We just returned from our Beaches and Whales Caravan that was enjoyed by all. 16 days exploring Baja, enjoying wonderful food and making new friends. Our group consisted of eight rigs, from a large class A , tent trailers to a small class C. A great diverse group, hailing from Arizona, California, Colorado and Texas. Caravans offer the opportunity to meet and get to know people from varied backgrounds and life experiences. The diversity makes great conversation around the campfire in the evening.

 We all got together in El Centro on February 17th to introduce ourselves and prepare to cross into Baja early the following morning. We crossed into Baja at the Mexicali East Port of Entry, obtained our FMM and processed thru customs with no problems. On the road in Mexicali, we came across a road closure which caused a small delay and thank goodness for GPS. We got our bearings and on the road towards San Felipe. In San Felipe, we met the director of Sonshine Hacienda Orphanage and presented him with some small items to assist with their mission, a very worthy cause. We shopped and filled our refrigerators and got back on the road, headed to Octavios campground in Puertecitos. We enjoyed the evening, camping on the shore of the Sea of Cortez. 

The next morning, back on the road headed to Guerrero Negro and some of the toughest roads in Baja. We had been traveling on Highway 5, which intersects with Highway 1 in the Laguna Chapala area. South of the turnoff for Bahia de Los Angeles, the road conditions deteriorate, littered with potholes. Slowing down, we traveled 30-40 miles per hour for some distance. Being in no hurry,  we made it Guerrero Negro around 4:00 PM. We settled in at Malarrimos, a nice hotel and RV campground and enjoyed a wonderful group dinner at the on-site restaurant. 

The following morning, we loaded into Malarrimos bus and were transported out to the pier to load into our pangas. On the ride out to the pier, we were informed about the history of the area, the salt works and the dos and don’ts while whale watching. The weather was perfect for whale watching, cool and no wind. We were met by a group of friendly whales , who seemed to enjoy our company. The whales stayed with us coming up to the panga for attention and rub downs. They would go under the panga and rub their backs on the bottom of the panga, likely to dislodge some barnacles or parasites.  Our interaction with these incredible mammals was unforgettable, seems to get better every year. We returned to our rigs in the early afternoon and spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing and checking out Guerrero Negro. 

The next morning, we continued south, stopping in San Ignacio for lunch. San Ignacio is a beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert with thousands of date trees and a beautiful town square, centered by the mission. After lunch we continued on, arriving at our next night’s stop, Santispac Beach, a few miles south of Mulege. Santispac was crowded but we were able to find spots on the beach. We enjoyed some time on the beach, sharing stories and laughs. 

We arrived in Loreto the following afternoon after a leisurely ride from Santispac. Setting up at Rivera Del Mar RV, a friendly in town RV campground,  we enjoyed the free time to explore Loreto. While in Loreto we all enjoyed a wonderful group dinner at La Palapa Restaurant. The highlight of our Loreto visit is the day trip to San Javier Mission and lunch up at the local San Javier working rancho. We were picked up at the campground by our long-time friend, Oscar, in his taxi van. Up to San Javier with docent guide Judy Leighton sharing the local history and floral and fauna. We toured the mission, active 1699-1817, and in use even today. After touring the mission and grounds we drove a short distance to the rancho and enjoyed a authentic Mexican lunch of machaca burritos, queso (cheese) quesadilla and beans. We also had a tortilla making lesson and tried our hand at making our own tortillas…there is definitely a skill there that most of us hadn’t perfected. After lunch, back to the campground to relax and recharge, a really lovely day.

Fun over in Loreto, we began our journey north, with our next stop at Santispac for two nights. We found the campground less crowded and set up. The weather continued to be warm with little or no wind, really enjoyable. We grouped up on the beach and shared some laughs. The following day our gang loaded into panga boats to explore and do a little fishing. The panga skipper knew just where to hop into the water and come up with fresh clams, that were enjoyed right on the panga! Everyone really enjoyed the day. I had purchased some sea bass while in Loreto and had the local, beach front restaurant “Armandos” cook it up for a group meal. What a treat! Perfect weather, million-dollar view and great food and service. One of my favorite meals. 

Continuing north, we made a stop in Bahia Asuncion, where our luck with the weather ran out and we got rained on. Our campground was muddy and we really didn’t do much exploring. The following day we arrived back in Guerrero Negro for one relaxing night. 

On to Bahia de Los Angeles, beach camping at Daggetts campground. Good weather had returned and we set up camp on the shore of the Sea of Cortez. The next day we met our eco-tour guides, White Bay Tours, at the launch ramp and climbed into two pangas to explore the off-shore islands and observe the birds and sea life. Lots of fun. That evening we walked a short distance over to Ruth’s Concina for dinner. Wonderful, plentiful food was served along with a margarita or two. Lots of laughs and good times. Ruth is a friend of the Vagabundos and manages Raquel and Larry’s resort. It’s a small hotel with the restaurant on the second floor affording a beautiful view of the ocean and islands. 

After our two nights in Bahia de Los Angeles, we continued north to San Felipe, Victors RV. Victors is on the beach and has a really nice beach front restaurant and is close enough to the Malecon and town to walk. It has hotel rooms and a couple of beachfront campsites. The other campsites are not beachfront. We explored San Felipe and on our last evening together we enjoyed a group meal, all very nice. 

Up early and headed towards the Mexico/US border at Mexicali East. Upon arrival we found that it was closed due to some road construction. We had to turn around and go over to the main Mexicali entry. Easy to find, but some of the group had gotten separated from the group due to traffic. After getting in line, the wait took about an hour, but no problems entering the US. A few of us were able to gather and say our goodbyes, always bitter sweet.

We traveled 1500 miles in Baja without incident. All military checkpoints were professional and friendly, we had no serious mechanical malfunctions. We all made new friends and saw new sights. Caravans are a great, fun way to explore and experience new things. I really enjoy caravanning and I’m looking forward to our Baja Explorer Caravan in October, 2024. The Baja Explorer will take us the full length of the peninsula, all the way to Cabo San Lucas and the East Cape. Keep an eye out for the dates and times. 

Hope to see you at the Crab Feed on May 16th. Call the Vagabundo office for information and sign up. (1 800 474 2252)

Scott McEwen
Caravan Leader