San Juanico has been a favorite of cruisers in this area for many years, so much so that a cruisers’ shrine tree on one of the northern shores is decorated with remembrances and found art from dozens of boats. But the southern bay typically get short shrift, because the favored season(s) here are typified by northerly breezes. But when the wind regime switches to the south (late spring, summer), don’t miss the solitude and spectacular snorkeling of the southern bays.
Open from north. When approaching from the south, give room on the large rock 1/4 mile off Punta Mercenarios. There is also a pinnacle rock marked on our chart nearly two miles out here, but we have been unable to spot it. Once you turn the corner into the bay, your only concern is the large reef that extends off the rocky spine that separates the SE from the SW bay. On higher tides this spread out reef will all but disappear, so mark it well.
You have two good options: The SE bay is closer to the best snorkeling on the point, and gets better breeze through the gap on the shore. The SW bay, behind the protection of the reef mentioned above, gives better protection and a nice stretch of beach, but less breeze.
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San Juanico is braided with hiking trails, and loaded with sweet pocket beaches separated by imposing bluffs and headlands. This is a spectacular place to explore on foot. Do note the private land in the center and northern areas of the bay, however.
If your timing is right, large bait balls will congregate in the lee of the point, along the rocks, gathering a who’s who of reef predator fish. We’ve never seen this many Leopard Grouper of various sizes in one place. Also good rocks for Octopus and eels. We’ve never paddled along the gap between the rocks without spotting at least one sea turtle up close.
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