Carnaval 2021 – Thursday Feb. 11 to Tuesday Feb. 16


On November 5, the mayor announced he would consult with a committee who represent all the people of Mazatlan on Sunday November 29 – “what the people say will be followed…if the people say “no” there will be no Carnaval…the people rule, that’s our line.”

On October 22, 2020 in Mazatlan, Mazatlan’s mayor, Luis Guillermo “El Quimico” Benitez Torres, announced that “as long as the trend of Covid-19 continues, there will be a Carnaval – but there will probably NOT be the two parades. Everyone is working on the health protocols but we want the economic activities of the port to continue without endangering the health of the people. The mayor also commented that up to 20,000 people COULD BE allowed into the Olas Altas party.” 

On October 13,2020 in Culiacan, Mazatlan’s mayor, Luis Guillermo “El Quimico” Benitez Torres, announced Carnaval 2021 will proceed with many more restrictions than in previous years – “if things stay the same” – re Covid.

On August 15, 2020, Mazatlan’s mayor, Luis Guillermo “El Quimico” Benitez Torres, while announcing the 2021 Carnaval theme – also made this statement:

“If conditions aren’t favorable next February to host maximum party, it will have to be cancelled to avoid risks. However, as many know, these events have to be organized according to the times. The organization of the Mazatlan International Carnaval is great, it requires the work and planning of many people behind it, and regardless of whether it takes place or not, it has to be planned. Imagine that in February 2021 the conditions are good to develop the party, but we don’t plan it; we will have missed the great opportunity to celebrate our maximum party, and with this, one more fall in the economy of Mazatlan.” [English translation by anon.]

Because of the Coronavirus, it’s doubtful Mazatlan will have the same number of people as Cultura reported in 2019 – 680,000 people for the Sunday parade [30 floats], 340,000 for the Tuesday parade and approximately 25,000 for each event at the baseball stadium – you may want to be aware of the dates to either stay- at- home, or join the party. For the past three years the street fiesta has been free on Olas Altas; it’s always very, very crowded and you are pushed along in a trough of people – 196,000 Cultura said in 2019. Social distancing? 45,000 free tickets to headliner events in the baseball stadium were distributed to people who lined-up in various places for hours in 2019 – will that happen again?

So much depends on Covid-19, but let’s move onto what we do know. It’s the 123rd year of Carnaval. The theme is Lanao: Un viaje por el tiempo – loosely translated it means a voyage through time. Lanao is a nod to the ship La Nao which sailed for 250 years, starting in 1565, between Mexico, The Philippines and Spain. It was the longest commercial shipping route in the world and the last voyage set sail from Acapulco to Manila [taking about five months] in 1815.


The subtheme is an imaginary girl called Clocki who represents the steampunk culture.Steampunk fashion is a subgenre of the steampunk movement in science fiction. It is a mixture of the Victorian era’s romantic view of science in literature and elements from the Industrial Revolution in Europe during the 1800s.The fashion is designed with a post-apocalyptic era in mind. Steampunk fashion consists of clothing, hairstyling, jewelry, body modification and make-up. More modern ideals of steampunk can include t-shirts with a variety of designs or the humble jeans being accessorized with belts and gun holsters.” [source Wikipedia.]

I don’t think young women wanting to be a Carnaval queen will wear steampunk costumes… but if they wish to be queen the rules are: born in Mazatlan or lived in Mazatlan for three years, can’t be a mother, nor pregnant, nor married and they must be between the ages of 17 – 24 on the day of the election. There are six to 12 candidates vying for the crown; four candidates for “child queen”, reina infantil and four for king, rey de la alegria. Obtaining votes costs a lot of pesos, and families will be reluctant to spend the money if a decision about Carnaval 2021 has not been made by November.

If Carnaval is a go the events will follow the pattern of previous years. The prices are from 2019 as are the free tickets – but that could easily change. It’s for budget purposes only.

Friday February 12:Coronation pageant for Queen of the flowergames/Coronación Reina de los Juegos Florales. Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium[now sometimes referred to as Casa de los Venados] 8:30 p.m. Headliner tbc. Price by zone: $900 to $2,100 – rest of the stadium [approx.10,000 seats] will be free with a ticket.

Saturday February 13:Coronation pageant for the Queen of Carnaval/Coronación de la Reina del Carnaval.  Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium, 6:00 p.m. Headliner tbc.Price by zone, $900 – $2,1000 – rest of the stadium[approx. 10,000 seats] will be free with ticket.

Saturday February 13: Burning of the Bad Humour/Quema del mal humor; Organizers usually choose a person but in 2019 it was the Coronavirus! Let’s burn it again and again.The smallish parade begins at 8:30 p.m. on Zaragoza and Aquiles Serdan and ends with “the burning” in front of the deer monument [on Olas Altas at the Shrimp Bucket] 9:30 p.m. free.

Saturday February 13: Combate Naval/ Naval battle fought on the water (and the shore) with fireworks that will be launched again on Olas Altas at around 11 p.m. It’s never too early to start thinking about reserving your viewing spot with friends in high places [mostly condos and houses in this area]. These choreographed fireworks to music are not to be missed. Free. [2019 used 150 drones, 300 kilos of fireworks and 98,000 people watched.]

Sunday February 14: First Carnaval Parade/Primer Desfile de Carnaval, starts around 5:00 p.m. and it begins at the Parque Ciudades Hermanas [Zaragoza and the Malecon] then along to Fisherman’s Monument/Monumento al Pescador and goes north to Valentino’s on Rafael Buelna. Themed floats and loads of live music. In 2019 is was an 8k-long parade. Unlike any other parade you have ever seen – party like a Mazatleco! Free. The route with approximate times: 5:30, Av. Rotarismo; 6, Hotel de Cima; 7, Lola Beltrán; 7:30 Hotel de Sol; 7:45 Tourism; 8, El Toro Bravo; 8:30 Valentino’s.

Monday February 15 :Children’s Costume Ball/Baile Infantil, Salón Spectaculare, 10:00 a.m., on Av. Camaron Sabalo in front of the Hotel Quijote Inn.

Monday February 15: Coronation of the Child Queen of Carnaval/Coronación de la Reina Infantil: Baseball Stadium, Estadio Teodoro Mariscal. 6 p.m.Headliner is tbc. Price by zone – $900 – $2,600 – rest of the stadium [ approx.10,000 seats] will be free with ticket.

Tuesday February :Second Carnaval Parade/Segundo Desfile de Carnaval, 4:00 p.m. from the Aquarium south along the Malecon to Miguel Aleman. It’s a mini version of the Sunday parade, but still has many of the fabulous floats. The route and the approximate times: 4:30, Av. de los Deportes; 5, Lola Beltrán; 5:45, Hotel de Cima; 6, Hotel Plaza Marina; 7:15, Av. Zaragoza; and then along around 7:35 Olas Altas. The parade is followed with lots of live music that usually starts at 10 p.m. on Paseo Claussen.