Easter is fast-approaching, and that means that Latin America is about to light up in celebration—it’s time for Carnaval!
Carnaval is a 5-day celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday (March 1st), celebrated with feasts, dancing, music, and above all, flamboyant and bombastic parades! Hailed as Mardi Gras in the United States, Carnaval is the time to let loose, seize the day, and revel in all the pleasure and excitement you can before Lent officially begins. Lucky for Vidanta guests, Mazatlán is home to Mexico’s oldest and largest celebration. The city spends the entire year preparing for the week-long festival and the massive climactic parade that caps it. Here’s just a taste of what’s in store.
Naval Combat Fireworks (Combate Naval)
Cannon shells erupt into fiery color, bursting from the shore! Explosions rock the surface of the water, kicking up spray and illuminating the awe-struck faces of thousands of cheering spectators. This pyrotechnic re-telling of Mazatlán’s famous fight against invasion is one of the world’s most dramatic fireworks shows, incorporating light, on-shore and off-shore fireworks, and even laser displays, all choreographed to a booming orchestral score and punctuated by the applause of a go-wild crowd. Best of all, this event is totally free!
You can enjoy Combate Naval on Saturday, February 25th from Mazatlán’s historic boardwalk, just a short ride from the resort! For the best experience, you’ll want to get elevated. Luckily, the area is surrounded by dozens of rooftop bars, lounges, and restaurants offering great food and better views.
No one does pageantry better than Latin America, and Carnaval Mazatlán is no exception. Carnaval week features not one, but three spectacular pageants, one for a Carnaval King, a Carnaval Queen, and a Child Queen.
The crowning of the King of Joy is the comparatively calmer affair, and actually precedes the official start of festivities. All day on Thursday the 23rd the central plaza of Mazatlán is taken over by a gigantic feast, La Muestra Gastronómica. Visitors can enjoy the food fest and live music all day, until the King is officially crowned at nightfall.
The real party arrives that weekend, when Mazatlán’s 14,000-seat Venados Stadium fills to the brim for the Coronation of la Reina del Carnaval, the Carnaval Queen. This year, eight contestants ages 17-24 vied for the title, and on Feb 25th the winner is crowned in a lavish ceremony and stadium concert featuring chart-topping bands from Mexico.
Bad Mood Burning (Quema del Mal Humor)
The climax of the traditional Mazatlán Carnaval ritual is the incineration of a giant puppet. The official Mazatlán Carnaval guide calls it “a massive exploding flaming piñata on steroids”, and it’s just as much fun as it sounds.
It is believed that this ritual banishes ill-feeling from Mazatlán, leaving everyone happy and carefree for the rest of the year. The puppet itself is sometimes modeled after an unpopular public figure, but can just as often be a renowned figure from pop culture. The effigy is suspended above the crowd and set alight, perhaps absorbing all the bad energy from the cheering spectators.
Carnaval is without a doubt the most exciting time to visit Mazatlán, and Vidanta is always the best way to enjoy it. Take advantage of convenient transportation to and from the city’s biggest events, and finish every whirlwind day by retiring to your own little slice of paradise. And the Carnaval celebration doesn’t stop when you return back to Vidanta Mazatlán. You can experience the holiday at the resort by attending the pool party at Ola Mulata on February 24th at 1 PM, or the celebration at Rumba Restaurant on February 25th at 1 PM.
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