Heavy surf and huge breaking waves take away beach
in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco

Waves crash over stairs to the beach
and a15-ft. high sea wall

Please click on photos to enlarge

Barra lovers would be saddened to see the 4-mile long stretch of sandy beach leading to Melaque today. Much of it has been washed away by giant waves which broke over the sea walls for approximately 2 weeks.

Some retaining walls were lost and several of the restaurants closed for reasons of safety. The police "caseta" was totally undermined and upended. Steps leading to the beach were washed away, and, septic tanks and sewer pipes leading to the sea were exposed and some were broken.

Of the restaurants that remained open, many clients were treated to a spectacular display of crashing waves, sometimes getting wet from the spray.

Meanwhile, surfers and skimboarders took advantage of the huge, incoming waves, spending hours having a good time at Barra de Navidad's expense.

Eroding lot & wood sea wall

Surfing the harbor entrance

Watching the waves

Rocks in place of sand

For those unfamiliar with Barra, the town is built on a sandbar, with the lagoon on one side and the ocean on the other.

It got its name "Bar of Christmas," because Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza was sent to quash a Indian uprising, and landed in the bay on Christmas Day, 1540.

Barra has many beach-side restaurants and bars. To the south, Playa de Navidad ends at the jetty, where there's an overlook and a statue of Neptune, which was not damaged, though much of the bulkhead in one area succumbed to the high surf.

View north

Unlike surfing, skimboarding begins on the beach, it starts with the dropping of the board onto the thin wash of previous waves

Normally, that corner is protected, and it is possible to snorkel and swim in the calm waters. The high waves, however, brought in surfers instead of swimmers and snorkelers.

Barra de Navidad was severely damaged in the October 9, 1995 earthquake that rocked the Pacific Coast with an 8.0 magnitude, and again in 2000, with the highest recorded waves for more than 30 years. Then in January 2001, another big quake did a lot of damage to the small town, which in some areas, is lacking solid infrastructure.

Skimboarders relish the retreating waves that make their sport fun, but makes it impossible for swimmers & snorkelers

Downed wall and one of 4 sewer pipes broken and exposed at Sunset Bar.

For those who are worried that Barra de Navidad will never be the same, rest assured that what Mother Nature takes away, she can return.

Barra is located approximately 130 miles (215 km.) south of Puerto Vallarta, and about 43 miles (71 km.) north of Manzanillo, Colima. It is in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

More photos

View north from Restaurant Seamaster