RVing in Baja-Part Three-Guerrero Negro to Mulegé
The road leading South from Cataviña is pothole nightmare, a slalom of sorts and you just hope no one is coming around the corner sometimes as you swerve to miss the really big ones…so much fun…not;) the price you pay to see this part of the world. Occasionally as you go South you come upon a new piece of road for a kilometer or two that is wider, hallelujah…with shoulders…triple bonus! You feel as if you have won the lottery and for a few moments the blood comes back into your knuckles, just the observation I have of Mike;) Coming back he had a better feel for the road and we knew where some of the bad pothole spots were so it was better:)
Leaving Bahía de los Ángeles you can gas or diesel up at one of two stations coming into town. The road in and out of the Bahía is wonderful, quite new and the last few bridges are almost done, you can thank Category 4 Hurricane Odile in 2014 for this new road and wonderful bridges I think.
Getting back onto Mexico 1 you head South towards Baja California Sur, you pass an Ag inspection, they ask if you are bringing any fruits or vegetables in, a no-no, and then spray the underside of your vehicle, the cost 20 pesos. You also enter in Mountain time, took me a few days to figure that out;)
We spent two nights in Guerrero Negro at the Malarrimo RV Park, Hotel and Restaurant, a bit of a tight fit for us but we squeezed by and parked on the far West side, back in only, narrow spaces but it was fairly empty so we spread out. Electric, sewer and water although they post do not fill your tanks..also”raise your pet waste” kicked myself I didn’t take a picture of that..I love language gaffs:) Good supermarket on the 2nd paved street back, large blue building, good selection not far from the RV park as well as laundromats, we were in need. Not the nicest little town, it is a company village all to do with the salt works but you can find interesting niches to explore. Check out the refugio de aves to the West where can drive all the way out to an old lighthouse. There is dry camping out there as well but windy. Fantastic marshes full of Egrets and Osprey nests every few power poles, a birders paradise:)
We stopped here to scout out the Ojo de Liebre Lagoon campground as well. We took a day trip out, then packed up the next day as fast as we could and headed there! A beautiful barren but magical land.The turn off is located about 12 km South of Guerrero Negro follow the signs. The first part of the road is paved then it is a wide graded dirt road, well signed, as you traverse salt works roads as well, all the way to the lagoon’s edge. You pass through a salt works check point where they take your name and license plate number then you continue on. This is big rig friendly I might add. At the lagoon they collect your daily fee of 90 pesos per vehicle, about $4.75 🙂 If you want a palapa (good idea for tent campers if it is windy) the cost is more but as we have our home with us we kept going past the palm thatched palapas and further West. There are several large pull through sites so we chose a fairly level one and unhooked, you could hear the whales spouting!
and that quiet…that wonderful ear soothing sound of Mother Nature and whales, and wind, and nothing else…priceless. After a few days in Guerrero Negro I was going batty, at night the dogs barked incessantly from the surrounding homes and businesses and when they stopped the traffic started. I am not a city girl:)
…and to hear whales spouting, a gentle wonderful noise, a bit of a miracle really. And it was dark. Not black black dark for star trails but dark enough, especially to the South looking away from Guerrero Negro’s light dome. We added a couple of extra days here until our water was about to give out. I loved every secound of it. As the tide goes out large hard packed mud flats appear and birds, birds and more birds:) A walk along the shoreline is a must. There are several small cliffs and at low tide you can see the incredible composition of the layers…thousands of seashells. You feel as if you are walking on a carpet of them.
We rested a few days then decided to take a morning tour out to see the whales we’d been listening to and seeing not too far offshore. It ended up being just three of us in the boat, A Canadian vet travelling with her young son and husband in their camper and us…bonus, the boat all to ourselves:)
It was glassy smooth. The day before we had been quite windy so we counted ourselves lucky. Treated Mike to lunch and a margarita at the small restaurant afterwards and got to talk to the chef, who was from Ensenada and works here during the whaling season only. Delicious, freshly prepared shrimp, or tacos de pescado, everything we tried over the next few days was reasonable and very very good!
