Baja Norte: Pacific Coast

Camping Baja's Best Beaches
By Fred Jones & Gloria Jones
  |  Gorp.com
bodysurfing in playa los cerritos, baja sur
Bodysurfing Baja's Pacific coast
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San Juanico
Well known to surfers for years, San Juanico boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in Baja Sur, running about eight miles south of the town whose name it shares. Most of it is along high sand bluffs and is drivable only at low tide. Fishing is good for halibut, grouper, pargo, snook, sierra, corvina, and corbina.

All-terrain vehicles and four-wheel drives can do a loop south and back. You may be able to camp at Scorpion Ranch Preserve at San Juanico, although we have not been able to confirm that it is currently in operation.

Where it's at: San Juanico is located north of Puerto Lspez Mateos. From Ciudad Insurgentes drive about 60 miles north on the paved road ending near La Purisima and continue on the washboard dirt road to San Juanico. People with large motor homes and trailers will have to decide how much shake, rattle, and roll they can handle. You can also come south from San Ignacio on an even worse road, which is suitable only for pickups, vans, and four-wheel drives.

Bahma Magdalena
Shellfish are abundant everywhere along these beaches, and fishing is good for grouper, corvina, bass, snapper, halibut, mackerel, and pompano. It is an all-terrain-vehicle enthusiast's paradise with tidal flats and sand roads. One note of caution: The hard sand turns to mud at low tide.

Where it's at: The beaches are located in the Bahma Magdalena complex. These beaches are accessible on sand roads with pickups, vans, or four-wheel drives. Beaches north of Puerto Lspez Mateos include Playa Santa Elenita, which is about four miles north of the Mateos-Insurgentes paved road, and Playas Las Vacas and Los Prados, which are about eight miles north. Others north to La Poza Grande can be reached off the paved road north to La Purisima and the main dirt road north to La Poza Grande. You'll also find beaches south of Puerto Lspez Mateos, such as the one at Curva del Diablo, about 10 miles south of the Mateos-Insurgentes paved road, then about 15 miles west. This is where the tides from north and south meet. La Curva Beach is another. The beach at Puerto Cancun on Bahma Almeja can be reached from Kilometer 173 on Highway 1 about 25 miles south of Ciudad Constitucisn, then about 16 miles west on a dirt road. Again, don't try these roads with big rigs.

Magdalena Barrier Islands
Most of the barrier islands of the Bahma Magdalena complex have exciting, pristine beaches, particularly on the ocean side. They are Islas Las Animas, Santo Domingo, Magdalena, and Creciente. In total, the islands extend about 100 miles from north to south. They don't just offer tiny sand coves — Isla Magdalena has two long Pacific beaches, 45 miles from the northern tip of the island at Boca Soledad south to Cabo San Lazaro and 22 miles south of Cabo San Lazaro to Cabo Corso. Isla Santo Domingo has 11 miles of beach. Once you arrive by small boat, you can explore these marvelous ocean beaches by foot, all-terrain vehicle, or motorcycle. Adventurous explorers have a rare opportunity here to go where few have trod.

Where it's at: The Barrier Islands are located on the Pacific coast, in the Bahma Magdalena complex. The beach on Isla Las Animas can be reached by a small boat from a graded sand road west of La Poza Grande, which is 36 miles north of Ciudad Insurgentes on the paved highway. Small boats can go from both La Banqueta (17 miles north of Ciudad Insurgentes, then 1.5 miles west of the highway through Santo Domingo on good hard sand) and Puerto Lspez Mateos to Isla Santo Domingo. Both Puerto Lspez Mateos and Puerto San Carlos offer small-boat access to Isla Magdalena. Small boats can also go from Puerto Chale (about 15 miles from Highway 1 at Santa Rita, which is about 32 miles south of Ciudad Constitucmon) to Isla Creciente.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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