Barra de Navidad and Melaque Attractions

Local Attractions

Barra de Navidad and surrounding area is home to deep sea fishing, golfing, surfing, bird watching,  sunsets, swimming and Pickle Ball close by and everyone is welcome. Beach Beach Beach! You can visit a different nearby beach every day with great shaded restaurant’s near the ocean shore and most are inexpensive. Rent a paddle board, swim in the ocean or relax on the beach. There is much to see and do and most everyone can speak English.

There is an abundance of fresh seafood, many great nearby restaurants are as good as any five star you would find in Canada or the US and half the price. Some places will  allow you to bring your own wine and will  charge you a small corking fee. Most restaurants have purified water and ice. Something to note,most places will only accept cash or pesos, not credit cards. You can use your bank card at the ATM and  is a good idea to bring 2 bank cards and 2 credit cards.

Note: You should advise your credit card company that you will be visiting Mexico.

Please email us if you have any questions:

There are great places to watch  sunsets and enjoy happy hour (2 for one drinks). If you like music and dancing, there are some of the best local musicians that gather at different places and happening spots around Barra and Melaque and you will hear great jazz, blues and traditional Mexican music. There is even a night club or two where you can dance into the wee hours of the morning.

Take in one of Mexico’s many on going celebrations or go shopping in local nearby shops at really great prices. Every Thursday vendors from everywhere gather in the town square where they sell a variety of Mexican goods. You can hire a water taxi to pick you up right at your dock and  fish,snorkel,whale watch and swim for a day. We also offer Lagoon / Sunset tours,minimum 2 hots at $50 an hour.  Take a water taxi from our dock to one of the great restaurants on the Lagoon. There is a Pickle Ball court only five minutes away and everyone is welcome.

Melaque is on the other end of the bay, about a ten to fifteen minute bus ride or five minute taxi ride. There you will find a great beach, many beach restaurants,  night life and  one of the best Super Market’s called “Super Hawaii”  with many items you wont find anywhere else. Melaque is  also where you will find Ray’s tours,one of the best ATV day tours as well as day tours to Colima and Manzanillo. You can also hire Taxi driver’s  Eric or Edwardo,depending on the size of the group  and they both speak English.

Just a ten minute drive to the north is beautiful quiet Cuastecomate  where you will find the best swimming beach and a reef for snorkeling. Relax under the shade of the Palapa’s on the beach, no need to bring chairs or an umbrella,as long as you are having a drink or a bite to eat,you can stay all day and watch the best sunsets.

Another fifteen minutes is another oceanside village named La Manzanilla where you can walk tirelessly forever on hard packed beautiful sand. and spend a great day swimming and enjoying the best beach and again some very fine restaurants. On the opposite end of La Manzanilla is Boca de Iguana,great for learning to surf and the home of “Chat Le Mar,” a favorite restaurant for locals and tourists.

Getting around from the Villa: We are located about 12 minutes from town or a $3 cab ride or a $5 water taxi ride. The buses are nearby, in expensive and frequent and will take you to most places.  There is a car rental nearby called Crazy Cactus  and about an 8 min walk  from the Villa. It is best to reserve your car ahead if you are visiting December through March.


More information and history:

It has an important historic past in that the first Spanish explorers visited this area early in 1523, over 480 years ago. It served as an anchorage when Hernan Cortes continued his exploration of the “Southern Sea.”

A viceroy named it Puerto de Navidad (Port of Christmas), because the Spanish explorers landed on Christmas Day. Since the town he built was on a sandbar, the name was later changed to “Bar of Christmas.”

Barra de Navidad became a town of shipbuilders and buccaneers, its beaches being used to build vessels that would sail as far as the newly-discovered Philippines, in search of gold.

Today, Mexico and the Philippines share the same currency: the peso. In 1559, a decree from King Phillip II of Spain arrived in Mexico, ordering another fleet to sail west to the Philippines. All western Mexico was mobilized in support of this fleet. Roads were built to ferry supplies to Barra de Navidad where the ships were to be built. To this day, the main Guadalajara-Barra de Navidad road (Hwy. 80 through Autlan, a 5½ hour drive) is known to some as the Philippine Way. Food, planks, sails and rigging—all had to be acquired and transported to the port.

The expedition finally set sail on the 21st of November 1564, under the command of Lopez de Legazpi. To prevent any mutiny, Legazpi kept his crew in the dark about their true destination until the boats were already well on their way. Lopez de Legazpi remained in the Philippines and placed his 17-year-old grandson in charge of finding a way back to Mexico, a feat never previously accomplished. The attempt was successful, but when the expedition reached Acapulco, the crew was so exhausted; no one had the strength to drop the anchor.

A small monument of Legaspi in Barra de Navidad’s plaza commemorates these explorations.  Tourists to Barra enjoy the finest fresh seafood in the world, including red snapper, dorado, marlin, sailfish, tuna and lobster. You’ll see the fishermen every morrning coming in with their catch of the day. Cultured oysters and clams are harvested daily from the lagoon in front of the small village of Colimilla, just a 5 minute trip by water taxi, from the town center.

The lagoon is a source for shrimp, clams and oysters, while the ocean is known for its fresh seafood, including fish, octopus and lobster. The surrounding mountains are great for hiking, bicycling and camping, while the Marabasco River to the south is perfect for swimming or trapping langostina (fresh water lobster).

Fruits and vegetables grown in the area include chile peppers, squash, mangoes, papayas, tomatoes, bananas, limes and coconuts. One of the largest coconut and banana plantations in the world is located just outside of Barra de Navidad.

The fruits and vegetables that are available in the markets in Barra de Navidad are all grown naturally and are very inexpensive. Many times trucks will come to town with fruits from other regions, and you will be able to sample watermelon of 5 varieties, cantelopes, pineapples and strawberries.

On the lagoon side there are numerous pangas (small open-bowed fiberglass fishing boats) for rent. If you take the water taxi across the lagoon to Isla Navidad or the friendly little village of Colimilla, the charge is 10 pesos each way. You will enjoy the unusual experience of getting around by water taxi.

The famous and exclusive  Hotel Grand Bay,  class resort is across the lagoon, and can be seen prominently close to town boasting one of the finest golf courses in the world.