Puerto Enscondito is the best natural harbour that we've seen on our voyage so far. Other than a 200 foot wide entrance the habour is surrounded by land, most of it over 100m in height. There is room for several hundred boats in depths less than 50 feet with a sand bottom.
There are some facilities in PE. There is a boat yard with a large travel lift and a fuel dock. There is a tiny marina. There is also a small tienda (which stocks mostly beer and had no fresh milk). There are also supposedly two restaurants, though the one we could see from our boat did not appear to open on Friday night.
Outside of the harbour proper is a bay called "the waiting room", where boats drawing more than 10 feet will wait for high tide. When we arrived there were two dozen boats anchored in the waiting room, most of them looking as if they had been there a long time. We were afraid that Puerto Escondito was full.
The harbour entrance has two narrows. The space between the narrows is called the ellipse. The ellipse had ten boats in it, which was full enough that we didn't consider anchoring there.
Imagine our surprise as we looked into the harbour proper to discover fewer than a dozen boats in an anchorage several square kilometers in size. The guide said there were over 100 moorings, but all of these were too far away from the dock/office. So we anchored about two football fields from the dock in plenty of space.
The mystery is why the best anchorage area was empty while the other areas where full. Our visit to the office in the morning explained everything. There are two government agencies competing to ruin the harbour and by extension the local economy. API charges 11 pesos a night to anchor in the waiting room and the ellipse. Singlar charges 4.26 pesos per foot per night (about C$0.39/foot/night) to anchor or take a mooring in the main anchorage. Weekly and monthly rates are lower, but rates are higher
for boats larger than 50 feet. For those of you who don't own boats, anchoring in Canada, even in Vancouver, is free. $0.39/foot is more than many places in Canada and particularly the US charge for a dock with electricity and potable water in the off-season. To top it all off, they politely demanded to see our:
- Boat registration
- Importation Permit
Finally, they had me fill out a form asking dozens of things about us.
We won't be back.