LOCAL INTEREST *
THE GRINGO FACTOR *
YOUR FIRST STOP
THE BEST OF SAN JUANICO *
HOT TIP *
REAL ESTATE *
SAN JUANICO (GPS coordinates 26'29 N ~ 112'43 W) is a small seaside fishing village with an increasingly larger following! Pilots and sailors refer to it as 'Punta Pequena'. Surfers know it as 'Scorpion Bay'. And fishermen call it 'Heaven'! San Juanico is a small fishing village located approximately 100 miles north of Ciudad Insurgentes, and approximately 100 miles south of SAN IGNACIO.
Drop by the web site of SCORPION BAY PROPERTY RENTALS for your San Juanico rental options!
HOTELS * RECREATION * SHOPPING * RESTAURANTS * BEACHES * FISHING * TRANSPORTATION CAMPING * LOCAL INTEREST * THE GRINGO FACTOR * YOUR FIRST STOP THE BEST OF SAN JUANICO * HOT TIP * REAL ESTATE * MISCELLANEOUS *
SAN JUANICO (GPS coordinates 26'29 N ~ 112'43 W) is a small seaside fishing village with an increasingly larger following! Pilots and sailors refer to it as 'Punta Pequena'. Surfers know it as 'Scorpion Bay'. And fishermen call it 'Heaven'!
San Juanico is a small fishing village located approximately 100 miles north of Ciudad Insurgentes, and approximately 100 miles south of SAN IGNACIO.
Drop by the web site of SCORPION BAY PROPERTY RENTALS for your San Juanico rental options!
Many of those visiting San Juanico driving down from the north travel via the historic seaside town of LORETO on Baja Highway One, unless they are brave enough to take the north or east roads in (not recommended for most vehicles).
No matter which way you are coming from, there is really no easy way to get to San Juanico. The two roads coming down from the north are rock, dirt, tidal flats, and in some places sand. The east road from Highway One (at the Km. 59 turnoff) is 38 miles of dirt, washboard, and offers some challenging mountain terrain. This road could shave 30-45 minutes off of the drive from Loreto...if you make it without crashing or breaking down. More than one car has lost it on this road, and there are no services if you get into trouble. The road from the south, Baja Highway 53, is paved for the first 70 miles from Ciudad Insurgentes (with plenty of pot-holes and cows), and then a sometimes graded dirt road for 20 miles with the final 10 miles paved as of late 2008.
The village of San Juanico is located on a large, breathtakingly beautiful, well protected bay. It's a great place for sailors to hole up on the way up or down the coast, and the short runway at the nearby village of Cadeje makes it a fun fly-in destination for private pilots. When the ocean swells roll in from the south, surfing the 7 right point breaks is awesome.
The town has experienced significant growth over the last couple of years, and is still growing as we head into 2009. Carlos Fiesta and Juan del Rio flew over San Juanico in a helicopter to photograph this increased growth. Most of the new growth is headed to the north and west of town into the outlying hills.
Although nobody who visits here really wants this seaside jewel of a town to grow up, the Mexican government seems to have other plans. The new seaside Malecon has gotten sidewalks and streetlights. Progress? Maybe. Hopefully additional changes will take place slowly, over a period of many years, if at all.
There are four small restaurants in town, and five small markets. San Juanico is a quiet escape from the real world, except when the Baja 1000 blasts through town every couple of years. Things also get a bit busy during the annual 'San Juanico Days' celebration, held every year during the third week of June! Last year they actually had two horses in the horse race!
The town got it's first stop sign on it's main street, Boulevard Dionisia Villarino, near the school...but nobody seems to have noticed.
Most of the gringo activity in San Juanico takes place about a mile outside town, at SCORPION BAY RESORT. The rustic resort offers food, drinks, e-mail access and camping accommodations 7 days a week. This is a great place to meet fellow Baja travelers, and share Baja adventures.
Large vacation homes are now being built on a low bluff with views of the Pacific Ocean, between the Cantina and town. More homes are on the way, and quite a few Norte Americanos are buying lots or homes in town.
