Barra de Navidad is a large bay just 12 NM south of Tenacatita. The town of Melaque in on the north side of the bay and town of Barra de Navidad is on the south side, where the bay enters a large lagoon. The Grand Isla Resort and Marina Puerto de Navidad, where we stayed, is on the South side of the entrance to the lagoon. The wide entrance channel between rock jetties is well marked and has adequate depth, but it shoals up very quickly outside the marked channel. Barra is mainly a tourist town with sport fishing, and reportedly at this time of year the population is 85% Canadian.
We had no difficulty coming in and finding our slip in the marina, where we soon met Pancho, the nearly famous “Boat Guy” of Barra. Everyone we spoke with had nothing but the highest praise for him. We had Pancho and his crew do a complete wash and wax, bottom cleaning and interior cleaning, and soon understood why he is so highly regarded. The boat looked great, inside and out, and the price was right at a fraction of what it would have cost back home.
The marina is attached to the Grand Isla Navidad resort, which has a laundry service, basic showers, a small fitness center, and most importantly, a pool to escape the afternoon heat and humidity. We utilized their showers to preserve our water supply, as the water is not potable there (we don’t have an ultrasonic purifier), and making water in the marina is not wise. We follow the rule of – if the locals don’t drink the water, we don’t either.
There is a regular water taxi service from the resort and marina across to the town of Barra, where there are plenty of restaurants and a regular Thursday market for produce and other provisions.
The resort is not very occupied most of the time, so at times it was a bit eerie until a group of cruisers showed up from Tenacatita. We walked the property and found an entire additional section that appears completely abandoned, although with a small pool still filled and cleaned, and a security guard often on site. We walked very nice brick roads up steep hills to dead ends where further parts of the resort were never developed. As you enter the marina, there is a large structure that was built expecting it would be a casino, but when that was denied (we are not sure by whom), it was abandoned as is. This type of abandoned structure is a common site in the resort areas of Mexico.
A true luxury of the area is the French baker. He comes to the marina in his little boat with fresh croissants and other treats 5 mornings a week. We splurged and also bought a supply of frozen croissants with his careful instructions for preparation and some almond paste to make some even more delicious!
Since we were in Barra for about 3 weeks arranging for parts to diagnose and fix our fuel delivery issues, we took some trips, one to a coffee cooperative in the mountains and several days to Guadalajara. More on those soon. We really enjoyed getting away from the heat, and to some degree, the gringo orientation of the coastal/boating communities.
While in Barra we spent time with several cruisers that we met along the way. There is a pretty well defined circuit down here along the mainland coast, with the main stops being Chamela, Tenacatita, Barra, and for some, Manzanillo, and for fewer, Zihuatanejo. You basically run into the same people wherever you go. We had some nice dinners in town and enjoyed a concert on the Malecon for the annual Sail Fest, which was happening while we were there. The weather was pretty consistent, mostly sunny every day, becoming pretty hot and humid in the afternoon. We fell into a bit of a routine of taking care of tasks in morning, perhaps going into town, then coming back to cool off by the pool and nap in the afternoon, and then maybe back into town for dinner. Honestly, it was not a bad way to pass the time waiting for parts and waiting for the arrival of our friends Park and Carol, who would join us for the last week in February.