Although a continuous strand of medium-fine golden sand joins Barra with Melaque, it changes character and names along its gentle five-mile arc. At Barra de Navidad, where it’s called Playa de Navidad, the beach is narrow and steep, and the waves are sometimes very rough. Those powerful swells often provide good intermediate surfing breaks adjacent to the jetty. Fishing by line or pole is also popular from the jetty rocks.
Most mornings are calm enough to make the surf safe for swimming and splashing, which, along with the fresh seafood of beachside palapa restaurants, make Barra a popular Sunday and holiday picnic-ground for local Mexican families. The relatively large number of folks walking the beach unfortunately makes for slim pickings for shell collectors and beachcombers.
For a cooling midday break from the sun, drop in to one of the beachfront restaurants (such as Seamaster) at the south end of Legazpi and enjoy the bay view, the swish of the waves, and the fresh breeze streaming beneath the palapa.
As the beach curves northwesterly toward Melaque, the restaurants and hotels give way to dunes and pasture. At the outskirts of Melaque, civilization resumes, and the broad beach, now called Playa Melaque, curves gently to the west.
Continuing past the Melaque town center, a lineup of rustic palapas and pangas pulled up on the sand decorate the tranquil west-end cove, which is sheltered from the open sea behind a tier of craggy sea stacks. Here, the water clears, making for good fishing from the rocks.