Destination Spotlights Major Restoration, New Convention Center, Resorts and More

MAZATLÁN, Mexico (May 6, 2010) – The Pacific coastal city of Mazatlán continues to thrive, with exciting new offerings for 2010. This tourism hotspot just opened a state-of-the-art convention center and launched a major restoration program throughout its lively Tourism Corridor. World-class resorts and a new championship golf course bring a cosmopolitan flair to Mazatlán’s charming, historic core, while premier sporting events and festivals showcase the

Known as “The Pearl of the Pacific,” Mazatlán is framed by golden-sand beaches that stretch for 16 miles along Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Mazatlan continues to experience steady growth as Mexico’s second largest coastal city. Despite the economic downturn, overall visitation rose to more than 19 million in 2009, an increase of more than four percent over the previous year, marking Mazatlan’s seventh consecutive year of growth.

“With the new convention center, engaging tourism offerings and restoration throughout Old Mazatlan and the Golden Zone, we are confident our beautiful city will continue to be one of Mexico’s most desirable destinations,” says Carlos Berdegue, vice president, Mazatlán Hotel Association and Tourism Board.

Travelers are invited to experience the best of both worlds, from spectacular resorts and beautiful beaches to rich culture, authentic cuisine, eco-adventure and much more.

Revitalization Shines In Golden Zone, Old Mazatlán

Mazatlán moves into the second phase of a landmark restoration project to beautify its Hotel Tourism Corridor. A combined effort by local, state and federal governments, this Revitalization Program Phase II represents a total investment of roughly $5.4 million USD (65 million pesos).

The area of focus for this restoration is the glittering resort district that is home to Mazatlán’s most popular beaches, known as “Zona Dorada,” or the Golden Zone. This corridor sets the stage for many of the destination’s world-renowned events, from international triathlons and bicycle tours to the country’s largest motorcycle parade. New landscaping is in the works, transforming the area with nearly 230 palm trees and lush foliage along the avenue dividers. To further enhance the Golden Zone’s scenic backdrop, the destination is installing underground electrical wiring along the oceanfront promenade. Taking its cue from Old Mazatlán, the Golden Zone initiative will also create a sidewalk lighting system composed of theatrical spotlights, similar to those in the city’s charming Historic District. This theatrical lighting will add a sense of drama and safety along resort district streets.

With the completion of the Golden Zone refurbishment, the destination will turn its attention to its ongoing Historic District Project to reclaim the grandeur and vitality of Old Mazatlán. According to Historic District Trust president Alfredo Gómez Rubio, the project is well underway, with public and private investments reaching $15 million USD (185 million pesos) in 2009. In 2010, the effort is expected to represent an investment of more than $17 million USD (210 million pesos). Included in this year’s Old Mazatlán refurbishment: historic Plazuela Zaragoza – one of three park-lined squares – and the bustling Pino Suárez open-air market, which has operated for 110 years, since 1899.

Centro Histórico was once Mazatlán’s commercial center. Today, local citizens are resurrecting this roughly 180-block area as a cultural and entertainment hub. Old Mazatlán’s 479 national historic buildings include the 135-year-old Angela Peralta theater and the Plaza Machado – where visitors stroll alongside charming shops, sidewalk cafes, art galleries, jazz clubs, museums, contemporary dance studios and neoclassical architecture.

State-Of-The-Art Convention Center

The Mazatlán International Center debuted on November 13, 2009, opening the door for major conventions and events with nearly 154,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Accommodating groups of up to 5,000 attendees, the three-story, state-of-the-art conference center features 95,400 square feet of indoor meeting space, including an 11,600-square-foot Grand Ballroom. An exhibition hall and 17 meeting rooms feature wireless Internet and the latest audio and video technology. Many can be divided into smaller spaces for gatherings of any size and function.

Among the amenities, the Mazatlán International Center houses a business center, dining lounge, retail and commercial areas and full-service catering. The 25-acre complex also offers expansive patios for mingling and outdoor terraces where attendees can enjoy garden views and warm coastal breezes. The center’s four-tier parking garage can accommodate up to 466 cars and 26 coaches, and is accessed easily from the Mezzanine-level sky bridge.

Located in the heart of the city’s Tourism Corridor minutes from Golden Zone, the $61 million complex was developed as a main feature of the Marina Mazatlán project. Its modern architectural style evokes sea life, highlighted by the towering 17,222-square-foot Sea of Cortés mural by renowned local artist Ernesto Rios Rocha. Earth-friendly features also minimize environmental impact. Half of the grounds designated as green spaces, and water condensed from the air conditioning system is recycled for outdoor irrigation. . Additionally, the facility’s double-glazed glass façade has special thermal and acoustic properties that dramatically reduce power consumption.

New Development Boosts Offerings

Alongside the Mazatlán International Center, progress continues on the Marina Mazatlán project – at more than 15 square miles, one of the largest urban and tourist developments in Mexico and Latin America. The master plan calls for the addition of new high-rise luxury hotels, residences, gourmet restaurants, world-class spas, shopping and recreational areas. Most recently, the project reached a milestone with the opening of the highly anticipated Marina Mazatlán Golf Course. Designed by David Fleming, the 18-hole course will consist of 6,836 yards. Nine holes are already open, with completion of the remaining nine slated for November 2010.

To accommodate the wealth of visitors in 2010, many of the destination’s premier resorts have  completed numerous additions and upgrades to their facilities. Enhancements range from landscaping and guestroom refurbishments to extensive renovations with high-tech fitness centers, gourmet restaurants, lively bars and more. Recently updated or improved properties include:

•             Playa Mazatlan

•             Holiday Inn

•             Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay

•             El Cid Castilla Beach

•             Riu Emerald Bay

•             Crown Plaza Mazatlan

•             Ramada Resort Mazatlán

•             Las Flores Beach Resort

•             El Cid Marina Beach

•             Azteca Inn

•             Quijote Inn

•             Oceano Palace

•             Luna Palace

•             D’Gala Mazatlán

Speedy Access

Getting to and from Mazatlán is much easier this year, with the opening of newly renovated Terminal A Gates in Mazatlán International Airport. New bus service is also available from the airport, saving groups and individual passengers more than 65 percent on the cost of a regular cab fee to Mazatlan’s Tourism Corridor.

Construction continues on the Durango- Mazatlán Highway Project. Slated for completion in 2012, this massive project will open the door for increased visitation and commerce. The new road, spanning approximately 145 miles, will offer visitors the shortest route between the two cities at two hours and 30 minutes via a series of more than 60 tunnels and bridges.

The crown jewel of this ambitious project is the Baluarte Bridge, El Puente Baluarte. Totaling nearly 3,700 feet (1,124 meters) in length, the bridge will span the Baluarte River Gorge between Concordia and Pueblo Nuevo. Once completed, this massive cable-stayed structure will reach a height of 1,280 feet (390 meters), making it the highest bridge in North America and the second-highest roadway bridge in the world. It will also have the longest span of any North American cable-stayed bridge at 1,706 feet (520 meters). Making their way across the Baluarte Bridge, travelers and locals will experience breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and deep river gorge.

New Tours Showcase Rich Culture, Natural Treasures

Just a short distance from the city, picturesque villages and mining towns offer a glimpse of the region’s rich past amid panoramic views of the Sierra Madre mountains. New for 2010, the colonial town of La Noria will enhance its offerings to accommodate group tours slated to begin later this year. Highlights of La Noria excursions will include historic churches and ranches specializing in handmade pottery and leather goods that are renowned throughout the region. Currently, Mazatlán tour companies offer trips to El Quelite, Copala, Concordia and Cosalá, as well as the mining town of Rosario. In these traditional settings, visitors explore 17th-century artwork, archeological museums, churches and historic sites dating back to the 1500s.

Ecoadventure also abounds, with a variety of tours that showcase the region’s diverse landscape and abundant wildlife. Onca Explorations offers respectful dolphin and whale-watching tours along Mazatlán’s Pacific Coast. Led by a talented team of oceanographers, biologists and naturalists, Onca’s educational excursions promote conservation, while providing up-close glimpses of these gentle animals as they migrate through the coastal waters. Visitors can also enjoy coastal bike rides, hiking tours in the Sierra Madre Mountains and kayak adventures through mangrove–lined coastal flats. At La Hacienda De Los Osuna, explore the 130-year-old Blue Agave tequila distillery and plantation before ziplining through the jungle treetops as part of the Huana Coa Canopy Adventure tour.

Back in Mazatlán, guided walking tours in charming Old Mazatlán reveal authentic Mexico along winding streets, fanciful balconies, iron railings, colorful 19th-century buildings, lush parks and outdoor concert pavilions. Theatrical spotlights illuminate the historic district’s most beloved landmarks, including the Angela Peralta Theater and the tall, twin spires of 19th-century Catedral Basilica de la Inmaculada Concepcion in the heart of town.

About Mazatlán

Mazatlán is located on Mexico’s Pacific Coast at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains. As Mexico’s second largest coastal city, Mazatlán has nearly 600,000 inhabitants. The city is divided into two main areas: Old Mazatlán and Zona Dorada or Golden Zone, with a seven-mile coastal road between the two.  Mazatlán has an international sport-fishing reputation. Sites of interest include: the Angela Peralta Theater, Archeological Museum, Republic Plaza, Ocean Museum, Botanic Garden, San Jose Chapel and the world’s second-tallest lighthouse. Transportation is available via the local “pulmonías” or four-person open-air vehicles that have become a symbol of the city. Visit Mazatlán on the World Wide Web at