Barra de Navidad….Translation: Christmas sandbar!

The Barra de Navidad area consists of the bay (and neighboring town of Melaque), the laguna, town and is only about 25 miles north of Santiago Bay/Manzanillo which means lots of places to explore and adventure.  We were here both before our visit with Trevor’s mom and Step-dad and after so I thought I would sum up our experiences together ; )  We spent almost all of our time in Barra de Navidad with friends from SV Jake (Jake and Sharon and their cat Issy) and SV Elieen May (Ed and Lori) who we meet both vessels in Puerto Escondido during the summer months in the Sea of Cortez.

Panoramic photo of the laguna we were anchored in. The laguna was basically mud over sand so if you anchor there too long, there is a possibility you could lose your anchor as it sinks down into the mud.
View from the Grand Bay resort at the 10th floor pool!

In the previous post….we mentioned we ran aground coming into the laguna to anchor (opps).  No damage to be had but we were told we had joined the elite club!!! The second time we entered the laguna…we made it with no issues.

The cool thing about the laguna, besides the tricky entrance and exit were the water taxis.  I hav’nt seen a  organized operation like this for a long time!  They monitor channel  23 on the VFH radio, 24 hours a day for rides between the town, the “laguna”, the resort, and golf club.  Both tourists and workers take the taxi and it only costs 30 pesos per person for a round trip.  Maria, who operates one of the water taxi companies even will deliver groceries and water to your boat…all for a reasonable price!

Maria’s water taxi guys chatting while we are being carted back to the laguna.
Here is the water taxi picking up our friends from SV Elieen May (Ed and Lori). They go right up to your boat and hover there….they are very good at what they do!
The water taxi drops you off at docks at town. They basically run up against the dock while you are unloading to keep the boat steady…pretty cool!
Trevor boarding the water taxi in town at the end of the dock… can tell I really liked the taxis!
Slow flight…view from the water taxi

We had been in the laguna for almost a week, waiting for a weather window to head back north to the PV area.  We needed water and were NOT going to make water with our precious water maker with the muddy and murky waters of the laguna…nor were we inclined to “ping pong” our way out and back in the laguna with it’s tricky entrance.  So we called Maria, on a sunday, to schedule a water delivery on Tuesday.

We had 27 (140 Gallons)garaphones of water delivered to our boat….she though we were crazy!
We emptied said 27 garaphones into our water deck fill with a small funnel hand made by Trevor. Let’s just say it was a slow process. Then we had to deliver the empty water jugs to Maria’s brother-in-laws restaurant across the laguna. Here is Trevor who ingeniously fashioned our dinghy with all 27 jugs…and me on aboard! (I did’nt fasten Kimi on board, just the jugs) 
The front view

I didn’t believe when I read it in the cruising guides but it is real…there is a FRENCH BAKER that will deliver delicious french pastries to your boat!  He monitors VHF channel 22 at 8 am to get orders for specific boats for delivery on Thursdays. We ordered 1 baguette, 2 plain croissants.  However, when he arrived he had little cakes/pies as well and Trevor and I could not pass them  up.  So 1 chocolate/ginger cake and 1 orange cake…the French Baker’s favorite!

The menu……
The front of the menu
The french Baker in his panga….he would actually come by on other days besides Thursdays and would ride around the laguna and ring his little bell (twice) when he approaches your boat in case you wanted to purchase something.
He is actually French!

Barra de Navidad…aka “Barra” was one of our favorite spots thus far.  The reason being it was a small enough town that you started to get to know people even after a week (the water taxi guys recognized me and said hello when he was off work drinking a beer), all the provisioning you needed (large grocery stores in Santiago to compliment the small tiendas in the local town of Barra), and the food was amazing and cheap!

