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      The vast majority of people headed for Baja have never even hear of Bahia Tortugas (GPS coordinates at the outer bay 27.38.5 N and 114.54.0 west) let alone made a visit to this lonely coastal outpost. In reality only sailors, yachties and die-hard off-road explorers ever make it to this way-out-of-the-way corner of Baja. Turtle Bay, as it is affectionately called by those who visit, doesn't even pretend to be a tourist destination. But if you are headed up or down the Baja coast on something that floats, Turtle Bay is your best buddy.


      The thing that makes Bahia Tortugas so popular for those plying Baja's coastline is the extremely protected harbor, combined with the fact that this is one of the few places for hundreds of miles up or down the coast where diesel fuel and gasoline can be purchased. Freddy and Maria Gerardo have been serving the boating community for may years and do a commendable job. Throw in a couple of markets, one or two decent small hotels and even a few good restaurants...well it's no wonder most coastal runners have a soft place in thier hearts for Turtle Bay.

      Bahia Tortugas can also be reached by vehicle but you've got to be a pretty serious explorer to even think about trekking out to this far western edge of the Baja Peninsula. The road that heads to Tortugas starts 45 miles south of Guererro Negro at the grungy pueblo of Vizcaino and then it's another 100+ miles once you head west off of the Baja Highway from there. The road is narrow and has no services so it's a good idea to drive carefully and depart Vizcaino full of gas, beer and munchies.

      The town of Bahia Tortugas has a population of approximately 2,500 friendly souls and is laid out haphazardly on either side of a long gentle valley that slopes down and ends up at the bay. The natural harbor is extremely well protected and ground zero is the tall wooden pier in the northwest corner of the bay. The two ladders (one wood and one steel) used to access the pier by boaters are both poorly maintained and dangerous but can be used if approached with care.

      Since Turtle Bay is almost exactly mid way down the Baja Peninsula between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas, most boats using fuel make a stop here. Even some sailboats who don't need fuel stop here for provisions, a good hot meal, the pharmacy or the use of the towns several phone and fax machines. It's an interesting town to stretch those sea legs and do a short walk-about.

      Bahia Tortugas was a major fueling and rest spot for Carlos Fiesta on his solo 2,200 mile SOLO BAJA CIRCUMNAVIGATION. Read the book for an inside look at the fun side of Turtle Bay that most boaters and drive-in visitors never see.

      The fishing villages north and south of Bahia Tortugas are some of the most remote fish camps on the Baja Peninsula. Punta Eugina, Puerto Nuevo and San Pablo are about as far removed from society as one can imagine. These little towns are a rare part of Baja's unique heritage and are well worth a visit for those who have the time, desire and gasoline for a short visit.



      For those arriving by boat this is the first time in a long time to put solid land under thier zapatas. There is a small sandy beach at the foot of the pier. This is a great place to sit down, pull up a cold Pacifico and soak in the sights, sounds and smells of this unique bay.



      There is no tourist infrastructure in Bahia Tortugas and few tourists. There are many local services that supply the local people that Gringos will definately appreciate. But if you need a disco or a brass pole head 400 miles south to Cabo San Lucas.



      This may sound stupid but in Carlos Fiesta's humble opinion the best thing going in Turtle Bay is the unbelievable hot dogs for sale on the cart half way up the hill on the right side of the main road, right next to the market. They just don't get any better.



      For visitors who have time to sneak away from the bay the short boat ride to Isla Natividad (just past Punta Eugina) is a real adventure. If the waves are breaking the surfers will find out and watching them surf these giant swells is a real treat.




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