When we left Coco’s Corner, we ventured to Bahia de Los Angeles. We were excited to see this bay as we had been told there was a small town with provisions. We came into town and were a little shocked to find that there were 2 Pemex stations in which to fuel up the vehicle. The first one you come to doesn’t take cards, it’s cash only. We decided to just pay in cash and go to a bank to get more money.
When we got into town, we were surprised to find hardly anything open, no bank or ATM machine and the options for provisions were two stores with mostly empty shelves. Really, we were looking for a map of Baja. We gathered what supplies we could and ate lunch at one of the two places that were open. They advertised wifi, but it was something you had to pay for, which would be cool except most times we’ve found throughout Baja, the wifi is often not working or is so slow, we can’t get anything done that we need access for. We skipped this option and instead tried to use our phones on the TelCel network. Well, that didn’t work either. The network goes dead from just South of San Felipe to Guerrero Negro, which is 250 mile stretch of washed out roads and long, narrow and winding roads. Bahia De Los Angeles is right in the middle of this dead zone. We took it in stride and decided that for the entire week we were traveling through this dead zone, we were going to give Kaden vacation days from school.
It was nice not being connected to the world. Albeit, not so much for our families. We try to contact our families every time we get to a new location or set out for a new location. We’ve often found that once we get to a destination, especially in northern Baja, there is no reception so we try while we’re driving, to notify them of our plans; usually by text or a quick call before our service cuts out.
Due to the dismal amenities of this town and our need for supplies, we only stayed in Bahia de Los Angeles for 1 night. We set up camp at Dagget’s Sport Fishing Camp. It was a nice location right on the beach with private palapa’s. They had hot showers (but the water really came out as a trickle) flush toilets and views for days. The sign advertised it as an “rv park” but there were no such amenities. The electricity was not working, there were no sewer connections and no water hook ups that we could find. There was, however, a more recently built motel on some of the property and active construction for more structures.
I had asked the owner if there was an ATM or bank around and he said the closest one is in Guerrero Negro, which was nearly 3 hours away and where we were heading to next anyway. He charged us $150p per person, rather than per night so the total cost was $300p. Kaden is still under 12, so he was free. That seemed a bit expensive to me for Baja standards and what amenities you don’t get. We paid $20usd per night at Kiki’s in San Felipe and had hot showers with enough pressure to wash my hair, electricity, sewer hook ups and flush toilets with a 2 story palapa right on the beach. The $300p is equivalent to $15usd, so comparatively it was a bit more expensive considering the amenities you don’t get.
We were practically the only people there. There were only 3 other families camping out there with us, so it was quiet and all we heard at night was the sound of the ocean waves crashing along the shoreline.
We headed out to Guerrero Negro the next morning and tried to get GPS signal to navigate our way there. Well, without any signal for the 250 mile stretch of road, we had no luck. We literally looked at the zoomed-out map of Baja and navigated that way.
We went through yet another military checkpoint and inspection station where they actually sprayed the undercarriage of our vehicle. Apparently when you cross into Baja Sur, they do this for invasive species… Um, what? What about the rest of the vehicle? Is it unlikely that little fellas are going to hitch a ride somewhere else besides the undercarriage? Oh, and you also had to pay $20p for that service.
The good thing about Baja, all the major highways are pretty well marked. The road signs are easy to see and directions clear. If anything, I found it more difficult to follow the GPS than to actually look at the road signs and follow them. Even when the roads are washed out, the alternate route is clearly delineated and easy to follow. When there are multiple roads leading other places, they all come up to the same road, just in different places. You really can’t get too lost getting back to a main road from a diverted road. You will definitely put your mapping skills to the test if you’re unfamiliar with maps. We consider ourselves darn near expert map navigators at this point in our lives, yet this time we happen to not even carry a map of the country we plan to be in for 6 months to a year. Well, we thought we had everything pretty well planned, but there is always something that’s forgotten. If you choose to come this route, I highly suggest stopping somewhere to get a map of Mexico and Baja prior to leaving the USA.
We finally rolled in to Guerrero Negro around noon and stopped at an RV park that had a restaurant attached to it. We set up camp and set out on the scooter to explore. The first stop, the bank. In Baja, cash is king. If you can pay in Pesos, the exchange rate is better. By paying in USD, you’re essentially throwing money away. Not many places take Visa/MC or Amex. I actually think I may have only seen 2 or 3 places in Baja Norte, it’s more prevalent in Baja Sur, but it’s not widely accepted except in places that charge large sums of money for their products. Most places you’ll dine will be cash only, so make sure you keep cash on you. The good thing though, if you like to pay in US dollars, is that they take Pesos and USD.