The day before we left we decided on more more whale watching ride, it had been so amazing. We left midday with a delightful family from Reno and it was another spectacular experience. Hey, I got to touch a whale:) not the baby I was expecting but an amorous male..isn’t that special;) such a beautiful soft skin, although covered with barnacles the gray skin is velvety smooth. Astonishing! There was a lot of breaching and showing off going on for a female in heat so our driver was always maneuvering us in to look, then out to safer distances when things got splashy, yup, whale sex..it’s true what they say about big flippers and tails I might add;) I felt like a voyeur;) We’ll keep this family friendly and leave the pink shots out;)
The young ladies, 4 and 6 kept up a steady chorus of cheers for the breaching. Such huge and beautiful creatures. It is hard to get an idea of their size but a passing Surf Scooter swimming by a mother did that.
So…you have to go here, or somewhere down this magnificent Baja Peninsula to see these amazing animals. There are several lagoons to choose from. The guides mentioned the numbers were down to the North due to water temperatures and the Southern lagoons were seeing larger populations. We’ll have to check out a few other locations next year, after we stop here! I didn’t want to leave….but running low on water and gas for the generator we decided to bypass San Ignacio…:(…and go straight through to Santa Rosalia and Mulege. Beware of the last gigantic unmarked speed bump leaving San Ignacio…Mike smoked the tires coming to a stop just before we hit it! It is quite a drop coming down from the high plateau to the shores of the Gulf of California. Las Tres Virgenes volcanoes loom to the North with spectacular lava flows just before you start to drop back to the sea.
I was hoping to stop in Santa Rosalia, I’d read the history and it seemed quite interesting but after driving through we decided to keep going, an industrial mining and fishing town it did not feel appealing at all and there were no signs of the RV Park we’d read about in our older camping book, must update to the newer one:)
Mulege had a different feel, tiny winding streets and an interesting air to it. A date palm oasis founded by the Jesuits over 300 years ago, there is history here. We stopped at Villa Maria Isabel RV park, right off the road-careful coming in around the circle if you are tall, we caught our roof vent cap on the overhead wires and it popped it off. Stay to the right and watch the wires:) The wifi does not reach the RV sites, available on their porch I was told and there was no laundry, flooded out by the looks of it, this area has been hit very hard in the last few years with hurricanes and storms and it has left it’s mark. Good power and water, pricey by Baja standards at $20 a night but owners are friendly and helpful. You can walk down to the river, some of the homes have been restored, others look like they may never return to their former glory, but a pretty area. Great birding along the river, you can walk out to the beach or back up along the river inland. It is full of life!
Mike spent time making some new friends with the lawn mowers and a local feline;)
We tried to get some cash at the Bancomer (Banco-merde the French called it;) and could not, problem going on for months we were told by some locals, but the RV park owner told us about the Western Union in town. I installed the app on my phone and we had cash in less than 15 minutes so it is a handy thing to know. Seems all up and down the Baja Peninsula Bancomer has not been working well for anyone, unless you were a Bancomer customer. The grocery store in town also would give you cash back as well. Well stocked, good selection of fresh foods and meat department was nice. Great chorizo casera, home made:)
We ran into Odette and Dominique our french couple from Bahía de los Ángeles, they limped in with a broken cable on their transmission, no reverse, but the owners had them set up with a mechanic in no time:) They filled us in on their latest adventures out to the Pacific coast and warned us off a few roads and places the 5th wheel would not enjoy;) Wonderful people!
We scouted the other two RV parks in town as well, but concluded they were either too difficult to maneuver into, or driving through town on the single one lane one way roads would have been a folly ( or an adventure, depending on how you care to view it;), except perhaps from midnight on if the streets cleared. There is a constant stopping and moving around of traffic as larger delivery trucks back down these narrow roads, and back out again:) The Lala and Corona drivers nightmare no doubt:)
We also scouted to the South, the beaches, it was amazing, but we were hemming and hawing, the big bedroom slide had been getting stickier and slipping. I had to push while Mike manned the controls, we were worried at some point it would just stop…:( and we’d be stuck with a slide all the way out, or in…we asked DRV for any spec and they were lovely and emailed them right out so after reading them we felt a bit better and decided…OK, let’s do it…a few more miles South! To the beach! On the beach! Wahoo!…but that is another story…Stay tuned amigos!