Buena Vista and Los Barriles (GPS coordinates 23'67 N ~ 109'69 W) are two seaside areas that still retain much of the kick-back pace that made Baja popular! Fabulous sandy beaches, clean beautiful seas filled with fish, crystal clear air, and a remote feeling that seems far removed from civilization. The Baja Highway briefly kisses the coast here, helping to support the inhabitants, before heading back inland on its way to the 24 hour party at Cabo San Lucas.
Fishing is still big in Buena Vista, much as it was in the glory days of the Peninsula when Baja legend Ray Cannon called Rancho Buena Vista home. Although the fish are not as thick as they were in those old days, this beautiful fish trap still has plenty of pesca to go around.
There are a few small (yet wonderful!) beach side hotels in the area, but other services are just basic (no Home Depot or big box stores)...yet. Each year a few more homes are built on or near the beaches, yet Buena Vista still retains a relaxing and peaceful pace.
A dirt road heading north from here leads up to Punta Pescadero, which features the beautiful Hotel Punta Pescadero (one of Carlos Fiesta's favorite hotels in the world!). The recently enlarged verandah offers to-die-for views of the Sea of Cortez, and even the pool has a great view! The pace is s-l-o-w and very relaxing.
Just north of the hotel, spectacular beach front homes, complete with a paved airstrip, await the Baja aficionado who really wants to get away from it all.
The road south from Buena Vista also skirts miles of postcard-perfect beaches, with a couple of small, well maintained hotels ready to serve the needs of Baja travelers.
The Buena Vista area has always been a victim of heavy rains and road wash-outs, especially north of town. Baja Highway One has finally gotten it's just desserts with a new bridge over one of the huge washes north of town (2005), and hopefully the other big arroyo one mile further north will get a bridge soon. Until it does you can plan out waiting out any big rains on Highway One until the water level drops low enough to drive over the Highway.
The once famous airstrip at Buena Vista has been replaced with beachfront condos....progress?
If you would like to see what Buena Vista looks like FROM SPACE check it out!
Buena Vista was one of the coastal stops for Carlos Fiesta on his 2,200 mile BAJA CIRCUMNAVIGATION!
THE GRINGO FACTOR
Buena Vista and Los Barriles are ground zero for the gringos who missed the affordable beach-side real estate land grab an hour down the coast at CABO SAN LUCAS. Prices have finally levelled off and the gringos keep coming down (mostly from California) to set up second homes on or near the beach. Except for a few Mexicans working at some of the local stores and restaurants it's getting hard to find the local people who once had this little piece of paradise to themselves. Progress?
YOUR FIRST STOP IN TOWN
Looking for a place to relax and to get a feel for the Buena Vista area? Look no further than the Hotel Rancho Buena Vista, just south of Los Barriles off of the Baja Blacktop. The ocean front bar and patio areas offer spectacular views of the beach and the Sea of Cortez! The photos, jetsam and flotsam hanging on the walls try to paint a picture of some of the East Cape history that made the East Cape and Buena Vista famous. If you listen carefully you can almost hear the laughter of Buena Vista fishing legend Ray Cannon as he reels in another Yellowtail offshore. It is almost impossible to have only one margarita here...Carlos Fiesta has tried several times and has always been unsuccessful.
THE BEST OF BUENA VISTA
Baja travelers looking for top cabin lodging in Buena Vista usually head 8 miles north of town to the HOTEL PUNTA PESCADERO RESORT. This classic Baja hotel is located on a low promitory just above spectacular sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. It's a small resort that offers the intimate feel that fits right in with the East Cape lifestyle. There are miles of beautiful beaches north and south of Buena Vista for campers and RV's. Carlos Fiesta's favorite place for a cold drink with a view of the ocean is the beachfront bar at the RANCHO BUENA VISTA RESORT on the north end of town. Historic photos of Buena Vista's early days fill the walls and a quick dip in the Sea of Cortez is just a short walk across the warm sand. The best excursion from Buena Vista is the deserted silver mining town of EL TRIUNFO about 30 minutes up Baja Highway One. Once a thriving community of over 10,000 people, El Triunfo now is the perfect place to put your photographic eye to work. Cold drinks are usually available from a small market on the west side of the street.
CARLOS FIESTA'S HOT TIP: A short drive north west of Buena Vista on the main highway lies the once-booming mining town of El Triunfo. It is a fascinating place to walk around, and one of Baja's most historic towns. Although silver and gold are no longer mined here, there is a treasure chest of unique photos awaiting the photographer with a good eye.
