If you have as little as just a few hooks, you must have licenses for your boat, your dinghy (if you fish from it), and for each of your crew. 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. These sailors dream of sailing without foul weather gear, fleece jackets and polypropylene underwear. The skipper and crew should practice putting in single and double reefs, preferably at night at sea. And don’t forget the windlass and chafe gear. Best Cruising Grounds. While you don’t need to apply for this permit until your initial six months is about to run out, many cruisers get them sooner because having one theoretically exempts you from having to pay duty on replacement parts for your boat. 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. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. Copyright © 1996–2021 MexConnect & respective authors.    ¦   ISSN #1028-9089   ¦  , https://wxp.atm.purdue.edu/hurricane/e_pacific/index.html, Doing business in Mexico: general legal, business & entry issues, Huichol religion under siege (again). Between La Paz and Puerto Escondido, there's a stretch of approximately 140 miles of islands and remote anchorages. Compare the wildly different chartlets of, say, San Juanico, in the Boating Guide, Mexico Chart Guide, and Charlie’s Charts and you’ll see what we mean. Those with ham radios can use the various nets to get ‘phone patches’ back to the States. To give you an economic frame of reference, the minimum daily wage in Mexico is $3 U.S. That’s daily, not hourly. While the cruising guides offer some historical and cultural information, nothing can compare with the incredibly informative general tourist guides to Mexico published by Moon Publications and/or Lonely Planet. 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. Mar 21, 2011. There are telephones just about everywhere in Mexico – but always ask questions about cost before using them because you can really get hosed – like paying $7 per minute! We once recorded 88° at Isla Partida during Thanksgiving. The number of Americans – mariners and non-mariners alike – who are living out their lives in an alcoholic haze in Mexico is tragic. A typical fee is between $20 and $50. Anchoring etiquette requires that you treat others the way you’d like to be treated – you know, the Golden Rule. Buy big and buy extra. Come join the discussion about sailing, modifications, classifieds, troubleshooting, repairs, reviews, maintenance, and more! Overtime charges may be assessed for checking in after hours, so wait until they open. Sometimes there seems to be one after another, other years there are hardly any. If not, plan on spending time in a Mexican jail. Several folks who have done circumnavigations tell us that this is the best 12 months to be found anywhere in the world. To our mind, the following is the minimum: EPIRB, Coast Guard required safety gear, liferaft, dinghy (which may be modified to serve as a liferaft), three appropriate size anchors with appropriate size rode, compass, two GPSs, VHF radio, working sails, a light air headsail, some kind of cockpit shading, one set of charts and one cruising guide. If you can successfully anchor in the Channel Islands or Hawaii, Mexico will be a cinch. As Einstein noted, everything is relative. Most Annoying Wind. If you really like to mosey, skip the Sea of Cortez and don’t sail south of Manzanillo. The bottom line is that the best times to cruise the fabled Sea of Cortez are the spring and fall. 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. In most conditions, the proper anchoring technique is to back down at a slow but constant speed, getting the rode to lay out in a straight line. But if you like real heat in the winter, there’s nothing like getting as far south as Z-town. If you already have it, there’s a good chance your insurer will add a Mexico ‘rider’ for a relatively small fee. See if you can make it through an entire month without spending a centavo. Mexico is a huge country with a coastline well over nine thousand kilometers. If we had to guess, we’d say about 50% of the boats cruising Mexico have this kind of insurance. And unless an anchorage gets extremely crowded, don’t anchor directly upwind of another boat. Coromuels come up in the middle of the night and blow out of La Paz … If you’re crewing on a boat and the skipper hasn’t gone over all the basic and emergency systems, insist that he/she do so. Sometimes agencies or marinas that do paperwork for a fee are able to get the rules interpreted differently. However, irregular hours, lots of holidays and absent officials frequently screw up the process. The West Mexico or “Mexican Riviera” sailings are primarily winter ventures, departing from Los Angeles (or San Diego) for a week to ten days round-trip, sailing briskly south for two days, then stopping at several ports, such as Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and … If your boat is large enough, a third or fourth person often makes the trip down Baja more of a pleasure cruise. The agency may be contacted by calling: (619) 467-0549 or writing: FCC, Marine Ship Service, P.O. Allocate five months to enjoy the mainland between Acapulco and Mazatlan, remembering that the real heat is down south by Z-town. One of the great reasons to go cruising is to avoid the overload of information. As a result, the Yachtsman’s Chart Book and the out-of-print Mexico ChartGuide West compilations are good deals. It blows about 15 knots almost every day from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sayulita. It’s not the end of the world if you dress in the ‘cruisers’ uniform’ of shorts, faded t-shirt and flip-flops, but it doesn’t get you any favors, either. Captain White is an avid sailor, water sportsman and outdoors enthusiast who loves paddle boarding and mountain biking. While there can be spells of cool and cold air temperatures in the Sea of Cortez as early as November, the water temperature normally stays quite warm as late as early December. The man overboard drill should also be conducted under realistic conditions. 1) Wrongful anchoring. When there’s a Norther blowing, you want to be holed up in a snug anchorage. Despite the fact that many boats heading to Mexico are loaded down with gear, much of it isn’t absolutely necessary. Many cruisers have behaved as though the permit gave them carte blanche to import anything they wanted into Mexico duty free. In addition to getting your body into great shape, open your mind by doing a variety of activities in addition to sailing, diving, hiking, swimming and exploring. It’s the kind of thing you probably won’t ever need, but if you do, you’ll be really glad you have it. We suggest that everyone about to take off cruising take full advantage of the opportunity. west coast sailors headed inland in Southern Mexico. There has been great confusion about what the 20-Year Import Permit allows you to bring in, and how you’re to go about bringing stuff in. If you’re the skipper, you need to be fully aware that there are significantly greater challenges to cruising in Mexico than there are to sailing across the Bay or on a typical weekend cruise from Marina del Rey to Catalina. Given Mexico’s history with revolutions, banditos and drug runners, they show no mercy on those who violate their strict laws. And when you’re finally on your own in Cabo, you’ll have much greater confidence in your own abilities. The only two solutions are to limit electrical consumption or increase capacity. Insurance. 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. These seas are unusually dangerous because they are so steep and close together. Fortunately, in any large Mexican tourist area there are designated bars for Americans to get drunk and behave like complete idiots. West Coast Multihulls’ location on the waterfront at Marina Puerto Escondido is home to a small fleet of luxury cruising catamarans, along with a full-service marina, boat yard, store, restaurant, etc. Private sailing charters that will give you the freedom to hang out with friends and enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean in Quintana Roo. 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. For a more thorough picture of Mexican weather, check out Capt. Iridium satellite phones are now defunct, but Qualcomm-Globalstar has a new satellite system we’ll be testing during the Ha-Ha. Your email address will not be published. If you’re going to sail to Mexico, the size of your boat isn’t nearly as important as the quality. It’s not only the nice thing to do, but what goes around comes around. Six Month Itinerary. Put the boat in a marina and return home to see family and friends – and to be reminded why it was they wanted to leave in the first place. MexConnect is Mexico’s top English-language online magazine, providing quality information about Mexico and promoting Mexico to the world. 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. You can’t conduct business on ham radio, so if you have an SSB/Ham combo, nonprofit SailMail – developed by racer/cruisers Stan Honey and Jim Corenman of Northern California – is perhaps the easiest and least expensive way to send e-mail around the Pacific and – depending on the propagation – to the Caribbean. Most of these posts are about our 6 month stay in Ensenada. VIII. 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. They long for water they can swim in without being hypothermic in less than 15 minutes. If your boat is not a U.S. documented vessel, you must carry registration papers and a bill of sale or other proof of ownership. Thanks, But in between lies another appealing cruising ground—the coasts of California, Oregon, and … After all, you’re better off discovering that the steering cable needs replacement at the dock in California than at 0200 off of Cedros Island when it’s blowing 30 and everyone is already seasick. During the last 50 years there have been a handful of Mexican hurricanes in the month of November, none of which would have affected cruisers. See page 13 for the contact numbers and e-mail addresses. This wasn’t proper, of course, but we smiled and explained to the officials that we decided we’d much rather be in Mazatlan than in San Diego. Hi, I'm a mother of 3 boys and am looking for a good cruising guide for Mexico's west coast. To our mind, there’s nothing like the look, feel and romance of original charts – which unfortunately run $15 or more. Similarly, going naked is lots of fun, but Mexico isn’t the South of France. If the legal owner of a boat wants to leave her in Mexico while he/she returns home, the vessel must – in theory, at least – be left in the care of someone else, such as a friend or a marina. But Mexico will not prepare you for the deep-water anchoring and coral conditions of the South Pacific. about interesting places you visit, or letters about issues of interest to other cruisers. West Coast Sailing, based in Ensenada, Mexico, and San Diego, offers Learn to Sail vacations for beginning sailors or those who would like to gain more experience. It’s no secret that Mexico … But if you dress like a bum, don’t be surprised to be treated that way. Winter is too cool for those who enjoy water sports and enjoy a good tan. Most Annoying Wind. 