Category Archives: Camping

If you’re interested in knowing more about places to camp and how safe it is, check out this section.

Are you afraid of heights?

On the Tijuana-Ensenada libre, you do not need to worry about the San Andres fault, about 76 kilometers away from Tijuana, there is a great canyon called El Salto.

It's about a 30 minute hike uphill to get to see this view.
It’s about a 30 minute hike uphill to get to see this view.

This can either be a day trip or a week-end long trip. You pay 20 pesos (less than two dollars) per person upon entering the park, and at around 5 pm you will get kicked out; or you can pay 60 pesos (less than 5 dollars) per person and camp. It’s reasonably priced considering you have access to a bathroom, (cold) showers, a barbecue and fire pit. The installations are clean and the staff is friendly.

Take advantage of the amenities to cook up a carne asada or some hamburgers.
Take advantage of the amenities to cook up a carne asada or some hamburgers.

The hikes are very nice, there are a couple that can be done, some more difficult than others. The first one does not have any incline and ends at a canyon where people have lunch or rappel. If you do want to rappel, you bring your own, there is no one there providing equipment. The canyon is quite big and there are lots of places one enjoy the view.

Feeling up to it?
Feeling up to it?

If you want to sweat a bit, take a left before the canyon. You will see a path, climb to the top of the path and you take a right, there you will get to a “mirador” (view point) where you can see the valley from the top. It’s pretty scary because there is no protection, but if you stay safe, you won’t fall off. If you’re not tired after that, you can keep on hiking down the hill (on the other side from where you came) and you will arrive to a tiny lake with a teeny waterfall.

If you come after a lot of rain, there is more water and you can jump off the rocks into the water
If you come after a lot of rain, there is more water and you can jump off the rocks into the water

If you are feeling adventurous, there is a little beach you can camp at. The park is already quiet, this campsite is extreme solitude! There was a tent, but keep in mind you have to pick up after yourself and make sure that you leave the area as it was when you came. And make sure you can carry everything because it’s a steep walk back to the main campground.

The way up, very slippery but easier on the way up.
The way up, very slippery but easier on the way up.

Whether you only have the day or the week-end it’s a great trip for your family and your dog. Not once did we feel unsafe or threatened; nature is for everyone and if you can experience it close to untouched, well how great is that?

Puppies (and humans) are happier outside!
Puppies (and humans) are happier outside!

Unfortunately there is no website to the place but it’s called EL SALTO near Ensenada, BC. Try to take the trip!

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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!

Your First Taste of the Sea of Cortez

If you’re not ready to drive all the way south, try a week-end trip in San Felipe; four hours away from San Diego, you can  relax, eat great Mexican food and feel like you have really visited somewhere new. This town used to welcome many spring breakers but due to economic problems, now has a more quiet atmosphere. Nevertheless, you can`t go wrong with a week-end on the Sea of Cortez.

Morning rowers on the Sea of Cortez. Who knew Baja had crew?
Morning rowers on the Sea of Cortez. Who knew Baja had crew?

In San Felipe, fishing, relaxing and camping are popular activities. Just make sure you aren’t in town in the summer (tourist season) or you won’t be able to it peacefully. The temperature is very high and the tourists are loud and enjoy riding quads, not my idea of relaxation.

Rice and Beans, unusual name, great food.
Rice and Beans, unusual name, great food.

When in town, make sure to check out the many seafood restaurants, the fish is fresh and delicious. Try to avoid the ones that seem to cater to Americans, they are usually overpriced and not as good as local restaurants. We were kind of skeptical of eating at Rice and Beans but decided to try it and were pleasantly surprised, the food is delicious and cheap; my mom got a huge plate of steamed clams for 50 pesos (less than $5!). Our total meal was what her clams would have cost in the US. Delicious…

Time to wake up
Time to wake up

Around town, there are many campsites available, and who wouldn’t want to wake up right in front of the beach on a quiet winter morning? However if you do not feel like facing the cold winds and dark nights, there are plenty of hotels you can check into. 

San Felipe is proud of its desert landscaping
San Felipe is proud of its desert landscaping

Driving directions: There are two ways of getting to San Felipe, you can go through Tecate and through the Rumurosa, an impressive mountain formation before Mexicali (the more expensive route as the tolls are pretty steep, between 50 and 90 pesos each way, only cash, no foreign credit cards) or drive down the Pacific coast (due to the San Andres fault you will have to take the “Libre” which is in pretty good shape). Both are pretty roads that will make you feel that you have left civilization.

Overnight camping in the Cañón de Guadalupe

After driving for what felt like forever down a dirt road we arrived to the Canon de Guadalupe.

We chose to go there on the coldest winter in January so there was not much going on. However, after looking at the website, there are basic necessities provided and fun activities to take part in, mud baths, music making, wall paintings and cool pools (not only hot tubs).

The view driving into the  campsite.
The view driving into the campsite.

The Cañón de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Canyon) is a natural hot spring site 140 miles away from San Diego. It has camping spots, showers, bathrooms, big hot tubs and great views. Once there, you can walk around the mountains or sit in the hot tubs while the rest of your party climbs.

One of the many hot tubs around the campsite. All are very clean and well-maintained

When you arrive, you will feel like you are alone, there is no phone or internet service and it’s very quiet (and safe!). There are no supermarkets or food available at the campsite, you must come prepared as the closest Oxxo is pretty far away. However there are all the installations to have a barbecue and bonfire, but you are in charge  of bringing the wood and charcoal.

Our bonfire, it helped us keep warm as we chose to go the coldest night of January.

A possible hike is up one of the many mountains surrounding the campsite, you can look out onto the Laguna Salada, a dried up lake  near Mexicali. Another hike follows the many waterfalls that are in the area. You can explore at your will because there is much to be discovered!

A short hike up the mountain and my dad was able to take a picture of the view from above.

How to get there: A lot of it is on regular highway, you need to go through the Rumurosa, a unique mountain formation; and the tolls are quite high so have at least 200 pesos each way because the toll booths do not accept foreign credit cards. Once you get out of the Rumurosa you will see a sign that says “Cañón de Guadalupe” follow it on a dirt road, take a left at the sign and you will get to the camp site.

Caraving into the camp site. The drive was quite bumpy
Caravaning into the camp site. The drive was quite bumpy

I can assure you we never felt unsafe and (apart from the cold) we enjoyed our visit.

For more information: http://guadalupecanyonoasis.com/