In picking a path through Mexico this winter, the northbound option had an extra plus in the pro vs con analysis…getting to visit with my friends Contessa and Colin. I’ve been a follower of Contessa’s blog for years. She is yet another example of how my life has been enriched by meeting people through blogging. We first met when I visited the Isla back in 2013, and have kept in touch regularly since, even meeting up in the desert on their way back to Canada.
Contessa not only arranged for me to rent a small studio just one block from the beach, but she also stocked it with two highly sought possessions of any traveler….a supply of Sauvignon Blanc complete with chilled wine glass in the fridge, and a roll of high quality toilet paper. You’re probably not surprised to know which of these is the more precious in Mexico. 😉
Colin and Contessa and their two adorable doxies Carmeh and Caeli travel from BC, Canada each year to winter at the Tres Amigos RV Park on Isla de la Piedra, or “Stone Island.” (Unlike in English, with the Spanish pronunciation of “Isla” the “s” is not silent.) Isla de la Piedra is in close proximity to Old Town Mazatlan, just about a 10 minute “panga” (small boat) ride across the shipping channel. But while they are close in proximity, that’s where the similarities end. Mazatlan is a bustling port filled with traffic, honking horns, and cruise ship crowds. But step onto the panga, and instantly you leave the noise, crowds, and frenetic energy behind.
It takes a while to slow down to match the pace of Life on the Isla. For this reason, I opt to stay a week, thinking I can use some down time from my typical maniacal pace. I figure this will be a good chance to get caught up on the blog, read the yet unopened book that I’ve been carrying around in my backpack for a month, and just chill on the beach.
The Isla is a sleepy little stretch of beach backed by a tiny village where remarkably, you can get just about anything you need. There’s a market that will sell you as little as one egg, or ham by the slice. There’s an old fashioned hardware store with heavily laden shelves of a hodge-podge of dusty parts. A meat and cheese market sells by the kilo. A string of local “feet-in-the-sand” restaurants line the waters edge. And a local woman sells fire roasted chicken and Spanish rice from a 50 gallon drum fire pit on the weekends. Sleepy, yet sustainable.
For the past four winters, Contessa has held an “International Bloggers Conference.” I have been honored to be an attendee at two out of four of the conferences Timing and schedules netted a smaller group this year, with participation from Canada and the US. Let’s just say we had more bottles of wine than we had attendees. 😉 Maria is another Mazatlan friend and blogger from Canada who doesn’t write often, but when she does, it’s from the heart…an intimate look at life in a place she’s called her winter home for almost 10 years. Thanks, Contessa and Colin for your wonderful hospitality in sponsoring the conference! 😉
I quickly learn for such a laid back location as the Isla , I don’t get as much down time as I anticipated. The daily life, as slow as it is, provides endless entertainment. The long, flat, deserted beach offers hours of solitude and beachcombing opportunities. There are friends to visit. A botanical garden to admire. And boat trips back to Mazatlan. There’s kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding to nearby islands, and Las Chivas beach and El Faro to explore. And for those who might not know, stay tuned for the translation of “El Faro…”