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    The 24 most popular Baja destinations are listed on the home page of BAJA EXPO. However, there are many additional destinations throughout this magnificent Peninsula that are unique and special. In this section, we share some of these out-of-the-way locations, and some basic information about each one.

    Drop by BAJA NATIONAL PARKS and BAJA MISSIONS for more ideas!

    Reviewing the BAJA PENINSULA FROM SPACE shows you the general geography of both norther and souther Baja from the ultimate perspective!

    To add some degree of organization, we have divided these Baja destinations into two basic locations: BAJA CALIFORNIA (northern Baja) and BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR (southern Baja). Enjoy!



    (northern Baja)






    Even the most seasoned Baja traveller will probably say "where?" if you ask them if they have be to Algodones in northern Baja. And for good's not really a tourist town. As a matter of fact, it's barely even located in Baja! But if you take a peek at a map of Baja, and look in the upper right hand corner near Yuma Arizona and the California border, you will find the warm and friendly Baja town of Algodones, Baja California, Mexico.

    Home to 15,000 happy souls, what makes this town somewhat important is that it is one of only 4 border areas where one can cross from the United States to Baja, and a customhouse is available for importing and exporting. The town is somewhat 'famous' for its dental offices...14 at last count! The town hosts 2 festivals each year, a Welcome Winter Visitors Festival in December, and a Thank You Visitors Festival in March!

    Algodones can be reached by taking Baja Highway 8 east of Mexicali all the way to the end, or by crossing the U.S. border off of U.S. Highway 8 a dozen miles west of Yuma, Arizona.





    (GPS coordinates 29'43.68 N ~ 114'43.13 W ) For such a small place, Catavina gets a lot of attention! Located on Baja Highway One between El Rosario and the Bay of L.A. junction, Baja aficianados have loved Catavina for many reasons. Out of necessity they have stopped in Catavina for gasoline over the years. Although the large Pemex station on the east side of the highway has been closed for years now, the smaller pumps at the La Pinta Hotel sometimes have gas. And if they don't, you can usually find an industrious Mexican trying his best to cash in on the American game of capitalism (usually at about $3.00 per gallon!) in the parking lot across the street.

    Aside from the gas, the 58 room LA PINTA hotel (800) 336-5454), and a few small restaurants, most folks love the Catavina area for the spectacular large bolders, beautiful oasis valleys and raw desert scenery. There is no other place in Baja that offers this wonderful combination, and Catavina is always worth stopping for a delicious photo opportunity! For the truly adventurous, the road just north of Catavina to the pacific Coast is some of Baja's most remote terrain.

    Catavina offers a small market and the Oasis cafe on the west side of the Baja Highway, in addition to 5 small rooms at Cabanas Linda, a few hundred yards north of the La Pinta Hotel, on the east side of the highway. If you need a place to sleep and don't want to pay for all of the amenities of the La Pinta this is your best option. Catavina is an official bus stop on the Transpeninsula Highway for travellers headed north or south.

    Catavina can be reached by taking Baja Highway One 76 miles south of El Rosario. Don't blink or you might drive right past it!





    El Rosario is located on the west coast of Baja, about an hour south of San Quintin. For many years this is where the Baja blacktop ended, and the wilds of Baja began. For decades Mama Espinosa fed the daring souls who were brave enough to tackle the terrible dirt road that headed south towards La Paz. Today, El Rosario still plays host to Mama Espinosa's Restaurant, and she still dishes out the lobster burritos that helped put her on the map. But El Rosario is no longer the end of the road for the asphalt, and except for the huge new 24 hour gas station at the north end of town, most folks don't spend much time here as they head south towards Catavina and to points further south.

    El Rosario does offer a decent size market at the big curve in town (south side) and an auto parts store (at the curve, north side) for those who are able to limp back to civilization after car trouble. If you want to make a phone call before heading into the bowels of Baja you will find a long distance phone station as you head south through town, on the north side of the street, across from the soccer field. The 9 room Motel El Rosario is located at the north end of town, and the 10 room Sinai Motel and R.V. is located at the south end of town. Also, Mama Espinosa is ready to put a roof over your hear at CABANAS ESPINOSA right next to her restaurant. 12 clean rooms with a large parking lot!

    El Rosario can be reached by taking Baja Highway One 36 miles south of San Quintin. Last chance for predictable gas, so fill 'er up!





    Several elements combine in Guadalupe Canyon to make it a true desert oasis. A natural river flows down the steep east side of the Sierra de Juarez mountains, forming waterfalls and pools in the granite rocks. This river water joins a unique collection of underground thermal springs, which come to the surface next to the pools, in the lower elevations of the mountains, just above the valley floor. The water from the granite pools is used to cool the boiling thermal water, in a collection of man-made "hot tubs" scattered throughout a palm-filled camp. It's quite a combination of man and nature, and a great place to sooth the body after a hard day of treking through Baja. A small store provides basic needs, and a small fee is charged to enter the area.

    For more information on the area, check out the GUADALUPE CANYON HOT SPRINGS web site.

    Access to Guadelupe Canyon is via a dirt road which runs west of Laguna Salada, south of Baja Highway 2, west of Mexicali. Standard vehicles can probably make it to within a mile or two of the camp, but the road deteriorates as it gains elevation prior to reaching the oasis. At this point a high clearance vehicle is usually needed.





    Located just south of the U.S. / Mexican border, west of Mexicali, Laguna Salada is a huge (sometimes wet - sometimes dry) lake bed that stretches south for almost 60 miles! It is shaped somewhat like an hour-glass, long and skinny and very narrow at the center. During times of little rain, the lakebed becomes dry, and driving on it in most any type of vehicle is a real treat. During times of significant rain the lagoon can fill completely with water, leaving the road along its west bank as the only means of traversing the area. The Sierra de Juarez mountains lie directly to the west of Laguna Salada, which includes Laguna Hansen and the National Park.

    Laguna Salada can be reached via the border crossings at either Tecate or Mexicali. The road south to Laguna Salada is off of Baja Highway 3, about 16 miles west of Mexicali.





    Laguna Hansen is a piece of mountain paradise in a pine covered mountain setting, complete with a beautiful lake! The dirt road is usually in pretty good shape, so street vehicles with decent clearance and 4X4's are both welcome. Snow can fall here in winter, and cross country skiing is a recreational option. Welcome to Baja!

    Need a place to stay in this neck of the woods? Try Motel Rancho de las Banditos about 4.6 miles south of Laguna Hansen at 011-52 (617)4-6225. A fun place to stay!

    Laguna Hansen can be reached most easily off of Baja Highway 3, turning north at the dirt road just past Ojos Negros.





    Meling Ranch was closed for much of 2000, but is now re-opened. Little has changed at this quaint hillside watering hole since it first opened many years ago. The rooms are rustic, spacious and clean, with fireplaces for heat in the winter. The dining hall serves meals family-style, offering a great way to meet other Baja travelers! Meling Ranch is the perfect stopover for those folks heading further up the mountain to the National Observatory, or down the coast for a Baja adventure.

    Meling Ranch is accessible by a fairly decent graded road which starts at Baja Highway One, just south of Colonet. The 30 mile road starts off level, and then gradually increases in elevation to the foothills where the ranch is located. For reservations to the ranch, call 011-52 (617) 7-5897 or write to P.O. Box 189003, PMB 120, Coronado, California, 92178-9003 or check out their web site!





    Mexicali is the capital of Baja California and a very large town. In addition to being the Gateway to San Felipe and the upper Sea of Cortez the city offers everything you would expect in a large city including hotels, restaurants, shopping and a nice 18 hole golf course.

    The history of Mexicali and the surrounding valley area dates back to the year 1540 when Hernan Cortez ordered expeditions into the Gulf of California. Just like Carlos Fiesta during the final days of his BAJA CIRCUMNAVIGATION they ultimately reached the Colorado River and ultimately the area that is now called Mexicali. Later, on March 14, 1903 Mexicali was founded, where irrigation projects and agriculture employed most of those who came to settle this hot and arid region.

    Today Mexicali consists of 5,254 square miles of land and has just under one million citizens.

    Mexicali is located on the U.S. / Mexican border just south of the California city of Calexico. For further information check out the MEXICALI web site or call the Mexicali Tourism Promotion Office at (888) 342-7323.

    For lodging information on Mexicali's 4,000 rooms contact the Hotel and Motel Association at 011-52 (686) 57-0909. The Mexico Consulate in Mexicali can be reached at U.S. (619) 357-3863. For more information on the areas south of Mexicali drop by the SAN FELIPE, PUERTECITOS and GONZAGA BAY sections of Baja Expo!



    Mike's Sky Ranch has played host to dirt bike lovers and the off-road crowd for decades. Located up in the hills off of a rough dirt road south of Baja Highway 3, Mike's Sky Ranch plays a unique part in the history of Baja. Simple accomodations and good meals continue to attract off-road lovers, and Mike's can be a great place to hang your hat before heading further into Baja's rugged mountains.

    For more information on motorcycle tours to Mike's Sky Ranch, check out TRAIL BOSS TOURS.

    Although Mike's Sky Ranch can sometimes be reached by crossing over from Meling Ranch (the road comes close to falling completely apart in several sections towards the middle), most guests arrive via a marked dirt road turn off on Baja Highway 3, near Corona Cardenas, halfway between Ensenada and the San Felipe turnoff.





    Tecate is not a big tourist destination but it does get it's share of visitors. Many come to take a tour of the Tecate Brewery which is a major employer in the town. Tecate is also popular as a border crossing, being further east than the border crossings of Tijuana and Otay Mesa.

    For more information on Tecate (in Spanish) check out TECATE.NET.





    There's not much left to the ruins at Mision Santa Maria de Los Angles in the mountains east of Catavina. The mission was abandoned in the 1800's, and today only a few half walls of the old mission, a doorway, and not much else remain. However, most Baja adventurers who head for the mission are coming for more than the old adobe walls. The canyon adjacent to the mission is the site of undergound springs that create pools of water to form a true desert oasis. It's easy to see why this location was chosen to establish a mission because of the water, although it is hard to comprehend how anyone got to this remote location hundreds of years ago. Although it is only 15 miles east of Rancho Santa Ynez, it one of the toughest 15 offroad miles Baja has to offer. Yes, the road starts off looking rather harmless...only as a means to entice you. Once you get too far in to change your mind, the road gets bad. And then real bad. There are several places on this road where road conditions will drop you down to a snail's pace, and keep you there for longer than you might like. A high clearance vehicle is strongly suggested, and if you have running boards on your shiney S.U.V....good luck. Ultimately, about a mile from the mission and the pools, the road falls completely apart, and the average 4X4 vehicle can now look for a place to park. Right in the middle of the road will do fine. Walking in the last mile or so is fun, you are just happy to be in one piece! Walking around the mission site and the pools is a real treat (and a photo opportunity!). If you want to take a dip in the water to cool off, the first pools to the right are the deepest ones for a swim, down the small hill. The water further down the road by all of the palm trees is usually too shallow for swimming, although it makes for an interesting hike.

    Finding the road to Mision Santa Maria is relatively easy. Taking Baja Highway One south of Catavina, hang a left (go east) at the sign for Rancho Santa Ynez. After stopping at the small but quaint Santa Ynez Restaurant for a cold one or a bite to eat (don't expect much here, it's not a big restaurant) the road to the mission wraps just behind the restaurant to the north, and then east. If you drive past the wreckage of an old airplane (another photo op!) you are on the right road. At the fork in the road, stay to the left. The road to the right heads down into the wash, and the sand is very soft. Looking at a map of the area, it appears that one might be able to access Mision Santa Maria from the east side, via Gonzaga Bay. Forget it. Not even on a motorcycle. I spoke with a couple who hiked in from Gonzaga bay, but it was a three day process that involved significant rock climbing skills.





