Whether you are new to the area or you have been here several times, there are plenty of things to do around the area. Listed below, are just a few of them.
*** Go Surfing ***
For those of you who love to surf, or for those that might just be learning, Barra De Navidad can be a great place to play around in the waves. It typically is better during the winter months, when we are receiving a north swell. The wave is a point break, and breaks just in front of the malecon. Usually wrapping in as a right-breaking wave, but sometimes when it is huge, it can create a nice left.
If you are looking for an adventure along with your surf, there is La Vuelta . Just as the name, it is around the corner from the most northern tip of Melaque. To get there, you will want to drive as far north as you can, park your car, and then walk to the malecon. Once you reach the malecon and walk it as far as you can, you then climb over the wall and hike the rocks about 15 minutes. Now, just be sure to time your trip so that the tide isn’t too high –or else it could get a little dangerous! Once you reach the break, you will see that there is both a right and a left, and depending on the swell direction will determine the wave that is working.
Another spot to check out, especially if you are learning is Boca De Iguanas. Just north of Barra, about a 25 minute drive. As you get to where you can’t drive anymore, park, and follow the path to the beach (Just watch out for the gators). The break is straight in front –it is a beach break. Usually small and a lot of close-outs, but can also be a lot of fun!
One other spot, just 45 min. north of Barra is Arroyo Seco. It is for the pro’s that are out there, or at-least those who don’t mind getting a little pummeled –it can be quite a fast and gnarly wave! As you are driving into the small town of Arroyo Seco and get to the end of the square you can either go right to the small beach of La Bruja, where you will find a right-breaking wave. Or… you can drive left, just by the square, and follow the road till you hit the beach –Las Brisas. As you reach the beach, there is a right-breaking wave just out in front. And… if you drive the road all the way down, you will eventually hit the left-breaking wave that is there. Again, the waves at this beach are a tad-bit peligroso! –they are steep, fast, and as Justin would say a bit punchy.
Now, going south(roughly 2-3 hour drive)–there is the infamous La Ticla. An absolutely amazing spot for surfers. If you have the time on your trip, you must go. A bit tricky for beginners, but none-the-less doable. Being a beach break, it offers both amazing rights and lefts. If you haven’t been there before, this place will step up your game in surfing. Available is camping, rooms, and complete bungalows. Just be aware that at night things shut down quick, so grab your last beers and anything you might want to eat. But… definitely check this place out.
*** Do Some Yoga ***
Not only is it very relaxing, it makes you feel GOOD!
Beginning of last season, my friend Kalina Saunders began the Buena Onda Centro de Yoga, an AMAZING place to find fantastic classes, events, and healing practices!
Many of the classes practiced at Buena Onda, are a variety of Yoga Classes –taught by several instructors. One of them being, Kalina…
To find out more about her practices and class schedule, come by the shop to view her weekly flier of info.
Aynsley, my friend and fellow surfer, does an incredibly amazing job teaching yoga both for beginners and advanced yogis. She teaches an eclectic mix of Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga. –Explaining breathing techniques, the different chakras, a huge array of postures, and a variety of yoga routines with gentle transitions. And…lucky for us, she is holding classes here in Barra in the mornings at the Buena Onda Centro de Yoga. — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11am until 12pm.
She will also be holding evening yoga classes in Melaque, at the MK Fitness Melaque (on the highway across from Pollo Kaliman near Interceramic) from 5pm to 6pm -Mon. Wed. and Fri.
And… for those of you that live out on the isla, she also holds a morning yoga class at Playa Grande near the pool, close to the ocean from 9am until 10am Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
—Her classes are 50 pesos.
I recommend getting to class with a few minutes to spare, because her classes tend to fill up quick. And… if you have your own yoga mat, bring it. But, if you don’t, don’t let that discourage you, she has a few extra that she loans out. *You may also purchase them at Walmart in Manzanillo, if you are interested.
*** Boat Over to Colimilla ***
A FUN and WONDERFUL experience that if you haven’t done, you should.
EASY, QUICK, AND CHEAP TO DO….. Just catch one of the water taxis in Barra, and ask to be dropped off in Colimilla, or at one of the many restaurants.
One of my favorite restaurants over there is Restaurant Mary’s. They serve the BEST MARGARITAS in Barra! And… also, the loveliest seafood dishes. One of my husband’s favorite dishes is the Rollo Del Mar (shrimp wrapped in bacon and smothered in cheese). I personally, love the guacamole 😉
And… if you aren’t all that hungry, take a boat over to Colimilla, and simply walk around the small area. It’s a fun thing to do 😉
*** Go For a Hike ***
There is an amazing little hike located in La Manzanilla. It’s about a 20-25 minute light walk (flip-flop do-able) to the waterfall and another 20-25 minutes back. In total a 40 minute walk.
But, I definitely recommend wearing your swimsuit, because it is sooooo nice to dip in the waterfall once you reach it.
To get there, take the main road into the square, keep driving as if you were to go to Martin’s Restaurant. Once you approach a dry river, you’ve hit the hike.
Walk up the river, headed inland.
A short while into it you should see a pathway on the right, take it, this will lead you to a wonderful little waterfall. As you are walking this path, you should notice that the river is on your left.
