Beaches, beaches oh and a few beaches that about sums up Baja for us
Baja is one of the longest Peninsula's in the world, it's 760 miles (1,220 km) long from top to tip and split into two states Baja California in the North and Baja Sur in the south. It boasts two quite different coastlines, the Pacific to the west great for catching a wave and the pristine Sea of Cortez, or as Jacques Cousteau called it the "Worlds Aquarium" to the east. The winter months are the best time to visit but be warned it gets busy, busy, busy as this is the "Go-To" place and often quoted "Ultimate Road Trip" for American and Canadian Snowbirds, its cold in the north so these guys travel down for the winter to escape the chill, you can expect it to be an extension of the US and Canada from October to April. In the summer you will more or less have the place to yourself but it is too hot for man, beast or Tigger, we were virtually melting when we were there in June/July (no aircon! Gasp!!!)
One of the great things about Baja is the wild camping or Boondocking. You could spend the whole winter here and just wild camp on the beach and many do, bringing huge rigs and towing a car as well. Some of the best beaches will be busy all winter, but with 3,000 km (1,900 miles) of coastline it's not too hard to find a little bit of beach for yourself especially if you are prepared to go off the beaten track, there's a lot of wilderness here, it's paradise for a 4x4 enthusiast! The busy beaches aren't all bad either it's a good opportunity to meet up with other Overlanders and help rescue each other when you get stuck in the sand! (a note of warning to other rigs like Tigger with narrow tyres, air down on the sand here, it's very variable and deceptive! Luckily we have our TMax compressor)
And of course, our favourite people to camp with are VW's!
Go a little bit off track and the beach is all yours
We spent quite a long time around La Paz as this is where the VW garage is, everyone that has a VW and drives in Baja usually ends up here at some time or other and we had been saving up our routine maintenance to be done at Geraldo's VW garage. There could be worse places to hang out while your van is getting fixed, La Paz has an arty Malecon (Waterfront) which is pleasant to stroll along to spot the marine-themed statues and street art, plus a quirky little Whale museum, where we spent one June afternoon escaping the searing heat.
You can also swim with sea lions (which we didn't do) or swim with Whale sharks which we did do, this, unfortunately, unlike our whale watching experience wasn't such a success, not being the world's best sailor, more time was spent hanging over the boat feeding the fishes than swimming with them! (whale vomit, Ambergris is a highly prized and valuable sea treasure, wife vom is not!) Whale Sharks are HUGE, adults can grow to be between 6-12 meters in length (25-40 feet) and are the biggest fish in the world plus I would just like to say they have an enormous mouth! Fortunately human isn't on their menu but even so, the size of them makes them pretty intimidating. We needn't have worried they weren't in the least bit interested in us and although they look as though the swimming effortlessly they move really fast, our little boat has to get in front of the Mr Whale Shark and he swims past you, and you get to join him for a short while before he whizzes off again.
Ok, ok not our picture, I nicked it off Google, but need to see how darn big these things are!
When the van wasn't in the garage, we explored the Eastern Cape and Cabo Pulmo which has some of the best diving and snorkelling in Baja. We took the coast road from the north which is mostly dirt track but ok to drive even without 4x4, but enough washboard to be annoying at times, this seems to put off the big RV’s from coming down here, suppose we can be grateful for small mercies!. We mixed wild camping with a lovely little campsite which had great snorkelling and ended up staying until we were forced to leave as we had run out of food, and had had one too many bad hair days!
We have some lovely friends in Todo Santos, who had invited us to stay with them for a few days, well it would be rude not to and who are we to turn down a hot shower. Todo Santos is a small coastal town, and the prettiest I think in Baja, it lies in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, on the Pacific coast and has a great surfing beach, it's sweet, artsy and a bit touristy but still worth a wander around and how could we not go, this is where Hotel California is! it's not the one from the Eagles Album picture but that is somewhere nearby apparently, anyway who are we to miss a photo opportunity
Downtown Arty Todos Santos
We enjoyed Baja Sur, but to be honest were a bit beached-out by the time we left, there is only so much time you can spend on a beach doing not much, and we certainly made the most of doing not much!
This is mostly how we spent our days!
Next stop in Northern Baja, for some unexpected adventures