Meagan Drillinger
Meagan Drillinger

Sinaloa is ushering in a new year of changes, starting with a new tourism administration. Most recently, the state appointed Oscar Perez Barros as its new secretary of tourism. He replaces Marco Garcia Castro, who becomes a special representative for Sinaloa to the federal government in Mexico City.

Under Perez Barros' new term, the state is gearing up for investments, additions and promotions of new destinations, bringing a more comprehensive travel experience for people who as of now only know, or have heard of, Mazatlan

Enhancements in Mazatlan

"Beyond the recent 'renaissance' of Mazatlan that unveils a restored and enhanced Centro Historico, Malecon, parks, monuments, and more, there are additional improvements that are scheduled to take place," Perez Barros told Travel Weekly.

These enhancements include a new aquarium in Mazatlan; the modernization of the Teodoro Mariscal Stadium, home to Mazatlan's baseball team; the restoration of the old Spanish Fort; and enhanced beach access at seven locations.

Perez Barros also said that Marriott will be introducing a Courtyard by Marriott consisting of a 200-room property and 58 residential units, a total of a $50 million investment. This property is anticipated to be open by December 2019.

A Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott will open, as well, with 160 rooms and an investment of $18 million. This is scheduled to break ground the second half of 2019.

Mazatlan welcomed 65 cruise arrivals from January through October 2018, with 24 more scheduled through the end of the year. "In 2019, it is anticipated that Mazatlan cruise arrivals will jump 50% to 134 cruises," said Perez Barros. Lines will include Carnival, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, Azamara Club Cruises and Phoenix Reisen.

I'm in Mazatlan as part of the 24th Fiesta Amigos event, an annual tourism event that celebrates the preferred partners of the destination, bringing more than 300 tour operators, wholesalers and media. The week is lined up with events to showcase the untapped corners of Mazatlan, as well as the surrounding areas to showcase what will be promoted in the new season.

Outside Mazatlan

Sinaloa is looking to market destinations outside Mazatlan, as well. Perres Barros described a new tourist route, Costa Barrancas, which offers views of the outlying areas beyond the city.

"Explore the Pacific Ocean, the desert and the Sierra Madre as you traverse landscapes through Creel, Divisadero, Culiacan, Las Labradas, Posada Barrancas, Bahuichivo-Cerocahui, El Puerto and Los Mochis." All of this can be explored on the brand-new Chepe Express train, a new rail service originally known for its exploration of Copper Canyon, but will now take visitors through these points of interest surrounding Mazatlan.


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