A Perfect Beach Day

When one envisions surfing, one sees warm California beaches with palm trees swaying and surfers in shorts or bikinis on their longboards…. What many people don’t picture are the dozens of surfers lined up. That’s why many of these SoCal surfers come to Northern Baja… EMPTY LINE-UPS.

The way in… a dirt road with little parking

Along the coast you’ll see miles and miles of empty waves, some places are more accessible than others but one thing is for sure, the waves are great and mostly uncrowded in all spots. (The water is colder than our northern neighbors, but that’s why wetsuits were invented!)

Have your photographer sit here as you surf
Have your photographer sit here as you surf

Before you go, you should check out the surf report that way you’ll make sure the waves are good and the wind isn’t too strong.  If the conditions aren’t great in one spot, there’s a chance they’ll be better in other places, just keep driving south.

It’s not just surfing, you can tan or bring your dog to run around

Even if you can’t find waves, take advantage of the nice weather we’ve been having all winter and just relax on the beach or go for a swim. It’s better than being on a crowded beach in San Diego or a snowy beach in New England. Some beaches have bars, hotels, restaurants overlooking the ocean where you can enjoy a cold beer or margarita.

Surfers having fun

When you decide to travel south, you can either camp at many of the hotels on the coast or you can camp at a couple of the campsites (most notable is Km 55 near La Fonda). It’s not recommended to camp on the beach but campsites are perfectly safe!

*Disclaimer: surfing is more fun without people, so I’ll show you that there are spots but I won’t tell you where they are. Sorry!

A Movie Theater Like You’ve Never Experienced

Are you annoyed that you have to pay around $10 to sit in an uncomfortable chair to watch the latest movie?? Next time a big movie comes out, or even now, take a trip south and try out the Cinepolis VIP movie theaters. You pay around $10 ($121 pesos) and get to sit in recliners and order dinner and cocktails.

If you don’t feel like splurging, just go to the regular movie theater, it’ll cost $5 ($63 pesos) at the Galerias cinema and under $5 ($41 pesos) at the Plaza Rio cinema.  Cinemark is under $3.

What’s better than seeing the latest blockbuster in a recliner?? (I do not own picture)

Most movies are in English so you don’t need to speak Spanish to watch it (they do have Spanish subtitles) and if you want to fully experience Tijuana after watching a movie go out and have a drink in one of the many bars in the area. If you’re at the Galerias movie theater there are many bars in the mall. It may be a hassle to drive south of the border just to watch a movie but if you turn it into a trip it’s something you won’t regret!

Discover the Many Caves of Baja

San Ignacio isn`t just known for its mission and whale watching, it is also surrounded by world famous cave paintings. These have been around for thousands of years and while locals knew about them, they have been famous only for a couple decades. There are a couple paintings you can see. El Raton y el Palmarito (the one we saw) are day trips while there are others that take minimum 4 days on a mule. Talk about something unique!

You`ve made it!
You`ve made it!

Because we only had enough time to go to el Palmarito the tips will be about that cave painting. We were told that for a day hike, it was the best one to see.

There are two ways to go about organizing your hike.

Option 1: go to the tourist center underneath the San Ignacio mission and have someone call the guides and organize them for you. There is a $50 peso fee to bring cameras to the top and $100 pesos per person (free for students, doesn’t matter if the student is international or not). If your car doesn’t have 4WD they may offer to take you in their car.

Option 2: just drive to the site and hope there is a guide available for you. You may get lucky and not have to wait, or the most likely scenario, you’ll have to wait until a guide comes to take you to the paintings. You will pay at the base camp instead of the tourist center, and the price will be the same as mentioned above.  (Option 1 is a lot easier and will make everything flow better)

Starting the hike. It takes about an hour each way
Starting the hike. It takes about an hour each way

After driving for an hour and a half, you will arrive to the house to pick up your guide, from there you will drive to the bottom of the hike. Remember, you are walking in the middle of the desert and will need plenty of water and a sunhat, it gets hot. Our guide told us that in the summer it’s 100+ and many people who set out to make it to the top end up giving up. Don’t try this hike in the middle of the summer!

What to expect once you get to the top
What to expect once you get to the top

When you get to the top, you can spend as much time as you`d like and there are three caves you can explore. You’ll fist arrive to the biggest one, covered in different colored figures.

Close up of little animals
Close up of little animals

Even though the paintings are one of a kind, the view is also one to take in; it makes you realize how far you are from everything and how much the people who drew must have walked. On the caves, there are picture of whales, these painters walked all over the area.

Don't forget to look at the valley
Don’t forget to look at the valley

This is considered a World Heritage site, make sure you get to check it out, you will not regret it. And if you have more time, take one of the many other mule guided trips to other sites.

Close up of a figure

Close up of a figure

How to get there? Once in San Ignacio, drive to Bonfil (about 20 kms) and take a left, stay on the main dirt road and drive for about an hour. I believe it was 60 kms each way. You will get to the guide house and they will tell you what to do next.

Las ballenas de Bahía Magdalena: Inspiración para la conservación.

Blog COSTASALVAJE

Integrarme al equipo de COSTASALVAJE en plena temporada de avistamiento de la ballena gris trabajando en un lugar como Bahía Magdalena, supera todas mis expectativas. La misión de COSTASALVAJE de conservar ecosistemas costeros y marinos y su vida silvestre a través del desarrollo comunitario (junto con otras herramientas), es el sueño de conservacionistas que, como yo, han sido inspirados por la maravillosa biodiversidad de sitios como Bahía Magdalena.

Supe que quería ser bióloga desde que era una adolescente. De niña, me gustaba mucho ver documentales de animales pero mis favoritos eran los de ballenas y delfines. En la Universidad, tuve la oportunidad de vivir en las Islas Canarias (España) trabajando con un equipo de veterinarios que atendía varamientos de cetáceos y durante la maestría trabajé en las islas del Pacífico en Baja California con lobos marinos y focas. Pero nada de eso había satisfecho mi gusto por la conservación de…

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