There is something seductive about Mazatlan. The destination has an intoxicating, authentic essence. Elegantly unpolished, Mazatlan is on the brink of a renaissance as local government is pouring in investment by the millions. This is all good for the destination, which has been working hard to regain its footing after reports of drug violence a few years back.

Still, with investment comes development, affluence and a changed tourism landscape. This is certainly good news for Mazatlan and Mexico overall, but as of now Mazatlan is still in that sweet spot of quintessential Mexican soul. And this is why now is the time to visit.

The city on the Sea of Cortes offers something few other destinations in Mexico can: the charm and history of colonial Mexico combined with the country’s iconic beach life. Strolling the cobblestone streets of downtown is evocative of Old Havana, or historic Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Colonial Mazatlan has seen the influence of Spain, France and even Asia, thanks to the city’s mercantile history. And a recent investment is enabling the city to renovate and restore much of the beauty that makes this part of the city so spectacular.

Next year the city will host the annual Tianguis Turistico event, and until then the government will be working hard to put the finishing touches on the city. The 13-mile-long malecon is undergoing a face-lift, redoing the path, brightening up the art and giving a makeover to El Faro Lighthouse.

The cultural offerings of Mazatlan are also being redone, such as the Angela Peralta Theater, which was recently refurbished. Officially opened in 1874 as the Rubio Theater, it was renamed the Angela Peralta Theater after the death of the internationally renowned opera singer from an epidemic of yellow fever contracted onboard a ship as she arrived at the port in 1883. Art walks fan out from the Plaza Machado and wind down the city’s cobblestone streets.

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