Stone Island is not really an Island, but does take a boat ride (in a panga) to get to it unless you feel like driving almost to the airport. Featuring a long wide expanse of beach, several inexpensive restaurants and excellent sand, Stone Island is one of those ways to enjoy an afternoon, or a full day, on a budget. This is my favorite beach, as well as a favorite of the locals.
There are four ways to get yourself to Stone Island.
- By car – make your way almost all the way back to the airport, but take the Stone Island turnoff to the right just before you’re at the airport. Not recommended as there really is no reason to drive around Stone Island.
- Tour – There are many tours available that will take you to Stone Island for a day of fun. Some include activities and lunch. Some provide a little tour of the waterways before going over to Stone Island. If you aren’t very adventurous and you don’t mind spending extra pesos, then by all means take a tour. On the other hand, you can make your way over on your own for a lot less than a tour will set you back, especially if you just want to enjoy the beach, have some lunch and a few beers.
- Embarcadero by the Naval Base – the pangas from this embarcadero are used almost exclusively by the locals. While they’re a little cheaper, you’re dropped off in the town on Stone Island and not the beach. It’s a little hike through town to get to the beach. Sometimes you’ll find transportation available to get you from the dock to the beach, sometimes you’ll wind up walking. Recommended only if you want to tour the town. Save your ticket for the return trip, and take the panga from the same dock where you arrived.
- Embarcadero in Playa Sur – the pangas here are the ones used by tourists and will drop you off just a few steps from the beach on Stone Island. 30 pesos for the ride – again, save your ticket as you may need to show it to someone when you return. And be sure to take the panga from the same dock as the one you arrived from as the two services aren’t interchangeable. You can either take a taxi to this embarcadero or ride the Sabalo Centro bus here. It’s the stop at the end of the line just before the bus parks for the driver to take a break, and you’ll want to ask the driver to let you know when you’re at the right place to get off (say, “dime cuando estamos a el embarcadero por la isla de la piedra por favor”). It’s likely that you’ll be the only one on the bus by the time you’re at the stop!