Barra de Navidad, literally sand bar of Christmas, is a small city at the northern edge of Jalisco's Costa Alegre. Barra de Navidad, Jalisco is closer to Manzanillo airport than the city of Manzanillo in Colima. The picturesque ocean beach curves around from Barra to San Patrico-Melaque just a few miles to the south. On the other side of the sand bar it has a natural lagoon with a hotel, Grand Isla Navidad Resort, marina and several other restaurants all reachable by water taxi, 20 pesos round trip. A statue at the end of the malecón informs you it wasn't always a sleepy fishing village
The natural sand bar with lagoon on one side and bay on the other were ideal for ship building. At first all Spanish fleets were built and sailed from Europe. Barra de Navidad and Manzanillo allowed the Spanish galleons to be built in the Pacific. This bypassed the treacherous Cape Horn and was faster. Tradesmen and sailors landed in Veracruz and crossed by land. The galleons used by conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi for his conquest of the Philippines were built here. A monument to this is erected on the jetty. It also offered protection from raiding European pirates (France, England, Dutch) for over 300 years.
View from Isla Resort
My first visit to Barra de Navidad was passing through on highway 200 in 2012. It was just a few months after hurricane Jova hit Costa Alegre and signs of damage were everywhere. The town was very trashed, however the lagoon and marina came out OK. A few years later back to normal stores and restaurants open, people on the streets and a nice mix of expats and locals. The last few visits I'm starting to like the town; it's laid back and friendly atmosphere. I even go out of my way to stop and visit for a day or two. Have talked to tourist who just arrived from Mexico City, long time residents who owned homes, and a couple on their way to Panama docking their sail at the Isla Hotel Marina.