Friday, 13 June 2014

Marinas or anchor-out in Mexico? It's up to you.

I (David) get my hackles up when I read comments criticizing others "cruising style". Some boats out there seem to feel that staying in marinas isn't "real" cruising. Who says so?

Marina Palmira & La Paz
Anchored at Agua Verde
This past cruising season in Mexico, several boats made comments in their blog criticizing those cruisers who sail to Mexico and stay for significant periods in marinas.  One blog suggested one doesn't come to Mexico only to stay in marinas; marinas according to this blog that are "pretty much like the ones back home". Another blog disparaged the old retired cruisers who haven't moved their boats in ages. According to these blogs, it seems that one should only go to marinas to "stock up, do laundry, etc", then its time to get travelling and head back out to the anchorages.

We also very much enjoy anchoring out. And we did a lot of it over the past 9 months. Since reading these blogs critical of staying in marinas in Mexico, however, I have felt they needed a "response".

There is no "wrong" or "right" way to cruise Mexico (excluding, of course, throwing garbage into Mexico's waters, being disparaging of Mexico or its people, loud parties late at night in anchorages, jet-skiing in anchorages --  oh, I could go on and on...). Back home (in BC), there are many who enjoy marinas; why is this not OK for Mexico? If one boat enjoys anchoring whereas another prefers more time in a marina, it is not another boat's place to judge. Of course, staying in marinas costs more money (but generally less expensive than up North), so finances often limit stays, but this does not mean one is better than the other.

Marinas are not all the same and the marinas we've stayed at in Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, La Paz, and Mazatlan were each very different, and all were quite a different experience from those up in the USA and Canada. And certainly, contrary to what one poster stated, staying in these marinas are not at all like staying in a marina back home: just outside the Marina (and, often, inside the Marina) lies Mexico. Mexico's people, culture(s), food, and life in general are all so different than up north. Staying in marinas made it much easier to enjoy these aspects of Mexico.

We ended staying at Marina Palmira in La Paz from early December (2013) until late April (2014), making many trips of 1-3 weeks duration each to the multitude of anchorages north of La Paz. But we kept coming back to Palmira because (i) we really liked the Marina, (ii) we really like the community at the Marina (cruisers and staff), and (iii) we loved La Paz. Which brings up another reason that many, including us, have prolonged stays in marinas in Mexico: socializing with friends.

The combination of "town (marinas) and country (anchorages)", for us, made for a wonderful Winter cruising season.


  1. Hi you two.. thanks for your comment on Shannon's Blog... We'll be heading from San Carlos to La Paz when we start the season in November.. expect to be in La Paz (@ Palmira) for December at least.... look forward to see you in La Paz or out there somwhere. Have a great summer. We live in the Maple Bay area (Vancouver Island)... are you anywhere near?? Carolyn

    1. Hi Carolyn, we are in Vancouver until early August, then off to Nepal/Bali/Thailand until end of September. Loved Palmira and La Paz; will you go south after December? I had a question for you -- can I get a hold of you by email?