The beautiful beaches of Bahia de Palmas run for over 20 miles, from Punta Pescadero on the north end to Punta Colorada on the south. These are some of the best beaches in Mexico!
And the good news is that, except for a few small settlements and hotels, these great beaches remain largely undeveloped. Growth has been increasing in the Buena Vista - Los Barriles area largely because this is where the Transpeninsular Highway briefly kisses the coast before heading inland again.
NORTH to SOUTH, these beaches include:
Many Baja travelers like camping and R.V.ing in the Buena Vista-Los Barriles area because they can find the wide open spaces and beauty that used to be easy to find down Los Cabos way.
Now that Cabo has grown up, the beaches of the Buena Vista area are the hot tip for those folks looking for empty beaches and solitude. There are over 20 miles of beaches to set up camp on, as well as the following campgrounds:
There are more boats anchored off shore in the Buena Vista-Los Barriles area than anywhere else in Baja. And they are all there for one reason . . .hook-up! Most of these boats are chartered from the local hotels, although a few are privately owned and operated by locals. For the Baja traveler who dares the adventure of driving down the Baja Highway with a vessel in tow, there are several places to launch in the area, including the ramp just north of the Hotel Buena Vista Resort.
The fishing in these waters offers something for everyone. Sailfish are plentiful offshore from June through December, and the dorado, yellowtail, roosterfish and wahoo keep the anglers busy all year long. Inshore fish include pargo, cabrilla, grouper, and sometimes yellowtail. There are definite advantages in going out with someone who know the local waters, and it's usually worth the price for an experienced captain.
The Tuna Hole, about 4 miles south of Punta Pescadero, offers yellowfin tuna year round, but the underwater terrain has been known to chew up many a line and leader. Most of the fishing in the areas is arranged through the various hotels, each offering special fishing packages. There is also a fishing shop in the new shopping center at the entrance to Los Barriles. This is tight-line heaven!
And for the best charts for your open water peso BAJA DIRECTIONS is the perfect shortcut to tight lines.
For information on fishing in Cabo San Lucas drop by our extensive CABO FISHING section.
And for information on fishing in other parts of Baja check out our main BAJA FISHING section!
For more information on obtaining the proper fishing documentation required for dipping your hook in Baja waters check with the professionals at MEXICO ADVISORY SERVICES.
Most of the hotels in the Buena Vista - Los Barriles area have been here for a long time. They are all right on the beach, and many have airstrips nearby to accommodate the private pilots who have been escaping to these special hideaways for many years.
Up until just recently, the hotels were the only places in the general vicinity to grab a bite to eat or drink! The hotels of Buena Vista were 'destination resorts' long before the term became popular in other parts of the world.
Cash is always accepted, credit cards and checks are sometimes not. Making payment plans before you go is highly recommended.
Running along the beach, from NORTH to SOUTH, these are your choices:
Over a hundred years after silver was discovered in the southern Baja mountains at San Antonio, silver and gold were discovered in a nearby mountain area, soon to be called El Triunfo (The Triumph). The year was 1862, and the fever grew quickly as minors from other parts of Mexico and the United States set up camp to find their fortunes. Many of the miners who missed out in the California gold rush of 1849 came to El Triunfo for a second chance at striking it rich, along with many of those who hit pay dirt in California, and wanted do try their luck again.
By 1865 this once-sleepy cattle ranch became a boom town of approximately ten thousand souls. It was, at the time, the largest settlement in all of southern Baja. After 60 some-odd years of mining, El Triunfo finally closed it's operations in 1926.
Today, as the Baja traveler drives the Transpeninsular highway approximately 30 miles north west of Buena Vista, it seems difficult to picture this quaint collection of brick buildings as anything more than just another quiet Baja village. The buildings that are located right on the highway in town are very scenic, but the empty ghost-town feel of the area makes it hard to imagine that over 400 people still call El Triunfo home.
The tall chimney and surrounding brick buildings just in from the south side of the highway are the remains of the old smelter. The interior ceilings of the smelter buildings are lined with dried smoke remnants inches thick from the many decades of operation.
As we near the next millennium, mining on a very small scale still takes place today, as a small reminder of the grand history of this very special Baja town.
For a sleepy little village, there's plenty to do in the Buena Vista - Los Barriles area. You'll probably get all excited about doing something constructive when you first get into town. Don't worry, your high spirited enthusiasm will soon take a back seat to the 'manana' mode that catches every Baja traveler.
Check out the WHALE WATCHING section of Baja Expo for mucho mas information on Baja's Whales!
All Terrain Vehicles are a great way to get around Los Barriles and Buena Vista. They are also tons of fun to rent for a few hours!
