Most people who are overlanding Baja will go through La Paz twice. Once on their way to the East Cape, and once when they ship there vehicle to the mainland. Our first visit to La Paz was on Thanksgiving day with Richard and Ashley. We walked around town, ate fish tacos, than went to a bar overlooking the beach so that we could Skype with our families who were together in Utah celebrating. I remember my first time traveling far from home in Europe when I was 18. The only way to talk to them was to call them collect every two weeks to let them know I was alive. Having free video chats with them whenever we have internet is so different. I am still processing how I feel about how “connected” you can now be while you travel. Sometimes, I just want to disappear for a bit. But, now that my family is spread out all over the world, I guess I need to feel grateful for the technology.
Thanksgiving dinner was going to be at our free camp spot on Playa El Tecolote, a great place to beach camp. For Thanksgiving dinner we made pork with salsa verde and ate it over Spanish rice, drinking one of the last bottles of wine from Sonoma that we brought with us. It was a fun night and we were glad we could share it on the beach with our Canadian friends.
Playa Tecolote is a great free camping beach about 10 miles outside of La Paz. The only negative is that is has zero facilities (as in no bathrooms, not even pit toilets) and is very exposed if the Baja wind is blowing.
Almost three weeks later, after exploring the East Cape, we headed back to La Paz, this time without Richard and Ashley, to ship our vehicle over to the mainland. On the way, we discovered a beautiful little town of El Triunfo.
El Triunfo was a mining town established in 1862 when gold and silver were found. At its peak it had over 10,000 people living there. The town has a charming restaurant that makes great wood fired pizzas in an beautiful old building. It also had cobbled streets, colorful buildings and the remains of a mine that is fun to walk around and explore.
When we arrived in La Paz we sorted out our shipping (it was so easy it took about an hour total) and then headed back to Playa Tecolote. This time the wind was so strong we decided we needed a different camp site, so we headed to Balandra beach, which is about a mile away and in a protected cove. Balandra is a stunning beach that has a very shallow bay that becomes about a foot deep across the entire thing when the tide goes out. It is crazy to feel like you can walk into the middle of the ocean and only be in a few feet of water.
There is really no official camp spot here, but we popped up the XP for the night in the parking lot overlooking the beach and had zero problems that night (aside from a few amorous couples who came during the night to “park” for a bit) and we had the beach to ourselves all morning the next day.
The next day we loaded the XP onto the ferry and sadly said goodbye to Baja after six wonderful weeks! The ferry ride to Mazatlan is 16 hours, and the first three hours we hit really rough seas. So rough in fact waves were breaking over the side of our boat and the crew were whooping and screaming (in glee or fear I was not sure…..) It was the only time on the entire trip that I felt scared. Really scared. The XP’s suspension made the swaying even worse and we literally could not even stand up. The good news was that eventually the seas calmed and the three (yes three) sea sick pills I took made me sleep for nine hours straight. We arrived in humid, hot Mazatlan totally refreshed and ready for the mainland.
Goodbye Baja, we will be back!