New in town is hardware store, located on the main street in town near the entrance.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that San Juanico's days as a sleepy fishing village are numbered. The new road being paved just south and west of town is bound to encourage more visitors. So check it out now before the rest of the world finds out how cool this little village is.
Thinking about moving south of the border? Visit the web site of BAJA RELOCATION for a head's up for what awaits you.
When you fly over San Juanico at 32,000 feet on Alaska Airlines the large bay can easily be seen on the west side of the plane. Looking down at the small village from above it seems like there couldn't possibly be much going on in such a remote location. But looks can be deceiving! San Juanico, the town with 'a lot to do about nothing', has a cast of characters and local issues that never seems to stop. Jaimie Adkins, Terry Hansen, Jim Dandy, John Beck, Lee Marvin, Dencho, Mr.Mexico and Juan del Rio ...they all add color to this unique village. And when Carlos Fiesta is in town...watch your tequila!
The California Grey Whale makes an annual trek from the cold waters of Alaska to the waters of Laguna Ignacio, just north of San Juanico. They also visit the bay at San Juanico, usually a mile or two offshore. For more information on this amazing mammal drop by the WHALE WATCH section of Baja Expo.
The popularity of Scorpion Bay is reflected in an international clothing line that markets T-shirts and such with a Scorpion Bay logo!
This remote hideaway is not for everyone, but if raw Baja nature and ocean activities are on the agenda, San Juanico is hard to beat!
Curious about owning a piece of paradise? Check out our REAL ESTATE section.
If you would like to see what San Juanico looks like FROM SPACE check it out!
Before you head south check out today's SAN JUANICO WEATHER! Just take the weather at Loreto and subtract 15 degrees!
San Juanico was one of the coastal locations that Carlos Fiesta cruised by on his solo 2,000 mile BAJA CIRCUMNAVIGATION! You won't believe his story but it's all true!
For more information on what's happening south of the border drop by the MEXICO EXPO EVENT CALENDAR.
To purchase a good map of the Baja Peninsula visit the web site of MEXICO MAPS.
If you know of a company, web site or event that is not included here we would love to hear from you on our SUBMISSION PAGE.
THE GRINGO FACTOR
Most of the gringos visiting San Juanico head for the bluffs above the surf breaks, 2nd point through 7th point. About half of the homes in town that are owned by gringos are located on Gringo Hill (just up from first point) and the rest of them are scattered throughout the side streets in town. The focal point is the Scorpion Bay Cantina out by 2nd Point where drinks, grub, music and conversation round out each day.
YOUR FIRST STOP IN TOWN
Ready to slip into the true Baja mode and catch the real flavor of San Juanico? Do not pass go and do not collect $200 ... head straight for the Scorpion Bay Cantina (just follow the coastal road along town and out towards the point). The open air Cantina offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, a nice selection of music and dated magazines, and warm food and cold drinks to help you settle in. Go ahead ... pull out your Baja map and review your success. You've made it to Paradise!
THE BEST OF SAN JUANICO
The best place to camp in San Juanico is on the bluffs between the walk-down at Second Point and the lighthouse at Third Point, as well as between second point to First Point. Camping along this stretch of bluff offers killer views, allows easy access to the Cantina food, cocktails, bathrooms and trash cans....and more importantly allows easy access to the great waves of First, Second and Third Points! San Juanico visitors looking for a nice place to enjoy a meal and ocean views can head to the SCORPION BAY CANTINA just up the hill from Second Point. This is where you can find that 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' Jimmy Buffet sings about. One of the best places in the world to surf is Scorpion Bay...the 7 point breaks just outside of beautiful downtown San Juanico are awesome. The best waves in San Juanico? Even though everyone loves the fun waves at First Point and Second Point, Carlos Fiesta says the best waves in Baja roll into Third Point at close to low tide. With a big swell it breaks at higher tides as well. Like the idea of driving on the beach? Yes, it's against the law...but so is going 56 miles per hour on the San Diego Freeway. So check your Dive N' Surf tide book for low tide and head to the hard-packed sand out by the fisherman's panga beach. Watch out for sleeping pelicans. The best road trip from San Juanico is the 1 hour drive south of town to La Parisima. This oasis village offers a taste of Baja yet unspoiled by gringos and tourism. For a real adventure keep going east to the beautiful beaches of BAHIA CONCEPCION.