One of the main street in Barra. We are off to dinner…somewhere delicious
Ok, let me explain…..This was a guilty pleasure, This guy and his wife were on this corner for the first few nights we ventured out for dinner and yes….I purchased at least a small bag of churros from them. Then they weren’t there….I almost had withdrawls! Then on the last night we were in Barra they were there and Trevor and I bought a huge bag…eat them the next morning for breakfast.
He had a huge bowl (not shown) of dough and would suck the dough into a long tube. Then he would pump out the dough into the hot oil (shown) and let it cook. She would then coat them in sugar and spice, cut it then bag it. 3 churros would be 5 pesos…almost free!


Loco Loco restaurant had PIZZA…Kimi’s favorite food group! The sauvignon blanc was good too!
Meat store….
He is cutting up huge pork chops for us…with a band saw

We had so many meals out it was hard to photograph every one but one place to mention was the “potato place”…. a baked potato with cheese, 3 kinds of meat (or your choice), mushroom, and they would bring out a platter of condiments that included crushed pinapple, different salsas, pico de gallo, and beans.  All of this for 60 pesos…just about $3 USD.

The town of Melaque:  We ventured off on the bus to Melaque.  Here we went to accomplish some provisioning and eat awesome food…again!

Beach palapa where we had lunch and beers looking out to the bay
This is the Hawaii Store… ( I was secretly hoping for some actual Hawaiian food but no such luck.)  It is well known for “gringo” staples and we heard you could find lots of American brands. It was pricy so we didn’t buy much but we were impressed with their selection. 
Here is the Canada Store…it was right across the street from the Hawaii store and I thought it was pretty funny. Nothing in the Canada store represented Canada in any way, shape, or form….hummmmm
Melaque had these great little alley ways that had great food stops with bar seats to sit at and Ed’s favorite meat store.
Meat store…aka carniceria
Ed’s favorite carniceria sold cheddar cheese! It is not quite like the cheddar we are use to in the states. It is white and softer than our orange cheddar but it is the closet thing we have and I love it! I finally talked Trevor into buying a whole wheel of it.
Feet, hooves, and not sure what else..I didn’t have the guts to look into the bag.
Jake and Sharon took all of us to Scooby’s. They had other types of food but we all had the BBQ ribs.
Scooby snack…caesar salad, cole slaw, mashed potatoes and gravy (the gravy is more sweet, like honey), and beef ribs….all for 100 pesos, $5 USD.

Super Bowl, pageants, and “sad monkey”…and a missed opportunity to go to a drag queen show!

Superbowl at Loco Loco restaurant…we couldn’t understand the first bit but then somebody figured out how to get the game in english…thank goodness. Atlanta…we are sorry
Trevor and I were on our way back to the boat one night but saw shiny lights and heard music so we decided to see what was going on….a pageant of sort. Of course we could not understand a word but it seemed like a state pageant as we heard different names of the different towns in the state of Jalisco Mexico.
Lori feeding sad monkey. The story…as I am told…. this monkey use to be part of a circus. We would visit every so often and fed him. Sad monkey did not like citrus fruit as we saw oranges uneaten on the ground. Lori once fed him “not so ripe apples” with honey and sad monkey was very upset with her. He just licked honey off and threw the apple on the ground and swung angrily around the cage.
Sad monkey is a spider monkey and does not have a “thumb”. He does have a padded tail which basically acts as another hand/finger.

We had such a great time reunited with SV Jake and SV Elieen May.  It was a breath of fresh air to just hang out and get shown around the town. Trevor got some really cool stuff from Elieen May as Ed and Lori decided to sell their boat while we were in Barra.  We even meet some of the potential (but crazy) buyers while we were here and we wish them the best of luck on the transition back to Canada and hopefully on a bigger boat!

Thank you Ed, Lori, Jake, and Sharon for showing us such a great time in Barra and we hope to stay in touch.

From left to right: Ed, Jake, Sharon, and Lori

One comment

  1. Barra was one of our favorite stops also-and good to hear the French baker is still there and baking. We loved Santiago Bay and Manzanilla also. Sounds like you are having a fantastic time!
    Paula and Paul s/v Luckydog 2006

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