Moving back to the Pacific side of the peninsula, I cross from Baja California to Baja California Sur. There’s an inspection station at the border where a guy asks me if I have any fruit or vegetables. I admit to a couple of apples in the back and he just shrugs, then asks me for 20 pesos for decontamination. He gives me a receipt so it seems legit, then I pull forward over a hose that sprays something up onto the bottom of the truck.
The town here is Guerrero Negro, which is famous for its whale watching tours and a huge salt factory. It’s not whale season yet so there is not much going on. I grab a hotel room on the main street and go out looking for an ATM. On the way I ran across a really good coffee shop. Upon returning to the hotel, there’s a guy working on his Moto Guzzi in the courtyard next to my room. Turns out he is from California and is also making the trip to Ushuaia Argentina, but much faster then me. He is also just retired and his wife has given him 4 months to make the trip; once he arrives in Ushuaia he’ll just fly back home with the bike. His luggage rack cracked and he has spent the afternoon trying to find someone in town who can weld aluminum.
Moving back across Baja towards the Sea of Cortez, San Ignacio is a small town on one of only 2 rivers in Baja. It’s a little oasis in the desert, covered in palm trees. About 30 minutes away, I pass a flock of buzzards on the side of the road eating a dead cow or something. Just as I pass they all take off and one flies straight at the front of the truck. I’m thinking “Oh come on, not the new headlamp!” At least it bounces off so I’m not driving along with a dead buzzard sticking out of the grill.
Video – Baja Buzzard
There is an army checkpoint right before entering San Ignacio and I’m really hoping that the front end is not covered in blood as I pull up, but they just wave me though. Once I’m parked on the town square I check it out and all is intact and non-bloody.
The Mission San Ignacio was built, or at least completed, in 1786.
I spend a good part of the afternoon sitting in the town square at a little sidewalk cafe eating lunch. For some reason they are having a lot of trouble pulling together a couple of enchiladas but they have plenty of chips with excellent salsa to keep me occupied.
There is a cool looking campground just outside town nestled in among the palm trees, but it’s about 99 and with the river right there is it very muggy and buggy. I opt for a motel with AC just off the highway instead.
Arriving at the coast, Santa Rosalia is a town built around a copper mine. It’s known for its wood buildings, as there are no trees in Baja to speak of. In the old days ships would carry the copper ore up to Washington and return with lumber.
There’s a famous bakery, I picked up a box of cookies.
Then continued on to Mulege, at the entrance to Bahia de Concepcion. Camped at a little RV park along the river.
Had a great dinner at a nearby hotel.
On to Bahia de Concepcion, one of the most picturesque spots yet in Baja. There are dozens of little sandy coves and islands scattered along the bay.
This beach does not have a lot of frills, just some palapas and a couple of outhouses, but it’s the perfect spot to hang out for a couple of days on the beach.
The water is warm and perfectly clear. While you’re wading around you can look down and see the schools of little fish swimming in the shallows. Further out are much larger fish, around 18″-24″ long.
For dinner I drove a couple of miles down the coast to a larger campground in another cover that had a couple of restaurants. Next morning a guy drove through the beach selling chicken tamales out of his car. I was a little skeptical at first, but they were fresh and hot out of the oven, pot, whatever you cook tamales in so I gave it a shot and they were delicious.
Very relaxing just hanging out in the shade of the palapa in between dips in the water. Watching schools of fish jumping and skipping across the water, a couple of dolphins slowly crossing the cove, and some kind of rays jumping straight up in the air about 6 feet then landing on the water in huge belly flops.
After two days on the beach it’s time for something more civilized. Loreto is a very popular tourist town. I spent two days here in a little hotel a block off the malecon
It’s a good town to walk around and take in the sights. Lots of great food.
You can’t eat tacos every day. This was a good margherita pizza with some thousand island on the side.
Still moving south, to La Paz. It’s a good sized city, the capital of Baja California Sur. I stayed a couple of days at the Hotel and Art Gallery Yeneka. It’s a weird little place, rooms around a central open air courtyard with the craziest stuff hanging everywhere.
La Paz has a great waterfront boulevard with lots of shops and restaurants.
I got my first Mexican haircut at a little place around the corner from the hotel. It went pretty well, I only forgot the word for clippers and had to resort to pointing. At the end she surprised me when she pulled out an old fashioned cutthroat straight razor to clean up my sideburns and neck. I sat very still.
Back across to the Pacific side, the town of Todos Santos. Stayed here for two days in a basic little hotel across the street from the much fancier Hotel California. Every time I walked past the Hotel California bar they had the Eagles playing. It’s known for its art galleries, of which there are many. Lots of good restaurants and coffee shops. I go out in the morning and have some coffee and read the news, wander around the town until it gets too hot, then back to the hotel for a swim in the pool and a siesta in the AC. After it cools off in the afternoon out and about looking for something to eat.
On to Cabo San Lucas for a couple of days, the bottom of Baja. Fun town to walk around, packed with drunk gringos. First place where people followed me down the sidewalk pitching things: boat tours, golf outings, timeshares. They all ask me how long I am in Cabo, I say about two days and they shake their head. Then I explain I didn’t fly in or come on a cruise, I drove here. From Chicago. That always gets them. Poked my head in Cabo Wabo and El Squid Roe but did not hang around long. Lots of fun smaller places though.
Leaving Cabo San Lucas I drive east through San Jose Del Cabo. Beautiful beaches and lots of luxurious looking resorts. Continuing north I end up at Los Barriles, a little beach town with lots of smaller resorts lined up along the beachfront. I find a camping spot at a combined campground/RV park/hotel resort. Most of the RVs in the campground area are permanent, they have walls built up around and into them making them like small houses. There’s a hotel at the front with a pool, bar, and restaurant. As usual the weather is perfect for hanging out on the beach.