Your best 2018 Mazatlán Carnival information resource español
Event schedule • Carnival news
FAQ and tips • History of Carnival
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Keep the dates Thursday February 8 until Tuesday February 13, 2018 open -- that's Carnival Week!
Carnival was officially inaugurated here in 1898, and those lucky enough to visit during the week before Lent are treated to the modern Mazatlan Carnaval, the third largest carnival celebration in the world. One of the most enduring of Mazatlan tourist attractions, the upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnaval, centered on the Malecon, will continue the 120 year tradition and attract hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world.
Click here to download a free updated 2018 Mazatlan Carnaval events schedule!
This multi-day Mardi Gras celebration features parades, fireworks, live music, delicious food and great street entertainment set on the picturesque Mazatlan Malecon oceanfront, within the Centro Historico and at other locations throughout Mazatlan.
Buying 2018 Mazatlán Carnaval event tickets
Tickets for all 2018 Carnival events -- including events held at the Venados baseball stadium -- are on sale at the Angela Peralta ticket office in the Centro Historico from 9am until 3pm and from 5pm until 7pm.
A kiosk outside the Angela Peralta Theater in Plaza Machado also sells Carnival event tickets from 10am until 1pm and from 3pm until 8pm.
Another option is to buy 2018 Carnival event tickets at the kiosk within the Gran Plaza Mall which is open from 11am until 8pm.
Visit Mazatlan, Sinaloa, at Carnival and experience the party of a lifetime!
2017 Mazatlán Carnival official video
Click here to download a free updated 2018 Mazatlan Carnaval events schedule!
View main event schedule
Carnival in Mazatlan isn't just about Carnaval Week 2018, it involves an entire year of preparation that becomes heated in the Fall as the holidays draw near and carnival does not seem so far away -- and begins to glow white-hot during the holidays and after new year.
While at the time of this writing Carnaval 2018 is still months away, it is never to early to start planning for this annual festival -- in a very real sense, the 2018 Mazatlan Carnaval has already begun!
2018 Mazatlán Carnaval theme announced!
(13 October 2017)
Cultura Mazatlan has announced the theme of the 2018 Carnival -- Patasalada: El circo de los talentos. Wondering what that means? Pata salada means "salty foot", and is slang used to refer to those from the port (who get their feet wet / salty from the ocean...). El circo de los talentos means "the circus of talent", referring to the tremendous artistic talent present in Mazatlan.
Distinguished mazatlecos honored at this year's carnival include Lola Beltrán, Pedro Infante, Cruz Lizárraga, Genaro Estrada, Martiniano Carvajal, Winnie Farmer (the first carnival Queen), Enrique Alonso, Lupita Castro, José Ángel "Ferrusquilla" Espinoza, Ramón López Alvarado, "Nana" Ramírez, Guillermo Sarabia, Rigo Lewis and many others!
2018 Mazatlán Carnaval Queen Candidates announced! (13 October 2017)
In a city with as many beautiful young women as Mazatlan, even choosing the candidates for Carnival Queen is a demanding job! Cultura has announced the 2018 candidates, and they are all magnificent!
Ana Paola Beltrán, Sofía Briseño, Daniela López Caballero, Gabriela Lizbeth Cristerna Díaz, Jessica Margarita López Salazar, Alexa Méndez Sarabia, Mayrim Morales Miramontes, Elsie Alejandra Muzquiz, Paola Estefanía Nordahl Macías, Brisia Carolina Tirado Martínez and Alejandra del Rosario Tirado Tirado.
2018 Mazatlán Carnaval Child Queen Candidates announced! (13 October 2017)
The Child Queen holds a special place in the hearts of all mazatlecos, and this year's adorable candidates are Camila, Gretel and Shuleyka.
2018 Mazatlán Carnaval King Candidates announced! (13 October 2018)
There is about to be a new Rey Feo. Will it be Fabián Ernesto Maldonado Cázares, César Tulio Martínez Tirado or the one-named Radamés? Only time will tell!
