We escaped from the cruise ship and the tourist traps for a day at Pizza Benji's! After walking 1/4 mile down the street from our port of entry (a friendly tour vendor pointed us in the right direction) we took a water taxi ($2 roundtrip per person) to Stone Island (La isla de Piedra). As soon as we arrived (five minutes) we were greeted by Eli, an incredibly friendly guy originally from San Diego, CA. He steered us away from the touristy, vendor-enriched beaches of Stone Island to his getaway toward the furthest seaside point of the island, where he and his family (all local Mexicans) run a beachside restaurant. It was a short walk (no, you don't need taxi service, we lazy tourists need the exercise and it's much more authentic!).
After spending several days on a cruise ship and one day at a Cabo San Lucas portside beach (BLEEECH!) I thought I had found paradise when we walked up to Pizza Benjis! The beach is a sandy cove, great for children and just floating in the water (bring a raft if you can). Sit under the palm frond palapas or in the open air restaurant. A short walk over the rocks (bring tennis shoes if you want to hike around) and you can watch the waves pummel the rocks, taking you completely off the tourist trap and out of sight from another soul. You can have total privacy with a five minute walk! The hill behind the restaurant is home to goats, which adds to the scenic views of the ocean waves juxtaposed against a rocky cliff covered with native trees, shrubs, flowers and cactus. The bustle and highrises of Mazatlan are completely blocked from your view by the touristed strip of beach, which was across a wide expanse of ocean and comprised of small, sparse 1-2 story hotels and restaurants. It was a truly beautiful and stunning sight! We didn't snorkel, but according to Eli, this is where the snorkel trips drop people off.
Lunch was delicioso (garlic shrimp) and an authentic Mexican meal.
What truly topped off the experience, was this beach is the favored spot of local Mexican families who could drive up and take advantage of several abandoned open-air restaurants and shacks. They brought their bbqs and plastic chairs. Children played in the bay while their parents visited on the shore. I felt like I was in Mexico, not in a tourist trap! There was only one or two other tourist families there besides us. Most of the people around us were locals.
I almost hate to tell people about this place because next time I go, I hope it doesn't change at all. We did go in the off season (July) and I'm sure it's busier with tourists during the high season, which I'm happy for because I want Eli and his family (especially his beautiful new baby girl) to continue to thrive!
FYI Eli, my two teenage kids and I were there on Wednesday, July 14. You were busy so I didn't interrupt you to say goodbye, but THANKS a billion for having such a wonderful place to escape to from Cruise/Tourist hell! My only complain was the music and if you have to play music as requested by other guests, how about some local music? Almost anything but popular rock/ American contemporary. There is so much great music by Mexican artists!
THANKS AGAIN FOR A GREAT TIME!
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