January 2010 - San Blas and La Cruz
We arrived at San Blas in early morning light on the day after leaving Isla Isabella. Our attempt to reach the estuary near
town failed due to a low tide, lack of local knowledge, and poorly marked sand bars.  We ended up anchoring a few miles
south in Matanchen Bay.  After staying at Matanchen four nights to relax and visit San Blas, we headed for La Cruz with
one overnight stop at Chacala - dropping anchor at La Cruz on Wednesday, Jan.13.  A couple of days later (Friday), we
were chased into the La Cruz marina by some freak winds and of all things ... water spouts.  
View of the beach from our
anchorage in Matanchen Bay.  There
are a dozen or so palapa style
restaurants along the beach all willing
to watch over your dinghy and boat
while you visit San Blas 5 miles away.
The town square of San Blas.  At
night these town squares are busy
with families out to enjoy the evening.

The small gentleman next to JoAnn is
an indigenous Huichol native dressed
in traditional garb.  Descendants of
the Aztec, the Huichol number about
18,000 and live in the nearby Sierra
Madre mountains.  They sell  bead
artwork in stores and plazas like this.   
Approaching Banderas bay, there
are three small rocky islands at the
20-mile wide entrance that must
endure the full force of Pacific
swells.  These islands, the "The
Three Marietas"  or "Las Tres
Marietas" are surrounded by rocky
reefs (real bottom rippers) and are
not good to anchor near overnight.  
They attract numerous fish, i.e.,
marlin, sailfish, tuna, yellowtail,
dorado and tour boats from nearby
Puerto Vallarta.  The fishing, diving,
snorkeling and scenery is pretty
good.  In addition to passing by on
the way in, we've been back for
day-ventures two additional times.  
OK ... not good!  

On our third day in Banderas bay
while anchored out, a very unusual
and unseasonal storm came through
creating water-spouts or tornadoes
over water.  I saw four and others
reported seeing 6.  This one is about 3
miles from us.  

This storm, as well as another
occuring a couple of weeks later
packing 60 - 80 mph winds, is
attributed to a very strong El Nino
year.  Locals have never seen it
before.  We lost an anchor snubber-
line and an old awning in the last one
while some others faired worse
including going aground on the
One of so many sleeping dogs in La
Cruz.  People drive around them!  At
night they're generally awake and
friendly ... as long as you don't even
think of petting them.  More on this to
These homes in Chacala are
fantastic!  We didn't go into town but
the village appeared to be charming
with a couple of small resort hotels
hugging the beach.  
"What day will you be arriving?"  They
want to know so someone can be
there to take a line from you.  

The La Cruz Marina is new and has
space available.  However, the area is
being developed rapidly and slips will
be full just like PV in 5 years.  There
was a boat show and regatta in March
that filled this place to capacity.  The
Mexican government provided money
to spruce up the town and even El
Presidente came twice to help  
officiate the regattas.  He's a sailor so
can't be all bad!  
La Cruz lies on the north end of
Banderes Bay about 15 miles from
Puerto Vallarta.  It has been a fishing
village for a very long time but now
sports concrete docks and modern
fish market facilities.  The fish market
in the picture is a short walk from the
marina and has the local and regional
catch for sale.   Its best to arrive early.
 JoAnn is watching as a large
mahi-mahi is felleted for our freezer.  
Their Mexican shrimp are large and
The president of Mexico, Felipe  
Calderon, waving on his way out in a
95' yacht for the Banderas Bay
Regatta.  They passed within a boat
length of our stern.  Truck loads of
army and navy personnel were
present for days before his arrival by
This small park is right outside the
marina entrance and is very popular.  
The new roof being installed on the
gazebo was part of the clean up for El
The general feeling of La Cruz is
family friendly.  The streets are well lit
at night and well mannered kids run
free.  Everyone seems to be watching
them so they have no choice but to
Philo's Bar and Music Club of La Cruz.

Philo's is an institution in La Cruz
with great ribs, pizza, and music.  
Philo himself is a fantastic musician,
philanthropist and community activist.
Abalon -

This place is off the beaten path and
easy to walk right by.  However, once
you've found it, the garden canopy
setting of the dining room is very
pleasant.  Sunday brunch is great
with live latin music.  
A typical cobble-stone street in La
Craig and Becky (our children) came
for a visit in March.  As part of their
entertainment, we paid a visit to a
local water park with a great dolphin
program.  They had the experience of
sharing a pool for an hour with two
dolphins and their trainer.