Cultura announces that Modelo will be the preferred beer of the 2018 Mazatlán Carnaval! (13 October 2017)
Cervecería Modelo de México has been named the official sponsor of the 2018 Mazatlan Carnival, and they have committed over 11 million pesos to the project, including over 2 million pesos for advertising. In case you're wondering: Modelo owns our world-famous Mazatlan-founded Pacifico brand...
Scheduled pre-Carnival Events 2018
Friday February 2, 2018 / 8pm / AP Theater / 300 - 550 pesos
Velada de las Artes, the Evening of the Arts special performances
The Evening of the Arts is a special annual performance staged at the Angela Peralta Theater the Friday before to Carnival.
Sponsored by Cultura Mazatlan, in previous years this exciting event has been conducted by Maestro Enrique Patron de Reuda, and featured performances by Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa de las Artes (OSSLA).
Velada de las Artes starts at 8pm, and tickets range from 250 pesos to 500 pesos. Tickets available at the Angela Peralta ticket office.
Thursday February 8, 2018 / 2pm - 7pm / Centro Historico / Free!
Muestra Gastronómica food festival at Plaza Machado
The run-up to the main events of Carnaval week in Mazatlan begin at Plaza Machado at about 2pm Thursday with Muestra Gastronomica, a fun outdoor food fest staged in the heart of the Centro Historico.
Restaurants located on and near the plaza prepare all sorts of special munchies and traditional Sinaloan dishes. It makes a great place to relax into Carnaval and get ready for the coronation of the King of Joy just a couple of blocks away on the Olas Altas Malecon at 7:30pm.
Muestra Gastronomica continues every afternoon during carnival.
Thursday February 8, 2018 / 7:30pm / Terraza Las Pargos / 750 pesos
Annual Masquerade Ball / Baile de Fantasía
The annual Carnaval Mazatlan costume ball marks the start of Carnival nightlife.
Featuring beautiful ambassador-queens from many countries, these women compete for the honor of riding on floats in the inaugural and end of Carnival parades.
Tickets for this event, held at Terraza Las Pargos (Chamelta 230 / Playa Sur), can be purchased at the Angela Peralta Theater ticket office, the ticket kiosk at Plaza Machado or the kiosk at the Gran Plaza Mall.
Filled with music, dancing and wonderful food, this is a Carnival event not to be missed -- unless you need to be at the Carnival King Coronation, which is held pretty much at the same time...
Schedule of 2018 Carnaval Events
Click here to download a free updated 2018 Mazatlan Carnaval events schedule!
Carnival King Coronation... Floral Games...
Carnival Queen Coronation... Bad Mood Burning...
Naval Combat Fireworks... Inaugural Parade...
Children's Dance... Child Queen Coronation...
Festival of Lights Fireworks...Final Parade...
2018 King of Joy (Rey de la Alegria) Coronation / Upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Thursday February 8, 2018 (7:30pm)
Malecon, Paseo Clausen / Free!
While most people think of carnival in Mazatlan as beginning on Friday, the festivities actually start on Thursday.
All day Thursday the 8th the Muestra Gastronómica -- food fest -- will be underway in Plaza Machado, and after dark the King of Joy will be crowned on the Malecon overlooking the Sea of Cortez between the Deer Monument and Casa del Marino.
Rey de la Alegria, the King of Joy, is the modern name for the El Rey Feo, the Ugly King.
All the way back to the first official Mazatlan carnivals in 1898 and 1899, this carnaval character was El Rey Feo. In a strikingly modern attempt at politically correct speech he was re-named the King of Joy in 1965. To some degree the re-branding didn't really stick: many older Mazatlecos still refer to him as Rey Feo...
The candidates for 2018 Mazatlan King of Joy are Fabián Ernesto Maldonado Cázares, César Tulio Martínez Tirado and Radamés.
The Mazatlan King's coronation is always a Banda Bash, and this year the crowd will be entertained by La Banda Carnaval! Let the street party begin!
