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Malecón de Mazatlán

+52 (669) 982-1100

#1 Boutique Hotel in Mazatlan, Mexico

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Your Official Travel Guide of Things to do in Mazatlan.

Mazatlan Revisited: Why Kerouac is Really Mistaken

Sophia Boccard

Maza Tan?
No, it’s pronounced Maza-TLan.
Uh, sure, that’s closer.
Isn’t that an old timeshare town in Mexico?
I didn’t realize we were referred to as a timeshare town, but the short answer is “no.”
Oh, that’s weird, I think my parents used to go there in the ‘80s. Isn’t it dangerous now?
Oh dear…

Often times, a typical conversation with anyone living outside of Mexico asking where Casa Lucila is located consists of them mispronouncing the name of the city or knowing where we are located but not knowing much about the destination. 

mazatlan mexico

There seems to be this misconstrued version of a town that is disproportionately untrue. There’s an illusion of cheapness, and I don’t mean affordable, although it is an inexpensive place to live. Mazatlan seems pigeonholed in a cross between a ‘50s Beat Generation stylized ideology mixed with a town overrun by timeshares, thus giving it an outdated 1980s façade. While the city has maintained this steady and consistent reputation, the city’s historic center has been going through a complete revitalization that began as early as the late 1980s

colonial centro mazatlan

In the spirit of changing the general perception of Mazatlan as a rusted, diluted version that contrasts the ritzy and glamorous destinations, such as Cabo San Lucas, Cancun or Playa del Carmen, we struggle to break through the celebrity-ridden perception of our sister beach towns. We have long been breaking through the shadows of a Beat Generation-stereotype of “a dusty crazy wild city on beautiful Acapulco surfs,” which included drugs, violence and cheap tequila, according to Jack Kerouac in a letter he wrote to Allen Ginsberg in 1952 (Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters). 

mazatlan mexico

Mazatlan is a dynamic city that offers visitors and locals much more than beaches, resorts, cheap alcohol in excess and the (unfortunate) sightings of spring breakers. Those delectations are primarily confined in the Golden Zone, an area with a surplus of all-inclusive resorts providing everything you need without ever leaving the area. However, on the other side of town, the city is rife with a rich history, beautiful colonial streets, a stellar art scene and a vibrant culture that pulsates in the Historic Center. Gone are the days when Mazatlan was once compared to Jack Kerouac’s “Dakar slums (you know Mazatlan is just like an African city, hot and flat right on the surf, no tourists whatever, the wonder spot of the Mexicos really but nobody hardly knows…” (Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters).

plaza machado mazatlan mexico

For the past 25 years, Mazatlan’s Historic Center has gone through a remarkable renaissance. While it’s a city that often gets pushed aside by the seemingly more glamorous and wealthy cities in Mexico, Mazatlan is willing to embrace you and return you a converted traveler – the faithful Mazatleco.