Mazatlan to Bahía Banderas

Mazatlan to Bahía Banderas


DATE:18 February – 19 February, 2021
DEPARTURE:Isla Piedra, Mazatlan, Sinaloa
DESTINATION:Bahía Matanchén, Nayarit
DESTINATION LAT/LONG:21°31.254N 105°14.225W
TRIP: 135.1

We headed out of the anchorage alongside Juliet with the overnight passage ahead. This turned out to be a fairly uncomfortable passage, and with just one night, neither of us felt like we got in the rhythm of the sail. The wind was not very cooperative and there was a good deal of motoring. With quite alot of ‘flogging’ of sails in the ‘some wind – no wind’ conditions, we noticed (once we arrived that one of the Batten Cars had broken … later repaired with a bit of JB Weld.

Early morning, in the darkness, with Julian on watch, and Juliet (with LeeAnn at the helm) following, we had an interesting encounter with a large fishing vessel that decided to pass between our two boats. This was unsettling to say the least!

Tired, we were happy to enter the Bay of Matanchén, many palapa bars lining the beach and a few friendly boats at anchor, including Hajime, who we had met in Mazatlán.


This is indeed a pleasant village known for its beach with the second longest surf break in the world, and also its banana bread (go figure!). We gave the rather mellow surf break a miss, but doubled down on the banana bread. We enjoyed a few days at Matanchén, taking a panga jungle tour, and a taxi trip into the San Blas (cue the song … ‘El Muelle de San Blas).

San Blas is also famous for its jejenes (no-see-um biting bugs), and the place lived up to its reputation. Both Colin and LeeAnne suffered from the jejenes. The locals seemed totally used to them, and one explained that they are not there in the summer … that’s when the mosquitos arrive. I guess there is a downside to having the jungle tour swamp close by!

We noticed an interesting method of fishing here. The panga lays out a circular net, then drives at great speed around the net with one of the fishermen banging on the hull, driving the fish into the net. They then pull it in. We’d not seen it before, and it was quite the spectacle, especially right next to the boat in the morning.

La Tovara Jungle Tour


DATE:25 February, 2021
DEPARTURE:Bahía Matanchén
DESTINATION LAT/LONG:21°9.841N 105°13.574W
TRIP: 23nm

Reluctantly, we headed out of Bahía Matanchén making the trip further south. We had been advised where to anchor in Chacala and spent some time figuring out exactly where to go, taking a pass towards the beach and out, only to have swimmers and SUP’ers end up exactly where we intended to anchor. Needless to say we ended up slightly closer to the beach than we had planned.

We set the stern anchor and sat back to enjoy the mariachi bands playing on the beach. (Note: The enjoyment has a limit however, with the sound of the tuba carrying much more loudly than the rest of the music). Chacala is delightful – the bars on the beach are great (Chac Mool), also there is a sough dough bakery that bakes great bread as well as pizzas. There was just enough to see in Chacala and it one of those locations that still feels it is yet to be discovered.


DATE:1 March, 2021
DESTINATION LAT/LONG:20°45.825N 105°30.979W
TRIP: 35nm

Sails up as soon as we were out of the anchorage, and we set the spinnaker for a good part of the way, only taking it down when we were making the turn into Punta de Mita, by which time the famous Banderas Bay ‘afternoon’ winds’ were kicking in nicely.

Colin and I had taken a trip to Punta de Mita on our first visit to Puerto Vallarta and at that time there was liitle here. Now, the majority of the point is taken up with a large resort and golf course, and the small town has been developed. This was our first real taste of being in ‘gringolandia’, and it is a sharp contract to Chacala, Matanchén, or any of the Baja peninsula.

The trip to Punta de Mita was our entry into Banderas Bay, and as Puerto Vallarta was the site of Colin and my first vacation together in January 2001 (20+ years ago), it was special to arrive here in our own boat … If I had ever said to Colin 20 years ago that we’d be coming back to PV in our own boat, I wonder what he’d have said.


DATE:3 March, 2021
DEPARTURE:Punta de Mita
DESTINATION:La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Marina Riviera Nayarit
DESTINATION LAT/LONG:20°44.907N 105°22.839W
TRIP: 12nm

We sailed off the anchor and enjoyed a leisurely sail along the coast, deeper into the Banderas Bay to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, and went into the marina, a popular spot particularly for boats with families, and clearly one of those places you may be tempted to stay a while.

We took a trip over to the very official; port captain and cleared into La Cruz, being informed we had to return to the office and clear out when we headed off to Nuevo Vallarta just a few miles away. The port captain is located adjacent to a very excellent fish market with ‘just caught’ fish straight from the panga dock.

The marina in La Cruz is very well run, with a great community feel, although it did feel to us like we had joined a retirement community in Florida … racket ball in the morning, a talk in the afternoon by the pool, movie night in the amphitheatre, etc. LeeAnne and I did attend a fishing demo, given by Jamie and Curtis from the boat LeeAnn, and LeeAnne also went to a sushi demo, which gave us fodder for a couple of evenings entertainment.

We had ordered a new Mercury 8HP 2-stroke outboard, and hired a car to go collect this from Zaragoza Marine, as well as go to the stores, the likes of which we had not been to in a while.

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is a very pleasant authentic town despite being so close to Puerto Vallarta, full of live music and some good places to eat – we at in La Cocina Económica (at the suggestion of sv Kiri) and had great food cooked by three generations in the back yard of their home.

The Sunday market at the Marina is a real treat, full of interesting artisanal treats and wonderful food (veggie tamales, real french crepes, etc). We also spent an evening with a talk by Sea Shepherd (the Brigitte Bardot was docked at the marina) and watched their film about the work they do in thre Sea of Cortez, particularly to protect the almost extinct Vaquita dolphin.

Being registered for the Banderas Bay Regatta, we pulled out the big genoa, and realizing it needed some repair, took it, and the SailRight, up to the ball courts and effected a quick repair.

Note, there are not many photos of La Cruz … I dropped my phone (again) in the water while testing out the new outboard in the rolly anchorage and making a beeline for a chat with Amos on Midnight Rider.

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