• Alexia Droz

ON THE ROAD AGAIN… THIS TIME NORTHBOUND

It’s been 3 weeks since the last blog entry. We left La Paz on March 5 and drove almost 300km to Playa Ligui, where we ran into Shannon & Kim (which we knew from meeting them earlier at Playa La Pastora) and met new travelers: Eric & Myriam (traveling in a Sprinter Revel), and TJ & Terry (travelling in a Sprinter 170 ext). We had a fun evening chatting and exchanging travel stories by the campfire.



The wind picked up the next day so we decided to hit the road. We turned left just before Loreto and heading west on a steep mountain road towards San Javier. The village of San Javier has a fully restored Spanish mission dating back to 1699. From San Javier, we continued west, and the road quickly went from paved to dirt to borderline 4x4 high clearance. It was a great drive and we made some stops by a small river so the dog could cool off. The back road from San Javier dropped us on route 53 near the Pacific coast. So, that evening, we drove to las Barrancas and spent the night on a beautiful beach by a palapa.





The next day we drove North again towards La Purisima, which is a beautiful canyon oasis with cute waterfalls. We wanted to drive from La Purisima on the back road that connects with Route 1 on the Sea of Cortez side, but just after we left the pavement, we got stopped by a couple of police officers who told us that a rock slide has blocked the road about 25km east and it was impassable. We turned around and went back the way we came, and made us was back towards Ciudad Insurgentes where we spent the night.




The next morning, we made our way back towards Loreto and the Sea of Cortez, and in Loreto we ran into (by chance) our friends Don & Paula, and the next day Dawn & Drew. We walked around Loreto a bit and enjoyed the sites, and after lunch, we hopped in the van for the beautiful clear waters of Bahia de Conception.




We spent 2 days at Playa El Coyote, we hang out on the beach, paddled the packraft to nearby island, it was perfect. After 2 nights, the wind picked up so we packed up and moved on. From El Coyote, we continued north and stopped for tacos in Santa Rosalia, and continued on towards Ojo de Liebre for whale watching.


At Ojo de Liebre we once again ran into our friends Dawn & Drew, we planned for an evening around the campfire but it was so windy that we could not stay outside for too long. We hoped that the wind would die in the morning so the boats could go out for whale watching, as they had cancelled many outings in the days prior.

Thankfully, we woke up to a cool morning with no wind. We headed to the boat launch just before 8am and shortly after we were on the boat ready to go see whales up close. Ojo de Liebre lagoon is a protected area within the Vizcino Biosphere Reserve UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an important habitat for the reproduction and wintering of the gray whale and harbor seal, and well as other marine mammals including the California sea lion, northern elephant seal and blue whale. Four species of endangered marine turtles also reproduce there. Tourism is now closely controlled, and only a few boats go in the lagoon at once and the boats let the whales’ approach on their own rather than going to them.


We had an amazing experience as a few whales came right up to the boat. See the video:






Later that day we went into the closest town (Guerrero Negro), to resupply and do laundry. Later that afternoon, we took a short portion of Route 1 back South, and then took a dirt road towards the village of El Arco. That dirt road is actually classified as an “unpaved highway” and goes all the way to Bahia de Los Angeles, 170 km away.



After driving about 40km on the dusty road, we stopped for the night near a rock formation that is also home of 10000 years old cave paintings. We hiked to the cave in the morning. It was remarkable to see these cave paintings totally accessible and unprotected. After the short hike, we jumped back in the van and resumed our drive to Bahia de Los Angeles. The dirt road was at time, sandy and fast, at other times, rocky, bumpy and slow. The scenery and the vegetation changed constantly, and eventually, around a curved, the Sea of Cortez appeared. It took us pretty much all day to cover about 130km, and we arrived at Bahia de Los Angeles around 6pm that evening. We spent the night at Playa La Gringa and tried to dust off the van as best as we could.



The next day, we took the time to do some maintenance on the van, and stopped in the village for some tacos before hitting the road. We drove the 65km of paved road separating Bahia de Los Angeles from Route 1, and then continued north for a little while but decided to stop shortly after Catavina to camp in the desert surrounded by incredibly tall cactuses.




From the desert, we continued on and spent the night just North of El Rosario. The next day we grabbed some supplies and diesel, before taking the turn off towards Parque Nacional Sierra de San Pedro Martir. From the turn off route 1 to the national park, it’s a 100 kilometer of a very steep and twisty road. As you climb up towards the park, you can see the scenery and vegetation completely changes, from a desert dry landscape to sycamore trees, mountains and even snow… which makes sense considering the park’s entrance is located at 2500m. The park highest summit reaches 3096 meters.

We had a great evening in one of the park’s campground, it was cold (about 8 Celcius) but there was plenty of wood available for a campfire.

The next morning, we hiked to Mirador Al Altar, which took us to an incredible viewpoint at almost 2800 meters which offered amazing views of the tallest peak in the park: Picacho El Diablo, and the Sea of Cortez.

The park is also home to the National Astronomical Observatory which is Mexico’s largest optical telescope.







After the hike, we drove all the way back to sea level, and continued on to Ensenada, and then the next day to the Valle de Guadalupe. We could not go to the Baja wine region without having a meal at one of our favorite restaurants: Finca Altozano. It didn’t disappoint!



The next morning, we briefly considered heading to Mexicalli, but we ended up deciding on going to Tecate and cross the border instead. So after 2 ½ months in Baja, we are now back in the USA…


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