    Baja's largest observatory lies at the very top of Picacha del Diablo, Baja California's highest mountain peak. At an elevation of 10,154 feet above sea level, this is one of the few places on the Peninsula were it snows on a somewhat regular basis! Getting to the observatory is pretty easy. The observatory is located within the Sierra San Pedro Martir National Park, so the area around the observatory is wide open spaces in a pine tree setting. Visitors to the observatory can drive almost all of the way to the top, except for the last half mile or so. The last section must be taken on foot, which is ironic, because it is the only section of the road which is paved! Although the observatory itself is generally not open to the public, the views from the surrounding large bolders is nothing short of spectacular. The Sea of Cortez can be seen down below, as well as a panoramic vista for miles in all directions.

    To get to the Observatory, take Baja's Highway One to Colonet, then take the marked graded road located 6 miles south of town. Heading east for approximately 60 miles will get you right to the Observatory entrance.





    If you really want to get away from it all, and you are willing to pay the price (in time and the abuse to your vehicle), and don't expect any luxuries when you get there, Punta San Francisquito is a good place in the Baja outback to 'drop out'. This remote Baja hideaway is not easy to get to, but it is even harder to leave. It is a small rustic resort (and we use the word resort rather loosely here) tucked away on a one mile stretch of prestine beach in the middle of nowhere. Services are basic here, and include a very casual restaurant (can you say picnic tables?), 5 somewhat enclosed palapas with cots for sleeping, plus primative his and her restrooms. Pilots love the place because of the good airstrip, and Baja adventurers of all types drive in on motorcycles, dune buggies, and 4X4 vehicles for an evening or two of relaxation.

    Charry, Javier and their small staff do a commendable job of running the facilites, and the meals are usually delicious! Plan a minimum 3 hour rugged drive in from the north, via Baja de los Angeles. This north road to paradise is recommended for high clearance vehicles and 4X4's only, although lesser vehicles have made the grade. The world's record for getting to Punta San Francisquito on the north road was established in 1997 by Baja aficianado Dave Denis. Dave made the grade in a Toyota Tercel, and lived to tell about it. Damage to the vehicle was significant, but it didn't matter because it wasn't Dave's car.

    Punta San Francisquito can be reached by taking the 75 mile dirt road south from Bahia de los Angeles, or by taking the 67 mile dirt and gravel road from Baja Highway One, just south of Guerrero Negro, through El Arco.





    Simply one of the best Spas in the deserve it! Phone (760) 744-4222 or Fax at (760) 744-5007.

    Located just outside of Tecate! Check out their web site for further information!





    Being a hop, skip and a jump from the U.S. border is just one of the advantages of visiting Tecate. The great beer factory is another! The town features excellent restaurants and bars, clean hotels, mucho shopping, and even an 18 hole golf course, Rancho Tecate. The Health Spa RANCO LA PUERTA has been voted one of the best spas in the world! The Tecate Museum is also a local attraction to enjoy, and Baja wine country is just a short drive from town.

    Campers and R.V.'s can take advantage of the TECATE KOA CAMPGROUND. It's open all year long and offers most of the amenities you will find in the KOA's in the U.S.A.

    For a relaxing place to stay not far from the U.S. border try Rancho Veronica. Located about 30 minutes west of Tecate 7 miles off of the toll road at El Hunga, this hidaway offers clean rooms, a pool, tennis courts and horseback riding!

    Jens K. of BAJA-WEB has put together the best collection of information on Tecate on his web site. Put on your seat belt and check it out! JEN'S TECATE!

    For more information on Tecate you can contact the Tecate Tourism Trust at 011-52 (665) 654-5892 or by E-mail at Information on current and coming events in Tecate can be obtained by contacting SECTURE by telephone at 011-52 (665) 654-1095 or by e-mail at





    Southern Baja




    A general survey of the areas surrounding Mulege would lead one to believe that all of the water near this quaint oasis village is either in the river running through town, or east of town in the Sea of Cortez. Actually mother nature has a water wonderland suprise waiting just a bit inland for Baja adventurers who don't mind a bit of a walk. Canyon de Trinidad is a unique oasis located about an hour east of Mulege. It's a perfect half day excursion!

    Hiring a friendly guide in town is the best way to get the full tour of this Baja secret, and the rates are reasonable at $35-45 per person (including a sandwich lunch and drinks). After the one hour ride towards the canyon, there is a trail hike of several miles. Wearing tennis shoes and bringing extra drinking water for this hike and the upcoming pools is highly recommended. There are actually three pools in the beautiful canyon to visit at the end of the trail hike, and getting wet and wading through refreshing water to get to the final pool is part of the program! The last pool offers petroglyphs in the adjoining rock cave, and is a great finale for the trek. This whole area is Federally protected, and a licensed guide is a requirement.

    Canyon de Trinidad is located 18 miles west of Mulege. A series of dirt roads will lead you to a small ranch where registration takes place. Guides can be obtained in town at the Las Casitas Hotel. Ask for Salvator.





    Located on Baja Highway One about 32 miles east of Magdelana Bay (San Carlos) on the Pacific Coast, Ciudad Constitucion is "24 blocks of commerce" located halfway between LORETO and LA PAZ. This busy city provides the basic services need to handle most of the agriculture, fishing and tourism that takes place in and around the fertile Magdelena Valley and coastline.

    The town offers 3 Pemex stations, one just north of town (east side) and 2 in town (both are located on the west side of the Highway). Other service available include an Internet Cafe and Long Distance telephone service (mid-town on the east side of the street, across from the Pemex station), Goodyear and Firestone tire shops (on the west side of the street), a tire repair shop at the north end on the west side of the street, and the Score Disco located near the north end of town on the east side!

    There are 5 decent hotels in town, including the Hotel Mirable with 40 rooms from $22 (telephone 011-52 (613) 132-0155). Other hotels include Hotel Conquistador (011-52 (613) 132-2745), Hotel Casino (011-52 (613) 132-0465) and Hotel Conchita (011-52 (613) 132-0266). Just north of town on the east side of the Highway about a mile or so is Manfred's R.V. Park which has 85 spaces and a pool and will also accept tent campers. The town offers a decent variety of restaurants, including 2 Super Pollos (north end and south end), El Jarocho, and El Pequeno Dragon. Baja Highway 22 heads west from Constitucion to the port town of San Carlos. For additional information on the area contact Mag Bay Tours at 011-52 (613) 136-0035.





    Cuidad Insurgentes is located 12 miles north of Ciudad Constitucion on the Baja Blacktop. This is where the north road from Loreto makes a sharp turn south, headed for La Paz. The town has a population of approximately 10,000 people, most of who are involved in agriculture. The main street running through town is called Benito Juarez, and there is a Pemex station on the west side of the street mid-block. A long distance telephone (open 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and then from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) is located on the east side of the street. The two decent sized markets mid-town are Mini Super Baja Sin (east side) and Super Dos Mil Market (west side). If you have been on the road in Baja for a long time the young checkout girls at these markets look pretty cute! Hungry or want to take some food on the road to go? Super Pollo is located on the east side of the street near the statues in the middle of the road at Avenida Hidalgo. The Drug Inspection station about 6 miles north of town is usually open and most vehicles are checked inside and out, plus underneath.





    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 on the California gold rush of 1849 came to El Triunfo for a second chance at striking it rich, along with those who had hit pay dirt in California, and wanted to 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 its operations in 1926. Today, as the Baja traveler visits the area, 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 Baja Highway One are very scenic, but the empty ghost-town feel of the area makes it hard to believe 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 several inches thick from the many decades of operation.

    As we enter the new millennium, mining on a very small scale still takes place today in El Triunfo, a small reminder of the grand history of this very special Baja town.

    El Triunfo can be reached by taking Baja Highway One south of La Paz approximately 30 miles. The highway runs right through town!





    These neighboring Baja villages are located in a remote and lush valley approximately 100 miles north of Ciudad Insurgentes. Established in 1719 because of the underground springs that accommodated small areas of farming at cattle, these watering holes and the cliffside aqueduct still provide water for citrus, mango and date trees. Palm frawns are also dried here for palapa roofs and fences for other nearby villages.

