Few pass along this coast without a stop in Turtle Bay, AKA Bahia San Bartolome. While the turtles that gave this bay its name are seldom seen, the town has grown into a fishing center with thriving off-the-books tourist economy brought on by the annual Baja HaHa and associated southern migration of cruising boats. While the infusion of gringo cash has been a boon for this small town, one could easily argue that the short, seasonal windfall has made the locals a bit cutthroat in their approach to dealings with cruisers. While the vast majority of the children are well-intentioned and ready to haul trash or get ice for a few pesos, be ready for beach grifters and dubious offers to “watch your dinghy and your yacht” for you while you’re ashore. The notorious Enrique lords over the fuel dispensation here, making an excellent mark on welcome fuel via panga, by both overestimating how much has gone into your tanks, and multiplying that by a well-above market price. Make all negotiations very clear beforehand, make sure to have exact change ready, and take all fuel transfers in visibly marked containers if possible.
The area between Cedros and Punta Eugenia is often CHOCK FULL of fishing gear during the typical southbound cruising season, and requires the utmost care and crew attention to navigate this area. The approach to, and entrance to Turtle Bay itself, however, is quite straightforward. Stay well outside the kelp, and don’t cut the corner too tight. The village is in the NW area of the bay.
Anchor anywhere off the village, typically in 20-30 feet over sand bottom. Give clearance to any fishing gear, the pier, and traffic lanes if the bay is full with the annual HaHa fleet.
This town is worth exploring, and has many small stores and restaurants ready for your business (fish tacos, anyone?). Groceries and ice are readily available, and the town does a good job of stocking up on most supplies in the last week or so of October, in anticipation of the arrival of the 100+ boat HaHa fleet. There is a lovely (and HaHa subsidized) local baseball field, where the kids of all ages from this baseball-crazy town are often playing. The Vera Cruz bar and restaurant at the top of the hill is a favorite spot to catch sports on TV and decent bar fare.
Halloween here is a hoot. The local kids have latched onto the imported holiday from gringo cruisers, and go from boat to boat to trick or treat.