Two questions we often get from friends and other sailors who haven't yet been to Mexico are: Is it safe; and, do you feel comfortable leaving your boat in the marina unattended. Much has been written about safety in Mexico and it has been my experience that it is nearly impossible to change peoples perceptions once they've decided that Mexico is the land of the headless corpses.
It probably speaks poorly to my credibility when I tell them that I feel safer in Mexico than when traveling in the U.S. That's not to downplay the tragic and horrible narco-violence that is a reality here in Mexico. However, virtually all of the violence is confined within the drug cartels or directed towards the federal authorities, politicians and proactive journalist. The violence is not endemic, but rather confined to the border areas and a few of the larger cities. It also must be acknowledged this problem is fueled and funded directly by drug demand in the U.S.
Marinas in Mexico are generally nicer and much more inclusive than what is found in the U.S.. In Mexico, as elsewhere, each marina has its' own personality. Since we're currently staying in Marina de La Paz, I will use this as an example of what to expect.
While the port of La Paz has offered shelter to sailors since it was firstMarina de La Paz with 150 slips, and has been joined by a number of other marinas in town (Abaroa's; Don Jose's; La Costa; Palmira; and Costa Baja). As an historical aside, for those of you suffering from thalassoharpaxophobia, some of the last pirates to prowl these Mexican waters were Sir Francis Drake and Thomas Cavendish.
Marina de La Paz consists of a fenced and gated compound thatClub Cruceros Clubhouse (housing the charitable club, its' book and video exchange), and a small playground for children with slides, swings and climbing structures.
dive shop and a restaurant. Staff is on-site 24/7 to provide support and security for the tenants. The gates to the compound are closed and locked after 11 p.m. and reopened at the start of the next day. Security is always available to let you in if you're out after the marina is locked for the night.
The decking on the docks are composed of either ipe or treks. The newer additions seem to be going to treks. Each proper slip has 30 and
Marina de La Paz offers a cruiser friendly marina to clean-up and provision. The staff is friendly and gracious as are the fellow cruisers who call Marina de La Paz 'home'. Using marinas is not for everyone who are out cruising. Staying at one, while inexpensive by southern California standards, still can put a big dent in your cruising kitty. It is another choice available that allows the cruiser to safely leave the boat to learn the language, to do more overland exploring and have an opportunity to get to know the people and culture of this beautiful country.