Bahia Tenacatita, about 10 miles north of Barra de Navidad, is not to be missed, and indeed is often mentioned as the favorite Gold Coast destination of experienced cruisers. It is idyllic and some cruisers spend their entire season there. The name translates as “”Ten Bay”, and you can often find 20 to 50 “yatistas” buzzing about in their dinghies in the voluminous NW anchorage. This is my second visit and I arrived principally to swim and snorkel it its pristine waters, and to take the Jungle River Dinghy Trip.
Every Friday at 5 pm the community of 30 or so sailboats safely protected from the swells in to the NW harbor gathers for a raft-up at 5 pm. Nearly everyone in the harbor shows up for the event. It’s a floating island of dinghies, hosted by the mayor, Bob. I’m not certain how that came into being, but he’s a good manager and his approval ratings are high. Everyone is asked to bring a food dish – and they are passed from dinghy to dinghy as if on a giant Lazy Susan until everyone is fed an there is no more.
On this Friday each couple in turn tells the story of how they met. I was the only single person at the event – something I’m becoming accustomed to. Cruisers are a gregarious lot with the capacity to spontaneously create connection. And this event had the joyful spirit of community that we would all want to be a part of.
On Saturday I visited one of Tenacatita’s special features: what the local “pangueros” call the Jungle River Dinghy Trip. You can either leave the driving to them, or take your dinghy on a self-guided tour. I chose the latter and wandered slowly through the channels under power. All the channels are either loops or dead ends, so it is impossible to get lost for long. Its’ a good idea to enter at mid-tide or above, be gone by sunset, when mosquitoes take over for awhile, and you could get lost in the maze at night.
Just yards from the beach you enter into a hidden world freakishly like Mother Nature’s Disneyland ride.
Creep along and watch for hidden stumps below and wildlife above , including up to 6 foot crocs — if you are attentive and lucky.