Banderas Bay, Punta de Mita and La Cruz, Nayarit, Mexico

Sunday, March 17, 2013
Nayarit, Mexico

020-45.000 N
105-23.000 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from the crew of the BlueJacket!

I figured that you haven't read enough of my log lately, so I'd publish one more! :-)

WhalesSo, this log covers Banderas bay as well as Punta de Mita and La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (or La Cruz for short). Banderas bay is a huge bay which is about 22 miles across and 19 miles deep. We found the bay full of sea life, including large pods of whales. Within in you'll also find Puerto Vallarta (PV), which is a very popular vacation destination. PV is quite a large town and as a result you'll find all of the amenities and provisioning options that you might want. There are multiple Walmarts, Sam's clubs, a Costco and multiple large grocery stores. In the afternoon, thermal winds regularly produce 15-20 kts winds, so it's a great place to sail. As a result you'll find that many cruisers make this area their home until it gets too warm and they head into the Sea of Cortez.

On the northern tip of the bay you'll find Punta de Mita, which is home to a Four Seasons resort and several other high end resorts. We anchored there twice and after the second time I won't stop there again. Ocean swell wraps around the point and the waves reflect back from the opposite shore, making it a very rolly anchorage. Unless you've got flopper-stopped stabilizers, I wouldn't recommend it. On top of that, the beach landing is surgey, the beach isn't very nice as it is covered with fine stones, there isn't much for provisioning and I'd guess that due to the proximity to the resorts, you end up paying 1.5-2x what you pay elsewhere for the same items. No thank you!

La CruzAbout 17 miles into the bay you'll find the La Cruz (on the left) which is home to the Marina Riviera Nayarit (aka the La Cruz Marina), which is a huge marina with over 340 slips. It's a very nice marina built to US standards. The biggest issue that I had is that depending upon the dock that you're on, you can be a long way from the bathrooms and showers. Also, the water isn't potable, so be sure to make water before coming in.

When we pulled in the marina was full of boats getting ready to make the "puddle jump", which is the passage to the South Pacific with the first stop being made in the Marquesas. There were lots of seminars on how to deal with weather, medical issues, mechanical failures, etc. I was very impressed with the majority of the boats in the marina, but then again, these boats had better be in good shape.

Fish MarketThere's also a lot of other people who have clearly spent a lot of time in the area. I can easily see how you can get "stuck" here as there's constantly things going on. Music at night, dinners, hiking tours, you name it. There's a great fish market there on a daily basis and on Sunday's from 10-2cthere's a huge market with hundreds of vendors with an amazing variety of specialty food items, arts and crafts, music and other good stuff. Plan for all 4 hours as there's so much to see.

We had only planned on spending a week there, but it ended up being close to two weeks. Of course, 4 days of inland travel chewed up a lot of time too. But, it was a very nice place to spend some time.

GarretFor those of you who have followed our adventures on a regular basis know that we took a "couch surfer" along with us when we crossed from the Baja to the mainland. Garret was with us until we got to Punta de Mita. Travel onboard a boat clearly wasn't Garret's cup of tea as he didn't care to have his world swaying back and forth on a constant basis. So, when we got to Punta de Mita, we off loaded his bike and he took off. Sue & I were greatly worried about him as he didn't begin to have the right equipment, funding or training to bike all of the way to Argentina. He didn't even have a map! I wasn't sure that I would ever hear from him again, but just the other day he replied to an e-mail and said that he was in Acapulco and was travelling with a Barcelonan fellow that he had met along the way. Great, we're glad that he's travelling with someone else. That's much safer!

-- Geoff & Sue

For the cruiser:

Even though you're still in Nayarit and should be on Mountain time, the time zone is Central so that it matches that of PV.

Dockage at La Cruz worked out to be $0.30 USD/ft./day with taxes. There are no discounts until you reach a month stay and then it's only about 5%. There are laundry machines at the marina, but you can drop your laundry off in the VIP lounge and it will come back the next day for $22 pesos/Kg + 20 pesos to drop it off at you boat. Alternately you can take it to the laundry next to La Cava restaurant on Camaron and if you get it there early enough, they'll have it done that day for $12 pesos/Kg.

The port captain is located on the N side of the first set of white buildings on the N side of marina just past the boat yard & fuel dock. He spoke good English and clearing in/out was an easy process.

The fish market is located just to the east of the port captains office and they have a lot of extremely fresh fish and shrimp. The market is open every day.

If you walk to the north side of the white set of building which house the port captain, you'll find Todo Vela Mexico, which is a chandlery providing sailing supplies. They had quite a selection, but this isn't a full boating chandlery. You can find them on the web at and their phone number is 322-105-4840.

The VHF cruisers net is on channel 22 at 8:30 PM. A "social net" follows the normal net on channel 23 and is a great way to find out what's going on at various establishments.

There's a magazine called "Vallarta Nautica" which has a ton of great information. The only place that we found this was at Philo's on Delphin. Speaking of Philo's, they have great pizza!

The grocery store next to Philos gets fresh veggies on Tuesday and Fridays at 5 PM.

If you're looking for a great US/Canadian style meat market, check out Carnes del Mundao on Heroe de Nacozari 31 (between Pilpa and Matamoros) in Bucerias. If you contact them by Tuesday, they'll deliver to the marina on Wednesday. Check out their web site at Their phone number is 01-329-298-2115.

We got our hair cut at Mildred's salon in Mezcales. She speaks great English and we both liked our hair cuts. Her cell phone # is 322-111-3585.

For restaurants we liked Frascati's, which had higher end Italian food. We went to the Black Forrest on a Friday night and really enjoyed the Gypsy music. The food was OK. As mentioned earlier, Philo's has great pizza.

Log ID: 2200

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Photos/Video: Photo Album Banderas Bay, NAY, Mexico 

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