There is another little hike located on your way to Autlan. Not far from here, about a 15 minute drive. It’s known as Choncho. –Not totally easy to describe, but if you find a friend that has been there –they can show you the way. During the summer months it’s great! -due to all the rain. It creates these beautiful, clear, little pools to refresh in. I’m not sure if it is as amazing in the winter 🙁 But…. quien sabes.
Another little hike… SUPER CLOSE
Is the… Mirador, the farthest right point of Melaque. If you drive to Cuastacomate, there is a little parking spot on the left -at the entrance to the hike up the little mountain.
There are about 3 jaunts you can take. #1 is up the hill (right before you reach the main lookout that you can actually drive up) and… veers to the left. It goes out and in the direction to the ocean, and there is a spectacular view of All of Barra and Melanie. #2 walk of sorts, is the main drag and lookout. –Not bad, and worth while doing. #3 …hike you can do… is just keep walking along that same path and head upwards and towards the right. It actually goes quite a ways, and I’ve heard… you can actually go thru a gate and get into Cuastacomate (I’m not for sure that you can, but…) *I’ve done all three walks, and I like them 😉 It’s something to do, and you get a little exercise in.
*** Visit the Tianguis ***
If you don’t already know, every Thursday the Tianguis are in town.
And… for those of you who don’t know what the Tianguis are, it is similar to a swamp meet or a flea market. It’s the place to go to buy jewelry, used clothing, household items, berries, and even the newest releases in movies.
This year, they are located along the main road coming into town, and in the square.
And… if for some reason you can’t attend the Thursday Tianguis here in Barra, you can catch them in Melaque on Wednesday. The Melaque Tianguis are located in via Obregon. To get there, you take the street that leads you to the Pipil School, drive several blocks, and it is located a block or so down on the left. *Note: the Wednesday-Melaque-Tianguis are bigger and offer more items.
*** Check Out Chametla ***
It’s a bit of a day trip, but well worth it!
It takes about an hour and a half to get there. So… if you are doing any water adventures like Surfing or SUPping, definitely leave early in the morning to beat any wind.
*By the way, there is ONLY surf when it is coming from the south and is at-least listed as 5′ and 17 seconds. And… when there is surf -it is longboard style and to the left..
To get there, take road 200 north, headed towards P.V., after you spot Careyes ?! it will be on your left. Drive straight, and when you need to veer, veer left. It will come up quickly.
Sometimes, there is a gentleman there who collects about 20 pesos a person (that is normal -so, don’t weird out). There is parking, clean bathrooms, and sometimes someone selling beverages and such -but don’t always count on that.
Once you are there, it is so nice and relaxing! The sights are INCREDIBLE!
There are about 3 or 4 little islands off the coast, that are accessible by board or boat. One of these days, I plan to SUP over. Also, there is a small private little beach to the left. You can get to it by walking the beach south, or also by paddling over by board or boat. It is quite and tranquil over there. There is a guy who guards it, but don’t let that scare you -He’ll let you hang.
And… there is a river that runs towards the ocean as well -that you can go check out. *If you have the time, it is well worth camping over a night or two.
*** Get Acupuncture ***
Not that I am trying to promote my husband’s business, but I will… Because it ROCKS! –If you don’t see results right away, you eventually will. But…. Doug will tell you if he can’t help, and will suggest going to see a doctor if that is what is needed.
Acupuncture is actually very healing and in a weird way …kinda relaxing. It is good for all sorts of problems such as: headaches, nausea, muscle problems, sciatica, shingles, tennis elbow, –you name it. And… depending on the case and severity of the issue, it will take a few treatments. Which can include: some Tuina Massage, Needling, Cupping, and/or some Moxa-ing.
All… very interesting to try, if you haven’t already. *It is quite a sensation to have a needle placed into your left knee, and at the same time, feel a pain go away in your right elbow 🙂
If you are up for trying some alternative medicine, give Doug a call at 315.355.0070 or email him at DougGrootveld@yahoo.com His private sessions are an hour long and are $400 pesos, and located on Calle 21 de Noviembre (in Barra, between Kiosko and the first Oxxo, to the right), midway on the street, in front of Crazy Cactus, number 43.
But… if you are totally new to acupuncture and are a bit skeptical, you are welcome to give it a try for half the price –on one of his two days where he does…
–He will be providing this service on Wednesdays and Sundays this season at the Buena Onda Centro de Yoga space, from 2pm to 6pm. He will work it first come first served. Individual treatment will be around a half hour or a bit more. And…. the cost is ONLY $200 pesos a session.
For those of you who don’t quite understand Community style acupuncture, it offers acupuncture therapy in a setting where multiple patients receive treatments at the same time. –Using reclined chairs, clustered in groups in a quiet, soothing space.
Treatments in a community setting has many benefits: it’s easy for individuals, friends, and family members to come in for treatment as needed and no appointments are necessary (hence, the first come, first serve during business hours). This type of system is becoming very common in the US and Canada, and is the way it is most often practiced in China.
