Unofficially he's "The Voice" of Mazatlán but officially Ernesto "Ernie" Sanchez is Director of Public Relations for the Mazatlan Hotel Association.

Photo by Mike Richard

The man loves to sing American standards and "spreadin' the news" is what Ernie does best.  Donning the official garb of this tropical destination– shorts and a straw Panama hat– he enthusiastically escorts me through a downtown that's quickly moving into the second phase of a major restoration project.  All this new energy is revitalizing a cultural scene noticeably absent in many other Mexican coastal destinations. Visitors can enjoy opera, ballet and contemporary dance performances as well as charming shops, sidewalk cafes, art galleries, and museums, all within150 square blocks of neoclassical architecture.

In addition to these cultural pleasures, Mazatlán's 16-mile coast boasts a string of resorts that offer a choice of spas, golf courses, fine dining, or just plain relaxation.  If your tastes border on the rustic side, a short ferry ride south to Islas de las Piedras (Stone Island) and surrounding ejidos provides an opportunity to dine like locals on handmade tamales or pozole – a flavorful pork and hominy stew – in laid-back beachside palapas.

My final evening is spent dining al fresco with Ernie under a warm evening sky washed over by tropical breezes. A big-time fan of Sinatra, Ernie's strong, smooth vocal stylings are well suited to channel Frank. The moon danced a tango with Jupiter above; while I listened to Ernie croon the joys of Mazatlán below.

Written by : Steve Smith

Photograph by : Mike Richard

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