An indigenous tribe inhabited the island of Zapatera and nearby shores before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. Culturally this tribe was well-developed and the island was a sanctuary for them. This resulted in huge quantities of statues, utensils, ceramics, and petroglyphs being left behind by this old civilization. Although many objects were taken away and others were destroyed there is still a very interesting and large collection of petroglyphs present in the area of Sonzapote. These petroglyphs are images that are carved in rock and they are witnesses of the mystical past of the Zapatera Island. Currently, the Sonzapote community offers a walking tour (known as the ‘Trail of the Petroglyphs’) to get to know more about these interesting artifacts.
Sonzapote is managed and inhabited by a small group of families making a living with agricultural activities. They set up a small center to receive tourists (providing lodging and food). The walking tour starts from here and local guides accompany the tourists and show them the large quantity of petroglyphs along the trail. There are also some pre-Columbian statues present in this area (a large part of the extracted statues can be found at the Convento de San Francisco Museum in Granada).
The trail circles around the rural area of the community, in a young forest that also houses the remains of statues and rock carvings in their original locations (it must be noted that no scientific studies has been undertaken as of yet).
This petroglyph-tour takes about 30 minutes, depending on the visitors. The guides ask a voluntary fee of US$2 per person. There are also other interesting activities in this area like climbing the Las Banderas or the Zapatera Hill or fishing with a net.
The easiest way to get the Zapatera Island is by taking a boat from the Asese port in Granada. However, there is no public transportation to the island so the only way to organize this is to rent a private boat. Another way to get there is by contacting the Sonzapote community.