It seems most cruisers zip right on by Melaque to head straight into Barra, lured by the siren song of the French baker, al pastor tacos, and all those gringo bars. But this place deserves a stop, and the often clear bay is a welcome change from the murky waters of the Barra Lagoon. It’s great spot to clean the bottom, has a HUGE wide beach with tons of fun places to explore, a great stone walk along the curve point that delineates the bay, and one hell of a St. Patrick’s Day celebration (which is a story for another time).
Just like you’re headed to Barra, with no hidden dangers. Just give room to the rocky point as you come into the bay.
Most prefer to anchor in the NW corner, to minimize roll from any swell that might refract around the point. Anchoring can be had, however, just about anywhere in the bay from 20-35 feet over sand. Note that there are a few private moorings in here, as well as seasonal bait traps, etc., so give those room as well. Note also that evenings, especially weekends, the beachside bars here can be quite loud. Typically shuts down shortly after 10pm, however.
The aforementioned beach bars are a hoot. Great margaritas and a wide selection of seafood classics can be found at any stop you choose. There is world-class ice cream ashore, and one of our favorite markets – The Hawaii, near the square, which typically has stellar product and is great for sometimes hard-to-find or gringo-oriented provisioning items. Also, a few banks and ATMs, which can be really handy if you’ve been at Barra for any length of time.
Make sure to walk the FULL length of the beach and rough (but stone-paved) malecón of sorts that curls out along the cliffs, about half way to the point. This will give you a great perspective on the variety that Melaque has to offer, from a slew of beach vendors and beachside restaurants, to small family hotels, public beach spots, kids at play, the excellent RVing digs at the head of the beach, and the relative quiet of the far side of the bay, looking back at town and the fish in the clear water below. Sweet.