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Old 18-03-2014, 03:54   #1
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San Blas Mexico

I have heard San Blas has a shallow harbor and that it was also tricky to get inside. I have a Finn keel boat and she likes at least 7 feet of water. I could not find any information in my cruiser guides. Can anyone help? Is it a deep enough harbor and channel for Finn keeled boats. I would like to visit as I work my way down to PV.
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Old 18-03-2014, 04:21   #2
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Re: San Blas Mexico

Yes, there is enough depth for you in the inner harbor. There is a small anchoring area and a marina. The issue with San Blas is that it’s a bar crossing and can be hazardous in anything but flat conditions. Once inside you also need flat condition to get back out again. We were last there in 2010 and waited for a week for good condition to get back out. Someone in PV or La Cruz should have current information about the bar crossing. Alternatively, you can anchor outside, south of San Blas; there can be many mosquitoes so anchor off a bit. The jungle tour there is excellent.
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Old 18-03-2014, 05:24   #3
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Re: San Blas Mexico

Mosquitos aren't so much the issue - there's a little biter fly that the locals call a jejene. They are pretty well immune to Deet, in fact it may attract them. There's a local product called Autun that works a charm on them. We've never been to San Blas by boat but have been there many times by RV. There's a really nice bay to the southeast of San Blas that always had several boat anchored in it. The road goes right along the coast there so the cruisers would come ashore by dinghy and either catch a ride with RVers such as ourselves or catch the local bus.
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Old 18-03-2014, 07:35   #4
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Re: San Blas Mexico

We were in San Blas in December of 2011.

We had skipped it the year before because people talked us out of it... At the time Norm was being an ******* and outboard motor thefts were problematic. Everyone said don't go... Boy were they wrong.

The Marina will send a pilot boat (panga) free of charge to meet you and escort you in through the bar. The days we were there the bar was flat calm, but I understand can sometimes be a pain. This bar is no where near the bar at Bahia Del Sol in El Salvador and you should have no problems if you follow the pilot boat.

I would not anchor out unless you are leaving someone on the boat. I would stay at the marina for security reasons as stated above.

The town itself is walking distance from the marina. The Fort is beautiful and the town itself is wonderful.

Here is the marina information:
.:FONATUR Operadora Portuaria – Marina San Blas:.

Good Luck and enjoy!
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Old 18-03-2014, 08:14   #5
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Re: San Blas Mexico

The detailed chartlet in the "Pacific Mexico" guild book by Heather and Sean is dead on for the entrance and estuary. If you send me a email at svthirdday@yahoo.com I will email you a PDF guild we put together when we were there also. Shows the entrance with way points, and the most important thing...All the best places to eat in Town, my personal speciality!
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Old 18-03-2014, 08:26   #6
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Re: San Blas Mexico

When I was there last year they were dredging channel,so would imagine entrance and channel is deeper now.When approaching entrance stay on east side,almost on the beach and pass starboard breakwater very close.Make sure tide is up and swell is down.Bug screens!
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Old 18-03-2014, 09:38   #7
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Re: San Blas Mexico

We spent a week in Matanchen Bay. We personally know a boat that was robbed in that bay a few months before us (Jean Marie), and a week after we left a boat in the marina got robbed (it was on the Southbound Yahoo group).

Matanchen is huge; you could park 100 boats in there with room to spare. It's great right up until southerlies blow in and then the whole place lives up to its reputation for having one of the longest ride-able waves in the world (nearly a mile).

The jejenes are brutal, but they're only a couple of hundred yards from the coast so just avoid them. We burned coconut husks in a cast iron pan on our bowsprit; it worked well.

The jungle tour is terrific; don't miss it. The little freshwater pool is terrific. Use the rope swing!

I saw a boat (Jazz, I think) up on the sandbar from trying to get into the marina. It's easy to score a cab into town. San Blas has excellent produce provisioning but pretty crummy packaged stuff, at least in the main downtown area. Mazatlan is a much better place, as is La Cruz/Bucerias/PV.

Some blog articles from our time there:

Rebel Heart - Eric's Blog - anchored in matanchen bay, san blas, nayarit,*mexico

Rebel Heart - Eric's Blog - slumming it in san*blas

A view from inside Matachen, looking west at the coast line, some coconut husks smoldering away. No bugs from this distance with this technique, and this was in mid April.

