Once you make it through the breakers and over the bar following the red and green buoys in, (there in 2016) the 10 mile stretch up to the town can be shallow. Our charts did us zero good, luckily we were with friends who had different charts. They led the way through the shallow areas till we were in the main channel closer to the town. ( the shallowest we went over was about 10ft). It is said that you can call and get a pilot sent out to you to guide you in. When we were there we tried hailing for this service, but no one answered. Once we were near the town, we were met by Charlie, he is the pilot, he had heard us and was on his way out to meet us along with a shrimp boat. He was only about 2 hours late for us and was very sorry.
We anchored right in front of the town, pretty close to the shore in about 20 ft, over mud/sand around 24 37′ 37″N 107 55′ 42″W. This anchorage is next to a pier we could use to land our Dinghys. When we went to shore, the tide went out leaving maybe a few inches under our keel in that spot ( we could have anchored a little further out and had been fine) but we moved over to the other side of the bay. The main reason we moved to the other side was because of the noise at night ( noted to be like New Orleans for the locals on the weekends) On the other side we had to watch for shoal areas and dropped out hook in about 27 feet over sand/mud around 24 37’33″N 107 56’23″W.
Altata was amazing and we were treated like royalty! It is a great spot to see and to wait for a weather window.