14. Driving the Baja Peninsula, Part II

Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

The very picture of a Mexican paradise, it’s true that Cabo San Lucas has it all: gentle waves, sloping white sand beaches, “Coco Locos”, and warm water.

It’s just that after a few weeks of almost solitary beauty, we knew that Cabo San Lucas would be a bit more, um, busy than we were used to. And, yes, we expected sun burnt tourists, beach hawkers, and banana boats. However, the juxtaposition of the natural beauty of Lands End in Cabo San Lucas, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez, and the raucous pre-Spring Break scene unfolding in front of us made our foray into the Cabo beach scene short and sweet.

It also made us so very grateful for our next destination as we headed north to the artsy town of Todos Santos where we stayed close to the beauty of the desert and the ocean while also feeling far, far away from the all-inclusive vacationers.

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When you think of Todos Santos, Hotel California, hippies, and surf breaks come to mind. Our journey led us to this pinpoint on the Baja California Sur map because of friends and turtles.

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We should have also expected grandparents, surfing and boogie boarding, and continuing the search for the best taco stand on the peninsula.

Highlights of the trip:

**Volunteering for 10 days at Tortugueros Las Playitas

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We learned about Olive Ridley, Leatherback, and Black sea turtles, answered questions about why the nests were in the greenhouse (to maintain a constant temperature to ensure hatching) and other queries, drove the ATV up and down the coast, searching the beach for nesting turtles at night, watched the nests during the day for emerging turtles, and helped with the tiny turtles’ nightly release into the mighty Pacific.

All of this while also hanging out with our friends and family.

**Searching for the perfect wave

Our favorite beach for surfing, swimming, and boogie boarding was Los Cerritos

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Each day after volunteering at Tortugueros Las Playitas, we packed up with cooler and the car and set out for the beach.

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Kiran, Kavi, and Indi are ready to go!

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One of the few pictures out of the water

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Grandpa and Grandma Snell

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Grandma didn’t stay dry for long (in pink)

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Relaxing after a tough day at the beach

**Daily brunch at our favorite restaurant, La Esquina

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La Esquina is one of those gems you just happen to discover and don’t want to give up. Other than amazing breakfasts/lunches, every Wednesday, they host a market for local artisans to sell everything from jewelry to organic fruits and veggies.

La Paz, upwards and onwards!

After spending 10 glorious days with our friends in Todos Santos, and with too many belly laughs to count, we said au revoir and drove northeast to La Paz.

We booked the top floor at Las Gaviotas Bed & Breakfast and enjoyed homemade breakfast in the morning, had the pool to ourselves, caught up on laundry, and couldn’t beat the proximity to the beach and malecon, just a block away.

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View from the Las Gaviotas balcony

Highlights:

**Swimming with the mighty whale sharks.

This was crazy fun. After spotting the tiny dorsal fin of these ginormous sharks, we jumped off a boat in our snorkeling gear and swam to meet up with for a swim alongside these amazing creatures. The first time was scary. We met the sharks head on and then started hyperventilating. By the time we got it together, the whales were gone. The next jumps were better and we were able to swim in-between two of the three sharks as they were leisurely basking for plankton. We would fly to La Paz in a heartbeat, just to have this experience again.

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Photo Eco Tours Cabo

**Beach hopping

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We browsed all of the beaches before settling on Puerto Balandra for one day and Playa Pichilinque for another. We snorkeled, paddleboarded and kayaked to sea lion colonies and to secret beaches, and floated like jellyfish in the clear waters of the Sea of Cortez.

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Post Paddle @ Puerto Balandra

**Eating our way up and down the malecon

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Street food at its best: Chocolate Clams

Your mother may have warned you to never try seafood from a street vendor. That’s why we had to take mom to try the chocolate clams. Although wary at the time, when the next day came around and she was intestinally healthy, she wanted more!

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Tasting the IPA from Baja Brewery and a few pizzas from Harkerboard

After a month and a half of tacos, we had a hankering for pizza. Harkerboard, a SUP rental place by day and rooftop restaurant by night, hit the spot. A big bonus was trying the local microbrewery’s IPA.

We also taste-tested the local ice cream with two winners (after too many cups and cones to count) La Fuente (homemade, strange and delicious flavors) and Paletería Y neveria La Tropical (fresh fruit popsicles)

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Yum.

**Walking the city to discover statues and sculptures, amazing graffiti artwork, “interesting” store displays, and the natural side of La Paz on the waterfront malecon

 

After four glorious days, the grandparents flew back to Oregon and we started our trek up to the United States. All in all, our time in Baja was magical and inspirational and we would wholeheartedly recommend driving the peninsula or flying into a major city and renting a car to get a better idea of how much this peninsula has to offer.

We all agree that Baja has now joined our top five favorite places in the world–no easy feat!

Next up: Spring Training in Arizona, white sands, missiles and a root canal in New Mexico, and caving in Texas.

2 thoughts on “14. Driving the Baja Peninsula, Part II

  1. Jane says:

    Great reading this! Now we will get to that part of Mexico! When will you head our way,Vancouver BC we have room for you at the family cottage on the cliff overlooking the Gulf Islands at Point Roberts, Washington

    Like

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