Mexico - Baja California Sur - Pacific

Located just past the border which divides the peninsula of Baja California between the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur, Punta Eugenia is also the westernmost settlement in the state. Cabo San Lucas, 900 km away as the crow flies marks the southern point of the peninsula. Follow us on some of the tracks along the Pacific coast of southern Baja...
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Between Punta Eugenia and Bahia Tortugas we roamed among clay formations, while looking for an access to the ocean. Add a few eons of erosion and those three heads might eventually turn into hoodoos.
In the background, Cerro el Cardoncito marks the other end of Bahia Tortugas, located near the fishing camp of Punta Quebrada. As deserted as this coast may seem, it is actually closely monitored, as its waters host an abundant and much sought after bounty... lobsters!
Along with Laguna Ojo del Liebre 200 km to the north and Bahia Magdalena another 200 km to the south, Laguna San Ignacio is where the whales come every winter to give birth in these calm, shallow and well protected waters. Sierra Santa Clara stands tall in the background, across 20 km of salt flats.
These cliffs overlooking the mouth of El Mezquital, ten minutes drive south of Bahia San Juanico, with their range of yellow hues are like nothing else we saw in Baja. Punta Pequena is one of the seven points which compose this world-renowned surf spot also known as Scorpion Bay. Each of its seven indentations triggers a long, right wave which can be ridden for over one minute, a rare delight particularly for beginners.
As we were trying to find an access to Magdalena Bay, our tracks led us to what at first we took for a movie set featuring a village after the end of the world. It had been in fact a lively village until late August 2009, when 400 mm of rain brought by hurricane Jimena washed away La Poza Grande. Almost a category 5, Jimena blew at 305 km/hr and forced the villagers to evacuate. Located at the bottom of a valley, the settlement was subsequently abandoned and renamed "Pueblo Viejo" (the old village), while its inhabitants safely relocated... on the mesa, well above.
San Jorge is a fishing camp at the northernmost end of Bahia Magdalena. 180 degrees of stitched pictures can hardly capture the charm of its open panorama and the growing shadows of its magical sunsets.
The ocean being five kilometers away, the rumbling of its waves cannot reach these quiet shores. The laguna seems to be breathing at a very slow pace, as it fills in and out...
There is less than one meter of difference in elevation between this photo foreground composed of sand and desert bushes and the mangrove trees shown in the middle ground with their roots tangled in the mud. And yet, at each new and full moon, tides will soak the entire area around the laguna. And if, furthermore, a storm causes ocean levels to rise just a few extra centimeters, then driving around might bring some unwanted challenges... Shown in the background are the sand dunes where the laguna ends by the Pacific shore, a ribbon of sandy beaches stretching for over one hundred kilometers all the way to Plutarco Elias Calles, located about halfway between Todos Santos and Cabo San Lucas.
Whenever the sierras stretch all the way down to the ocean, such as here in Punta Marquez, a landscape composed of low cliffs and rocky shores brings a welcome change from the almost continuous strip of sand which lines the Pacific in southern Baja.
This long stretch of low lands dotted with these "green puffs" of succulents and fringed by a chain of small sand dunes is high enough over sea level not to be turned by tides into a sterile mixture of clay, dust and salt.
On the ocean side from the low lands, a range of small dunes hosts harsh vegetation continuously sprayed with salt water under the dominant northwest winds.
Contrasting with usually clear blue winter skies, on that day a cover of clouds bestowed a particular charm to this long sandy track snaking its way through a landscape of low hills.
A glorious rising sun, fifty shades of purple and the shadows of the northernmost summits of Sierra La Laguna delayed to my delight the start of an early fishing party...
Between salt flats and desert, the ranch of Buena Vista, near the rural community of Meliton Albanez, faces the challenges of several years of drought. In an effort to increase health standards, the government subsidizes dry toilet outhouses such as these. Yet, met by silence, dead carcasses and abandoned plastic toys slowly discolouring in the sand under unrelenting UVs, one can only be overwhelmed by an uncomfortable feeling.
This is La Pastora, a renowned winter surf spot located north of the "pueblo magico" Todos Santos. In the background stands Punta Lobos, a fishing camp so named after the seals (sea wolves in Spanish) which populate its shore. Here ends a long ribbon of sandy beaches which stretches for over 100 km, almost hugged by the Sierra La Laguna, in the narrowest segment of the Baja Peninsula.
Past the rural community of Elias Calles, small beaches used to provide a number of camping spots and fishing opportunities. The recent roadwork between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas via Todos Santos has blocked most accesses to the Pacific Ocean, paradoxically making these beaches more secluded than ever. Probably not for long though, as developers will no doubt open private alleys leading to fenced private properties in the future...