Tenacatita and Barra

Bahía Tenacatita is about twenty-five miles past Chamela, a motor sail easily done in one day. It’s a bigger, very well protected bay that had about 30 boats anchored in it when we arrived. The north end, where most of the boats anchor, has a palapa (palm roofed) restaurant by the estuary mouth and a hotel/resort a short walk to the east along a beautiful sandy beach. The nearest town is La Manzanilla on the south end of the bay. At Tenacatita there is an active morning radio net, afternoon activities including some very competitive bocce ball on the beach or walking on the beach. Occasionally a couple of games of Mexican Train would get played. After the activities, everyone would meet up at the palapa and then head back to their boats. Friday evenings featured the mayor’s raft up for happy hour.

There are boats that spend months at Tenacatita. The water is warm and clear, great swimming and snorkeling can be had, and a trip up the estuary is fun, either for a dinghy trip to see the mangroves or to head out to the raicilla distillery at the point. The bay is also perfect for a day sail and we saw a mother and baby whale while we were out one afternoon.

After about a week in Tenacatita, Bill realized the batteries weren’t fully charging. We have three 80 watt solar panels, and even with running the engine for an hour a day, the charge wouldn’t get above 90 percent. Time for some equalizing. This meant we needed to find a marina and plug into shore power. Equalizing charges at a higher voltage than normal to try to convert the lead sulfate back into lead. The nearest marina is Barra de Navidad, another day sail south.

After a couple of days in the marina, we headed out to the Barra anchorage. Caught a panga into Barra and a combi, a local bus, to Melaque to find an ATM and some groceries. All local transactions are cash, so topping up the funds when you can is important, as not all towns have an ATM. Melaque is larger than Barra and has some decent abarrotes, or small mini markets, and a big grocery store. Most mini markets have a small selection of fresh food, but it’s nice to branch out occasionally from roma tomatoes, poblano peppers, cucumbers, and onions.

Back we went to Tenacatita. Some of the same boats were there, but new boats as well, coming and going from Barra or Zihuatanejo, farther south.

Since there are basically no services near the anchorage, a trip into town is necessary. We walked up to the hotel with Marshall from Tenacity to catch a taxi, about a 45 minute ride. The beach landing at La Manzanilla can be wild so we opted for the calmer, longer road trip version and saw a couple of coatis while heading up the cobble stone road from the hotel. The paved road portion of the trip is under construction. In town, the farmer’s market was on and we recognized many of the same vendors as the market in Barra. Bought a couple of small, colorful tablecloths for the boat, and some groceries.

We all wanted to see the crocodile refuge so off we went.

When we were in the refuge, we heard what sounded like a parade. We got out in time to see the last group of riders go by. It was the beginning of the four day rodeo and this caballero pequeño was horsesitting while his grownup went into the store.
Tenacatita shells from a beach walk.

12 thoughts on “Tenacatita and Barra”

  1. Your post makes me feel so nostalgic! Barra and Tenacatita were two of our favorite stops, and we usually spent a few weeks between the two. We visited the refuge, but I don’t think the distillery was there yet. They were in the process of leveling a delightful village out on the point last time we visited. That may now be the resort you mentioned. I wonder if any of the same boats are around? Do you ever see SV Jake, Overheated, Windward Bound, Third Day, or Gosling? Or MV T.G.Wazoo at marina Mazatlan? We met such great people down there, and we envy you your adventures.
    Marili and Dave
    SV Tamara


    1. I’m glad we are bringing back happy memories. We have talked to Jake, he runs the Amego net on the SSB radio. He is up in Puerto Escondido so we have not run into him yet this year.
      We will have to compare Mexico notes when we are back in Portland this summer.


  2. We liked the bird photos. Glad you are enjoying your winter. We just got back from a cruise. No problems on our boat except rain and lots of wind for the last three days.
    Now back at RV with the dog and two cats .
    I didn’t get to go snorkeling at Roatan because of the rain made the water rough and murky.
    We hired a birding guide in the Yucatán and saw some ruins and 7 new birds for Brad.
    Take care and buy those wheels for your dinghy


    1. Glad your trip went fine. The birds were beautiful. The birds do give you something to look for. Nina has caught the birding bug.
      The dinghy wheels have been added to our growing shopping list for when we are back in Portland this summer.


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