We were up early in San Ignacio and headed to the town square to see a very beautiful mission church, begun by the Jesuits in 1728.
From there we headed out for a short time on road, then off road to Laguna San Ignacio.
We rode right to the coast until we reached an eco hotel called, Kuyimita. This place was really spectacular. We stayed in small huts on the very edge of the Pacific Ocean. Baja had done it again – we were in the next town, I felt like I had entered another world.
That afternoon we set out in small fishing boats to see the majestic and wondrous huge Grey Whales. It’s hard for me to describe just how amazing this experience was. The whales are so massive! They swim right up to the tiny fishing boats that you are in and gently move around and underneath you. It was just … WOW. They are surprisingly tame and inquisitive. The mother whales, with their babies, came up to the boats to check us out and have a look.
If you get the chance in your life to see whales you must do it, they have an energy that is so wonderful and the experience is magic!
In the evening we enjoyed a meal together with Carlos and his family (they run the eco hotel). Carlos is a musician and entertained us with his beautiful voice and guitar. I went to sleep that night listening to the sound of the waves. The music, the day and the setting by the ocean made for something that you might read in a fairy tale book. But it was no fairytale. Just another day in Baja!
Our next destination an old mining town, Santa Rosalia. A most charming if somewhat scruffy town. The French had taken advantage of copper deposits found there in the 1860′s. The French connection explains why the town church is a metal pre fab structure designed by Mr Eiffel himself! The church was originally set up at the Paris world fair and was sent to Baja in pieces about a hundred years ago. Obviously I was expecting the church to look like the Eiffel Tower, I was just a little bit disappointed…
I liked the French touch…
We didn’t stay long in Santa Rosalina, there was a lunch date in Conception Bay. We rode to the edge of the East Coast and parked up on the beach. The bay reminded me of New Zealand, perhaps Vancouver too. Clear and calm water engulfed by huge rocks and cliffs. We met some Americans who had returned to holiday in the Bay for the last 25yrs!
Little did I know at the time but the next section of road for the day was a real treat. Great surfaces, rolling hills, lots of twists and turns, back lit by an awesome sunset.
That just got more and more impressive.
We arrived at Loreto in the dark having covered about 350km, in the morning I enjoyed waking up to this view.
Loreto was the first Spanish settlement in the Californias and was the capital of Spanish Baja until the place was wrecked by a hurricane in 1829 and later flattened by an earthquake in 1877. You wouldn’t think that today, the mission was since rebuilt and the city is clean and full of good hotels.
After a quick visit to another mission off the beaten track we were on the road. 440km to La Paz. I was excited to get to La Paz, not because I had been there before, or because someone had talked to me about the place, but because I have a friend called Paz who I am very fond of.
Up until La Paz, Baja had felt remote, often like you were one of just a few in the whole of the peninsula. La paz was different, it was a large, bustling, bright light, sea side city. There were multiple lanes of traffic and there was an electric energy in the air that made us ride the bikes like hooligans! Well, Andres and I. Paco, as ever, rode calmly and very correctly shaking his head at the races we had off each and every set of red lights.
Breakfast on the roof terrace of the hotel in La Paz was funny. We stuck up a conversation with a really lovely guy called Bruce, who was waiting for his friend Riccardo. Who just happened to be the same Riccardo who was a great friend of Paco’s – so we all had breakfast together. I love it when that happens.
The aim for the day was to reach the southern tip of Baja, Cabo San Lucas, with a stop at Todas Santos. