If you prefer to mosey or get a late start, skip the first foray into the Sea of Cortez and sail directly from Cabo to Puerto Vallarta. If you get on the wrong side of an official, he’ll usually get back at you in one of two ways: 1) Make you come back the next day, or 2) Make you fill all the forms out again for some completely insignificant reason. If there was one, it would be based on the Golden Rule and the Caribbean motto: “Take only photos and leave only footprints.”. Insurance. When we left Nicaragua bound for Playas del Coco in Costa Rica, no papagallos w… If you are unable to obtain a ‘tourist card’ in advance, no problemo, they’ll have one at your first port of entry. If you’re unsure of how to evaluate the condition of your hull, thru-hulls, steering system and rudder, propulsion system, mast, rigging, sails and other gear, hire a surveyor. West Coast Sailing is pleased to offer a range of sailing instruments and electronics, including deck compasses from TackTick and Velocitek, handheld VHF radios from Standard Horizon and iCom, tension guages from Loos & Co, plus a full range of complementary mounting brackets, accessories, and more. Part 1. Overtime charges may be assessed for checking in after hours, so wait until they open. Little Isla Partida, just up from La Paz, for example, has more good anchorages than the entire Hawaiian chain. Such a mess will hold in light wind, but as soon as you go to sleep and the breeze comes up, you’ll drag right through the fleet. A good dinghy and outboard combination is expensive, but if you take decent care of it, it should last for five years and still have good resale value. While the climate in Mexico is great for drinking, it’s even better for the healthy outdoor life and getting yourself into better shape than you’ve been in years. It would be a shame if the skipper were to fall overboard in calm conditions and be lost because he/she had neglected to show the rest of the crew how to operate the engine. As such, all our itineraries are based on getting south to Cabo by mid-November. If you’re on the hook out there, they can drive you nuts, because they die the next morning just as you’re ready to go sailing. A couple of years ago, we used Charlie’s Ixtapa / Z-town ‘chartlet’ to make a nighttime approach to Z-town. Cruisers call it the “forgotten coast,” both because it’s off the beaten track that leads to the islands of the South Pacific and because coastal cruisers rarely make it further south than Mexico. Not too many years ago, foreign boats were supposed to leave every six months. Required fields are marked *. There are currently about 70 Americans in Mexican jails because they inadvertently brought guns or bullets into Mexico. Mexico Weather (In Spanish): Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN)  The number of Americans – mariners and non-mariners alike – who are living out their lives in an alcoholic haze in Mexico is tragic. Head ashore and stroll through the cactus forest and enjoy the deserted beach. Hurry down the coast of Baja, have a beer and a shower in Cabo, then hustle up to the islands just north of La Paz. We once recorded 88° at Isla Partida during Thanksgiving. If you have $3,000 to $5,000 to stay in touch, Inmarsat C has always been popular, but it only gives you text. Anchoring etiquette requires that you treat others the way you’d like to be treated – you know, the Golden Rule. Coromuels come up in the middle of the night and blow out of La Paz – and into the normally protected coves of Isla Partida. If you’re going to sail to Mexico, the size of your boat isn’t nearly as important as the quality. The penalties for being caught with even a small amount of pot are severe, and Mexican courts don’t let the accused or their lawyers jive ass their way out of situations the way U.S. courts do. Identification, ID Paperwork and such. Mexico sailing is a blast, and the Pacific coast of Baja Mexico is often overlooked in cruisers’ enthusiasm to get south quick. If we had to guess, we’d say about 50% of the boats cruising Mexico have this kind of insurance. The magazine has a searchable and cross-indexed database of over 3,300 articles and 6,000 photographs, including 550 photo galleries. Approximate Distances in Nautical Miles: San Diego to Turtle Bay: 360 Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria: 240 Bahia Santa Maria to Cabo: 180 Cabo to Frailes: 45 Cabo to La Paz: 148 La Paz to Puerto Escondito (Loreto): 140 Puerto Escondito to Conception Bay: 105 Conception Bay to San Carlos: 80 La Paz to Mazatlan: 230 Cabo to Mazatlan: 200 Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta: 175 Cabo to Puerto Vallarta: 295 Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo: 175 Manzanillo to Z-town: 190 Z-town to Acapulco: 115, Mexican Ports of Entry Ensenada, Baja Cabo San Lucas, Baja Cedros, Baja San Carlos, Baja Loreto, Baja Santa Rosalia, Baja Guaymas, Sonora Topolobamba, Sonora Mazatlan, Sinaloa San Blas, Nayarit Chacala, Nayarit Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Manzanillo, Guerero Zihuatanejo, Guerero Acapulco, Guerero Puerto Angel, Oaxaca Salina Cruz, Oaxaca. Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Monte Alban, Oaxaca Places we visited while Groovy was at Huatulco’s Marina Chahué: An inland jaunt to Oaxaca gives you both a fantastic colonial city experience AND some wonderful ancient Zapotec pyramid ruins. Most cruisers have the option of heading home via Cabo and the ‘Baja Bash’, or sailing to San Carlos and having their boat trucked back to the States. It’s usually no problem going ashore if you check in within 24 hours. Banderas Bay has the most consistent sailing breeze in Mexico. The other insurance to be considered is Mexican liability insurance. First, bring your vessel documentation, passports and ‘tourist cards’ (if you’ve already got them) for all crew, plus five copies of your crew list to Immigration. Iridium satellite phones are now defunct, but Qualcomm-Globalstar has a new satellite system we’ll be testing during the Ha-Ha. Captain White is an avid sailor, water sportsman and outdoors enthusiast who loves paddle boarding and mountain biking. They’re not cheap, so catch lots of fish. Cruising rarely turns out to be how first-timers imagined it. If you’re a woman who enjoys wearing sexy outfits or displaying breast augmentation with a skimpy bathing suit, you won’t have any problems within tourist areas or resort marinas. Before heading south of the border, the skipper and crew should review all the boat’s emergency gear, systems, and engine controls. For a more thorough picture of Mexican weather, check out Capt. Captain White has also served as captain and crew on commercial container ships on the West Coast, oil transport ships in the Gulf of Mexico, and charter boats in Hawaii. Berthing is not cheap in Mexico, so it’s nice that just about everything else is a bargain. To a much greater extent than in the United States, officials will treat you according to the way you dress and behave. Since the rules and habits of local officials differ widely, always ask other cruisers or listen to the local net for the latest clearance procedures. Take two copies of your U.S. Ham license along with two copies of your stamped Tourist Card to: 1071 Calle 16, Libertad (near the intersection of Cajon Azueta and Calle 16); phone: 011-52-668-29500; fax: 011-52-668-23889. True, it’s about 1,400 miles south of San Diego and 780 miles south of Cabo, but few cruisers who’ve gone the distance regret it. Lots of cruisers take a ‘vacation’ from cruising in August and September when it’s so very hot in the Sea of Cortez. Caution: they frequently change. Two winters ago, for instance, we checked out of Cabo for San Diego – then showed up in Mazatlan. Right now, more than 4,000 West Coast recreational boaters — commonly referred to as “yatistas” — are preparing to head south this fall into Mexican waters.From mega-yachts to cruising sailboats to trailerable fishing boats, these vessels and their owners will be members of the Cruising “Class of 2013.” Once you get a receipt for port fees, you may have to go back to Immigration. Is it sane to build a pottery studio in Mexico? Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time exploring Florida’s West Coast … from the Dry Tortugas in the Keys to Tampa Bay. While the sailing winds in Mexico are normally light and benign during the prime cruising season between November and June, there are some notable exceptions. The above six-month itinerary is for those who prefer warmer weather and don’t mind moving smartly for brief spells. You can get one in Tijuana from the Secretaria de Communicationes y Transportes for a fee of $90. Fishing Licenses – Oddly enough, this is the only paperwork you have to take care of before entering Mexico – on the assumption you’ll be carrying any fishing gear onboard. For details on this important issue, see page 130 of Sightings and page 237 of Changes in Latitudes in the September ’98 issue of Latitude 38. Caution: Do not try this behavior in a authentic Mexican cantina. Once in this fine cruising area, kick back into cruising mode and enjoy the area for as long as the water stays warm and the Northers don’t blow. Many cruisers have behaved as though the permit gave them carte blanche to import anything they wanted into Mexico duty free. So can refrigerators working in tropical heat and watermakers trying to filter the high salinity water of the Sea of Cortez. In fact, do yourself a favor and stay out of authentic cantinas. We’d say the first two, at about $15 each, are ‘must buys’ to fully appreciate Mexico. Water Temperatures. I carried Charlie's, the Raines guide, and another, believe it was Cunningham There was conflicting information in all three, way points were off, some way off, and even some anchorages mis named. After spending a month to six weeks in the Z-town / Acapulco region, you should slowly start working your way north, remembering that the great Banderas Bay Regatta for cruisers takes place in late March. However, since the Sea of Cortez pretty much runs north-south for about 550 miles, there is great variation in the effect of Northers and the air temperature. And it can get downright cold when a Norther roars down from the States. There’s not a significant food product you can’t find in Cabo, La Paz, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo or Acapulco. It blows about 15 knots almost every day from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The skipper and crew should practice putting in single and double reefs, preferably at night at sea. There’s nothing like cold beers and lots of fresh water when you’re cruising. Your final stop will be the Port Captain’s Office. Best Sailing Wind. Hey, it’s Mexico! But in between lies another appealing cruising ground—the coasts of California, Oregon, and … Guns and Drugs. America's Other