(My husband, guest posting about his trip to the East Cape of Mexico)
Los Barilles, Mexico is approximately 1000 miles from San Diego. Our trip to the East Cape of Baja will take us down this path:
- Tijuana to Mexicali
- To Gonzaga Bay
- To Punta Abreojos
- To Scorpion Bay
- And finally, to Los Barilles
I am traveling with my really good friend George…I only have a couple left. He has been coming to Baja since he was a kid, fishing with his grandad in Cabo and then surfing throughout the peninsula for much of his life. He has been to virtually every spot in Baja.
I had done a little traveling in mainland Mexico when I was younger, surfing a lot between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. So we do pretty good together, although he speaks better Spanish than I do, having grown up on a farm on the US side of the border.
I have traveled with George into Mexico a number of times over the years, but I have never ventured as far down as we went on this trip.
Things to consider before going:
- Money – Most major hotels throughout Baja will take a credit card. Be sure you have notified your bank prior to traveling, letting them know you will be using it in Mexico. For the purposes of this trip I converted approximately $600.00 to pesos at the border before crossing.
- Fuel – Good idea to get the higher octane fuel as you travel or use fuel additive. Fuel is easy to find at Pemex stations throughout Baja.
- Be prepared to drive on narrow, winding roads.
- Be prepared to encounter unexpected road erosion due to hurricane activity
- Best not to travel at night, due to lack of visibility, livestock on the road, truck drivers.
We left San Diego late in the morning, taking back roads through Tecate to just outside Mexicali. We went through a rugged, but pretty pass. Lots of switchbacks. Found some ranches, random houses here and there and little communities scattered throughout.
Fueled up in Mexicali, headed south through farmlands, looks a lot like Imperial Valley on the US side. Next we headed south to Laguna Salada – lots of strange flats with overspill from the Colorado River, looks like perfect bird sanctuary.
As we continued south, we started catching glimpses of the gulf; salt marsh, very flat. Finally reached the gulf side about an hour later. Beach front communities stretch along the beach for miles. Looks to be a mix of Americans and Mexicans living here.
Hour and a half later, we reach San Felipe. Pretty fishing town near the beach. Looks like it has seen better days, yet it has all the amenities one would need to spend some time wetting a hook.
We continue down the beach; more beach communities and we begin to see headlands and islands, with mountains in the distance.
Gradually gets prettier and more rugged looking as we go. I spot elephant trees along the road. George thinks I’m nuts when I make him stop so I can jump out and collect some sap. Elephant trees are closely related to frankincense trees, one of my favorite outdoor scents. I use the sap to make incense. It’s an odd hobby, I know.
We finally reach Gonzaga Bay and it is beautiful, peaceful, and quiet.
There appear to be a mix of friendly local and non local home owners in town.
We stayed at Alfonsinas Hotel, located right at end of the road, on the left, on the water side. They had a nice little restaurant there.
They had AC in the rooms but it wasn’t working. When we inquired about it they just said that the electricity goes off at night and shrugged. It did mysteriously come on for about 20 minutes at 8pm, but then went off again. Welcome to Mexico!
After checking in we decided to cool off with a long swim. We were able to take in an amazing view of the bay and the coastal headlands that surround both sides. Even caught a glimpse of alpenglow on the local mountains at sunset.
Cleaned up and had a little dinner at the restaurant there at the hotel. Shrimp tacos, with locally caught shrimp, were really tasty after traveling all day. Enjoyed a few beers on the patio as we watched the moonrise over the bay…killer night.
Next stop – Punta Abreojos
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