I am very excited that reporters from eight respected national publications will tour Mazatlán and southern Sinaloa from May 7-10, to learn about, report on, and photograph our regional artesanía and artesanos. The tour is coordinated by Turismo Mazatlán and Turismo Sinaloa, as well as by the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of Mazatlán.
If you are regular readers of VidaMaz.com, you know that we are big proponents of culture, particularly the preservation of local, regional and indigenous traditions. We also support sustainable tourism, ecotourism, religious and cultural tourism. Thus, we are extremely happy to know that tourism officials are taking action to help promote “the little guy,” those who add so much to our communities by producing the gorgeous handiwork we enjoy.
Most traditional handicraft is beautiful and also utilitarian. It reflects the culture, the environment, the people, and the daily life of the place where it is made. Preserving it, helping it thrive and develop, creates pathways out of poverty, builds healthy communities, and prevents delinquency and violence. Just look at the increased success, popularity and value of Native American handicrafts and music over our lifetimes, and the improvement in the quality of what is produced! We can create such a success story here in Mexico as well. Sinaloa is smart to diversify beyond heavy eco-footprint industries like cruise ships. Cultural tourism can help preserve our heritage and the gorgeous natural environment with which we are blessed, and it can help build strong, vital, resilient communities. It attracts a more savvy brand of tourist, one that is increasingly wealthier and more committed to the welfare of local communities. Kudos to all involved!
Publications participating in the upcoming tour include my personal favorite, México Desconocido; the Reforma newspaper’s De Viaje supplement; the Destinos section of El Universal; Conceptos Turísticos magazine; Travelers Guide to México; Viaja Bonito magazine; Reportour 98.5 FM; and the magazine, Tiempo Libre.
Here in Mazatlán the group will visit:
- The museum at Seashell City, to view handcrafted items such as lamps, boxes, crosses, Christmas ornaments, and picture frames made of shells.
- Onilikan in the Golden Zone, to savor their fruit-flavored liqueurs and aguardiente, distilled in that gorgeous copper kiln.
- Suaves downtown, makers of the world’s best marshmallows, to meet María Clara and experience the process of creating our much-loved local pride, coconut-flavored marshmallows.
I would like to politely suggest that the group visit a few of our terrific local seamstresses such as Sodelva Rios de Garcia, to showcase our long local tradition of sewing Carnavál costumes and royal dresses. They should also tour some of the terrific art and artisan galleries around town. And even though they won’t be active this time of year, I would recommend the official visit include the talleres/workshops for the carrozas or floats of Carnavál, or at least a slideshow presentation showcasing how important, inclusive and wonderful Carnavál is for our local community, and how many terrific artisans contribute to making it a success. Maybe another trip, so they can see monigotes or giant statues being created as well.
Outside Mazatlán, reporters will visit our neighboring communities including:
- La Noria, where they’ll tour the gorgeous, award-winning Los Osuna distillery as well as visit the leather makers.
- El Tablón Viejo in El Rosario, where they’ll learn about handicrafts made from gourds by the Larreta Medrano family.
- Escuinapa, where they’ll watch barcinas, as in the photo at the top of this post, being made. I would also suggest they visit Ernesto at Productos Rivera, so they can watch the wonders the crafty ladies there do with fresh and dried mango.
- Malpica, Concordia, where they’ll witness mosaic-making.
- El Rodeo, Cosalá, and the traditional method of making conserva de Papaya. The last time we visited El Rodeo, Saboreando Ando was visiting there as well. Click through to see photos and video of the making of the conserva.
If you have not already visited the places above, or if it has been a while, now is a good time to go! The weather is perfect, national tourists have not yet arrived en masse, and local handicrafts-men and -women are eager to earn your patronage!