The process was then easy. We filled in the paperwork for our tourist cards, went next door to pay the fee, returning with proof of payment in return for the cards. We then got our temporary import permit for Ruby and away we went. Tecate is on the Baja peninsula, the second largest peninsula in the world, and our plan was to drive the whole way down to the South of the peninsula before catching a ferry to the mainland. Our route would take us through both the East and West of Baja, so we would experience both the Pacific coast on the West side and the sea of Cortez on the East.
Our first stop was Ensenada and we found a campsite that overlooked the Pacific ocean for a couple of nights. It was a beautiful spot and we enjoyed watching the sunsets and pods of dolphins swim past. We also had our first fish tacos of the trip and they were delicious-we know we are going to enjoy Mexican food! We then headed towards Bahia de Los Angeles, stopping for the night by the beach in San Quentin. The drive was beautiful-passing mountains and going through the desert with the numerous huge cacti , until we saw the gorgeous blue water of the bay of Los Angeles. We found an idyllic campsite on the beach and we parked Ruby next to our own palapa ( open side dwelling with palm leaf thatched roof) which are very common on Mexican beaches. We spent a couple of days here, watching the wildlife and walking along the beach-it was wonderful. We met a lovely couple from Germany-Sylvia and Marita and we were to bump into them again soon.
After a night at Guerrero Negro, we drove to Mulege, a pretty oasis town on the shores of the sea of Cortez. We found a great campsite along the palm and mangrove lined Rio Mulege where we had a private spot surrounded by banana trees, palm trees and other fruit trees. Soon after we arrived, Sylvia and Marita rolled up and we had a great time with them here for the next few days. We joined in the daily game of bocci, played by longer term residents at the campsite-Eric, Don and Lee and it was so much fun. It was similar to boules-however here we played it all around the campsite with an obligatory bottle of beer or two in hand! When any of us achieved a direct hit on the target (small white ball) we all had to yell "Bocci............" at high volume! We also had a night with them in town watching the local Frank Sinatra-this was also great fun and we had a good old dance. However, Gav and I had 4 margaritas and struggle to remember the rest of the night!!
After Mulege, we drove to Loreto via a scenic coastal route along Bahia Concepcion, with its beautiful beaches and then through the mountains. Loreto was a pretty town-with a lovely town square, the oldest mission in Baja and cobbled streets. It also had a lovely malecon to walk along and gaze out to sea.
We headed to La Paz, the capital of Baja Sur, for Gav`s birthday and Christmas. We spent a lovely few days here wandering along the sea front, eating excellent food and going to the cinema! Our highlight was an amazing boat trip, on boxing day, to swim with whale sharks. After Jen eventually got her wetsuit on the right way, we jumped off our small boat with our snorkels on, led by our guide-and suddenly we were face to face with a huge whale shark! Whale sharks are the largest fish species in the world, the largest measured one being nearly 42 foot long!! Our guide estimated the one we saw was about 20 foot long-it was huge! Whale sharks have very large mouths and are filter feeders, which is a feeding mode that occurs in only two other sharks, the megamouth shark and the basking shark. They feed almost exclusively on plankton and are not known to pose a threat to humans.
It was absolutely amazing to watch it feed-looking at its huge mouth and little eyes as it did so (a bit like watching Jen feed!) We also got the chance to swim alongside it and just simply hang out with it for a little while. It was incredible and one of our best experiences on this trip to date. We went with a brilliant company called La Paz VIP tours and our wonderful guide, Anna, got into the water with us and led us to the sharks. We were always meant to be at least 6 feet away from them, but at times, we were a lot closer and Gav and I would start to swim away from it as we thought we were almost touching it-whilst Anna would grab hold of us and push us back closer to it!
After leaving La Paz, we spent a wonderful few days wild camping at El Sergento, where hundreds of kite surfers took to the sea and Punta Arena De La Ventana. At the latter, we had the beach to ourselves for 2 nights, and we watched the rays swim close to the shore both mornings. Gav got the chance to fish from the shore here, however it was still chicken for tea both nights!
We camped next to the beach for New Year-at Los Barilles-another stunning beach. We watched a super moon rise over the horizon on new year`s day-it just appeared over the edge of the sea and was magnificent. The next stop was Cabo Pulmo and another wild camp next to the beach. Cabo Pulmo is a national marine park and was designated a UNESCO world heritage site on 1995. Bahía Pulmo is home to the oldest of only three coral reefs on the west coast of North America. Estimated to be 20,000 years old, it is the northernmost coral reef in the eastern Pacific Ocean. We took a great snorkelling tour from here-and went out to 5 different places where we jumped in to snorkel. We saw a variety of amazing fish, swam with a shoal of at least a thousand Mexican look down fish and also with seals. We loved it and also got the chance to snorkel again the following days from the shores of our camp spot at Los Arbolitas and from our camp spot at Playa Maria near Los Cabos. The snorkelling is fantastic here, the water is crystal clear and there are numerous different types of fish swimming close to shore.
So next stop is the tip of Baja, Cabo San Lucas, before we start heading North on the West Cape towards Todo Santos and eventually La Paz again, where we will take our ferry to mainland Mexico. We have loved Baja so far-it is very relaxing, we have mostly camped next to the beach and the wildlife is superb. a great start to 2018!