CARLOS FIESTA'S HOT TIPS:
#1 * For a real treat head down to the Malecon early in the morning to watch the sun rise over the mountains and the glassy bay. Can't get up that early? The 'moon rise's in the early evening are just as awesome!
#2 * The local fishermen head out to sea at daybreak each day, and are usually back on the beach with their fill of pesca by early afternoon. They are quite open to the idea of trading portions of their daily catch with visitors. They do like U.S. dollars, and a couple of bucks goes a long way towards all the fish you will need for a nice fish dinner. They are also happy to exchange fish for other items that may be in short supply, such as tennis shoes, T-shirts, cassette tapes, or magazines with good pictures. Where else can you get a fresh fish meal for the price of a used 10K T-shirt!
The sandy beaches from San Juanico run south uninterrupted for over 20 miles, all the way down to Punta San Gregorio.
From the village southwest the beaches consist of low bluffs down to the water, with a mixed bottom of sand and volcanic rock. These beaches are where the waves break with excellent shape for surfing, when the swells come in from the south (long rights with some left shoulders on the outer points). After a brief 2 year vacation, the sand is back on all of the point beaches!
Shell collectors will enjoy a nice variety of shells, sharks teeth, (as well as a variety of jetsom and flotsom) that start one mile south of town and run along the beach for over 20 miles!
The best camping in the San Juanico area is on the low bluffs overlooking the ocean in the Scorpion Bay Cantina area. Because of the geographic shape of the bay, these camping areas are somewhat spared from the strong prevailing westerly winds, although a good offshore breeze is common in the afternoon.
There are several different paths down to the water.
For remote camping south of San Juanico in Magdalena Bay check out MAG BAY TOURS.
The waters off of San Juanico are full of life! Renting a panga to go fishing is easy. There are a couple of dozen fishermen that leave every morning in their boats from Playa Pescador. Hiring a skipper for a half day excursion is usually pretty easy, and not too expensive.
If everyone is too busy, track down Nacho or Paul in town. He'll set you up for a good fishing trip. If you can't find Nacho then look for Chino. He's a great guy and knows San Juanico waters well.
Baja travelers who bring their own boat will have no problem launching in the protected waters of the bay. A short drive over the soft sand about 100 yards outside town leads to the hard packed beaches, where launching is easy on the hard packed shoreline.
Shore fishing is easy and usually productive either south of town at the rivermouth, or north of 7th Point at the string of sandy beaches about 2 miles up the coast. The first mile or so of the road is okay for 2 wheel drive vehicles, then the sand gets thicker and 4 wheel drive is required.
Fishermen looking for big fish hook-ups can head for "Fifty Mile Reef" due west of San Juanico.
For information on fishing in other parts of Baja drop by our BAJA FISHING section.
For fishing south of San Juanico in Magdalena Bay check out the web site of MAG BAY TOURS.
And for great offshore fishing charts you'll love the underwater views from the folks at BAJA DIRECTIONS.
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.
Accommodations in San Juanico are very limited. There are literally no hotels. There are limited 'executive camping' facilities available at Scorpion Bay in 3 fun and funky palapas. Don't expect much and you won't be disappointed!
A small 2 room hotel has been under construction for a few years on the main street. When will it be open? Manana!
There is a big house for rent behind the Cantina and the rates are reasonable. Inquire at the Cantina Bar.
If you are looking for fun recreation in the great outdoors, San Juanico has lots to offer. Dirt bikes, off road vehicles, kayaks, sailing, windsurfing, and surfing are just a few options!
