RVing In Bahía de los Ángeles, “Bay of Angels” Mexico
by by Dan & Lisa Goy
Sunrise in Bahia de los Angeles
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Lisa and I were first bitten by the Baja Bug in 1985 in Bahía de los Ángeles. We immediately made an emotional connection to this place of scenic contrast and stunning beauty we had never experienced before. Where the Sierra La Libertad mountain range plummeted into the Sea of Cortez and sunrises nothing less than spectacular greeted you every morning. Many refer to this place as simply Bahia or LA Bay which is starkly different from the namesake cousin and US mega city of Los Angeles in the American state of California. The village of Bahia which hosts about 800 residents is aptly best described a sleepy fishing village.
Often many RVers, including RV Caravan Tours, bypass this small town as you must take a 68 km paved road eastward away from Hwy 1 descending to Bahia. This is truly unfortunate, as this is a paradise for camping, fishingand exploring. The people are always friendly and the village definitely has a small town charm. The RV parks and campgrounds are basic with some amenities. We always stay at the old abandoned government RV park “Brisa Marina” where the $5 fee is collected by the public school and the dump stations at each site remarkably still work after 35 years. The campground is waterfront with breathtakingly beautiful sunrises; a beach stroll to the lighthouse is very popular.
Next door to this RV Park is where our long time friends Tony and Bety Resendiz live and also run the Campo Archelon campground which is better suited for those without RVs. Tony and Bety are the original caretakers and researchers of the Turtle Sanctuary which is located beside Brisa Marina. We first met Tony on our first venture down Baja with our two children ages 2 and 4 in 1985. He invited us to his parent’s house in Mexico City for Christmas, which we graciously accepted and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. They have now both retired and unfortunately the sanctuary is no longer in operation. The majority of RVers stay at Daggett’s, only a five minute drive down the road form “Brisa Marina”. Those looking for a more remote boondocking experience often head out to Playa La Gringa, just head 11 km (7 m) north of town. About a third of the road is paved, the remainder is often washboard but very passable, go slow and enjoy the scenery.
Potable water is available in town, however you need to have a barrel to collect it or you can have water delivered right to your rig for a price by locals. 5 years ago Bahia had no fuel or electricity; now they have a proper hydro feed and electrical distribution electrical and two (2) PEMEX Stations! All of these improvements foreshadow big potential changes for this town. A boat ladder was planned and started to bring yachts from the Pacific Ocean at Santa Rosalillita overland to the Sea of Cortez at LA Bay, this included extensive road widening with paved pullouts along the entire route. The government spent millions on the facility on the Pacific side before abandoning the project. We have also seen plans that would turn Bahia into the next Cabo San Lucas (that would be a shame), however at this time nothing much has changed. Everything can be purchased in town although this can be a little pricey compared the other Baja towns. Internet
is available at a couple of stores and many snowbirds spend the winter here.
Located along the east side of the Baja California Peninsula, in the state of Baja California, Francisco de Ulloa was the first European to discover Bahía de los Ángeles in 1539 which was the last expedition financed by Hernán Cortés. The village has many islands off the coast and is famous for its fabulous fishing
. The most popular fish here is
yellowtail, a type of sport fish that lives off the shore of California and Mexico. These fish can grow up to 5 feet long and can weigh up to 100 pounds. The bay is also famous for its whale sharks.
The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is a slow-moving filter feeding shark, the largest living fish species. The largest confirmed individual was 12.65 metres (41.50 ft) in length . The heaviest weighed more than 36 tonnes (79,000 lb), but unconfirmed claims report considerably larger whale sharks. This distinctively-marked fish is the only member of its genus Rhincodon and its family. The whale shark is a filter feeder — one of only three known filter feeding shark species (along with the basking shark and the megamouth shark). The many rows of teeth play no role in feeding; in fact, they are reduced in size in the whale shark. Instead, the shark sucks in a mouthful of water, closes its mouth and expels the water through its gills.
A “must see” is the local Museo De Naturaleza Y Cultura museum, this is run by local volunteers and provides an excellent over view of the history of the town and region. Another popular attraction is Misión San Francisco Borja de Adác (aka San Borja Mission) which was established in 1759 by the Jesuit padre Wenceslaus Linck at the Cochimí settlement of Adac, west of Bahía de los Ángeles. The San Borja Mission was handed over to the Franciscans in 1767 along with large numbers of sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and mules. In 1773, the Dominicans took charge of the mission property and the 1,600 Amerindian parishioners in the Adác community. The stone church was completed in 1801 then abandoned in 1818, when the native population in this part of the peninsula disappeared although the structures and ruins survive. Ruined adobe walls of the original Jesuit mission—the last to have been built anywhere on the peninsula—have been preserved. A stone spiral staircase in the campanario, or bell tower, of the later Dominican mission is impressive.
The fig, pomegranate, olive, guava, mango, and date orchards planted by the missionaries continue to provide a livelihood for mission caretaker José Ángel Gerardo Monteón, a fourth-generation Cochimí, and his family of seven. The mission is open daily 8 a.m.–6 p.m. José’s children are happy to take visitors on a half-hour walk through the orchards to a small, clean hot springs. A longer, 1.5-hour tour to see local rock art—using your own vehicle—can also be arranged. The family doesn’t ask any set fee for such tours, although a donation is much appreciated. Although the road to the Mission located at KM 44 from Bahía de los Ángeles is graded, there are still two or three spots where four-wheel drive is advisable due to the steep, slippery grades, deep vados, and stretches where you must drive 10 meters or more over basketball-size boulders.
Bahia even has a local celebrity, an American Herman Hill who wrote the book, Baja's Hidden Gold: Treasure Along the Mission Trail.
. As of April 2011 Herman, who turns 90, still resided alone in his beachfront home in Bahia de los Angeles. His stories, filled with humour and verve, illuminate the history of the beautiful Baja Pueblo of Bahia de los Angeles. A prospector, a dreamer, and an adventurer, Herman's stories capture both a region and a lost time in history. If Herman is in town you should look him up and ask him about his book and life in Mexico, you just have to listen he will definitely keep you intrigued!
Dan & Lisa Goy
Baja Amigos RV Caravan Tourswww.BajaAmigos.net
Lynn and Tom Mitchell are friends who operate Baja and Beyond Tours http://www.bajabeyond.com/
Good Resource Websitehttp://www.bahiadelosangeles.info/bahia.htmClick Here to tell us about your favorite RVing or Camping Destination.
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