We headed 280 nm over to Banderas Bay from the Baja and located ourselves in Punta de Mita, the northernmost anchorage in Banderas bay just off a large rocky point. Banderas Bay is a popular sailing area: it is very well protected, stretches 23 miles across, is home to 4 large marinas, and has an amazing assortment of wildlife. Puerta Vallarta, Bucerias, Sayulita are all interesting places to visit and just an easy bus ride away.
We anchored off Punta de Mita for a few days which allowed Josh to hone his surfing skills. He is definitely hooked on surfing! There are lots of surf breaks in Punta de Mita area, the best ones being off the point itself. I enjoyed catching beach break waves off the shore with my boogie board. The town of Punta de Mita is very small, and has the typical contrast between very poor small homes and opulent hotels and tourist homes. The tourists bolster the local economy and the Mexicans happily capitalize on it. It all works! To get internet access we typically pack our computers into the wet/dry bag, make a beach break landing, and pop up to one of the beachside palapa restaurants. You often get free internet if you order something; $12 Canadian, will feed all three of us a simple but delicious lunch including a Pacifico which allows us to catch up on emails etc. One of the things we noticed right away was the climate difference between the Baja and mainland Mexico; you leave a desert and enter a very lush, beautiful, tropic. The humidity was very high when we arrived and the first few nights were definitely an adjustment, very hot, wet and sticky inside the boat and out. Luckily the overcast nights and humidity subsided and most evenings since have been more comfortable.
From Punta de Mita we headed 9 nm south in Banderas Bay to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle where many cruisers spend the entire season. La Cruz is laid back and a little bit more of a town than Punta de Mita. It has lots of cobble stone streets, big shady huanacaxtle trees, everything you need for provisioning including an amazing fish market and an organic farmers market on Sundays. There are a number of Canadians and Americans who have made La Cruz their permanent home and these expats offer services for the cruisers; there is a variety of night life, music, restaurants, and little cafes.
While in La Cruz, you can either anchor out or stay in a very lovely, well looked after marina. We looked forward to connecting with a few more cruisers in La Cruz and decided we would anchor out for awhile and then go into the marina before exiting the area. We met lots of great people and in particularly enjoyed meeting a family from France who had teenaged boys close in age to Josh. Very rare! We all went to Sayulita together to play in the surf and check out the scene. I was shocked to see how much Sayulita had changed over the last nine years since we had been there. It has been on development steroids for nine years! We were there on the 14th of December, still a little early in the tourist season, but it was packed! Lots of young people, every nook and cranny was selling something, many different nationalities are represented by the goods being sold, hustle and bustle, and even young americans were trying to sell you stuff on the beach. Its still very beautiful, and you wouldn’t want for anything in Sayulita …. except for maybe a little bit of laid back simplicity. The boys had a great time in the surf, Josh got to check out the babes on the beach….I think he’ll definitely be back!
After La Cruz we headed back to Punta de Mita as this is a good spot to head out of Banderas Bay, give the Boy some more surf time, possibly snorkel at Las Tres Marietas Islands (just a couple of nm away) then start making our way south for Christmas in Barra de Navidad.