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Old 18-03-2014, 09:56   #8
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Re: San Blas Mexico

After months and months of living on anchor in the San Blas Estuary across from the Marina over 4 cruising seasons, it was just part of the kids home school PE activities to go help push folks off the sand bar between the marina entrance right off the fuel dock and the estuary anchorage. It's not quite as bad as the Barra Lagoon...but Barra can have 50 boats in there, so there is much more traffic to plow the edges of the channel. The bar is listed in Charlie's Chart, Rains Guide, Heather and Sean's Pacific Mexico...yet Bump...cruisers have been hitting that sand and going around there for years as if it's a hidden uncharted bar. They watch the 1ft draft panga's fly over it and assume...if the Panga can go over it...so can my 5ft draft....thump

If cruisers didn't go to places that had theft in Mexico, you might as well have skipped th entire Country. Barra Navidad has 9...yep, 9 outboard engines stolen in one season. Yet it was packed. Mazatlan has thefts every year and so does La Curse, La Paz, Topolobampo...you name it. In the vast majority of the thefts the dinghys were left on the painter at night trailing helplessly behind the boat or in the water. If you don't raise up and lock your dinghy, please anchor next to me so the bandidos will take your easy target and leave mine up on deck or locked to the davits alone...thanks Mantanchen has been a hotbed for dinghy theft in the past also, it's part of the risk/reward of cruising in Mexico.

The problem I always saw with staying in Mantenchen is that it's not an easy dinghy landing and stroll into town for Tacos for breakfast, Pork Tortas for lunch and then more Tacos for dinner. It's a cab ride into town from Mantenchen aposed to landing at the Marina (paying the dinghy landing fee) and walking in.

If you are nervous about anchoring and leaving your boat for the evening to go into town, stay in the marina and the marina security can watch over the boat. Just be sure to wake him up when coming back to the boat at night so you don't startle him......Welcome to Mexico.


San Blas was by far our favorite town in Mexico because unlike La Curse or other places it was....well it was Still Mexico. No Condos, Time shares, Costco, or Home Depot. The Jejenes that will eat you alive without being slatherd in Atun bug cream are the worst we experienced in Mexico, but they are also why San Blas is still San Blas and not Bucerias or PV...thank Goodness for the Bugs.

Here's a link to our blog with some San Blas Info:
Life in Small Town Mexico
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Old 19-03-2014, 22:30   #9
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Re: San Blas Mexico

Tiger Beetle and I were at San Blas last month, and the boat draws 8'; I did not go into the harbor, but instead went around the corner to Matanchen Bay.

There were three different boats at Matanchen, and we all went and explored different areas; one boat took their dinghy up to the harbor and checked it out - the report was dilapidated docks, thin water at the entrance, and good food on shore. The anchorage was mostly empty and seemed to be quite small and narrow, the sand bar off the marina was larger than that person remembered.

Another boat dinghied ashore in Matanchen and took the taxi across to the town, and were unable to get much done as regards dealing with TelCel (the local distributors could not sort out their problem - need to go to a bigger town with a proper TelCel office), reported ok food and a nice fresh food market.

I stayed in Matanchen and explored with the dinghy, it's a long wade through shallow water to get to the palapas at the NW corner of the bay; the surf at the east side of the bay was much larger and I did not try to land there (there is a reason there is a lot of surfing here in the summer!).

The haze from all the coconut smoke burning around Matanchen made the dense moisture-laden air even thicker; you get used to it. The no-see-ums are out in force and do nibble, though I did not actually feel them nibble me I get perhaps 40 bites around the ankles one evening - wear long pants and long sleeve shirts around sunrise and sunset.

At the advice of multiple friends I met on the radio, I also went to Chacala - 23 miles south from Matanchen - world of difference. Beautiful, crispy air, clearer water (as opposed to mud-cream/brown from the river outflow at San Blas), easy landing at the tiny beach in front of the Port Captain's office, much nicer time over all.

My suggestion would be to echo the statements I received for the SSB radio:skip San Blas/Matanchen and aim for Chacala. Do watch the swell, you don't want to be in Matanchen or Chacala in a big swell (I had 3' max swell coming in to Chacala, not a problem).

- beetle
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