–Not to mention, this will free up more space for Doug to do his magic, instead of having a constant 25 person waiting list, like last season 😉
*** Hang Out Poolside ***
Nothing is quite like a vacation, like hanging out poolside 😉
A few pools open to the public are…
Cabo Blanco The biggest and cleanest pool in Barra. An absolute amazing pool to swim laps in, play water volleyball, and/or have hold your breath contests with your friends. Also, they have great cocktails, food, and restrooms!
Hotel Sands Located also in Barra, it is also a sweet spot to hang out one afternoon. Along with the nice breezes, palm trees swaying, you have cocktails available right there at the Sand Bar. Overall, cozy and SUPER tropical.
Chantil Mar Is a hotel and restaurant, located in boca De Iguanas. –The turn-off is just before you get to the end of the road. -There is a sign for it. This place is a sexy little spot to hang one afternoon and grab lunch. The burgers are to die for.
*** Take a Fishing Tour ***
The Costalegre is a great area for fishing, and one of my dear friends offers AMAZING tours in this particular area of the Costalegre.
His name is Luis Vargas, and his website is FishingCostalegre.com
If you are anxious to get on this, you can reach him via email or by phone. I personally …highly recommend his tours 🙂 He is a phenomenal fisherman and great instructor!
Email Address: email@example.com
House Line: 315.355.6657 and Cell Phone: 044.315.106.8499
This year he offers both Surf Casting Tours and Charters. –YEAH!!!
In the Surf Casting Tour, you will go to remote beaches with pristine coastlines, and experience hooking a fish on the shore using high-quality spinning equipment. –With the utmost BEST instruction you’ve ever had, you’ll learn NEW techniques in surf fishing. *Note: if you tend to get seasick, this is a great way to go!
On his Charters, Luis will take you out to sea, where you will cast from his very comfortable and clean boat. It can usually take up to 4-6 hours, so plan accordingly 😉 –Bring plenty of sunscreen, cover-up, and water.
Just some of the fish that he has caught, and you can plan on catching as well, are: Dorado, Snapper, Jack Crevalle, Skip Jack, Sierra Mackerel, Green Jack, Big Eye Trivially, Rainbow Runner, Amberjack, and more…
For more information on times and prices, just give Luis a shout out 🙂
*Also, if you are interested, Luis is NOW selling efficient lures for casting from a boat to surf fishing.
*** Try Stand-Up Paddle Boarding ***
If you are skeptical of the whole thing, I was too, to start. But… once I did it, I was hoooooked. It is sooooo much fun!
Once you get the hang of it, which doesn’t take long, you want to do it every other day. It is SUPrisingly relaxing. And… without feeling it, you get a great workout.
–Which in my mind, is the best way to workout. Who… wants to feel the burn :/
Not to mention, you get to see all the cool little fishies in the water, also… a few sting rays once in awhile. –But don’t let that scare ya.
*** Go Snorkeling ***
Just a few spots known for it’s decent snorkeling are…
1) Cuastacomate -when facing the ocean, swim out to the left side, hugging the rocks, and head out of the bay. There are plenty of bright colored fish, sting rays, and a nice reef to look at.
2) La Manzanilla -again, when facing the ocean, hang to the left side and snorkel out near the rocks. A friend of mine, says there are great fish to check out.
3) Tenacatita –I’m not sure if it is open to walk to when ashore, but for sure, you can either swim around to it, or boat up to it. The place to do the snorkeling is known as the Aquarium -located on the farthest right point, when on land. It holds an array of fish.
Photo by Susan Sharpless Smith
*** Get a Relaxing Massage ***
Most likely, if you are in this area, you are probably already relaxed, but…. you can’t tell me that an hour massage wouldn’t be the best!
If interested, which …really -how can you not be. You gotta contact my friend, and amazing Massage Therapist, Kalina Saunders.
She offers two types of massage; one being a Relaxation Massage, and the other being a Shiatsu/Thai Massage. Both are priced at 350 pesos for one hour, and 500 pesos for an hour and a half.
Located inside the “Buena Onda Centro de Yoga” on Calle Morelos #26 in Barra de Navidad (turn left at the BIG Perota Tree, and it is on the right at the end of the street, after Hotel Sands)
To book an appointment or just get a little more info. call: 315 112 4602 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Another GREAT masseuse to go to …is Patti. She gives an INCREDIBLE deep and relaxing massage. By far…. one of the BEST masseuses I’ve ever had before! You will absolutely love her 😉
Usually, her massage is around an our and half –YEP, I wrote that -and hour and a half SWEET!!! …And runs around 450-500 pesos a session. –Well worth it, too!
She practices out of Doug (the Acupuncturist’s space) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
To book an appointment or gather more information, callPatricia Baxter at 355.8181 or 044.108.5716
*** Take a Beach Day at Cuastacomate ***
It took me six years of coming down to this area to finally drive into Cuastacomate. If this is your first time to the area, I highly recommend taking a beach day at this amazingly beautiful beach! Especially, because it is only a 10-15 car ride north of Barra.
This tiny bay offers an amazing view, serene waters to swim in, great fishing, and tasty food.
*It’s the complete package when coming to a relaxing day at the beach. You gotta go if you haven’t.