jeffd23's Experiences

at Bahia Santa Maria

shared over 2 years ago dropped the hook at 24.777656 N, -112.254653 W

Anchoring at BSM

Bahia Santa Maria (BSM) is a huge bay and can easily accommodate 200+ cruising yachts. We were one of the last boats to arrive with the Haha rally, so we ended up anchoring relatively far from the beach in about 30 feet in solid holding ground. The only thing to watch out for are Mexican fishing boats when you approach the anchorage - stay well clear to avoid catching your prop on stray fishing lines. Aside from that, this is a strong anchorage that requires no special anchoring techniques. 

The Beach is Amazing

The most spectacular part of Bahia Santa Maria is its huge wind swept beach. It is littered with jagged rocks and tide pools, of which we only had time to explore a tiny fraction. The beach was especially enjoyable for our dog who what hundreds of yards of firm sand to run around. If you're into marine biology or coastal landscapes, this place is paradise. 

Anchored at Bahia Santa Maria with the Baja Haha fleet in 2014. Huge wind swept bay at Bahia Santa Marina  - Our dog loved running around on this huge pristine beach.

at Costa Baja Resort

shared over 2 years ago dropped the hook at 24.215344 N, -110.298883 W

We have kept our at Marina Costa Baja since arriving in La Paz in winter 2014. In our opinion, this is the nicest marina in La Paz. There are several good marina options in La Paz, but Costa Baja stands out for a few reasons.  

The Good Stuff

  • Solid management. Gabriel is awesome. He gave us a free bottle of wine when we complained about the lack of good wine in Mexico!
  • Clean and luxurious facilities.
  • Closest marina to the Sea of Cortez. Saves an hour or two of sailing when heading to Espiritu Santo.
  • Access to an infinity pool and several high-end restaurants within walking distance.
  • Small marine store on site.
  • Fluff and fold laundry service on site.
  • Safe and secure.
  • Free (slow) WiFi


  • Slightly more expensive per month than other options, like Marina de LaPaz and Marina Palmira. 
  • Few miles away from downtown La Paz. (But there is a free shuttle that runs every couple hours)

Bottom Line

Awesome place to stay and relax if it works with your budget. Every cruiser we have talked to here has been impressed with this marina. You get what you pay for!

the docks at marina costa baja The view from the pool area at Marina Costa Baja - resort style paradise if that's your thing

at Turtle Bay

shared almost 3 years ago dropped the hook at 27.689912 N, -114.889129 W

Bahia Tortugas

We were approximately the 100th boat to arrive in Turtle Bay, or Bahia Tortugas in the 2014 Baja Haha. The anchorage is huge and there is enough room for 200 boats to anchor securely without feeling crowded. The bay is well protected in virtually every direction, but the best anchorage can be found in the northern end near the town.

The town is a small dusty Mexican village and should give you a good dose of culture shock if you've never been to Mexico.  Make sure to get lunch at La Palapa - there's no menu and they serve local mystery food, like manta ray soup.


We've heard stories of cruising getting diesel in turtle bay filled dirt, water, and even horse hair. The majority of boats in the haha filled up here after 3 days of motoring and we didn't hear a single complaint.

Landing the Dinghy

The town can be reached by landing the dinghy on the rocky beach on the south side of the pier. During the haha, kids from town will help you keep an eye on your dinghy for a dollar. The bay gets choppy in the afternoon, so it's best to get your business done ashore in the morning.

Filling up the diesel jerry cans at turtle bay. We didn't run into any problems with fuel quality. The east end of Turtle Bay during the Baja Haha potluck 2014

at Ensenada Grande

shared almost 3 years ago dropped the hook at 24.558385 N, -110.398661 W

One of the World's Best Beaches

According to Travel Magazine, this Ensenada Grande is the best beach in the world to visit in February. We anchored here in November and it was incredible. There's great snorkling throughout the entire bay - perfect place to jump in with the GoPro and capture the diverse marine life of Espiritu Santo. The dramatic red-rock cliffs surrounding the bay contrast with the turquoise water to give you tons of photo-taking opportunities. Best of all, it's not as crowded as some of the other anchorages in the area. 


Anchoring in the bay is easy. We dropped the hook in about 20 feet in the southern end of the bay, with about 10 other boats in the area. We had plenty of room to swing on one anchor. The wind shifts often throughout the day/night, so try to get a spot in the middle.


