The beauty of the beaches of Baja Sur creates such intense inspiration that capturing the images in words becomes a true challenge. We know we might come close, but we also know we will never fully offer the complete essence of being there. A photograph is closer and still it requires the sentient feel of warm sand, wind to fill our sails and something else which cannot be put into words. It is the Baja magic which is free and waiting for you on the beaches that hold the shimmering Gulf waters. So, stick your feet in the sand and come along on a treasure hunt to find your favorite getaway.
A half hour south of Santa Rosalia is Santa Inez, an awesomely graceful curve of shoreline with brilliant white sand and turquoise water stretching for miles in either direction; your uninhabited paradise. Watch for the sign on Highway 1 once you pass Palo Verde. The road to the beach is more a goat trail for 4-wheel drive. It is worth the slow going though, if you like to be alone. But wait, maybe you aren’t alone. Hundreds of sand crab houses are everywhere. They are the strange looking holes dug deep in the firm sand. Sand dollars, drills, cockles and slippers lay along this coastline to be gathered by enthusiastic collectors. Be careful about wading in the gentle waves as the small stingrays are covered in the sand and hard to see. For those who like to spend time alone in artful contemplation of the beauty of Baja California’s pristine beaches, this one is for you. Bring a picnic lunch and water. No facilities or fees.
At the mouth of the Mulege river is El Faro, The Lighthouse. Take the dirt road on the north bank from town and follow it to the gulf. There is almost always wind for kite flying along the river. Once at the edge of the gulf the parking is easy. The lighthouse is a fun hike, but years ago Hurricane John took its top off. This sheltered cove provides hours of beachcombing, kayaking and wind surfing. For those with romantic hearts, build a night fire and watch a full moon rise over the Punta Concepción. During the winter season the picturesque shrimp trawlers come in each morning, their nets swaying wing-like and loaded with their delectable catch . Stop in and say hi to Lily and Victor at El Patron. This is a true Jimmy Buffet experience. Tell them Martina sent you for the best margarita in town.
When the first sight of Playa Santispac comes into view, even seasoned Baja travels are captivated by the sheer breathtaking beauty. Easy access off Highway 1 makes this a haven for the "Snow Birds" who pull up in their RVs right to the water's edge. There are no hookups. Ana's restaurant bar was a favorite, unfortunately it has closed due to a change in lease holder. Russel and Lupe will be missed. Beachcombing can be good around the outer rocky points at low tide. Hidden in the mangroves are small sandy bottom hot springs. Swim and snorkel in the sheltered water, but watch out for the occasional skidoos that stir things up on weekends. An amazing phenomenon is the extreme tidal action. The gulf waters can recede 24 feet, leaving the bottom exposed for clam digging. Vendors bring you everything you need from fresh vegetables to a warm blanket. You will never want to leave.
Playas Escondida is just that, hidden. You might drive right by the narrow rocky trail as it can hardly be called a road. Just past El Burro this hidden treasure is only used by the hardest folks with the right rig to manage the climb up into the hills over very rocky conditions, before dropping down the other side where the beach belongs to you. This is a favorite for snorkeling and being just plain lazy. Slather on the suntan lotion, bring a good book and a cooler with ice cold beer; leave your iPad at home. One outhouse, no food service, fees collected seasonally.
Just after Playa Burro is El Coyote which is also a gated community for expats. Just south of the El Coyote's main entrance is the turn off for beach access. Easy going to the south end of the beach offers palapas for a fee of 70 pesos for the day. Giant mangrove trees provide shade and the camping can seem like a Robinson Crusoe fantasy. Seasonally there are food stands open and fairly well maintained outhouses. Do be mindful of the Mexican holidays and weekends when choosing to camp. The Mexican locals love their outdoor vacations and the camps can be jumping with partiers. Actually this is true of most of the easy access playas.
Off the road and deep into Bahía Concepción is Buenaventura. Whale Sharks cruise the inland waterways and a true adventure is to actually swim with one. Kayaking and wind surfing are good here and on calm days so is the swimming. Stop in at the restaurant bar and say hi to Mark and Olivia. They will make you feel right at home.
Playa Requesón is the last on the line of the string of these precious white sand jewels. Folks who make the drive this far south believe "bad roads make for good people." The road is rough even for a Jeep. Oh, but the amazing layers of the water’s color from turquoise to deep blue are a painter’s pallet. This wash of brilliant blue is framed by the rose colored volcanic mountains. The vista is powerful enough to bring out the artist/writer in anyone. Explore for a lifetime the wonder-filled beaches of the Bahía Concepción.
Martina's email: mteomaya(at)gmail.com