Video of the crowining of the 2014 Mazatlan
Concert and Coronation of the Queen of Juegos Florales (Floral Games) / Upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Friday February 9, 2018 (8:30pm)
Estadio Teodoro Mariscal - Venados Stadium / 150 - 1,500 pesos
The big carnival concert -- and coronation of the Mazatlan Juegos Florales Queen -- is staged in the Mazatlan Venados baseball stadium.
Juegos Florales ("Floral Games") is always a well-attended event that centers on literature and culture.
Awards are given to contestants who have written the best "flowery verse", the top prize being the prestigious Clemencia Isaura Poetry Award, a nearly 70 year tradition of honoring the best unpublished work from anywhere in Mexico.
The Floral Games event is also where the Mazatlan Prize for the best literary work published in Mexico during the year that precedes the feast is delivered within the framework of the celebrations of Carnival.
This literary award has gained great prestige within Mexico and internationally, with winners including well-known writers such as Ricardo Garibay, Elena Poniatowska, Hector Aguilar Camin, Juan Villoro and Jorge Volpi.
A concert caps the evening of entertainment at the Floral Games, and this year it will be the Latin American sensations Il Divo!
Visit the 2018 Mazatlan Floral Games: it is a beautiful evening, and a highly recommended way to begin Carnaval!
Crowning of the Queen of the 2017 Mazatlan Juegos Florales video
2018 Reina del Carnavál (Carnival Queen) Coronation / Stadium Event / Upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Saturday February 10, 2018 (6:30pm)
Estadio Teodoro Mariscal / 200 - 2,800 pesos
Carnaval Saturday evening festivities begin with the coronation of the Carnaval Queen at the Estadio Teodoro Mariscal / Venados Baseball Stadium.
The strikingly beautiful Viviana Carolina Avena Valdez was chosen 2017 Mazatlan Carnaval Queen, and reigns until the 2018 Queen is crowned! A truly joyous event, it is well worth going to the stadium and experiencing the coronation for yourself.
The candidates for Carnival Queen in 2018 are Ana Paola Beltrán, Sofía Briseño, Daniela López Caballero, Gabriela Lizbeth Cristerna Díaz, Jessica Margarita López Salazar, Alexa Méndez Sarabia, Mayrim Morales Miramontes, Elsie Alejandra Muzquiz, Paola Estefanía Nordahl Macías, Brisia Carolina Tirado Martínez and Alejandra del Rosario Tirado Tirado.
Video of the crowining of the 2017 Mazatlan
This carnival event traditionally includes a concert performance by a major Latin musical artist or group, and this year it will be the Latin American superstar Miguel Bosé!
Go to the stadium and watch the 2018 Mazatlan Carnaval Queen -- Reina del Carnavál -- receive her crown! Big-time fun!
(Quema del Mal Humor)
Traditional Public Event / Upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Saturday February 10, 2018 (8pm)
Olas Altas Malecon / Free!
A traditional annual Mazatlan Carnaval ritual, the climax of Quema del Mal Humor (Bad Mood Burning) is the incineration of a giant puppet.
Sometimes modeled after an unpopular public figure, sometimes just someone famous, the effigy is hanged and burned -- think massive exploding flaming piñata on steroids.
It is believed that this ritual banishes ill-feeling from Mazatlan.
Quema del Mal Humor / Bad Mood Burning takes place Saturday night of Carnival Week after dark on the Malecon at Olas Altas Beach. The event is very festive and very well attended.
This is a really fun Carnival event: in both 2016 and 2017 the manigote burned at the Mazatlan Carnival was of now United States President Donald Trump...
Video of Bad Mood Burning / Quema del Mal Humor
Fireworks at Olas Altas Beach / Upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Saturday February 10, 2018 (10:30pm)
Olas Altas Malecon / Free along the Malecon!
This fireworks show is a dramatization of the defense of Mazatlan during the French Colonial invasion of 1864.
The pyrotechnics and sounds evoke the cannon fire exchanged during the battle with the French warship La Cordeliere and the British war sloop Charybdis.
Traditional fireworks are now joined by the effects generated by light and laser shows, and this Mazatlan Carnaval fireworks show is arguably the most popular event staged at Olas Altas Beach during carnival.