    The large sloped butte just north of town is a landmark that can be spotted from many miles away. "El Pilon" looks a lot like a landing spot for U.F.O's in a sci-fi movie, except for the white cross on the top! La Parisima offers a small market and gasoline from drums mid-town, on the north side of the street (a Pemex is on the way). A small but squeeky clean cafe "Restaurant Claudia" on the south side of the street will stifle that growling stomach and also offers cold sodas.

    San Isidro, a mile or two east of La Parisima, has a lot less going on and is a traditional sleepy Baja pueblo. It does offer gasoline from drums on the west side of town. It's another 35 miles east to Baja Highway One on a sometimes tolerable, simetimes terrible dirt road.





    Bahia Magdalena, more commonly called Mag Bay, is one of the three large bays on Baja's Pacific coast where the whales go each year to mate and give birth from late December through March. But there's much more going on in Mag Bay than just whales. The bay is also known for its good fishing, and the port city of San Carlos plays host to many different fishing and tourist operations. The smaller areas of the bay on the northern end have recently been discovered for their excellent kayaking, and now flycast fisherpeople (men and women) are discovering the pure joy of saltwater fly fishing in these protected northern bays.

    On the Pacific side of Mag Bay there is a whole different agenda going on. Sailors have been using the protected waters of Bahia Santa Maria as a gunk hole for years, and this northern bay is truly a special part of the Baja unspoiled wilderness. On the north end of Santa Maria Bay surfers have discovered an excellent right break, off the tip at Punta Hughes. The difficult access and complete lack of facilities keeps the crowds away.

    San Carlos offers small hotels, markets, good restaurants, one trailer park, a Pemex station and an ice factory. For more information you can contact Mag Bay Tours at 011-52 (613) 136-0035.

    Magdalena Bay is located due west of Ciudad Constitution, about 30 miles west of Baja Highway One.





    For a town located so far from civilization, Abreojos has grown up a lot in the last few years. Like most of Baja's west coast villages, Abreojos is a fishing town. And if the Mexican Government and their partner Mitsubishi have anything to say about it, Abreojos will soon become part 'salt' town as well. The proposed new salt mining operations at Laguna Ignacio are just a short distance south east, and if this project goes through (do we really need more salt?) Abreojos is sure to grow even more in the years ahead.

    Abreojos is also known for its surfing. Although more exposed to south swells than others, the point is also capable of pulling and wrapping swells from the west and north, giving it a bigger window of swell activity than some of the other 'secret spots' in Baja.

    Punta Abreojos is accessible via Baja Highway One, at the graded road turn off between Guerrero Negro and San Ignacio.





    For many years Punta Chivato was known as one more classic fly-in destination for Baja pilots. The Punta Chivato Hotel also provided shelter for those brave souls who treked in off the blacktop in search of another Baja adventure. Although Punta Chivato has changed significantly over the last 10 years, it is still one of Baja's best kept secrets.

    The recently opened POSADA DE LOS FLORES hotel is one of the big changes at the point. The old Punta Chivato Hotel has been transformed into a classic resort-style property ready to serve those who will pay the pesos to be pampered at the newly polished point.

    On either side of the hotel homes have sprung up on the miles of spectacular beaches, but there is still plenty of wide open space for beachcombing and lazing away the day. The two airstrips are in good shape, and still allow a quick getaway for private pilots looking for adventure. The old road coming in from the Baja Blacktop has been partially replaced by a new, more direct dirt road (remember how that old road used to take you w-a-y around before heading to the point?). This easier access is sure to promote a greater interest in Punta Chivato real estate.

    Punta Chivato can be reached by taking the dirt road north of Mulege east at the sign for about 14 miles.





