What are your favorite beach activities in Mazatlan? Surfing, parasailing or sipping margaritas? How about hunting sea-side petroglyphs? It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when visiting Mazatlan. But at a 45-minute drive north you can find Las Labradas petroglyphs. This location was recognized as an archeological site in 2012.
So why is Las Labradas so special? It is one of the few sites in the northwest of Mexico, where you can find remnants of Prehispanic cultures. In Mexico there are other civilizations like the Olmecs, Aztecs and Mayans that left pyramids and other constructions. However in the northwest of Mexico, most civilizations were semi-nomadic that moved around throughout the year. Las Labradas petroglyphs has over 600 rock carvings on volcanic rock on a remote beach. It's located close to the Tropic of Cancer or Northern Tropic and it's believed to have been a ceremonial site.
Las Labradas is a popular spot for locals twice a year, at spring (March 20-21) and autumn (September 20-21) Equinox. The word 'equinox' comes from the Greeks words 'euqus' equal and 'nox' night, which means that day and night last the same time. In Prehispanice civilizations these dates were celebrated with special festivals. Nowadays it's a tradition to visit archeological sites to recharge your energy. You will find lots of people dressed in white, ceremonial dancers and seasonal specialty food.
Las Labradas is the perfect spot for a beach day, while soaking up history. The location has a small museum with a bi-lingual explanation about the 'Aztatlan' culture who lived in the area between 700-1250 AD. The walking route to the rock carvings is well indicated and it's fun to search the petroglyphs while climbing over the rocks. The site also has bathrooms and showers.
Las Labradas petroglyphs are open from Monday through Thursday from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Entree fee is $ 85 pesos per person. You can drive Las Labradas by taking the tollroad Mazatlan -Culiacan. At kilometer 51 there is a distinct turn to Las Labradas. From the highway it's a three kilometer drive on a dirt road, with signs indicating Las Labradas.
For more things to do in Mazatlan, visit www.flavorteller.com and eat like a local.
Maaike Hoekstra has lived in Mexico for over 15 years. She is passionate about Mexican culture and food. Here are the stories and recipes she finds along the way.