Chacala, the quintessential beach town

Could I live here? I’d definitely put it in the very firm maybe category. Which is saying a lot from me. This town is top of my list for the mainland. Gorgeous beach, check. Kick ass food, check. Nice locals, check. Not too big, check. Good ratio Mexican/Gringos, check. Sign me up for a few days in this slice of paradise.

Full disclosure, many cruisers avoid Chacala due to the swell. Nearly everyone uses a stern anchor to keep pointing to it. The first two days we stayed away from the pack and hung on our Mantus anchor with no complaints in the ride. Sure there was a little movement but totally comfortable on our catamaran.

For a small town, it was surprising to find there is a port captain here and that you are supposed to check in. Seems like it is loosely enforced but the port captain is a nice guy and I’d encourage everyone to stop by and help him justify his job. There is no cost and it is painless.

We did go snorkeling one day, starting from west of the fishing fleet docks and working towards the north point. The current was strong and the swell bordering on dangerous. Nah, didn’t stop us but this limited the snorkeling time. Nothing earth shattering but that could also have been reduced by the sea state. One cool thing was that when the waves would break, remaining behind would be a sea of tiny little bubbles. It was an interesting feeling swimming through them – slight vertigo, slight tingling, slight excitement.

In the evening we were treated to live music from one of the bars. The sound was clear in the cockpit and unlike in other areas they knocked off at a good time, maybe 11:00pm or so.

The plan had been to stay a couple nights and then move on to Jaltemba about nine miles south. That plan was foiled when we tried to anchor behind the island at Jaltemba, to protect us from the big swell rolling in, when a panga came up to inform us anchoring was no longer permitted there. We took a quick look at anchoring off the beach but that was a big no. So back to Chacala we went. Two more nights drew zero complaints from me. And it netted our best meal in Chacala, so clearly the correct decision was made.

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