Barillas Marina, El Salvador

Posted 29 January 2011

Our 5 day trip from Huatulco, Mexico to Barillas, El Salvador was good. It is very difficult to predict the weather and you always second guessing yourself. We want to say a very big THANK YOU to Peter (W6DEI) from San Fransico as he sent us the buoy weather reports each day as we moved along the coastline. We also had ham stations from the Maritime net checking on the weather for us. With this information, the grib files and NOAA weather discussion we were able to make relatively good weather predictions. This was also a comfort for me, as I am more worried about the weather than Dinis. We have a daily radio schedule with Peter since we left Vancouver. Peter and Ron (VE7BGK) are following all BCA (Bluewater Cruising Association) boats from British Columbia.

Dinis became quite a fisherman on this trip, he caught 9 fish altogether, but unfortunately none of them were keepers. The first day he had quite a struggle with the 17 lb Jack Cravalli, but the Skipjack was no problem. Both these fish have very dark meat and not nice for eating. The next day only brought another Skipjack. On Thursday was Dinis best fishing, caught and release 3 Jack Cravalli fishes and 3 Skipjacks. We were hoping for another Mahi-mahi, but no such luck.

We were very impressed with the fast response times and professionalism of Barillas Marina. We sent an email just before leaving Huatulco in Mexico to get information on how to proceed when arrived. We received all the details and also the way point where to wait for the pilot boat. The 10 mile long channel into the lagoon is safe but can be tricky and requires a pilot. We arrived at the pickup point later than we expected 12 midnight on Thursday 27 January and drop anchor. The holding ground is mud which is good, but it was rolly. The pilot boat arrived first daylight on Friday and we made our way into the lagoon following him. It was quite an experience through the channel. The seas was on the beam for quite some time and we had quite a swell which caused it to be very rolly (gunhale to gunhale).

After the pilot boat tide us to the buoy, the marina person, immigration and customs came over. We filled in the required forms and the boat was inspected. This was the easiest, friendliest and most hassle free check in we had experience so far. We were transported to shore and then to the marina office to do the rest of the paper work, paid the entry fees and visited the restaurant/bar for our complimentary drink and also to try the famous pupusa. It was great. Mr Heriberto Pineda is determined that everything runs on time, he is familiar with Vancouver and his staff is very friendly and helpful. Unfortunately the marina is quite islolated, but the marina offers a shuttle bus for shopping in Usulutan.

One interesting point is, that checking into El Salvador, your visitor visa includes Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua if travel by land. By boat you will have to check into each country separately. This is great especially for us that want to do some traveling in Guatemala and Honduras. We are busy planning our strategy for visiting volcanos, ruins, coffee plantation and sightseeing. We will leave the boat in the marina and rent a car. The distances between these countries are very small.

For anyone interested in Barillas Marina below are the contact details
Mr. Heriberto Pineda
Barillas Marina Manager
Office 503 2632 1802, 503 2675 1131
Cellular 503 7871 1738


  1. Hola, we are mutual friends with s/v Kasasa and would like to congratulate you on your voyage!! We are presently achored in the lagoon de Barra awaiting guests from Canada. We hope to continue our adventure and continue south as far as God will permit this season, returning to Canada for the summer then continuing on to who knows where!!!
    It is very interesting to read your blog and would like to chat once in awhile.

    Lue and Claes

  2. our blog address is: