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Known as the “Shrimp Capital of the World”, the port of Mazatlan is a vibrant seaside city that was once the recipient of tons of gold and silver mined from the nearby mountains and is today recuperating its status as a beloved Pacific Coast getaway for thousands of travelers from North America. While most of Mexico looks to Spain for its main influences, after the Mexican Revolution the influx of Germans and French into Mazatlan gave this city a bit of a different flair. Germany keeps itself front and center every day in the ice-cold bottles of locally-brewed Pacifico pilsner-style beer that decorate pretty much every table around town.

The city is a historical treasure that by day attracts photographers for its eclectic architecture (don’t miss a visit to the Cathedral) and by night a marvelous crowd of locals and international visitors who enjoy great music, a fine ambiance and even better food. But while the Mazatlan proper is a must for any Mexicophile, there’s no doubt the surrounding towns are

One of the most delightful villages that surround Mazatlan is that of El Quelite, about a half-hour’s drive away. Exquisite restoration work is evident throughout this town that welcomes its visitors with open arms. This place is a veritable treasure house of Mexican tradition, from the shady porticoes of its historic homes, to the red-tiled roofs, the narrow streets and the working farmsteads that offer travelers a hands-on experience of what rural life is all about. There is even an opportunity to witness the ancient ball game of Ulama, similar in a way to what soccer is today, or take a side tour to the nearby Mesa de Cacaxtla, a nature preserve rife with species unique to the area.

El Quelite is also famous for its championship fighting cocks, raised by hand and sent around the country to participate in this exciting sport. The 18th century village boasts a beautiful, simple church adorned with stained glass images of the Virgin brought from Italy and France, as well as a plethora of other religious artworks. The gastronomy of Quelite though, will ensure an unforgettable visit. One has only to experience a plate of homemade carnitas de puerco or a dish of tender quail at the typical and very picturesque Mesón de los Laureanos to want to come back again and again.

Mexico is one of the countries in the SkyMed UNIVERSE: don’t forget to pack your member card along with your sunscreen and walking shoes. Safe travels!

Scenes from a small town… 

(Photography courtesy of SkyMed member Yvon Marier)

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