    Punta Conejo is one of the few surf breaks on the west coast of Baja between TODOS SANTOS and SAN JUANICO. It tends to be a finicky place to surf, not so much for the lack of waves as for the weather conditions. The place usually gets windy by 10:30 in the morning and evenings can get foggy and chilly. The wave is a left break off of an offshore reef, and the beach is sand. There is a small fish camp at the north end of the beach, just up from the light tower. No other services are available and the only place to sleep in on the beach or just back from the beach in the flat area near the bushes. This is also the best place to meet other surfers and to set up campfires for the evening. Thousands of empty clam shells cover the sand above the high tide line.

    Punta Conejo is located off of Baja Highway One between Ciudad Constitucion and La Paz at km. 81. Head east at the large tractor tire painted white. High clearence vehicles are suggested although if you are a good driver you can probably make it in any car.



    Welcome to the most "non-Mexican" looking town on the Baja Peninsula! Santa Rosalia, a growing town of approximatley 10,000 people located at Km. 196 on the Baha Highway, looks more like a wild-west mining town than a seaside Baja village...and for a good reason. In 1868 Jose Rosa Villavicencio discovered copper in this desolate Baja outpost. Mining began with the Germans and then followed by the French. Sailing ships transported the copper to Europe via Cape Horn, and the harbor at Santa Rosalia was a very busy place for many decades. In the 1920's major mining operations stopped, although there were still a few smaller operations working the mines. Eventually over 375 miles of tunnels had been dug in the hills around the area.

    Today the grid-pattern streets and wood buildings still have that mining town flavor, including the large black locomotive located at the entrance to the town. The cast iron church designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (yep, same guy) is still in use. The town is clean and the locals are friendly. The cultural mix of people walking the streets is evidence of the ethnic heritage of the city's past.

    Santa Rosalia's harbor is now used as a ferry port, taking Mexicans and Baja travellers to Guaymas on Mexico's mainland. Ferries depart Santa Rosalia for Guaymas on Fridays at 11:00 P.M. and arrive in Guaymas Saturday morning. For further information you can call SEMATUR at 011-52 (612) 125-4666 or drop by the SEMATUR FERRY web site. Fares for individuals start at about $14.00 U.S.

    Facilities in town include the EL MORRO HOTEL (20 rooms) located just south of town on the sea of Cortez, the SOL Y MAR HOTEL (8 rooms) also just south of town, and the new HOTEL EL INDUSTRIAL (8 rooms) just north of the town entrance.

    Campers and R.V.'s can stay at the LAS PALMAS R.V. PARK located at Km. 192 on the ocean, which also features a restaurant and bar. A Pemex station is located on Baja Highway One on the west side of the street, just south of the town entrance. A good place to grab a bite to each and enjoy the ocean view is Selene Restaurant, also located just south of town about a mile, on the east side.

    For side trips check out the Tres Virgenes volcanos north of town at Km. 31 (north side). If you are headed south towards Mulege take a gander at the PRISON at km. 189 on the east side of the blacktop. Yikes!

    If you have a sweet tooth don't miss Santa Rosalia's famous bakery located on the main road through downtown, right side! For a truly distinct Baja destination Santa Rosalia is numero uno!





    Who needs Orson Wells? Looking for a real time machine? Just take the road to Sierra de San Francisco, south of Guerrero Negro. You will be transported back in time to a place that has changed very little in the last couple of hundred years.

    The big draw here is the cave paintings...both pictographs and petroglyphs. The spectacular canyon and mountain scenery along the way up the mountain are the icing on the cake. A Mexican law mandates that tourists visiting the cave paintings be accompanied by a giuide designated by the state. Your choice of guides includes the Fischer family in San Ignacio, and they are a great source of information for the entire area. Another option, although a bit riskier, is to head on up to the ranch near the cave areas, Rancho Enrique. Enrique's son, or another designated guide, is usually avaialble to unlock the gates at the closest cave paintings of Cueva Raton, and give you the chef's tour. They will usually not quote you a specific fee for their services, put a generous tip is always appreciated.

    The dirt road to Sierra San Francisco is located east of Baja Highway One, 27 miles north of San Ignacio. The 22 mile graded road from the blacktop to the cave area is usually in decent condition, and the views are world class.