Venados Island in Mazatlan has nature and vestiges that few know and care for


Its beach, vegetation and Petroglyph tell us that we must take care of them so that they remain there.

Venados Island has two faces. Facing the bay of Mazatlan, a small and peaceful beach, and behind, cliffs that receive the blows of the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Image result for Isla Venados

Climbing its rocky surface, feeling the sun, the wind and the immensity of the sea is just the beginning of an adventure, which in the end, becomes a lesson in environmental education.

After reaching the top, 178 meters high, nothing is the same; The perception of those who dare to know the insula closely changes.

At the beginning of the summer, the white flowers of the plumeria form spots that stand out among the thorny forest, thickets, and grasslands, which with the first rains have turned green.

Salvador Herrera, a well-known environmental photographer, guides the group’s steps. He knows where to step on and where the air currents pass; At this point, everyone stops, refreshes and drinks water. Then follow the path.

Sustainable tourism

The first indication of Salvador is that the flora and fauna of the place must be respected; nothing is touched, the natural state should not be disturbed, just admire.

Nobody leaves trash, not even organic; That is why the peels and seeds of the fruits that are consumed as energy during the journey are stored in the bags and backpacks of those who accompany them.

On the march, visitors learn that the terrain that supports them is constituted by volcanic rock and that the Pajaros and Lobos islands, located on the north and south side, are, together with the Deer, habitat of pelicans, seagulls, peregrine falcons, frigates, oystercatchers and herons, among other species of migratory birds.

You have to stop from time to time to catch strength and discover how the landscape changes as you gain height. From above, the beach water looks emerald green and turquoise blue.

Then, Salvador, who gives guidance service with authorization from the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp), shares a dose of history: the islands of the Gulf of California, including those of Mazatlan, were declared World Heritage of Humanity on July 15, 2005.

However, their biological importance had already been recognized by the Mexican government by decreeing them as a protected natural area in 1978.

Aerial view of Isla deer. In the background, the bay of Mazatlan. Photo: Christian Lizárraga.

The top

You must have good physical condition, unquestionable respect for nature and a specialized guide to keep moving forward because the path of steep slopes and stones is dangerous.

From the peak, you can see the entire bay of Mazatlan, its boardwalk and its beaches. From here the changes of the urban physiognomy are better appreciated with the construction of towers that gradually become enormous barriers.

But the island keeps something else for those who have the audacity not to stop.

Rear insular view of Wolves and Deer. Photo: They are Beaches.


With the view of the Pacific, the group continues to advance. Looking down, over cliffs and cliffs, the body dwarfs.

Harness, carabiners and a rope must be used to descend a rocky section that leads to the cave where the bats rest.

Is awesome.

Outside, the ocean; Inside, the sounds of the sea.

Interior of the cave of Isla Venados. Photo: They are Beaches

In the huge rocky slabs that form the cavern, petrogravure can be seen from which no official documentation was found. However, the carved figures are an indication that this place was visited by humans thousands of years ago, says the guide.

The purpose of the visit was to know closely what we could lose if not taken care of, because unfortunately, this site has already been vandalized and damaged with graffiti. Salvador and other environmentalists have given themselves the task of restoring it.

Lack of information

In 2015, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) issued a statement recognizing that the 244 islands and protected areas of the Gulf of California are a natural laboratory to investigate the evolution of species. But not only that, as some of them retain intact traces of the first settlers of Mexico.

Until then, the most studied area was the Espírito Santo island complex, located off the coast of La Paz Bay, in Baja California Sur. There were 127 archaeological sites with traces of human life up to 12,000 years old.

The unexpected

At the entrance of the cave, and above it, there are other smaller cavities, which are entered by climbing stones or making their way with elbows and knees, at ground level.

For a moment, Ulises Balam, a composer of pre-Hispanic music, used his voice, snails, flutes, ocarinas and butterfly cocoons to connect with nature. Then nobody spoke.

Then Salvador’s words make sense: the island must be preserved for its biocultural value.

Cavities Photo: They are Beaches.


Since 2001, Isla Venados has a management plan, however, visits and tourist activities seem to have no control. Internet tours include transportation and food, diving in the reef area and other water activities.

Anyone can travel by boat and spend the day, but not everyone respects the regulation of the nature reserve.

Garbage and outdoor fecalism are constant. The lack of vigilance was demonstrated on Saturday, July 27, when individuals made a celebration in the beach area, leaving waste, food, and furniture in place. 

Visitors leave garbage in the reserve. Photo file.

In our country, the natural reserves are not closed to the tourist activity as long as it is carried out in a sustainable way, such is the case of ecotourism, which in addition to offering unique experiences to the visitor, generates jobs and economic spills in the localities.

On the contrary, the models of expansive tourism generate the degradation of ecosystems with the change of land use in mangroves, dunes, forests or jungles for the construction of infrastructure.

The Strategic Framework for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Natural Areas of Mexico, published in March 2018, recognizes that by exerting greater pressure on coastal environments, coral reefs are also affected by the use of boats, anchors and bad practices of recreational aquatic activities , among other.

Goodbye island

There came a time when cell phones and cameras were set aside; the senses concentrated on the marine environment of the Pajaros, Venados and Lobos islands to record in their memory their stamp and their sounds.

Then came the descent; Little by little, the group dodged the stones soles to avoid falls on the steep slopes, and when arriving at the beach, a fisherman waited in his boat.

Gone are the three islands, as we know them, crowning the bay of Mazatlan, as protective guardians that free us from the currents of the open sea and protect the nests of birds.

It is up to us that these ecosystems are conserved.

Photo: Ulises Balam,


  • Approximate area of ​​54 hectares.
  • Approximate length of 1.8 kilometers and a width that varies from 250 to 700 meters.
  • The average height is 150 meters and in the northeast it has a peak of 178 meters that stands out on its topography.
  • The terrain of the island is constituted by volcanic rock, ancient alluviums and foot of mount.
  • The dominant vegetation in this locality corresponds to the thorny forest.
  • The vascular flora (superior) is represented by 48 families, 111 genera and 126 species.

Source: son playas, Flora of Isla Venados, Mazatlan Bay, Sinaloa, Mexico. Luis Miguel Flores Campaign, Rito Vega Aviña, Daniel Benítez Pardo, Faustino Hernández Álvarez.

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