La Barra de Sontecomapan
Catemaco, Veracruz
La Barra, population 336 (2010), sits on the tip of a sandspit separating the Gulf of Mexico from Laguna  Sontecomapan. Most of
the coastal area consists of environmentally threatened sand dunes and hard scrabble cattle pastures.

The small village scratches out a living from commercial fishing and catering to both local and national tourists. Numerous palapas
dot the sand at the gulf inlet and beckon visitors with a plethora of fresh seafood.

During Easter week, the beach turns into a circus. The rest of the year the beaches and restaurants are desolate and reserve
miles of pristine shore for beach combers.

For adventure take the ferry "La Panga" across the laguna and continue south, or catch a boat ride to enjoy lunch at  the mini
ecotourism resort of Los Amigos across from La Barra.

If you bring your own gear, sport fishing is available both in the gulf and the laguna. Expect no creature comforts. I was told that
a certified dive master is now resident in La Barra, (May 2011). There is a long line of snorkel depth reefs to explore, starting
about 8 miles south of La Barra.

Small man made hills in the area indicate pre hispanic occupation, but no artifacts have been reported. Naturally it is said that
pirates are also supposed to have frequented the inlet. Until the late 1800's, La Barra served as port for steamers traveling the
Veracruz coast. For a while La Barra was the shark fishing capital of Veracruz, but commercial fishing has declined
considerably because of the over exploitation of the Gulf waters.

Although the inland channel along the village is up to 18 feet deep, at present the Gulf inlet is shoaled and prohibits passage of
deep draft boats to the Laguna of Sontecomapan.

(updated May 2011)
access
Access is via a paved, tope enriched, highway leaving from
north Catemaco towards Montepio.

Just past La Palma, a marked highway branches to El Real
and La Barra. The first half mile is paved, the next 4 miles,
are a potholed dirt road. Total about 22 miles, 1 hour.

Infrequent pirata service is available from the Catemaco
north station. If you use a pirata, make sure there is one
returning the same day!

A novel way to enjoy this "beach resort" is to take the 30
peso water taxi from the Sontecomapan docks to La Barra,
bypassing 4 miles of potholes and creating a great photo
opportunity.
Parking is available at the docks.
links
slideshow 2008, updated 2011
Catemaco - La Barra
  miles
km
turnoff Nanciyaga
3.1
5.0
turnoff El Jobo
4.2
6.8
turnoff Pipiapan
4.4
7.1
turnoff Perla de San Martin
7.5
12.1
turnoff to Dos Amates
7.6
12.2
turnoff to Coxcoapan
10.6
17.1
Sontecomapan docks
11.0
17.7
Las Cabañas
11.6
18.7
turnoff La Palma
15.5
24.9
turnoff La Barra
16.1
25.7
El Real
18.7
30.1
La Barra
21.5
34.6
2 videos
off season