mexico has to offer—history, culture, tradition, and spectacular beaches.

Mazatlan is Mexico's second-largest coastal city and is rapidly increasing  its share of the tourism market

Mexico's second-largest coastal city is home to 600,000 inhabitants. Mazatlan has a bull ring and a baseball stadium; three golf courses, including a 27-hole championship course; the longest sea walk (malecon) in Mexico; the second-tallest lighthouse in the world, and a wide assortment of accommodations.

Called the Pearl of the Pacific, Mazatlan (translated as "land of the deer") extends to the foot of the imposing SierraMadreMountains and is within easy reach of several mining towns, including historic Cosala, which dates to the 16th century.

Two main areas, Old Mazatlan (the city's historic district) and the Golden Zone (where the city's main resorts are located) share seven miles of golden sand coast.

The old part of town, which has been totally renovated, is home to the Angela Peralta Theater, a 19th century architectural jewel that plays a large role in the city's cultural life.

Landmark lighthouses is part of the draw

Other important historical monuments include the Basilica de la Immaculada Concepcion, a Baroque-style building whose 28 stained glass windows feature the Star of David to honor the city's Jewish community, which heavily contributed to the Catholic cathedral's completion. The ArcheologicalMuseum, RepublicPlaza, OceanMuseum, Botanical Garden and Lighthouse are other places of interest that should not be missed.

Three offshore islands serve as natural barriers that break the surf into gentle waves before they reach sandy beaches that welcome swimmers. In contrast, tall waves pound the coast that faces the open ocean, making these beaches a favorite spot for surfers. Mazatlan is also known worldwide as a first-class sports-fishing destination, and host to one of the most extravagant Mardi Gras celebrations in the Western Hemisphere.

Promoting Mazatlan

Mostly favored by sports fishermen from the West Coast and Texas, the destination is rapidly expanding into more U.S. markets through its Houston and Dallas gateways and beyond, the result of a strong promotional campaign to highlight the image of this unique port city. Insider Agent Tips

Stunning ocean views is part of the draw

"We have been successful in combining funds from the federal and state government, the hotels, the wholesalers and the airlines to form a strong team to promote Mazatlan. We are very proud of the work performed by the wholesalers who are being very proactive," says Carlos Berdegue, vice president of the Mazatlan Hotel Association and Tourism Board.

"In the past three years, Mazatlan has tripled the budget for advertising generated by a hotel room tax, which is solely dedicated to international advertising and public relations," says Javier Paez, public relations director for the Mazatlan Hotel Association.

Mazatlan has 93,000 rooms, with 500 more scheduled to open in 2007.

Increasing Airlift

"We plan to start talking to all the airlines that don't fly to Mazatlan to start negotiations with them, and then close the deal at Tianguis (the annual spring tourism event in Acapulco)," says Berdegue. "We are working with all the major airlines that fly here, and we know the Hotel Association is also working with Mexicana to start a flight from Chicago," he adds. "That means more marketing and vacation packages to warm up the Midwest market."

Non-stop service to Mazatlan is currently available from the U.S. on AeroMexico, Mexicana, Aero California, Alaska, Continental, America West, Aerolitoral, Aeromar and Frontier Airlines. In addition, Northwest Airlines started service on Saturdays from Detroit on January 28, and Delta Air Lines is scheduled to start daily non-stop service from Salt Lake City on March 8.

Seasonal charter service is also available from Salt Lake City, Minneapolis and Dallas, as well as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Sue Zacharias, product development manager for Apple Vacations (szachari@applevac.com) , says she views the increase of scheduled airline flights to the destination as an opportunity to increase Apple's business to this Pacific resort.

Helpful Sites for Agents

Tourism Information:
www.gomazatlan.com
www.cosala.com.mx

Hotel Association Properties:
Azteca Inn
Costa de Oro Beach Hotel
Costa Bonita Condominium and Beach Resort
El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel
Playa Mazatlan
Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay
Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan
Riviera Mazatlan Beach Resort
Royal Villas Resort