Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook
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Don your wide-brimmed sombrero, grab a margarita (or lemonade), and get ready to enjoy the best coastal beach town just south of the Tropic of Cancer. Mazatlán is unashamedly touristy but generally more laid-back than other resort towns. And thanks to its history and geography, Mazatlán offers far too many choices for just one day in port.
Mazatlán’s nickname is “Pearl of the Pacific,” which has far more to do with its gracious hospitality than actual pearls. The city is sheltered in a hilly harbor on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Its 13 miles of wide beaches share the spotlight with the best seafood in the country, thanks to a thriving fishing industry. Old Mazatlán downtown has recently been restored to its colonial glory.
Long before the Spanish conquerors arrived, Totorames Indians lived here for centuries—artifacts dating as far back as 10,000 years ago have been found here. In 1531, Nuno de Guzman arrived and the area was named Mazatlán, which means “land of the deer” in the ancient Nahuatl language. Few deer are seen here today, of course. After the Spanish departed with all the gold from the mines, Mazatlán was mostly used as a hiding place by French and English pirates. The pirates were chased out by 1800, thanks to a small presidio with watchtowers in the harbor. The settlement itself was actually pioneered by German immigrants who developed the port for agricultural imports. With a functioning port, trade activity began in earnest, bringing with it disease from other foreigners—Mazatlán survived both yellow fever and cholera plagues. Modern Mazatlán was born in the ‘60s, when tourists discovered its beautiful white sandy beaches and the resort hotels popped up.
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