The Mazatlan islands are located just off the coast of the major tourist of the Zona Dorada and beaches such as Playa Norte and Playa Las Gaviotas. All three of the islands are attractions in their own right, offering various adventures for visitors and different terrains. The Isla de Chivos, or Goat Island, is the least accessible of the three, though it is still reachable, and Isla de Venados and Isla de Pajaros are both popular among visitors, particularly the former.
Although Isla de Venados, which translates to Deer Island, has been designated as a nature reserve, protecting all flora and fauna on the landmass, it is the most commonly visited of the three Mazatlan islands, in addition to being the largest. A variety of tourist-friendly establishments, such as area resorts and private tour companies, offer expeditions and day trips to the Isla de Venados, via amphibious vehicles and boats such as kayaks and canoes.
Once upon Deer Island, visitors can expect to find a variety of landscapes, including secluded beaches, rocky hills, warm water for swimming and sailing, and a charming display of thatched roofs and palm trees along the variety of beaches, where visitors can enjoy a peaceful as well as a fun-filled afternoon. For those intending to visit the Isla de Venados, packing a picnic lunch, and perhaps a dinner, is a wise choice, as the island doesn’t have extensive tourist facilities. The word Mazatlan, itself, is a native word meaning “place of deer, “and thus the name for largest island, Deer Island, is aptly derived.
About a 30 minute boat ride from the mainland is the Isla de Pajaros, or Bird Island, which is an excellent choice for anyone who is in the mood for a bit of bird watching, as it is, unsurprisingly, home to a large selection of birds. Because many of the species that have made homes on the Isla de Pajaros are endangered, special walkways and viewing towers have been constructed for viewing the beautiful creatures. Some of birds found on the island include ducks, flamingos, and pelicans. Vegetation on the island is not at all sparse; on the contrary, the Isla de Pajaros has beautiful plant life, including a lush supply of cacti, orchids, mangroves, bromeliads, a type of beautiful tropical plant native to the area, and ciricotes, another native plant of the tropics.
Goat Island, which is locally known as Isla de Chivos, is the least-explored and least-visited island of the three, as there is no organized transportation or established landing dock to arrive there. A local legend of a pirate shipwreck surrounds the three islands and directly involves the Isla de Chivos, where the sole survivor of the wreck is said to have found refuge, while all others were lost to the sea that night of the accident. As the wreck is said to have occurred on a Thursday, it is superstitiously asserted that one should avoid the islands on any given Thursday to avoid any such accident.
If you’re looking for unique things to do during your vacation in Mazatlan, a trip to the islands is the perfect way to spend a day away from the busy crowds in the Centro Historico and along the beaches. After a day relaxing on Isla de Venados or among the plants on Isla de Pajaros, you’ll be ready to head out on a busy sport fishing trip or face the crowds at the area nightclubs.