Longboard Surf Haven with Identity Crisis Ashore
Punta de Mita is often passed over by cruisers, as it has a reputation for being rolly and difficult to get ashore. While it is indeed a surfing mecca with limited shore access, it’s quite doable for the moderately intrepid. We find it has plenty to offer.
Open from the South and East. Approaching from the North or West, one must take care to give the point itself good clearance, as breaking waves can form over the rocky shoals up to 1/4 mile or more from shore. There is a yellow buoy to assist with marking your turn and shore clearance around Punta de Mita proper, IF PRESENT. From the South, give the Tres Islas Marietas good clearance as well, as this is a permit-only reserve, with recreational boats required to keep 1km distance.
It’s a wide open bay with LOTS of room for a flotilla, but most tend to concentrate their anchoring near the cluster of beach palapas and condos on either side of the panga basin (do not enter), in 20-30 feet of water. Keep well offshore to avoid breaking surf at the lower tides. Note that all moorings in this area are private. Recently we have been finding rock cobble/slab to the SW of the panga basin, with better holding sand further out, or to the E side.
A smattering of beachside palapa bar/restaurants line the beach (some local joints, others quite touristy), with roads leading up to a gringo-ized shopping area and multiple grocery opportunities. The large resort (Four Seasons Punta de Mita) is quite insular and NOT welcoming to cruisers. But the rest of the town is a fun mix of upscale new and old school Mexico beach town. Note that getting into shore can be tricky if the surf is high. Best to approach at higher tides in settled conditions, with a dose of patience to wait out the sets. We have the best luck just to the east of any of the rock jetties, in particular in front of El Anclote. You might be able to find a spot in the corner of the panga basin, but it’s a tangle of lines and local fishing boats in there so we don’t recommend it.
Punta de Mita is a mecca for longboard and SUP surfers, and for good reason. When it’s going off, the rides are long and cruisey. There are breaks out at the point itself, a few select spots inside of that, the obvious break El Anclote in front of the first set of beach condos, and Stinky’s on the east side of the panga basin. All work on a variety of swell and tide conditions. Expect crowds of surf class students during busy season, but the vibe is super friendly and inviting all around.
You can, but not easily from your own vessel. This gorgeous, unique beach has been loved to death in recent years, so much so that the Mexico natural resources body stepped in and set up a permit-only system with schedule and regulations. Only certain pangueros are licensed, so tours of the islands, including swimming and snorkeling at this iconic beach, must be done through them. Punta de Mita is the closest and best spot to arrange such a trip. You can apply for a permit for your own vessel at the office in Puerto Vallarta, but most consider it not worth the hassle and cost.
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