Here is a custom Map of the Bahia Tenacatita, enjoy!!
View Tenacatita Bay in a larger map
Tenacatita 19° 17.020′ N
104° 52.310′ W
Tenacatita Bay is one of the many gems located in the great state of Jalisco on the Costa Alegre and well worth the visit although there are as of the writing of this page, August of 2012 a few problems there. Make sure you scroll down and read the last section on the Tenacatia Land Grab. Located approximately 85 miles south of Cabo Corrientes and around 18 miles south of punta Etopia, the southern most point of Chamela bay and just 5 miles north up from Melaque if you are approaching from the south.
Boca De Iguana
The best anchorage lies deep in the bay in front of the famous jungle river Boca de Iguanas. Right next to the entrance to the river is a free camp ground with a small sea food restaurant at the end of the road. Here at the camp ground you can get access to a public shower and bathrooms and fill up your water tanks if you
don’t mind jerry jugging them to the boat. The water was very clean out of the tap. The beach from the river entrance to the Blue Bay Los Angeles Resort Hotel is now owned by the Hotel so it would appear there will be little development of the beach until economic times improve.
You can anchor east or west of the obvious rock hazards that jut out from the coast at the entrance to the river. You will most likely have a bit less swell in summer if you tuck in closer to the cost west of the rocks
that mark the entrance to the Boca de Iguanas river.
On the other side of the bay lies the small quaint town of Manzanilla. One of our favorite pueblos. There are many places to eat in Manzanilla and you can also provision the boat nicely in the small markets that line the main road in town. The Zocalo of Manzanilla is spacious and clean and boasts the most beautifully
decorated kiosko (Marine Motif) we have ever encountered.
We cruised to Manzanilla during summer which means we were the only sail boat in the whole bay. Dingy landing can be a bit tuff in summer so you will have to
time the sets right. We use kayaks to land which make negotiating surf far easier. I suspect winter might equate to less swell in front of town but even during summer time we experienced days of very calm swell making landing a very simple process. Another great plus
to cruising during summer time is the great quantity of Sea Turtles that you will encounter in the Area. Many of them will be caught in
a rather private moment. We encountered turtles mating on at least three separate occasions.
Manzanilla’s population is around 1500 inhabitants during summer. In winter months the population will swell to around 5000 when Americans, Canadians and many Europeans make there migrations south for the winter.
Not to be missed is the crocodile reserve located at the end of the main road going
west. It costs 10 pesos for adults and 5 pesos for kids to enter the reserve and see some seriously big ass crocodiles. Walk over the bridge to the west side of the reserve and climb the observation deck to get a birds eye view of the crocks. Bad crocodiles who swim out side the reserve, such as Pancho, are punished by being put in pens. Apparently Pancho likes to sneak out at night and eat dogs!
Also just to the left of the entrance gate you can purchase a bag of fish and feed the crocodiles. This is for sure a blast and well worth the 20 pesos bag of fish so definitely feed them. Those shots will show up in the video that I will edit on the area!!
Boca de Iguana Jungle River
Boca de Iguanas or what has been mentioned in other guide books at the Jungle River Tour. The river entrance is right next to the camp grounds down the beach
from the large Resort. The river starts out wide and narrows as you snake your way west towards Tenacatita. We did the tour in kayaks in summer with two kids and thus did not go all the way to the laguna. In a motorized dingy in winter I suspect we would have gone all the way to the end if we could have. But alas you can no longer access the laguna by river because of the legal battle going on over Tenacatita. Read passage below.
Tenacatita Land Grab
Now the problem with this situation now is that there has been a major land grab going on in Tenacatita. So at the moment, August of 2012, it is not possible to get to all the way to the Laguna in tenacatita via the river or via the highway as well. The reason why is that a wealthy land developer in Guadalajara spent years quietly buying up land rights in tenacatita and then in August of 2010 evicted @ 175 families from their beach restaurants and palapas and thus took control over the whole area. There is even a fence up over the federal highway leading to Tenacatita.
When we arrived by sail boat we of course had no idea there were any problems there. We expected to drop the hook grap some bears and have dinner at one of the many sea food palapas that could be found on the beach. What we noticed immediately as we approached tenacatita by water is that all the palapas and restaurants that once existed have mostly been torn down and or abandoned. It looked as though a hurricane had hit the area. We landed our kayaks there and were promptly threatened at gun point and told to leave the beach or we could be shot. Yep thats right a federal beach in Mexico. The rather fat gentleman with the 45 caliber pistol stuck into his over flowing belt told us to get the hell out of dodge so we did. The whole area is patroled by paid thugs of a Senor Villalobos out of Guadalajara.
The new Governor who was just elected, July 2012, has vowed to reopen the highway and access to the beach. Lets not hold our breath on that one!!!