Tag Archives: bugs of San Blas

Chacala to San Blas

Well, we did it… we actually came in to a Marina and paid for a slip. We hadn’t paid for slip or moorage since we left San Carlos 5.5 months ago! All of the anchorages we’ve stayed at have been free. At only $10 night with access to water, pool, showers, internet, and most importantly LESS NO-SEE-UMS AND MOSQUITOES we decided to go for it. Mike Jacoby on SV Easy came along with us as well. We love buddy boating with him.

  1. Mike on SV Easy and the kids ate the obligatory Pan de Banana (Banana bread). And of course we did the La Tovara Crocodile tour and fresh water park. We highly recomend taking the tour from just east of the river bridge heading out of San Blas vs the one from the official Tovara tour site (the one closer to Matanchén). The tour is longer through the mangroves, the captain of the panga will speak english and you get to see more wildlife. Plus I like supporting a smaller family business.

There is a bird in there. Kudos for any comments identifying it. Owl or hawk? What type?the fence that keeps the Crocodiles out of the fresh water pool. Rafael, our awesome guide!

San Blas is worth the stop. Despite all of the bugs, which it in notoriously for, we enjoyed our visit. There is a lot of history is this town to explore, which we did on our last visit here last year. The town square is lively in the evenings. We happened to stumble upon “Dia de Los Niños” this year. They celebrated Friday and Saturday with song and dance in the square. The local ballet company performed with dances from the adults and the kids. The next night they had tons of vendors out around the square and a parade with decorative floats. 

As mentioned before, San Blas is notorious for its mosquitos and no-see-ums (called jejenes here in Mexico). Last year we anchored in Matanchen and they were much worse. We had the no-see-um netting up and even gave into the not so natural bug spray and we were still eaten alive! This year, at the dock, it wasn’t nearly as bad and the natural bug repellent seemed to work.  Later, we found out that the marina sprays the property, especially around the boats that are hauled out. For this, we were glad our visit was short. Coconut oil with citronella, clove, and grapefruit essential oils. Start with 10 drops of citronella, 5 of clove and 5 of grapefruit. Double it depending on how much coconut oil you use. Doubles as sunscreen and even extra sunscreen if you add zinc powder. 
Next up: Isla Isabel

Hay hay now, or rather Jejenes

Jejenes (hay hay nays), also known as no-see-ums, keep most cruisers from staying in San Blas/Matanchén for long periods of time. We stayed in Matanchén for three nights, two full days, before we had had enough Jejenes and Mosquitos. 

We thought we were fully prepared with the no-see-um netting that I made and organic bug spray, store bought and homemade from essential oils. We even broke down and downloaded the “Mosquito App” to try send them away using radio frequency and the real deal DEET bug repellent. Nothing would stops these buggers. 

During the mid day hours, the bugs were more tolerable, but they still found their way into your skin. We made sure to reapply spray frequently and we shut ourselves in the boat well before sunset and stayed in until well after sunsrise. The no-see-um netting kept the mosquitos and the Jejenes out,  but we have a few hatches that only have mosquito netting over them. Well, those Jejenes found their way right through the wholes! Unbelievable! 

We endured the little pests for the two full days in order to experience the many cool things San Blas has to offer. San Blas is almost 500 years old! The history is rich and beautiful, and the town well kept. From Bahia Matanchén, we brought our dinghy to Playa Las Islitas then we walked,hitch-hiked,taxi, and/or bused it to the town of San Blas. We experienced the infamous Pan de Platano (Banana bread), the old fort of La Contaduria and Templo de la Virgen de Rosario on Basilio’s hill, and did the panga tour up Rio Tovara to Camalota Springs. We ended taking the tour from the little establishment just east of the bridge over the Estero de Poso. It was slightly more expensive, ~150 pesos per adult, but well worth it. We spotted a few very large American Crocodiles, boat- billed herons, other marshland birds, iguanas, and turtles. A must do for visitors. 

Excited to leave bug city, we set sail for Mazatlan. On the way, we stopped at Isla Isabella hoping for a good snorkel/free dive experience. Unfortunately a south swell picked up and a NW wind blew through the South Anchorage. The water was a little stirred up the evening  we arrived. The next morning I jumped in for a pleasant dive. I lasted all about 3 minutes before swimming quickly back to the boat. I had been stung by tons of “string of pearl” jellies! That was our deciding factor to set sail for Mazatlán. 

We enjoyed a nice overnight sail with winds 12-17 kts out of the WNW the first day, becalmed from 0100-0700, we bobbed around, then the wind shifted from the WSW. Blowing 10-15 kts WSW, we made a quick remaining 60 miles to Isla Venados, just off of Mazatlán. Just prior to anchoring we spotted our first leaping Manta Rays! We are looking forward to many more up in the Sea Of Cortez over the next few months. 

Makeup time underway: