Stone Island is enigmatic; like much of Mazatlán, it’s a space in transition. The open-air truck ride that took us from boat to beach revealed an island full of lush greenery and fecund, fuchsia florals flanking rugged dirt roads, dilapidated shacks, and luxuriously modern homes. Mysterious, quasi-built structures pop up intermittently, begging the question as to whether they’ve been abandoned or if the construction workers are perhaps just taking a siesta. And despite its clear point-of-interest status, Stone Island retains a certain undoneness. There’s something that feels wild about it, as though you’re being granted access to an enclave thousands of others haven’t.
That feeling shifts when you make it to the beach, where the charming palapa restaurant servers speak perfect English and local vendors walk the waterfront selling their wares. But it’s all enjoyable and uniquely memorable. We’re part of a tour – which generally isn’t our speed – but like most things in Mexico, the whole operation is pretty relaxed. You can more or less choose your own adventure, which is where we found our Stone Island sweet spot: not in the guide-sanctioned banana boats, but in the beauty of overgrown foliage, in stolen kisses on the near-uninhabited beach.