Article for Pacific pearl newspaper-Mazatlan March 2017 issue
Spirit of Stone Island – Exploring Chivos Island
T he view of Chivos from the beach on stone island is simply beautiful with its lagoon, beach, old trees, and rocky hilltop. It complements the majestic El Faro Lighthouse that reaches over 500 feet above sea level, making it the highest natural lighthouse in the world, and the tallest in the Americas. A short road on a jetty connects Stone Island to Chivos Island at the mouth of the Port of Mazatlán. Most of the rock and material in the jetty came from the rocky outcropping. Decades ago, the side that faces west toward the El Faro Lighthouse was blasted into pieces and chunks. The material was used for filler and re-enforcements which now make up the access road. Chivos Island is a super fun place to take the family or hang out with friends for an afternoon. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the Isla and one worth taking. The outcropping connected to Stone Island offers some spectacular views as well as hiking, fishing, kayaking, and incredible food. I also enjoy relaxing on the tip of the port while watching ships sail in & out of Mazatlán. Family owned restaurants, including El Restaurante Cerro Los Chivos, line the small beach and face Stone Island. Some excellent seafood and traditional Mexican recipes can be enjoyed there, as well as cold beverages and friendly hospitality. Up until Semana Santa (Easter week) in April, the weekends are the sure times to catch the restaurants open. The busy season on Stone Island and Chivos is during the typical Mexican vacationing months, same as in the US and Canada. Chivos is a perfect place for families, particularly with small children. The calm shallow waters are great for swimming and floating around. No surf to speak of and the sun is always glistening in the lagoon. After cooling off with a swim and enjoying a great meal, a relaxing hike is in order. If you take a short stroll from the Chivos beach to the west, you’re right at the narrow entrance to the port across from El Faro. Stroll to the east and take in the view of the outcropping Cardon and miles of beach that eventually leads to Estrella Del Mar Golf and Condo Resort. If you’re feeling more adventurous, make the climb to the top for one of the best views in Mazatlán. On the trek, you’ll also see some extremely old trees with large entangled roots exposed and gripping the hillside. On the way up, you’ll meet a herd of goats that the island was aptly named for, as chivo is the Spanish word for goat. A hike to the scenic peak of Chivos literally takes a fraction of the time and effort that the El Faro climb entails, yet the panoramic views are somewhat comparable. 15-20 minutes of casual walking and climbing gets you there. Additionally, if you’re chasing a spectacular sunset, you’re sure to get one atop Chivos. Keep in mind, if you are going for the sunset (highly recommended), come on down before it gets too dark, especially if you’re not familiar with the terrain. To get Chivos from Mazatlán, just cross the port at embarcadero Playa Sur and hang a right once you’ve disembarked. If you’re already on Stone Island, walk t o w a r d the port and follow the jetty/road south to the beautiful small Island. Without question, Chivos really offers a great way to spend an afternoon with family or friends while on a visit to Isla de la Piedra. March – Spring Equinox This March 20th at 6:29am is the Spring equinox, which marks a day of (nearly) equal daylight and darkness around the world. One unique way to celebrate the astrological event in the Mazatlán area is at a small local native sweat lodge on Chivos. Traditional sweat lodge activities include meditation, cleansing in the ocean, and other relevant cultural rituals. Interested parties can find more details with a visit to Chivos Island. To inquire, ask for Richard or Magdalena at any of the beach restaurants. TIP: If you visit Chivos and are having a meal, ask for Rocio’s specialty at Cerro Los Chivos Restaurant. Just look for the sign with a “Happy Goat” and grab some shrimp diablo, garlic shrimp, or shrimp zarandeado, all of which are fantastic!