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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chacahua, Mexico

Surfer getting some primo action as Hotspur rests calmly at anchor.

I had it on my personal agenda to anchor in Bahia Angel. It was late afternoon and Jim mentioned some little anchorage that wasn't in the guidebooks. There was only a brief mention of Bahia de Chacahua (pronounced CHA-CAW-WA) in Charlie’s Charts that read:

The first anchorage beyond Acapulco is 140 miles distant at Bahia de Chacahua. Breakers are evident, though rolly anchorage may be taken between the rocks east of Punta Galera and the sandy beach to the north. No facilities are available on shore.

Goody. ROLLY anchorage and Jim wants to stop. Imagine my sarcastic excitement, eyeball rolling and suppressed growls.

Tim outside a palapa restaurant that served us a delicious breakfast.

Clear incoming tide in estuary.

I would have caught crow and eaten pie if there had been any crows about. But I was too entranced by the Spoonbills, Peregrine falcons, assortment of herons, and so on. Chacahua turned out to be a hidden gem!

Long ago, escaped slaves took up residence in Chacahua. I don’t know how much is truth and how much is conjecture, but one writer posted about the derivation of the residents: 
African slaves came to Chacahua through a shipwreck and some say others came by being thrown overboard from the slave ships to meet tax quotas before entering the states.  Other Africans joined the freed slaves and their descendants now populate the area of Chacahua, which is the first national park, Parque Nacional Lagunas de Chacahua, in Mexico.

Is she darling or what?? I just want to kiss those little ham hocks!!
It feels very Caribbean when you sit among the villagers. The Mexican-African mix is completely different from what we have seen in other Mexican pueblos. The peaceful estuary is teeming with wildlife and local fishermen using hand lines made of coke bottles and weighted fishing line.

Coconut lawn and appealing bungalow

We anchored about 300 meters from where the surfers were surfing. Surfers from all over the world come to learn the art of catching the perfect wave. Even though we were just outside, we weren’t rolly at all. The water was clear blue and there were tons of little fish swimming about. And we swam for the first time this year – 85 degree water!

Hotspur anchored behind the surf and Tim and Carolyne swimming in it.

Heads up, Tim!

It is a bit tricky getting into the estuary because of the surf – we did beautifully – just like pros. Crocodiles, turtles and numerous birds live beneath the foliage of the mangroves. A little shrimp leapt out of the water as Carolyne tried to catch him. His feisty determination not to be caught saved him from our daughter’s greedy clutches.

The estuary dumps into a large lake. There were numerous palapa restaurants and some small stores to buy provisions. The beach was gorgeous white sand stretched long and wide with a few international tourists. There is a crocodilario, which was closed but boasts a gigantic old croc.

The town is divided by the estuary itself – pangas and canoes bring items back and forth from either side. There are many cabins available to rent, showers and WCs for rent. The anchorage is very tranquil. We were the only boat and a local woman told me they have only seen 3 or so sailboats in the past month. We saw 15 surfers at a time hang out in the surf and try their turns at cutting, shredding and wiping out.

Local boy fishing with hand line.

We stopped by the local tortillaria and bought homemade tortillas. In this place, they grind their own corn.

We have visited San Blas and its estuary. The Tovara Jungle Tour is a must. But, Chacahua is cleaner, smaller, friendlier – and less traveled. We found a hidden paradise!

And as for Bahia Angel, cruising friends that stayed there instead had to leave early because it was too rolly, they said. I am still thanking my husband for his decision!


  1. putting on my list of places to see...sounds wonderful!!

  2. Colleen, it is so incredible and I can't believe I was so mad at Jim for wanting to stop. We wished we could have stayed for days! And days!

  3. Sometimes I miss it! but I would not want to be there alone... would you wait for us? hehe. Good luck with Tehuantepec. It was a peace of cake for us!