One of the World’s Largest Carnaval Celebrations – Mazatlan Mexico’s Carnanval in Photos

Carnaval. It’s probably on your bucket list, right?

pacifico girl in the carnaval parade in mazatlan mexico

Let’s face it, Carnaval is a must attend party. When we hear the word “Carnaval,” most of us fantasize about samba dancing in Rio de Janeiro, Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday bead exchanges in New Orleans or masquerade parties in Venice, right? What about Mazatlan, Mexico?

It is the world’s third largest Carnaval celebration.

Wait. What? Where?

Yes, Mazatlan. Yes Mexico. And it’s safe too. I know, crazy right? Well it is carnaval after all. Let’s take a look.

Mazatlan Carnaval More Than a Parade

The celebration is hardly just a parade, but a long weekend from Thursday to Tuesday of events. One of the many highlights is the fireworks symbolizing the Mexico’s sole naval victory. They defeated the French on the Bay of Mazatlan; actually it was during the same conflict as the much “Americanized” Cinco de Mayo military victory.

the naval combat event at Mazatlan Carnaval

the fireworks celebration is a must attend at Mazatlan Carnaval

the streets of old town Mazatlan during the carnaval celebration

a typical night in Mazatlan

Mazatlan Carnaval Parade

the maseca corn sponsor at the carnval parade in mazatlan mexicothe pacifico giveaway at carnaval parade in mazatlan mexico

the people line the streets of the malecon for the carnaval parade

Carnaval Parade in Mazatlan Mexico is a family affair

The parade occurs along the famous and long 11-kilometer malecon not once, but twice. They hold it on Sunday for everyone (including families) to enjoy on the weekend and then again on Tuesday. Twice. Two times the party.

The parade seems to even have a halftime and offered a great Mazatlan sunset for Carnaval. The first half is largely floats from the sponsors. Then after the sponsors which included Pacifico Clara Beer, who keeps its beer price low enough for everyone to have to many, (in fact they sell beer in 8 packs in Mazatlan not 6packs) the themed floats arrived. There were 38 floats.

the carnaval parade on the malecon in mazatlan, sinaloa, mexico

umbrella dancing at the carnaval parade on the malecon in mazatlan, sinaloa, mexicothe three muskateers from carnaval parade in mazatlan mexico

at the carnaval parade on the malecon in mazatlan, sinaloa, mexicochildren enjoying the carnaval parade on the malecon in mazatlan, sinaloa, mexico

Mary Poppins at the carnaval parade on the malecon in mazatlan, sinaloa, mexicoposing for the oscars at the carnaval parade on the malecon in mazatlan, sinaloa, mexico

ms Barstow from California at the Carnaval Parade in Mazatlan, Mexicoanother pacifico clara beer girl at the caranaval parade in mazatlan, mexico

ET at the Carnaval Parade

it was time for phone home, or call in the Brazilians to finish

Sunday’s parade had over 250,000 thousand spectators and was extremely family friendly. In 2013 the theme was Hollywood an appropriate theme since Mazatlan was the third major city in the world to show cinema to the public with a movie theatre (1897) and was the home of famed golden-age star Pedro Infante.

Brazilians at Carnaval Mazatlan

Apparently each year, more and more Brazilians are invited to come. No one seems to be complaining. Yes, you will get your samba and more importantly Brazilian fashion too.

welcome Brazil to the Caranaval Parade in Mazatlan Mexicothe brazilians entice at the caranval parade in mazatlan mexicobrazilain flair at the carnaval parade in mazatlan, mexico

brazil represented at the carnaval parade in mazatlan, mexico

The Brazilian Floats were certainly a fan favorite.

Travel Adventure Mindset – Safety in Numbers

I don’t know many Carnaval celebrations, unfortunately I haven’t been to many of them (yet), but I do know 100,000s of people partying all day and night can sometimes lead to trouble. Couple that with walking the streets at 5am and some might worry is it safe?

staying adventurous at carnaval in mazatlan, mexico

spending time with some queens of Carnaval

But, kudos to Mazatlan – I never felt any danger. Yes, I know Mexico and arguably am conversational in Spanish, arguably, but comfort comes from a feeling, a sense of the place and its people. It comes from understanding the energy of the celebrating crowd.  It was amazing to see one of the largest carnaval celebrations be so safe to enjoy, and great to see such a safe celebration in Mexico. Apparently, there truly is safety in numbers. As you can probably tell, I had no complaints.

Stay adventurous, Craig

Special thanks to Go Mazatlan for the invitation to experience Carnaval. This post is part of the Mexican March Madness Series for 2014.

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  • Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

    Your carnaval looks like so much fun. Lot’s of beautiful people! I would never have known about this so thanks for sharing your lovely photos and story.

    • craig zabransky

      Mary, thanks for commenting.. so many beautiful people indeed… it was a grand time. Stay Carnaval, Craig

  • bill

    Great photos would love to do caranaval there sometime

  • Andi Perullo de Ledesma

    Looks like too much fun!

    • craig zabransky

      Andi, it was, it really was… stay having fun, Craig

  • Maryann

    Looks really like a great party.

    • craig zabransky

      The Mexicans do know how to party… they really do. Stay fiesta friendly, Craig

  • The World Wanderer

    This looks amazing! Carnaval is a celebration I want to participate in all over the world, but now I’m adding Mexico to my list. Looks fantastic! #staypartying

    • craig zabransky

      Definitely add Mexico… well worth it. Well worth it. Stay adventurous, Craig

  • Leah Travels

    Who knew Mazatlan? I’m guessing it’s Rio, NOLA and then Mazatlan? I’m surprised that Venice isn’t in third. Love the first photo. :-)

    • craig zabransky

      Yes, Rio then Nola, bigger isn’t always better, but with Mazatlan they did size justice… a great time. and thanks first photo was definitely a lead photo… stay smiling, Craig

  • Traveling Ted

    I would like to go just for the 8 packs of beer. I could really get around celebrating two more beers.

    • craig zabransky

      There is much to celebrate in Mazatlan… the two extra beer is a very welcome start to all… Stay Eight Count, Craig

  • @mrsoaroundworld

    Seems like a lot of fun!!

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  • lola

    wait. i want to do this…with you. i spied the perfect outfit…the chick in the pink boots and feathers, of course! 😉

    • craig zabransky

      Lola, it is a party, a fiesta… and you’d look oh, so lovely in that outfit… stay planning mexico, Craig

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