Introducing Barra de Potosí
About 26km southeast of Zihuatanejo is the small fishing village of Barra de Potosí at the far tip of an endless, palm-fringed sandy-white beach. The calm green-blue water is great for swimming but too cloudy for snorkeling.
The south side of the beach empties into Laguna de Potosí, a saltwater lagoon about 6.5km long brimming with hundreds of species of birds. For M$200 or so, local guides such as Avi ‘Sharkboy’ Cadena Bañuelos can take you on a 90-minute paddling loop through the mangrove-lined channels and the wide-open waters of the lagoon. Along the way, you’ll encounter fishermen and a wide variety of birds, including herons, kingfishers, cormorants and pelicans.
Some guides also offer the option of stashing your kayak at the lagoon’s edge for the easy 15-minute hike to Playa Tortuga, a long, gorgeous stretch of sandy beach where sea turtles come to lay their eggs, backed by a dramatic rocky headland. Zoe Kayak Tours offers more extensive three- to four-hour guided paddle tours catering to bird-watchers, adventurous kayakers, and those seeking more of a back-country experience. Horseback riding and canoeing are also popular.
If you can gather a few people, it’s well worth taking a motorboat tour out to the dramatic Morros de Potosí, a cluster of massive guano-covered rocks about 20 minutes offshore. Boats will circle the Morros, affording views of the many seabirds that nest out here. Local guides including ‘Cocky’ Cabrera Arizmundo and Adelaido Martínez charge about M$800 for the trip, regardless of group size, and for an extra M$400 will also take you snorkeling at nearby Playa Manzanillo.
El Refugio de Potosí, a recently opened nature center just inland from the beachfront north of town, rehabilitates injured wildlife, breeds butterflies and parrots and offers environmental education programs in local schools. A 30-minute guided tour, with excellent bilingual guides, offers opportunities to pet a porcupine, hold snakes and tarantulas, examine whale and crocodile skeletons and observe a variety of animals, including parrots, hummingbirds, armadillos and a jaguarundi (local wildcat). There’s also a 15m observation tower affording dramatic views of lagoons, palm-fringed beaches, the Morros de Potosí and the open ocean beyond.