Tips and advice for making the best out of your time, while sailing in Mexico.
This article summarizes the following:
- When should you get started?
- Coasts and Islands in Mexico: Wonderful islands, where it is good to get ashore
- Ports in Mexico: Seven great places where it is worth to dock
- Sail in Mexico! Mexico sailing vacations:
- Sailing in Mexico: 1 week California gulf sailing itinerary
- California Peninsula Coast sailing
- Yacht excursion in Mexico: 2 weeks Northern Pacific Coast sailing vacation
Mexico is a huge country with a coastline well over nine thousand kilometers. Obviously, this means that the weather will be varied as you travel, so go prepared. The most popular months for sailing in Mexico are November and December. At this time, the weather is usually nice and warm in the whole country. Officially, the so-called dry season lasts until February, but practically it is warm and sunny until April. The winter period is the time of whale migration, so we can observe them at this time. In the springtime, you should visit the beaches of the Yucatan peninsula.
The rainy season in Mexico begins in the summer, and it lasts until the end of October. In this season, afternoon thunderstorms are frequent, and this kind of weather comes with high temperatures and humidity.
A country has 2 zones
The Tropic of Cancer divides the country for a temperate and a tropical climate part. It gets noticeably colder in the winter months north of the Tropic Cancer, while in the South the temperature is almost constant all year, and it is only the altitude above sea level that can cool down the weather. The climate is usually very hot on the coast.
The temperature of the West Coast is usually high for most of the year, but north of La Paz, it may get cooler between December and March. On both shores, the hurricane season runs from June to October. From this point of view, the Caribbean coast is particularly vulnerable. Check the sailing conditions and wind rose diagram of Mexico
There are countless more islands worth exploring, and an excellent coastline that awaits you as you reach the shore with your yacht. For example, the small Contoy Island is a hidden gem of only 8.5 km length and 500 meters in width. The island is a habitat for four turtle species and about 152 tropical bird species. In order to keep it calm, only two hundred visitors are allowed to enter the island. Tiburón is also worth mentioning: with its 1200 km2 size, it is the largest Mexican island.
It lies in the California Bay, and it is currently uninhabited, with the exception of two military camps. The area is under the jurisdiction of the local indigenous community, and a permit is required to land here.
Northern Pacific Coast
The city’s port, called El Cid, is way more than a simple landing opportunity. There is a bustling market and several miles of nearby beaches with golden sand. The local dive shop is excellent, you can get all the necessary equipment here. In the port area, you will find plenty of high-quality accommodation opportunities.
Upon landing, we find ourselves in Paradise Village. This place can meet all your needs. Nearby Puerto Vallarta is a tourist attraction with its cosy, cobbled streets and its breathtakingly majestic cathedral.
Marina Riviera Nayarit is one of Mexico’s most unique ports. It lies on the north coast of the calm Banderas Bay. There is a wonderful promenade overlooking the whole bay. This is the only full-service port on the Pacific coast, with a capacity to accommodate up to 340 vessels.
Barra de Navidad
A small village and a wide beach around a bay which provides a great opportunity for surfing. Diving is also possible in the south-western end of the bay. Good restaurants await tourists on the beach.
The California Peninsula Coast
It is the third-largest city in the federal state of Baja California Sur. If arriving from the USA, here is the place where we can enter Mexican territorial waters. The weather is nice most of the year: if you can, spend a couple of days here.
Southern Pacific Coast
In the seventies, it was nothing more than a sleepy little fishing village. The adjacent Ixtapa recreation complex was built up, and it caused a development boom in “Zihua” which nonetheless still preserves something from its old charm. Its narrow, cobbled streets are full of excellent local restaurants, bars, boutiques, and handicraft studios. Fishermen meet on the beach each morning at Paseo del Pescador, “Fishermen’s Street”, to sell the daily catch. At the waterfront promenade, you can always have a romantic walk.
Huatulco lies on the edge of the Sierra Madre Mountains in the state of Oaxaca, 20 miles from the Mexican Pacific Coast, between the Coyula and Copalita rivers. There are more than 25 berths on the 10-mile shoreline, in a beautiful natural setting surrounded by resorts.
La Paz is the most city of southern Mexico on the Baja California Península.
Mexico has four main long-term cruise tour itineraries.
- California Gulf (from La Paz to San Carlos)
- The California Peninsula Coast (from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas)
- Northern Pacific Coast (Mazatlán – Puerto Vallarta – Manzanillo),
- Southern Pacific Coast (from Zihuatanejo to Chiapas)
In the following, you find a proposed one-week itinerary in the California Gulf.
Day 1. La Paz – Pichilinque
10.44 km (6.48 mi)
Departure from La Paz, Marina Costa Baja harbour. We head north to Pichilinque. It is only a few hours away, so you can enjoy the beautiful coral reefs Bay. In the port, do not expect to find abundant supplies, we need to provide enough food.
Day 2. Pichilinque – Espíritu Santo Island, Partida Island
28.74 km (17.86 mi)
The length of this section is approximately 29 nautical miles. There are several protected bays on both islands. Espíritu Santo Island and its surroundings are a nature reserve. On the way, you can see a white sandy beach, and the area is rich in plant and animal life. Rare species are also living here. The water is abundant in fish, about 500 species live here. The environment is perfect for snorkelling and diving. The famous researcher Jacques Cousteau called Espíritu Santo the “aquarium of the world”.
On the west side of the island, the main harbour options are Caleta Candelero, Puerto Ballena and Bahía San Gabriel. During the night, or in case of rainy weather, it is better to dock on the “twin island”, Isla Partida.
Day 3. Partida Island – Isla San Francisco
37.53 km (23.32 mi)
The California Bay is not only rich in fish but also in islands. It is not surprising that we are approaching another island from the nine hundred that can be found here. At the end of the day, we will anchor here for the night after completing 22 nautical miles, because this horseshoe-shaped bay is well protected from the winds. A beautiful white sandy beach can be found here. The bay is suitable for swimming, snorkeling and collecting seashells.
Day 4. Isla San Francisco – Isla San Jose
15.96 km (9.92 mi)
After a 23-nautical mile” href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mile” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>mile cruise, you can see and hear a lot of sea lions. Nature is also special here. If we dock, we can admire the cardón cactus from close. This plant is the largest cactus in the world. It can grow up to 60 feet tall, and the oldest ones can be two hundred years old.
Day 5. Isla San Jose – San Evaristo
7.15 km (4.45 mi)
We continue to head north. Along the shore, you can see more and more reddish cliffs and rocks. The bay has high sand dunes and white sandy beaches. Black traces of ancient lava flows are sometimes seen, lights and colors are wonderful here. Today’s 26.5 nautical miles enrich us with unforgettable experiences.
Day 6. San Evaristo – San Juan de la Costa
59.06 km (36.70 mi)
Spend the night on the route to the starting point in the marina of this tiny fishing village.
Day 7. San Juan de la Costa – Puerto Balandra – La Paz
51.62 km (32.07 mi)
At the end of our one-week trip, it is worth to stop for a while at Puerto Balandra. It is a beautiful, uninhabited coastal area. So why is it interesting? There are no less than eight sandy beaches here. There is also a saltwater inner lagoon and a strange cliff which is called “El Hongo” (“The Mushroom”) by the locals. This is a symbol of La Paz.
California Peninsula Coast sailing
Day 1. Ensenada – Islas de Todos Santos 17.23 km (10.71 mi), Day 2. Islas de Todos Santos – El Sauzal 13.20 km (8.21 mi), Day 3. El Sauzal – Puerto Nuevo 48.28 km (30.00 mi), Day 4. Puerto Nuevo – Isla Coronado 35.26 km (21.91 mi), Day 5. Isla Coronado – San Diego 33.65 km (20.91 mi), Day 6. San Diego – Rosarito 43.74 km (27.18 mi), Day 7. Rosarito – Salsipuedes Bay – Ensenada 78.11 km (48.54 mi)
Day 1. Puerto Vallarta – Nuevo Vallarta 9,01 km (5,60 mi), Day 2. Nuevo Vallarta – Punta del Mita 25,74 km (15,99 mi), Day 3. Punta del Mita – Cleopha island 97,26 km (60,43 mi), Day 4. Cleopha island – Isla Maria Magdalena 25,33 km (15,74 mi), Day 5. Isla Maria Magdalena – Isla San Juanito 47,85 km (29,73 mi), Day 6. Isla San Juanito – Isla Maria Madre 22,22 km (13,80 mi), Day 7. Isl. Maria Madre – Isl. Isabel 70,41 km (43,75 mi), Day 8. Isla Isabel – Boca de Camichín 44,49 km (27,64 mi), Day 9. Boca de Camichín – San Blass 36,41 km (22,62 mi), Day 10. San Blass – Muelle de Chacala 42,94 km (26,68 mi), Day 11. Muelle de Chacala – La Peñita de Jaltemba 14,78 km (9,18 mi), Day 12. La Peñita de Jaltemba – Sayulita 29,32 km (18,22 mi), Day 13. Sayulita – Islas Marietas 24.23 km (15.05 mi), Day 14. Islas Marietas – Bucerias 40.65 km (25.26 mi)
More Caribbean sailing trips
If you cannot sail for a whole week but still want to get to beautiful and interesting places by boat, we give you some good advice and recommendations.
If you find this itinerary interesting, don’t hesitate. Now you can rent a boat at reasonable prices and with flexible conditions!
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