Take a trip downtown in an open-air taxi

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Adventures & tours

Take a pulmonia, one of the city's iconic open-air taxis, to the Plazuela Machado in downtown Mazatlan. These unique vehicles, basically golf carts powered by Volkswagen engines, first rolled out on Mazatlan's streets in 1965 as an alternative to the traditional taxi. The story goes that the rival cab drivers, jealous of the popularity of the new-fangled competition, warned passengers they would catch pneumonia. And the name - pulmonia - stuck.

The Plazuela is especially charming on weekend evenings when musicians serenade at the various outdoor cafes. This 19th-century plaza was a gift from Filipino-born Juan Machado, who made his fortune in commerce and mining. The Plazuela's crowning glory is the beautifully restored Angela Peralta Theater, which often plays host to visiting orchestras or dance troupes. Angela Peralta, known as the "Mexican Nightingale," was a famous opera singer who arrived in Mazatlan in 1883. The diva received a grand welcome and was carried through the streets to her hotel. As legend has it, she sang from the balcony of her hotel to her adoring fans below in the Plazuela. Unfortunately, the soprano died before she was able to perform at the theatre, now named in her honour.