Dedicated surfers have been coming to Scorpion Bay for a long time, long before the road from Ciudad Insurgentes received partial blacktop. Just getting here was an adventure of large proportions, and when surfers arrived, they were often greeted by lake-flat conditions.
The shape of Punta Pequina prevents most west and northern swells from reaching the bay, so the window of waves that enter the bay is somewhat small. A good southern hemi can light up the points, while a swell from the north might mean it's time to break out the masks and snorkels.
Check out the WHALE WATCHING section of Baja Expo for mucho mas information on Baja's Whales!
Drop by the BAJA OFFROAD web site for additional information on getting off the blacktop in Baja!
For information on how to protect your skin while playing in the hot Baja sun visit the SUNSCREEN TIPS section of Mexico Expo!
For more information on recreation in Baja drop by our main BAJA RECREATION section!
Scorpion Bay Cantina is not the only place to eat in town, but you shouldn't miss it. This is a great place to hang out and slip into the relaxing Baja mode! Bring money.
If you are just looking for a quick taco after dark TAQUERIA CRISTI is located on a south side street just below the main street. The Carne Asada, fish and shrimp tacos are cheap and tasty, and if you have never had a "Torta" this is the place to try one!!!! Wanna make Christi laugh? Order a "Comondante". It's her special large cheese quesadilla with carne asada inside.
Like Pizza? Who doesn't!!! DAN ALARCAN PIZZA on the main street (west end, left side of the street) offers the best pizza this side of La Paz.
If you like to make your own meals 'Baja-style' while camped close to the shore, then you owe it to yourself to pick up one of the great Baja recipe books by Baja aficionado ANN HAZARD. Ann has spent many an evening eating and sleeping under Baja's twinkling lanterns, discovering just the right ingredients for your next Baja trip. Check out her cool web page!
For San Juanico visitors heading into town from the south road...take a culinary tip from Carlos Fiesta. After getting gas at the Pemex station on the west side of the street in Ciudad Insurgentes, stop by the Pollo Real Chicken shop across the street for a chicken to go. The "Pollo Entero" package has it all. There's no better way to head north dodging potholes on that long stretch of asphalt than by munching on their delicious spit-fired chicken, hot fries, warm tortillas and spectacular salsa. A cold drink completes the formula! $8.50 for the full bird...BYOB.
There are no tourist facilities in San Juanico, and consequently, not much shopping. A few basic food staples can be obtained at the small markets in town.
The Scorpion Bay Cantina offers, ice, water, toothpaste, firewood, hats, t-shirts, surf wax, ding repair kits, candy bars, cold drinks and hot food.
A new market has been opened on main street, just past the town square.
Visit the web site of JOHN RAMOS to review his unique and colorful Mexico art work.
For further shopping opportunities grab your credit card and head for the web site of Baja fanatic BAJA BOB.
LUPITA'S (The Yellow Store)
Located on the main street, west side, across from the big empty lot.
On the west edge of town up from the school.
EL BOHEMIO TECATE MARKET (Arturo's)
Located right across from the ocean on the Malecon.
Located mid town, west side, not far from the basketball courts.
On the main street through town, right side.
The road coming up from Ciudad Insurgentes, Baja Highway 53, is the preferred route to San Juanico, although there are other roads that lead here. The first 70 miles are paved. TheN last 20 miles are dirt, but usually good enough for most 2 wheel drive vehicles. The last 10 miles are paved to town.
The roads from the north, via San Ignacio, are usually not as well maintained, and are susceptible to weather related problems. If you are looking for an adventure or just feel lucky it can be fun.
Coming across the mountains from Mulege and Loreto to the west coast is also a possibility, however this east road is usually not as easy at it may look on the map, unless it has just been graded. The turn-off for this road is at Km. 59 off of Baja Highway One.
Both the northern road and the mountain roads are great routes for Baja travelers looking for a good old-fashion Baja adventure, with no time concerns! Except for the first part of the road from Ciudad Insurgentes, all roads leading to San Juanico are unpaved.
For more general information on transportation in Baja check out our main BAJA TRANSPORTATION section.