4 Reasons to Cruise Mainland Mexico over Baja

As we prepped our sailboat, Astrologer, in the San Carlos boatyard and in the marina, we had yet to meet others willing to travel down the mainland side of Mexico. 

The cruisers we spoke to planned to cross the Sea of Cortez and harbor hop down the Baja peninsula to La Paz. 

Only a few would make the jump to the mainland from La Paz, if they left Baja at all. 

More surprising to hear was some of these cruisers had traveled Sea of Cortez for years and years and curiosity had yet to convince them to explore the mainland coast.

Here are a few reasons we heard why people avoided the mainland coast:

Reason 1: Lots of fishermen, fishing traps, and nets.

We Found That To Be: True. I should note that if you’ve sailed down the coast of Washington and Oregon, you’ve already become an expert in dodging fishing traps. That area is reminiscent of navigating a Mario Brothers game, bobbin’ and weavin’. You’ve got to be on your toes to prevent tangling your propellor in lines or nets. So if you’ve made it down that part of the coast, then mainland Mexico will be a cinch.

View of a 4-hour watch. Chris and I switch on and off until we reach our destination through the day and night. Reading makes the time go by fast!

Reason 2: Nothing to see, really. 

WFTTB: Not True. You’ll experience small towns such as Puerto Yavaros and Topolobampo with the option of taking buses to other (bigger) cities and towns. Just prepare for overnight passages to get to each port. Especially if you max out about 5-6 knots like we do.

Reason 3: Baja is easier. You basically day sail to different anchorages. No overnight passages. 

WFTTB: True AF. Plus, Baja has remote anchorages to explore. So if you’re looking for alone time on the hook, then you’ll find it on the Baja coast (with about 4-15 other cruisers anchored nearby).

View from the cockpit. Fun fact: The blue weather cloth you see here tied to a metal stanchion are good for several reasons: to block wind, protect the cockpit from spray and crashing waves, and a little privacy from neighbors when you’re in a marina. I made ours. It was only kind–of a pain in the butt.

Reason 4: We just want to go to La Paz. 

WFTTB: True and totally get it. We love La Paz. So much so that we knew that if we went directly to La Paz we would get “La Paused,” and not be in a rush to get anywhere else. (If you haven’t been, La Paz is a port that makes anchoring or marina life really easy complete with access to fresh potable water, showers, dinghy dock and a large Gringo population that rivals some south Florida towns. The city itself has a dash of European flair seen in the architecture and some cuisine. We later found out that there is an ex-pat population of about 20,000. Which means, La Paz has what Americans and a shiz-ton of Canadians like and make it really easy to stay and enjoy. That is, if you’re looking for culture, small city life, and a good place for coffee and WiFi which is, of course, Doce Cuarenta.)

Since we traveled Baja last season, the decision to main-vein the mainland was easy. Plus, we’re on a deadline, and the 24-hour-ish passages are the most productive way to get to Puerto Vallarta by mid-February.

I love sailing with the jib. And I’m not sure if it’s because the jib is easier to set. Here’s Chris checking on the traffic. All clear.

Though the mainland is the “road less traveled” by cruisers, it’s perfect to take it if you’re on a deadline to get south or if you want to discover an entirely different (and more populated) part of Mexico.

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