As the date for the North American Youth Championship 2009 gets closer, I decided to publish some of the city's history. In 1988, I left college for about a year and a half to wonder around Mexico during my youth. I stayed in Durango for that period, in the late 80's but during the weekends, I often visited Mazatlan since it was a 35-minute flight.
This summer I returned to Mazatlan for the first time since 1990 and while growing, it still maintained its essence of an old fashion Mexican resort.
You hear often about violence in Mexico, but we the Munoz family live on the U.S.-Mexico border and we operate a business on Mexican soil, we should not ignore that we have violence in the United States as well. The majority of the violence that is reported about Mexico in the U.S. media is drug-related violence...kind of like our own in the United States.
I ought to know, I grew up in Chicago - enough said.
Needless to say, as person that lived in both countries during my life, I can honestly assure you that you will enjoy your stay in Mazatlan.
Claudia and I will be their to assist you.
Here is some history on Mazatlan.
Mazatlán (Spanish pronunciation: [ma sat ˈlan]) is a city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa; the surrounding municipio (municipality) for which the city serves as the municipal seat is also called Mazatlán. It is located at on the Pacific coast, just across from the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula.
Mazatlán is a Nahuatl word meaning "place of the deer." The city was founded in 1531. By the mid-1800s a large group of immigrants had arrived from Germany. These new citizens developed Mazatlán into a thriving commercial seaport, importing equipment for the nearby gold and silver mines. It served as the capital of Sinaloa from 1859 to 1873. They also influenced the music, banda, which is an alteration of Bavarian folk music, and also started the Pacifico Brewery on March 14, 1900.
Mazatlán, with a population of 352,471 (city) and 403,888 (municipality) as of the 2005 census, is the second-largest city in the state (after Culiacán) and Mexico's largest commercial port. It is also a popular tourist destination,with its beaches lined with resort hotels. A car ferry plies its trade across the Gulf of California from Mazatlán to La Paz, Baja California Sur. The municipality has a land area of 3,068.48 km² (1,184.75 sq mi) and includes smaller outlying communities such as Villa Unión, La Noria, El Quelite, El Habal and many other small villages.
Mazatlán is served by Gral. Rafael Buelna International Airport.
Until the early 19th century, Mazatlán was a humble collection of huts inhabited by indios whose major occupation was fishing, according to Abel Aubert du Petit-Thouars, a French explorer. In 1829 a Filipino banker named Machado arrived and established commercial relations with vessels coming to Mazatlán from far off places such as Chile, Peru, the United States, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. By 1836 the city had a population of between 4000 and 5000.
The city has seen some turbulent times. During the Mexican-American War (1846-48) the U.S. Army took the city and, in order to avoid the shelling of the city, the Mexican army abandoned it. Almost twenty years later, on the morning of November 13, 1864, a French man-of-war fired on the city twelve times but there were no casualties; Mazatlán then became part of the Mexican Empire under Maximilian (vestiges of French influence may still be found in the architecture of many buildings in Centro Historico). On November 13, 1866, the Mexican general Ramon Corona expelled the imperialists from Mazatlán.
On June 18, 1868, William H. Bridge, captain of HMS Chanticleer, blockaded the port and threatened to shell the city on June 22. The captain had taken umbrage after local Customs Authorities seized 23 ounces of gold from the paymaster of the ship.
The City of Mazatlán has the dubious distinction of being the second city in the world after Tripoli, Libya, to suffer aerial bombardment (although the local historical display at the plazuela affirms that Mazatlán was the first). During the Mexican revolution of 1910-17 General Venustiano Carranza (later president), intent on taking the city of Mazatlán, ordered a bi-plane to drop a crude bomb of nails and dynamite wrapped in leather on the target of Neveria Hill adjacent to the downtown area of Mazatlán. The crude bomb landed off target on the city streets of Mazatlán, killing two citizens and wounding several others.
During the Gold Rush, fortune hunters from the United States East Coast sailed from New York Harbor and other Atlantic ports to Mexican ports in the Gulf of Mexico. Debarking, the aspiring miners travelled overland for weeks to Mazatlán, where they would embark from the port to arrive in San Francisco in another four to five weeks.
Mazatlán's lighthouse (El Faro) began to shine by mid-1879. The lamp had been handcrafted in Paris, containing a big oil lamp with mirrors and a Fresnel lens to enhance the light. Since the light was static, in the distance it was often mistaken for a star. By 1905 this lamp was converted to a revolving lamp. Today, the 1000 watt bulb can be seen for 30 nautical miles (60 km). Near the lighthouse shore, famous "divers" (called this even by the Spanish speaking inhabitants of Mazatlán) perform daring jumps off high rocks into the Pacific Ocean for tips from onlooking tourists.
Angela Peralta (1845-1883), a Mexican opera diva famed throughout the world, died of yellow fever in Mazatlán shortly after her arrival in the port. Legend has it she sang one last aria from her hotel balcony overlooking the Plazuela Machado. Her memory is held dear by Mazatlécos to this day, and the restored Teatro Angela Peralta by the Plazuela keeps her memory alive.
Mazatlán was well regarded by film stars such as John Wayne, Gary Cooper, John Huston, and others of their generation as a sportfishing mecca. The hotels along Olas Altas flourished during the 40's, 50's and 60's supporting this vibrant trade.
In the 70's, tourism in Old Mazatlán declined as other, newer venues opened on the expanses of beach to the north of the city. As an example of Mazatlán's tourism expansion, one of the largest timeshare providers in Mexico, Mayan Resorts was founded in 1975 with the inauguration of Paraíso Mazatlán (Mazatlán Paradise). This time also saw the expansion of the Hotel Playa Mazatlán and the construction of many others, a trend that continues to this day.
As the 21st Century begins, the Centro Histórico has been rediscovered by newcomers and locals alike, spurring a renaissance of restoration and entrepreneurial endeavors. Once-fine homes that had fallen into literal ruin have been restored to their former glory and house families and boutique businesses. The city has assisted in upgrading infrastructure, such as better water, sewer and electrical services.