Video of Combate Naval / Naval Combat fireworks display in Mazatlan 2016
(Primer Desfile de Carnaval)
Parade up the Malecon / Upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Sunday February 11, 2018 (5:30pm)
Olas Altas Beach to Valentino's / Free!
Arguably the most iconic and universally anticipated event within any Mazatlan Carnaval calendar, the Inaugural Parade -- sometimes referred to as carriage float parade -- that is held on Sunday is at the top of every list of recommended carnival attractions.
The Malecon between the Fisherman's Monument and Valentino's is transformed by the ocean of revelers that line the waterfront.
This parade is northbound starting at the Fisherman's Monument. Its sister parade on Tuesday flows south and returns the carriage floats to the Centro Historico.
Time-lapse video of the Carnaval 2012 Inaugural Parade! Very Cool!
Children's Dance Party and Contest / Upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Monday February 12, 2018 (10:00am)
Salón Espectaculare / Avenida Camaron Sabalo
What could be more adorable that little children dancing? The Baile Infantil on the morning of the coronation of the Child Queen provides that in spades!
Held at Salón Espectaculare on Camaron Sabalo, this annual event is packed with Mazatlecan children enthusiastically dancing to the delight of family and friends.
Lots of prizes are awarded and the creativity of the costumes and choreography is amazing!
Coronation Stadium Event / Upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Monday February 12, 2018 (6:30pm)
Estadio Teodoro Mariscal - Venados Stadium / 150 - 750 pesos
The Child Queen (Reina Infantil) is an important part of carnival in Mazatlan, and her coronation is one big party suitable...for...a...queen!
The tradition of a Child Queen of the Mazatlan Carnival dates from 1921, and the modern child queen coronation is staged at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal (Venados Baseball Stadium).
This year musical entertainment will be provided by the group CD9, one of the most popular bands in Mexico!
The candidates for 2018 Mazatlan Child Queen (Reina Infantil) are Camila, Gretel and Shuleyka.
(Festival de la Luz)
Fireworks along the Malecon / Upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Monday February 12, 2018 (10pm)
Avenida del Mar / Free!
The Festival de la Luz fireworks show in Mazatlan is unique.
This massive fireworks display is staged all along Avenida del Mar, and draws uncountable numbers of spectators.
The Festival of Lights fireworks in Mazatlan are only rivaled by Rio, New Orleans and Veracruz for the scale and impact of the fireworks display!
(Segundo Desfile de Carnaval)
Parade down the Malecon / Upcoming 2018 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Tuesday February 13, 2018 (4:30pm)
Starts at the Aquarium and proceeds south along the Malecon / Free!
The closing parade marks the beginning of the end of the Mazatlan carnival.
Segundo Desfile de Carnaval -- the second and final parade of the Carnaval season -- flows along the Malecon from the Centro Histórico all the way north to Valentinos.
Far from a time of sadness, this last evening of revelry matches anything that preceded it, and the party continues long into the night!
Video of a 2015 Mazatlan Carnaval parade
• A large portion of the concerts and musical events at carnival take place on the Malecon at Olas Altas beach and in the Centro Historico adjacent to it.
Carnival 2017 featured over twenty bands playing nightly throughout carnaval week from 6pm until 4am!
• Tickets for major Mazatlan Carnival events are purchased at the Angela Peralta ticket office -- even the events in Estadio Teodoro Mariscal / Venados Stadium -- after New Year.
Angela Peralta Theater box office hours are from 9am until 3pm and 5pm to 7pm. A ticket kiosk outside the theater at the edge of Plaza Machado is open from 10am until 1pm and 3pm to 8pm.
Carnaval tickets are also available at kiosk in La Gran Plaza from 11am to 8pm every day after New Year.
• Spectacular fireworks play a big part in Mazatlan Carnival celebrations, with the two largest being staged on the Saturday night of carnival (Combate Naval) and Monday night (Festival de la Luz).
In recent years the traditional fireworks shows have been augmented with modern technology -- lights and lasers -- as well as music.
