Costa Alegre and Tenacatita’s Blue Bay

We arrived here on Christmas Day, after a nice sail around Cabo Corrientes, under the light of a gloriously full moon. Full moon brings with it a whole different set of thoughts than a dark and windy night, especially when it’s Christmas Eve and you can imagine a world full of people looking for Santa’s sleigh silhouetted on the very moon we’re watching.

They like to call this the Costa Alegre, alegre meaning cheerful. Happy, joyful, maybe a little drunk, says one dictionary.

When we arrived in the middle of the afternoon, there were a handful of Big Mexican Motor Yachts, who left within hours. And there were just two other cruising boats in this capacious bay. Everyone else had gone to the next bay for a Christmas pot-luck dinner. Out came the swim ladder and into the warm salty pool we slid. The water really was 84 degrees. I don’t even remember the dinner, but I’m sure it was pot-luck too. And alegre.

Since then a cruising community has slowly been evolving, to the point that there were 40 other boats here last week, although now half have moved on.

What’s Here?

There’s a half-mile of beach, punctuated by all-inclusive resort, Los Angeles Locos, (formerly Blue Bay) at the far end. The hotel suffered damage during Hurricane Patricia, but is up and running. The vegetation is recovering and the sand has been pushed back down onto the beach. Behind the road was a shrimp farm owned by the hotel, but that’s still being rebuilt.


At the near end there’s a palapa-roofed restaurant called La Vena, a tent campground, and the barred mouth of a small river which wanders back into the mangroves for a couple miles. There are herons and chacalacas  (turkey-like birds) and terns and no doubt much else upstream, even some small crocodiles. Don’t molest them, say the signs. Don’t worry!

Tenacatita upstream to estuary resize crop

Supplies, groceries and the like, are available not too far away, but not too close either. The small town of La Manzanilla is three miles across the bay by water, when it’s not too rough, or half an hour by taxi. The bigger towns of Barra de Navidad and Melaque are in the next bay, about 14 miles southeast. And a cell phone tower twinkles, although it sometimes seems that’s all it does.

The Mayor and his constituency

Tenacatita is the kind of place some people stay for months, and come to year after year. So perhaps it’s fitting that there be a Mayor; Robert aboard Harmony of Alameda is the latest, and maybe the longest serving too, although I suspect that the First Lady, aka “The Lovely Miss Virginia” is the real Mayor. Being a background Empress myself, I recognize the signs.

They keep the morning radio net going, and the social calendar up-to-date, and generally know what’s going on. The Mayor also hosts a Friday afternoon raft-up.

Robert, the Mayor of Tenacatita, surveys his constituency on New Year’s Eve.  ‘Bring your drinks, and a plate, and some food to share. And make sure to bring plenty of food, because the mayor is always hungry” is the weekly announcement. You’ll be asked to introduce yourself, and sometimes there is a talent show, or jokes, or show and tell, or a topic for discussion.

Turtle launch

The hotel ‘rescues’ sea turtle eggs, holds them until they hatch, and then involves the hotel guests, particularly the children, in the ‘launch.’

fenced in labels marking turtle egg nest locations
The security guards try to calculate when the eggs will hatch. Then they move the hatchlings into a concrete tub until nightfall, when it is deemed safer for the turtles to be released to the sea.
New Year’s was a busy time, 90-plus sea turtle hatchlings and nearly as many kids.
Man holding sea turtle
This turtle is ready to get swimming
sea turtle babies surf line
“Hurry up! We’re almost there!”
Photo courtesy of

Boys at play

“Bocce on the beach at 2 PM” is the main item on the social calendar. It’s usually followed by drinks in the palapa. It’s not always all men playing – anyone is welcome. But the women tend to walk the beach or sit in the shade and chat while the men knock bocce balls around.

Bocce ball on the beach



Two dolphins , one rubbing on anchor chain
One of our neighbors in the anchorage, John Rogers aboard Moonshadow, who took the top picture of Galivant (foreground) and Gia from his masthead, also saw these dolphins using his anchor chain as a fin scratcher, and went to investigate, camera in hand. Image courtesy of  ‘Lectronic Latitude 38.

Several years ago I read a book called Beautiful Minds, which compared intelligent animals, particularly primates and cetaceans. I was struck by the authors’ observation that, because of the environment in which they lived, their anatomy, and the tools not available to them, dolphins and whales have few options and many limitations when compared to the great apes. Backscratchers would just be the start of the list.

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