Located about a third of the way to Culiacán from Mazatlán is the beach site of Las Labradas. The site features hundreds of petroglyphs carved into the rocks on the beach, and is a fascinating day trip from either Culiacán or Mazatlán. If you’re without transportation and want to spend a few $$, you can take the tour from Onca Explorations out of Mazatlán. Strangely, the tour isn’t as popular as one might think, so you might need to round up enough people to meet the minimum (it was four when I did the tour).
This is definitely a trip to make if you find yourself in the area as there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Another MéxiWOW experience!
A train ride from Chihuahua to Los Mochis alone would be a great getaway. Add that train running through México’s Las Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon), a series of canyons four times bigger than the Grand Canyon of the United States, then you’ve got one of the most amazing trips in store for you! Stopping at the adventure park in Divisadero – well, you won’t find another trip in the world anywhere like it!
In July of 2017 I made my adventure plans come true. Instead of paying the price to a tour company, I spent about half the amount by doing it myself. It was a little intimidating at the start, so I started early! Researched El Chepe and the stops that could be made. Decided on the stops I wanted to spend a day or more at and booked hotels. Emailed the El Chepe people and booked the tickets. Booked a flight to El Paso and then bought a bus ticket to Chihuahua. Attached the trip to my usual summer getaway in Mazatlán, and just bought a bus ticket there the morning after arriving in Los Mochis.
Recently there’s been talk about extending El Chepe down to Mazatlán, which would open up my world to great short trips to the canyon. There’s also a new train on the route, Chepe Express, which is ultra-modern and sparkly … but it only goes from Creel to Los Mochis and back. Why they don’t go the extra stop to Chihuahua I don’t know, but I’m assuming you can get off in Creel and then take the other train to Chihuahua if you want.
Located an easy panga ride to the South of Mazatlán proper is La Isla de la Piedra, or Stone Island (not really an island, but rather an isthmus). A beach that runs for miles, excellent food, cold beer, a botanical garden, and expanses of coconut groves await those who pay the price for the panga, a water taxi, to transport them (currently 35 pesos – about $2 usd round trip).
There are two embarcaderos where you can catch a panga to Stone Island. The first, and one used primarily by locals, is next to the Navy yard a little Northeast of the Playa Sur area. Panga’s from this embarcadero will land you near the town in Stone Island, and you’ll either have a hefty walk to get to the beach (one worth doing at least once), or you’ll need to hire transportation to give you a short ride. The second embarcadro, and the one most popular with tourists, is located almost at the end of the ‘Camaron Sabalo’ bus line, next to La Puntilla restaurant. The pangas here will drop you off right at the beach on Stone Island.
Go early. This can be a very popular beach. If the photo above is something you would enjoy, then make sure to get there early in the morning – say around 10 am. Grab yourself a table and chair at one of the local beachfront restaurants and enjoy some botanas and cervezas as you watch the activity build! If you want to see the area, ask your server to point you in the direction of someone renting an ATV. Or you can rent a horse for an hour or two and explore a little more leisurely! Either way, as you travel down the beach, the restaurants and vendors will thin and the coconut groves will appear. Hop off your transportation and enjoy your own private piece of paradise for a while before returning to what’s now probably a fairly busy Stone Island beach.
Hang on to the ticket they give you when you pay your fare to Stone Island. They will want to see it again when you return, but don’t ask for it until you arrive over on the Mazatlán side.
Make your way to the botanical gardens for an hour of visual entertainment (walk down past most of the restaurants until you hit the RV park. Take the street a block to get to the gardens.
Don’t forget sunglasses, a hat, sandals, pesos, and sun block lotion if you intend on straying from the table umbrella’s shade!
Several companies have a Stone Island Tour available for considerably more than you’ll spend if you do it yourself. What you do usually get is an extended sightseeing trip on your boat, and then options for activities once at the beach. Food is generally included, so they park you at a restaurant of their choosing. Doing it this way saves you the first-time worry of planning of how to get to/from Stone Island. This may be an option you want to explore, but keep in mind that it really isn’t necessary.