• No person is more central to Carnaval in Mazatlan than the Queen.
The first two Mazatlan carnivals -- 1898 and 1899 -- were presided over by an Ugly King (Rey Feo), a buffoon-like character. But that changed permanently in 1900 when a lovely North American named Wilfrida Farmer became the first Queen of Carnaval.
The beautiful Queen is now paired with Rey de la Alegría (King of Joy -- Rey Feo was re-named in 1965) who remains a part of the festival but is certainly not its superstar!
• Early parades were simple affairs -- people on bicycles, some costumes, some acoustic music. The modern Mazatlan Carnival parade is far from that, and incorporates all manner of sound systems, lights, costuming and glitter.
Parades are a very big part of Carnaval in Mazatlan -- as they are for carnival celebrations throughout the world -- and the floats, dancers and marchers in Mazatlan are world-class.
Carnival in Mazatlan is without a doubt one of the most vibrant celebrations in Mexico, and well-worth a trip to Mazatlan. Visit the 2018 Mazatlan Carnaval, experience the excitement and form memories that you will hold dear for the rest of your life!
The tradition of mid-winter festivals in Mazatlan is as old as the city itself, with masquerades and feasts referenced in histories that date from the time of the earliest setters in the early 1800s.
It is suggested by some historians that these festivals originally reflected the traditions of the indigenous population -- with some Spanish influence, much like the melding of early religeous practices. These celebrations are noted as early as 1823, immediately after Mexico became an independent nation and our port became even more open to international commerce.
Though "Carnaval" was noted in Mazatlan as early as 1848 -- it was mentioned in the Mazatlan newspaper La Lechuza -- it wasn’t until 50 years later than the event took its present form as a week-long multi-event blow-out complete with parades, floats, social events and an official King and Queen.
The very end of the 1800s -- 1898 to be exact -- marks when Mazatlan officially embraced the Mardi Gras tradition of Carnival, and there has been no turning back from this massive annual public party!
History notes that the early Mazatlan Carnivals -- pre 1898 -- were informal and often somewhat vulgar.
Women threw flour and hollow eggshells (cascarones) filled with glitter, and men responding by tossing ashes and dyes at the women.
These earliest Mazatlan Carnavals also included mock battles where rival groups -- dock workers and market workers -- shouted insults and taunts and threw rocks at eachother.
But in 1898 civic leaders headed by Dr. Martiniano Carvajal and a committee with an international flavor -- it supposedly included an Irishman, a German, a Spaniard and an Italian -- organized a parade made up of carriages and bicycles "to eradicate the immoral flour and replace it with the pure and more restrained confetti."
The event was focused within Plaza Machado and the nearby Centro Historico streets, but rapidly carnival spilled out of the Centro Historico and spread north from Olas Altas Beach up Paseo Claussen.
Modern Mazatlan Carnavals have themes that serve to unify the appearance of the floats, dancers and other performers. The tradition of a carnival theme dates from 1943, when Mexico had just joined the allied side in WWII after German submarines had sunk Mexican ships. Mazatlan decided to create a theme for the 1943 carnival that expressed the hope of victory: "El Carnaval de la Victoria" - The Carnival of Victory.
In 1962 the concept of a carnival theme became official, and each Mazatlan Carnaval since has had an official theme, the 2018 theme being Patasalada: El circo de los talentos.
The parades and events of the modern Mazatlan Carnaval now stretch north of the Golden Zone and into neighborhoods inland from the Malecon and, while todays Carnaval may not involve tossing flour, it is hardly restrained!
Mardi Gras in Mazatlan is one of the biggest and best bashes anywhere in the Americas that sees thousands of costumed revellers thronging the Malecon and beaches.
The modern Mazatlan Carnaval combines the best of the history of traditional carnivals with the excitement of modern technology -- each evening of Carnival Week the Malecon, Olas Altas Beach and the Centro Historico become the perfect stage for this singing and dancing Bacchanalia, with parades, outdoor concerts, fireworks, sound and light shows and beer for everyone stretching farther north than the eye can see!