An amazing open-air museum provides artifacts and clues to Mexico´s ancient roots. Most museums hang their paintings on the walls and you can view them in air-conditioned
comfort, perhaps stopping for a coffee in the restaurant. Now imagine a dramatically different setting. Get rid of air-conditioning and bring in some breeze from the sea. Natural sunlight provides better illumination than electricity. Put the ancient sculptural masterpieces on the floor; even better: knock down the walls! Welcome to Las Labradas, an archeological zone that nature and fortune turned it into the biggest open-air museum in Mexico.
This indigenous ceremonial center is home to one of the finest collections of carved stones in the country -some dating back as far as 1,500 years- and is located right on the beach of San Ignacio in the community of La Chicayota and the fishing village of Barras de Piaxtia, about 45 minutes north of Mazatlan.
For better or worse, the sea has been a constant companion to these stones. Amazingly, natural erosion hasn’t been aggressive enough to erase the relics. You will easily recognize many symbols such hands and some animals, but experts are still trying to decode many of the ancient spirals and graphics.
There is a small and rudimentary museum where you can learn about the origins of this civilization thanks to research done by the National Institute of Anthropology and History to preserve these invaluable artifacts. Ask at your hotel or the tourist office about tours, most of which take about four hours.