Tenacatita is one of those places that sucks you in, where the days pass easily with as much or as little activity as you might choose. Where things slow down, life simplifies, and you really feel like you’re in a mellower world. That’s not say there’s not plenty to do. Watersports, bocce on the beach, raft-up pot lucks, fishing, spotting ring-tailed cats in the trees, volleyball on the beach, estuary tours, a distillery tour, happy hour at the palapa on the beach. This place is summer camp for adults. You’re welcome.
The Tenacatita that cruisers know is not Tenacatita proper, but the second bay inside, formally called Bahia de Los Angeles Locos. Seriously. The outer bay is good for a beach stop, or to snorkel at the “Aquarium,” but you will find more restful nights, and much more camaraderie, at Tenacatita’s inner bay. Approach is easy and clear if you choose to leave Center Rock (large visible haystack rock .5 miles from the headland) to port. If you cut between this rock and shore, favor the rock side, as there are reports of uncharted rocks in this area, with at least one hard grounding in the last five years.
Tenacatita is a large, open bay with plenty of room for 50 boats or more. During the season it’s common to have 25-35 on any given day, with lots of turnover. Best protection is tucked in toward the headland in the SW corner. It’s nearly 10 feet deep almost to the rocks along the bluff there, but the closer you get, the more likely you’ll deal with bugs. The only other hazards to worry about are the rocks directly off the estuary channel, and getting too close to the surf zone to the north of the channel. Make sure you’re anchoring in 25ft plus if there is substantial swell predicted. Pretty much everywhere is nice firm sand in 20-40 feet.
At first it doesn’t look like much. But maybe that’s the point. One palapa restaurant (Vena’s). One hotel resort at the end of the beach. Good Dog Beach for a place to take the pup, the channel, and the surf break (when it’s happening). Getting ashore by dinghy is easiest (Winter 2020) by paralleling the north channel breakwater, on the beach side, about 20 yards off or so. There’s a deepish sandy strip there that runs all the way to the beach. Timing with swell is important, of course. You can also take a dinghy into the channel and around the back side of the camping area to the shallow sanding landing area back there, but timing with swell and tide is necessary.
The Mayor’s Raft Up on Friday evenings during the season. Bring an appetizer dish to pass, beverages, plates and flatware for yourselves, and head to the SW corner of the anchorage, off Good Dog Beach, about an hour before sunset. Dinghies raft up into a big bunch, pass food and swap stories. It’s a sweet little community event that is surprisingly rare. Enjoy it.