Heading south from town the road stays relatively flat for dozens of miles, although it does tend to run a mile or so inland from the coast itself. There are several spur dirt roads that connect with the Sea of Cortez, most of these are access roads for the various resort hotels. A nice place to stop, have a cold one, and enjoy the view!
For an excellent place to snorkel head 8 miles up the coast to the Punta Pescadero Hotel. There are 3 different groups of large rocks in front of the hotel property. The collection of rocks at the northern point (take the steps down from the hotel and walk 100 yards north) offer some of the best snorkeling in the Buena Vista area! Large boulders set in white sand offer an incredible underwater setting, along with dozens of different kinds of colorful tropical fish! There are 2 medium sized sea caves that can be swam through when the water is calm. Best diving here is at low tide.
For further local dive information:
Most of the shoreline along the Buena Vista - Los Barriles area is very calm, and the water is clear (except during the occasional summer chubasco, or during the brief windy periods of spring and fall). Launching off of any beach is very easy. For a greater variety of viewing options, the rocky cliffs start a few miles up the road toward Punta Pescadero. These cliffs also provide a greater degree of wind protection when the afternoon sea breezes kick in. Longer excursions north towards Punta Arena, and south towards Cabo Pulmo provide plenty of beautiful empty beaches for overnight camping!
Surf, senior, did you say surf? Hard to believe, but true, when a southern hemi pumps up the volume in the East Cape, Cabo and Scorpion Bay, there's a good chance that the point break at Punta Arena will be offering roller coasters. This often takes place from June through September. It's a goofy-footer's dream come true . . .chances are good you and your buddies will be the only ones in the water. No Sex Wax here, bring your own.
Because the beaches of Buena Vista are tucked in behind the East Cape, the waves from the open ocean rarely get past Punta Colorada. This provides calm, often totally flat waters off of the sandy beaches. The combination of flat seas and warm waters (June through November) make taking a dip hard to resist!
The glassy waters of the Sea of Cortez are just begging for a Wave Runner or Jet Ski. Local residence, however, would probably appreciate you taking the noise a bit offshore, or up or down the coast away from the area homes!
San Ignacio Lagoon is located about two hours north west of Buena Vista, and is one of the "big three" destination lagoons used by the California Gray Whales for their annual mating rendezvous. It seems these huge mammals become friendlier to humans each year!
For more information on the Big Guys drop by the WHALE WATCHING section of Baja Expo.
Los Barriles is sailboard central. When the winds come screaming in during the spring, the wave-hopping begins! Although the swells are not as big as Maui, and the different skill levels offered are not as diverse as The Gorge, experienced sailors can strap in and fly all day long when the winds are up. When the winds are calm, there's always other fun stuff to do during the lull. Like trying to figure out how old that girl is in the Brazil Reef sandal ads.
A few years ago the Baja traveler had few choices to pacify the palate in the Buena Vista-Los Barriles strip. Today, although still narrow by most standards, the choices will are increasing.
In the past, the hotels were the main place to eat and drink, and for the most part, they still are the main social gathering places and watering holes. However, new options in town offer diverse menus in nice environments, and nobody seems to be complaining about the new choices.
Visit the web site of JOHN RAMOS to review his unique and colorful Mexico art work.
PLAZA DEL PUEBLO
(new Alamo-style shopping center as you enter town).
Corner of Baja Highway One, at the entrance to Los Barriles.
The coastal road heading north from Buena Vista has recently gotten the okay for pavement towards El Cardonal. Look for completion sometime in the year 2001.
The road headed south around Punta Arena and down the East Cape still offers blacktop for several miles, but turns to dirt again 5 miles north of Cabo Pulmo. Die-hard East Cape aficionados hope the rest of this road remains unpaved for many years to come!
Buena Vista-Los Barrilles real estate has finally calmed down. More and more Baja aficionados are realizing that this little slice of paradise is only an hour away from the airports of Los Cabos or La Paz, via the paved Transpeninsular Highway.
If you missed your chance to purchase prime beachfront property in Los Cabos before the prices went up, Buena Vista-Los Barriles is probably your last chance to get in on beachfront property at a reasonable price, and still be near the blacktop.
Thinking about moving south of the border? Visit the web site of BAJA RELOCATION for a head's up for what awaits you.
As Los Cabos prices head off the chart developers are headed for Buena Vista and the East Cape to make the American Dream available in Baja.
There are a few real estate Brokers who specialize in Buena Vista-Los Barrilles properties. These properties range as far north as Punta Pescadero and beyond, and as far south as Punta Colorada.