Overlanding Baja - Week 6
January 23, 2022
We began the week with whale sharks, and ended it with gray whales. Shall we say that this is the week of the whales?
Monday: La Paz to Playa El Tocolote (30min / 30km)
After a restful weekend in La Paz, Victor felt well recovered and Kuan antsy to do something other than resting. So adventures were afoot!
In the morning, Kuan joined a tour to snorkel with whale sharks while Victor, vigilant with his state of health, stocked up on the groceries. Snorkeling with whale sharks was perhaps just a tad more exciting than shopping at Walmart. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world, and according to our guide Stephany at MeXplore Tours, the biggest male that has known to visit the coast of La Paz every year is about 30 feet long. Despite their plankton-rich diet and the reputation of being the “gentle giant of the sea,” swimming next to some big sharks was scary at the beginning. It took some time to get used to their presence, and just as Kuan was becoming more comfortable in the water with them, the tour was finished.
Snorkeling with whale sharks is highly regulated in La Paz, which means you must be companied by a certified guide and a boat captain. Hence, consider doing a private tour so you get more water time, or going a few times to truly enjoy the experience!
In the afternoon, we drove to Playa El Tecolote, a popular beach about 30 minutes north of the city. The main beach was expectedly busy, but we were were quite happy to find a secluded camping spot a few minutes down the sand-packed road.
Tuesday: Playa El Tocolote to San Evaristo (4h / 165km)
We woke up to the gentle waves and the bird songs in the morning, and went to look for a secret beach on the opposite end of El Tecolote. While we didn’t find the footpath to the hidden beach, we did come across a group of stranded Israeli travelers looking for help!
And our day was just getting started. Next stop: a dive shop in La Paz! Not bringing snorkeling gears was our biggest packing miss for this trip. Many beaches in Baja are great for snorkeling, and it isn’t easy to rent or buy snorkeling gears in small beach towns. At last, on our 6th week in Baja, we righted our mistake by picking up our own set of snorkels before leaving for San Evaristo, a remote fishing village 3.5 hours north of La Paz. We had heard raving reviews of drive to San Evaristo next to rainbow cliffs, as well as the quaintness of the village, so we were excited to check it out and meet up with Cheryl, Chris and Eva.
Wednesday: San Evaristo
We spent the day kayaking, snorkeling (with our new gear!) and hanging out with Cheryl, Chris, Eva and the dogs. For dinner, Chris deboned two bonitos that he had caught earlier in the day and prepared a plate of sashimi. Sprinkled with sesame seeds (yes, we packed that instead of snorkeling gear…) and dipped in handcrafted soy sauce, the bonito sashimi was so fresh and delicious. To us, few things in the world top a good meal with good company. As the night wore on, the wind picked up and we decided to head west to the Pacific side to see gray whales next.
Thursday: San Evaristo to San Carlos (6h / 250km)
The dirt road out of San Evaristo wasn’t as bad as we had remembered, and Chemin Blanc slowly but surely crawled out of the steep, windy mountain roads. After a quick stop to make lunch and air up the tires, we booked straight to San Carlos. After a long driving day, we settled into a spacious, ocean-facing cabin at Villa Mer y Arena and fell soundly asleep.
Friday / Saturday: San Carlos
We came to San Carlos to see gray whales, and they were everywhere in the Magdalena Bay. On Friday, we went on a 3-hour tour with Friendly Whale Tours, and had such a good time that we booked the same tour the following day. Needless to say, we were so amazed and touched by the majesty and playfulness of the gray whales. What a sight to be held!
Sunday: San Carlos to Loreto (2h30 / 200km)
We left San Carlos after a good breakfast and headed to Loreto. A few months ago, we booked a kayaking trip to paddle by the islands near Loreto, and the trip will start on Tuesday! We look forward to sharing the highlights of our kayaking tour in the next blog post, which will come a day or so behind schedule.
Until then, stay healthy and curious, like the whales!