Beginning in Baja
We started our journey with mixed feelings. Leaving our safe little nest and beloved friends behind in Los Angeles for a big grey spot on the map that people tell you not to go to, wasn’t as easy as planned. But after many months of preparation, our big trip South has finally started, and our friends Lara, Joe, and Alper decided to join our adventure for the first couple of weeks. Lara, our talented social butterfly, has pulled strings to arrange meetings with friends along our way, and Stacey and Mike hosted us for the first night close to the border so we could cross early the next morning. One couldn’t wish for a smoother transition…
The border crossing in Tijuana was surprisingly easy and the charming officer who we received the tourist cards from (which are required when traveling through mainland Mexico and beyond Baja), provided some welcome encouragement in perfect English: “Mexico is beautiful. They all come back! Don’t believe what they’re telling you – they’ll chop your arms off and such. It’s safe.” After a little excursion to a not so well marked building near the airport, in order to get our temporary vehicle import permit, we met up with Lara, Joe, and Alper, at Mariscos Colima, a little restaurant in TJ owned by Mexican friends of theirs.
We indulged in a feast of several courses of seafood, paired with happy Spanglish chitchatting and Lara enthusiastically explaining the severity of our endeavor: “Sarah y Erdem in the carro all the way to Argentina!”.
We spent our first night in San Quintin, visiting Dave, who spends his free time building a nice house overlooking the beach.
Pushing on to Cataviñá, in the desert, the next day.
And then on to Bahia de Los Angeles, where we went to sleep between sand dunes, with whale sharks and pelicans in the background, and (slightly too many, black, nasty) mosquitoes in the foreground. Our first night of “rough camping” made us pack up rather quickly in the morning, to get us out of the sweltering heat, and the Prius towed back out of the sand.
We met people in town, one of whom led us to a nice campground with palapas, a welcome bit of shade for a change.
Lara, an avid world-traveler, but reluctant camper, was fiercely brave and camped with us for several nights, despite her inexplicable fear of ax-murderers.
And Joe took every opportunity to explore the Sea of Cortez in order to catch dinner for us.
We were especially successful on a fishing boat trip early the next morning and came back with several yellow fin tunas and a bonita, which Alper quickly turned into delicious sushi, and ceviche, and Joe steamed the remaining filets for us on the fire. What a treat!
After an unexpected encounter in Guerrero Negro, bumping into Josh who we had met previously in Bahia de Los Angeles and who is riding his bicycle with his father’s ashes from LA to Cabo, we stopped for lunch, and our boys helped fixing up the bikes.
We stopped for the night in Viscaino, at Kadekaman Hotel&RV, and went on to see the ancient cave paintings of San Franscico de la Sierra the next day.
The view from the mountains was breathtaking, and I wouldn’t mind returning for a longer tour, this time with the donkeys down to the more remote caves. We only had enough time for the Cueva del Raton, which ended quicker than it began.
In San Ignacio we camped in a lovely oasis, right before entering town, and swam in the river, inventing synchronized swimming techniques. Alper, who is continuously hungry, climbed date trees, in search for food.
Bahia Conception was another lovely stop at the beach.
There were many interesting creatures, some more edible than others.
As lovely as it was, beach in the heat, without showers and bathrooms, wore us out, and we treated ourselves to a stay in a hotel in Loreto, before dropping Alper off at the airport for his flight back to Los Angeles.
After our beloved friend’s departure back to the real world, who had been the driving force behind us having substantial meals three times a day, we quickly deteriorated and made inedible late night emergency food, and instant flan in the coffee maker in our room, did laundry, and spend hours in the pool, before our journey continued.
After driving through beautiful landscapes for a while, the heavens quickly turned dark and a beautiful thunderstorm came up. What a change, after one and a half weeks in the heat.
The water left quicker than it came, and after one night in Ciudad Constitution, in an unexpectedly nice RV park originally built by an Austrian called Manfred, we continued to La Paz. We decided to spend a few days in paradise before boarding the ferry to mainland Mexico and parting heavy-heartedly from our beloved friends and travel companions Lara and Joe who will drive back to Los Angeles.
Our last sunset on Baja. (Just in case you need a new screensaver)…