Overlanding Baja - Week 2
December 26, 2021
We started our second week in Baja with a firm goal: spending Christmas weekend in short sleeves. Did we check it off? Short answer: yes!
Sunday: Valley De Guadaloupe to San Quintin (3h30 / 225km)
After a lazy morning at our hotel in the Valley de Guadeloupe, we headed south without a destination in mind, but only looking at the weather forecast on our phones.
Besides passing a few military checkpoints, driving through the traffic in Ensenada and stopping at our first roadside restaurant, our first day on the road was pretty uneventful. We ended up parking for the night at Fidel’s RV Park near San Quintín for what was our first time camping on a beach with the truck. The weather was still quite cold but it was nice to finally be next to the ocean. We took a walk on the beach to observe a pod of dolphins playing together (and also the locals driving their trucks at high speed on the beach 😅).
Monday: San Quintin to Bahia De Los Angeles (6h / 350km)
The next day we woke up early knowing that it will be one of the long driving days! Our goal was to arrive in the sleepy town of Bahia de Los Angeles before dark. Google Maps estimated the drive to be 6 hours and we knew we had to fill up our tank because we would not pass any gas station during the entire drive. We drove through majestic cactus forests for hours until we reached the Sea of Cortez.
We camped at Campo Archelon, a defunct sea turtle rescue and research center reconverted into a small resort and campground. While the campground was nice, it was still too cold to our liking. Plus, we were surprised to see so many campers parked next to each other with very little space in between on the beach.
Tuesday: Bahia De Los Angeles to Guerrero Negro via Misión San Francisco Borja (4h / 250km)
We enjoyed our first kayaking outing on the Sea of Cortez, and had hoped to stay in the Bahia for a little longer, but it was just too windy and cold. So after looking at our map during lunch at the campground’s café, we found what appeared to be a long dirt road leading to the Misión de San Francisco de Borja in the middle of the desert, and decided it was time for our first off-road adventure in Baja!
After the tour of the Misión with José, we decided that it was early enough in the day to continue the dirt road toward Guerrero Negro. Along the way, we hoped to find a good wild spot to camp, but we ended up driving all the way to Guerrero Negro and camped in the back of a restaurant. A first of us!
Wednesday: Guerrero Negro to San Ignacio (1h30 / 150km)
We took the opportunity to be in this fairly busy town to stock up on food and water! Tap water is not potable in Mexico, we had to find a place where you buy water by the liter. We filled up our 20 gallons tank for 30 pesos (1.5 US dollars).
Our next stop was San Ignacio, a palm oasis in the middle of the Baja desert. It’s a cute little town that has a few restaurants, a lovely colonial plaza, and a well restored misión built in the 17th century. The temperature was over 30 Celsius without a sea breeze, it was hot! But we were happy: we finally made it south enough to be in short sleeve and shorts! We stayed at one of the yurts at Ignacio Springs for the night.
Thursday: San Ignacio to Mulegé via Santa Rosalia (1h30 / 140km)
The next day we set Mulegé as the destination in our Google Maps. We stopped in Santa Rosalia, an interesting town with a history connected to France. In fact, a French company ran a copper mine and founded this town in the 1880s but then left in the 1950s. It is said that the only church in town was designed by Gustave Eiffel.
We arrived in Mulegé later in the day and set up camp in a very lush campground, Huerta Don Chano, right outside of town!
Friday: Mulege to Play Los Cocos (20min / 25km)
As we were expecting everything in town to be closed for Christmas, we decided it was better for us to leave Mulegé for a nearby beach to settle for a couple of days and enjoy our kayak in the Bahia de Concepcion!
We stayed two nights at Playa Los Cocos, a primitive beach with pit toilets, and had a great time! It was an interesting social experience — we made friends with our neighbors and after two nights we felt like part of a tiny village. Some campers arrive with their motor boats and RVs planning to stay at the beach for months. Others, like us, stay for several nights. The longer stays are made easy with the locals coming daily to sell their catches, vegetables, water, baked goods, etc.
Without internet connectivity our two nights at the beach were very refreshing and low-key.
Sunday: Playa Los Cocos to Loreto (1h40 / 110km)
We left Los Cocos early in the morning and made the short drive to Loreto right in time for lunch! We took a stroll in the city center before finding a nice place to feed our bellies. After two margaritas, we were ready for a nap. Fortunately, we found a campground right in the city center. It does not look much, but we were happy to pay for the convenience of being able to walk everywhere during our time in Loreto.
Our Christmas at the beach was calm with lovely views, and we hope our New Year’s Eve would be just the same. See you next week, and happy new year!