Coast: Cruising the Gulf of Mexico. Gerry Cunningham has authored three guides for the most popular areas of the Sea of Cortez. Sayulita. If you own a trailerable boat that wasn’t designed for open-ocean sailing, remember that parts of the Sea of Cortez are ideal for trailerboat sailing. Despite the fact that many boats heading to Mexico are loaded down with gear, much of it isn’t absolutely necessary. Money. Leaving Your Boat in Mexico. The first is insurance for your boat in the event that you lose the mast, get blown on the beach or get holed by a shrimper. Mexico ChartGuide West had lots of great information, too, but it’s also out of print. When it comes to the Sea of Cortez, Gerry Cunningham markets specialized charts for the more popular areas. In addition, it is important to note that it is illegal for non-Mexicans to fish using ANY type of net, so don’t get seduced by the magic of sunset net-casting. Getting Wild and Crazy. While some may disagree with us, we think it’s best to leave San Diego immediately after the end of the hurricane season. If push came to shove, we suppose we’d try to fake it with our flare guns. The majority of first-time cruisers to Mexico greatly underestimate the electrical needs of all the new gear they’ve had installed. That means 6 hp for one, 10 hp for two, and 15 hp for three. Look for the places that have a large number of anchorages close together, which would mean you never have to wander too far from shelter. Be warned that normal hours of business at Immigration and Port Captain offices are between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. While a combination of their Baja Handbook and Pacific Mexico Handbook will do the job, they also offer handbooks for Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. Hi, I'm a mother of 3 boys and am looking for a good cruising guide for Mexico's west coast. Twenty-Year Import Permit. Area with Most Things to Do. Sailing to the Florida Keys 8 hours at a time, or dayhopping, is easy along Florida’s Southwest Coast … Winterlude Anchored at Ft Jefferson, the Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys. One Year Itinerary. Transmitting on SSB or Ham, for example, can really drain a battery. Make sure the boat was designed, built and has been maintained for open-ocean sailing. It may turn out to be the best investment you made in your cruise. These can be obtained in advance of travel from a Mexican Consulate (1549 India St. San Diego, CA 619-231-8414) or many Southland travel agencies. Booze is cheap in Mexico and the climate is conducive to sipping all day and half the night. ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ is for landlubbers. On Mexico's west coast are these two great sailing routes: Between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, there's a stretch of about 175 miles of great cruising. The key to getting official business taken care of quickly in Mexico is to act as though you have all the time in the world. Charlie's Charts was always a popular guide......i2f, 20 MPH ain't fast unless, you do it in a 1000sq 3/2 house on 10foot waves. No matter what kind of boat you take to Mexico, check to make sure her basic features, systems and emergency gear are in good working order. about interesting places you visit, or letters about issues of interest to other cruisers. Twenty years is “temporary”? If you really like to mosey, skip the Sea of Cortez and don’t sail south of Manzanillo. The other area is – depending on your standard of warmth – from Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta south, where it’s always tropically warm. However, irregular hours, lots of holidays and absent officials frequently screw up the process. California Peninsula Coast sailing; Yacht excursion in Mexico: 2 weeks Northern Pacific Coast sailing vacation; When should you get started? Immigration will tell you if and where. During the winter the Golfo de Papagallo is prone to strong northeasterly “Papagallo” winds caused by the easterly trades from the Caribbean funneling through low points in the Central America mountains. Spend day morning sailing and getting the feel for our boat. In late March or early April, you should cross from Mazatlan to La Paz, remembering that Sea of Cortez Sailing Week is usually held in late April. In either case, folks arriving by boat are invariably given a tourist card that’s good for six months. A Guide To Mexican Butcher Shops: Part I – Beef, Saving Mexico’s tarantulas: Rodrigo Orozco’s ingenious plan, Rodolfo Morales – Mexican artist (1925 – 2001), Know The Law In Mexico – Employees And Labor Law, Spanish terms for building and construction in Mexico, Puebla style apple and blueberry marmalade: Mermelada de manzana y mora azul, From New Spain to nouvelle cuisine: Pasta mexicana, All About MexConnect | Mexico’s top English-language online magazine, Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack and Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, Comments: Terms of Service and Guidelines, Mexico – calendars and schedules of holidays, fiestas and events, Mexico Maps: click on map or state names for interactive maps of states. Roars down from the Secretaria de Communicationes y Transportes for a good education, but cruisers periodically reported. Page 13 for the different conditions accompanied by a notarized letter which verifies your identification on reviews,,. 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