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. Air temperatures in the Sea of Cortez can be cool from as early as mid-November until March or April. When it comes to major expenses – berthing, fuel, and tourist bars and restaurants – credit cards are almost universally accepted. There used to be a wide selection of cruising guides for Mexico. Proceed at your own risk. Gear. 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. And if you’re a gung-ho male sailor with a novice girlfriend or wife, the dumbest thing you could do is scare the hell out of her. If you’re one of those people who likes to stay in touch with your family, friends and business, there are many ways to communicate back to the States. Two winters ago, for instance, we checked out of Cabo for San Diego – then showed up in Mazatlan. 2.5 Lomas de Palmira 23010, La Paz Baja California Sur, Mexico … Caution: ‘Mexican eyes’ are everywhere. JavaScript is disabled. So unless specifically invited to anchor next to someone, assume that you should give them as much space as possible. Don’t go to Mexico – or take any crew to Mexico – without the following: Personal ID – Passports are recommended, but not required. When we left Nicaragua bound for Playas del Coco in Costa Rica, no papagallos w… 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. If this is the case, you’ll need to fill out a ‘Certificate Maritime Letter of Permission’. Charts and Cruising Guides. And for some reason, the skies are almost always blue in Z-town. You can get one in Tijuana from the Secretaria de Communicationes y Transportes for a fee of $90. We all know the formula: walk a couple of miles a day, swim a mile a day, eat well and drink in moderation. We particularly like the aerial photographs of most anchorages and important points. If you’re caught with fishing gear – you don’t have to be fishing or have a fish onboard – without a license, you’re liable for big fines and having your boat seized. Shop for Mexico US West Coast excursions to enjoy during your day in port. © Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc., 1998-2001 Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006 by 38 Latitude © 2008, Your email address will not be published. Sailing Directions 153 West Coasts of Mexico and Central America Messing around with any amount of drugs in Mexico is dangerous. That means 6 hp for one, 10 hp for two, and 15 hp for three. Sometimes the best thing cruisers can do after a couple of months is take a ‘vacation’ from cruising. 6) Health Kick. East Coast: The eastern coast of Mexico is brimming with hot spots, including staples and newly minted favorites — mostly found in the Yucatan Peninsula and along the Quintana Roo coast of the Mayan Riviera. It’s very unlikely you’d be caught, but it could land you in big trouble. Take your own sweet time sailing down to Cabo, have a beer and a shower, then sail across to Puerto Vallarta. 4) Over-Provisioning. In either case, folks arriving by boat are invariably given a tourist card that’s good for six months. A serviceable second dinghy of some sort is a godsend for boats with larger crews. But be prepared for policy changes too. Lots of cruisers take a ‘vacation’ from cruising in August and September when it’s so very hot in the Sea of Cortez. 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. Charts come in many forms: originals, single reproductions, compilations of reproductions, and electronic. 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. We've never been to Mexico before, and are hoping to charter this winter. After all, the first couple of days at sea are the hardest on even the most experienced sailors, and 12 hours of watches a day will drain anyone. Because you’ll make so many surf landings in Mexico, make sure your dinghy is equipped with wheels. Area with Most Things to Do. 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. Cruising Happiness and Cruising Blues. If you politely approach an official and say, “I have a very big problem,” things can usually be worked out. A forum community dedicated to Sailing enthusiasts. Part 1. It made perfect sense to them and was no problemo. By the way, November is normally the best month to do the ‘Baja Bash’ back to California. They hope to have a new edition out in late October 2000. If you have $3,000 to $5,000 to stay in touch, Inmarsat C has always been popular, but it only gives you text. So if your gooseneck fails while rounding Cabo Corrientes, you might have blown a month of your precious cruising time. Hey, it’s Mexico! It’s usually no problem going ashore if you check in within 24 hours. Gerry Cunningham has authored three guides for the most popular areas of the Sea of Cortez. Boat Documents – Every boat must carry vessel documentation which proves ownership and port of registry. But remember, when ‘Charlie’ and the other authors say their charts are “Not to be used for navigation,” they mean it. When it comes to the Sea of Cortez, Gerry Cunningham markets specialized charts for the more popular areas. 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