San Patricio was awesome! Coincidentally, we arrived the day before St. Patrick’s Day. There were bagpipes playing on the beach as we arrived, a street fair already set up when we went to town the first night, and firecrackers through the night, so we prepared for a good time on the day itself.
The beach is tropical paradise, although there was a chart note that untreated waste water is directed into the bay, so we did not do any swimming. There was an inflatable water park setup that looked like a blast, but we found plenty of fun on shore.

We landed the dinghy (still without wheels, so dragging it up onto the beach once we get through the surf is an exercise in speed) and walked into town to look for a fishing supply shop. The last few times we have fished off the boat, something has gone wrong. First, our aging spear gun’s rubbers snapped (all three of them, in one day – but they are from the 1990s so it’s amazing they lasted this long). Then, we caught a fish while sailing but lost it on the way out of the water, before we could get our bucket underneath it. Once, the spinner snapped, so we lost the rapala lure (sorry fish!). And a third time, the fish wriggled itself off the shallowly-bedded lure, which snapped back with enough force that the hook grazed Charles’ face and drew blood. So, obviously, we needed to up our equipment game.

We were considering a net, more rubbers for the speargun, and maybe a new snorkel for Charles since his has been leaking. The first shop we went to didn’t have quite what we needed, but we saw there was a spearfishing-specific shop in town, so we walked that direction. The walk was beautiful, it’s a relatively big town, with lots of nice buildings and greenery around, and plenty of street art.

Ultimately, we only bought more rubbers, from a store that was half Mexican candy and half fishing equipment. We decided to wait on the net and see if we can build our own or come up with an alternative.

The big event was St. Patrick’s Day itself. Fireworks started at 05:00 with the church bells. We got water delivered to the beach by a little boy and his father, and the kid was squirming with excitement. He said the party starts at 23:00, so we headed into town around 21:00 to get our bearings and a bite to eat. The town was PACKED. Absolutely packed. You could pick out the gringos (us included, oops) for wearing green. There was both a stage and a bandstand, which had rotating musicians, as well as roving mini-bands (all with tubas), each with clustered dancers. There were dancing horses, a ferris wheel, and palpable excitement.

Just after 23:00 (ignore the clock tower in the photos, it was wrong), a commotion started in front of the church, where the “castillo” (a wicker tower of fireworks) was set up. We made our way over just in time for the first fireworks, which rocketed off the church, and then they lit the castillo. It started shaking and swaying, as fire crept up its base, until it found its first target: a massive star surrounded by a hexagon. The shape of the star lit up, and the edges of the hexagon were covered in fireworks, which spun it in a circle until extinguished. By the time it slowed down, the next shape up, or around, the castillo had caught fire. Each progressive fireworks hub spun, shook, spit, and lit up the crowd.

Meanwhile, people in the crowd had firecrackers of their own, mostly flash-bangs, that they would light and toss nearby. Sometimes a target area would catch it and toss it away before it exploded, but mostly it landed on the ground in the crowd and exploded. Right under peoples’ feet! Toes, hair, clothes, all got singed. Charles and I were untouched, but barely. It was hilarious, exciting, and just a touch worrying.

Once the castillo burned itself out, the first “toro” came out of the church. A bull-shaped structure, covered in firecrackers, that a man held over his head. When it was lit, he started running. The crowd split – some clearing a path and getting out of the way, others dashing madly after the bull.

The first one burned itself out, and we thought “wow, that was fun!” – and then they brought out the next. Slightly bigger than the last. The cycle continued, with the crowd getting smokier, and the firecrackers on the bull getting wilder, until the final bull. Absolutely huge, he had to come out of a different entrance. We got swept up in the excitement and chased the bull all around the square (unscathed). It was really a delight.

With our plans to sail the following day, Charles had to coax me out of the square at 3 a.m. It was a memorable night in a wonderful spot.

Notes for Boaters

  • We anchored at 19°13.242′ N, 104°42.603′ W.
  • Anchored in ~25 feet of water with ~125 feet of chain.
  • There was only 1 other boat anchored when we arrived, bow and stern, but there is tons of room. We anchored a distance away, single anchor, and three more boats arrived over the next day and did the same.
  • Good grocery options, water delivery to the beach if you need it, and plenty of restaurant options.

We would definitely return, and are planning to stop here again on our way north.