Photographing Mazatlán, Mexico

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It’s been a few months now since I visited Mexico, and I have tons of images of Mazatlán, the coastal town on my last trip there.

It was the kind of place that I think I will have many stories to tell for a while, and I have worked on a piece where I will tell you even more about the area.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some photos just because when I think about some of my favorite places to photograph recently, France was definitely one of them, as was Dublin, but so was this destination.

I hope that through this images I can bring a bit of the experience to you.

Day trip to El Quelite in Sinaloa

40 minutes out of Mazatlán is the rural town of El Quelite, known for its color buildings and play life and for its traditional and historic feel.



The El Quelite church dates back to the 1800s. It is a pillar of faith in the community, housing a collection of icons and artifacts that honor and celebrate the community’s religious traditions.Mazatlan_girlgonetravelMen from El Quelite play the ancient game of Ulama, where a 7-pound rubber ball is passed along from player to player trying to get it through a hoop without ever using your hands. El Quelite is the last towns to still play the sport.

One of the best restaurants in the area is El Meson de los Laureanos. Not only is the food authentic and delicious, but you are also treated to some fun entertainment. Pictured here a lasso performer with his dancing horse.


El Meson de los Laureanos in El Quelite_girlgonetravelA meat platter looks very different at El Meson de los Laureanos with its choice of stewed goats, pork, and steak. Amazing.

El quelite_girlgonetravelStepping out from behind the camera for a bit to pose with the awesome performers that entertained our group at El Meson.

Having the opportunity to witness the community prepare for El Dia de Los Muertos is incredibly touching. The celebrations take place in two days. On November 1 El Dia de Los Santos is celebrated and it is when the children who have passed are remembered. Their tombstones are decorated with toys and candies among other favorite items that they might have enjoyed. On November 2 is El Dia de Los Muertos. This is when most of the flowers are offered at the tombstones and the largest of the festivity days.

What I saw a day before all of it were family members sweeping the dirt around and off the tombstones. The would hand wash the stone and paint it so that it was as fresh as new. They would even hand paint any letter on the gravestone. In a community such as El Quelite, members come together to make sure that everyone can afford to have a place to rest for their loved ones. It is one of the most moving and emotional experiences I have ever had around this tradition and a beautiful way to honor the ones we have loved and lost.

Dia de Los Muerto_girlgonetravel Dia de Los Muerto_girlgonetravel Dia de Los Muerto_girlgonetraveldia de los muertos_girlgonetravelFlower vendor puts together arrangements to sell for the Dia de Los Muertos.

Las Labradas Petroglyphs

Off the fisherman’s village of Barras de Piaxtla, about an hour or so from Mazatlán, is the beach called Las Labradas and there visitors will see petroglyphs carved along the coastal rocks of the beach. These carvings date as far back as pre-Hispanic times to the Toltec Indians (800-1000 CE). It’s a peaceful place, an archaeological site preserved for exploration and observation, providing moments reflection and serenity.

Las Labradas_girlgonetravel Las Labradas_girlgonetravel

Las Labradas_girlgonetravelPerforming a Pascola dance in worship of the sun god.

Centro Histórico (Old Town)

Old Mazatlán dates back to the 19th century and though there are still signs of years of abandonment, the area has started to prosper from the effects of revitalization. Many restauranteurs, shop owners, and artists have invested in the area with the encouragement and some support from the local government. It has become a popular meeting destination for festivities, cultural events, and casual social gatherings. Still, it’s a wonderful area to walk through as old clashes with a refurbished newness that honors to support the history and culture of the city.


Mazatlan_girlgonetravel Mazatlan_girlgonetravel

Mazatlan_girlgonetravelThere are a few wonderful galleries in the area owned by artists committed to the area and the community it serves.

DSC03525Basilica Inmaculada_Mazatlan_girlgonetravel

The Basilica de la Inmaculada Concepcion, completed in 1899, sits in the center of Old Mazatlán and is often called The Pearl of the Pacific.

Mazatlan_girlgonetravelOld Mazatlán has become a favorite place for locals and visitors to take in some of the best of what the culture has to offer.

Olas Altas Mazatlan_girlgonetravelMazatlan_girlgonetravelOlas Altas (tall waves) beach, a favorite for surfing, is next to the historic center and one of the perfect spots to watch the sunset.

Mazatlan_girlgonetravel Mazatlan_girlgonetravelMazatlán is the shrimp capital of the world thus a visit to the shrimp market, if only to see how massive they are, is a must.

I loved the people, the food, the views and all the fun Mazatlán has to offer. My heart goes out in thanks to all the wonderful people who shared their country and traditions with me, and more so, let me capture it to share with you. You can see more faces and smiles from my trips in “Friendship and a smile“. To read the stories behind the two photographs below, please check them out on my Instagram.

Mazatlan_girlgonetravel Mazatlan_girlgonetravel

All photography is property of Girl Gone Travel and may not be used without direct consent of the publisher.

Disclosure: I was invited as a guest of Mazatlan, Mexico tourism for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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4 Responses to Photographing Mazatlán, Mexico

  1. Shana says:

    Beautiful photographs! I've travelled to many places throughout Mexico and thought I'd seen it all: Taxco, Acapulco, Mexico City, Cancun, but you have managed to reignite my desire to go back! Great work!

  2. Beautiful photos! Mazatlan has been getting somewhat of a bad news rap lately – your pictures and post show Mazatlan in a different light :-).
    My recent post New reasons to visit Kauai (Part 1)

    • caincarol says:

      I'm so happy to hear it. I feel like the news loves to sensationalize and focus the negative. Coming from NYC, I have witnessed how that is easily done to the point that it clouds anything positive in the area. So thank you. I'm glad I can offer a different perspective.

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