There's a moderately difficult hike from the beach that is well marked by signs. It offers great views, but watch out for hornets, snakes, and other wildlife.

Overall, this is a must see anchorage in the sea of cortez.

Good little cove to walk the dog on the south end of the anchorage The shallow turquoise water around Ensenada grande is a snorkling paradise. Ranked one of the worlds top ten beaches by travel magazine.

at Smugglers Cove

shared about 3 years ago dropped the hook at 34.018163 N, -119.540724 W

A Channel Islands Favorite

Smuggler's cove was the very first anchorage we dropped the hook Channel Islands National Park. It is a wide open anchorage with room for dozens of boats. The coastline here is picturesque and it offers a cool view of Anacapa Island in the distance. Anacapa looks like a tiny round island from this perspective, as opposed to its normal long snaky appearance. It's one of the most popular spots in the summer, but there's almost always additional room at yellowbanks next door.  In my opinion, this is the second best anchorage on the south shore of Santa Cruz Island, with Coaches Prietos being the first. 

Well-Protected in Prevailing Conditions

Smugglers is a great place to be when the wind is coming out of the northwest. It reportedly offers protection in all but the most severe NW weather.

However, if there is any significant swell or wind coming from the south, it's going to be uncomfortable. It is completely exposed to the devil wind (Santa Anas).  We stayed here during a 2-3 foot south swell with no wind and it was VERY rolly and uncomfortable. 

Landing the Dinghy

The beach is very steep and landing the dinghy can be challenging. This is a spot where dinghy wheels will come in handy. If there is good swell running, I would not recommend landing because you'll have a very tough time getting off the shoreline.  On a side note,  you don't need a permit to go ashore on this part of Santa Cruz island. 

The  shoreline at smugglers cove looking from the middle of the anchorage The northern end of the anchorage at smugglers cove Smugglers gives you an interesting view of the long snakey  anacapa island

at Cabo San Lucas Anchorage

shared about 3 years ago dropped the hook at 22.885309 N, -109.904029 W

Amazing Scenery with Uncomfortable Afternoons

The Bahia de san Lucas anchorage has gorgeous condo-lined beach on one side and El Arco (Arch rocks)on the other side. We arrived here in the morning when it was completely flat and went for a swim in the 80 degree water. By the afternoon, the anchorage was noisy and rolly. Pangas, cruise ships, paragliders, vegas style partying, sport fishing, catamaran booze cruises,  and all sorts of other tourist activity combine to make this a completely different place by the afternoon.

Getting to Shore

Pangas are easy to flag down after the tourist activity gets going after 10AM or so. We usually paid 50 pesos (3.50 USD) for a two minute ride to the IGY marina. Or you can just swim to the beach where you'll find a handful of bars.


Depths in the bay can vary substantially. We found a nice spot in 25 feet and able to see straight to the sandy bottom.  You'll need to get pretty close to shore to find shallow depths. 

check out the dramatic arch rocks after rounding the cape then anchoring at the cabo san lucas anchorage The cabo anchorage is nice and calm in the morning, but expect to be rockin and rollin by the afternoon.

at Potato Harbor

shared about 3 years ago dropped the hook at 34.047948 N, -119.59161 W

A Beautiful Little Cove, but Exposed to NW

Potato Harbor is a beautiful cove, with jagged towering  cliffs on all sides. My wife and I were able to stay here overnight during some unusual weather, with wind coming from the south. There's only enough room for about 2 to 3 boats. If you're alone you can swing on one hook, but otherwise you'll want to anchor bow and stern. Depths are approximately 20 to 30 feet on a sand bottom. 

Completely Exposed to NW Weather

The main drawback about Potato is that it is exposed to NW weather, which is what you get 80% of the time at channel islands. If the prevailing winds pick up above 10 kts, it gets very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous in stronger weather. It's best suited as a day anchorage. Potato actually offers decent protection during NE Santa Anas. 


You'll feel very locked in at potato, but in a good way. There's a small rocky beach where it's possible to land a dinghy, but there's really nowhere to go. The cliffs completely encapsulate the cove, so don't plan on hiking ashore from this spot. 

Looking at the entrance of potato from the inside at sunset. You can't miss the rock when approaching from a distance. A view of the cliffs at potato harbor. Notice the moon rising in the background. There's a small rocky beach where you can land the dinghy straight ahead.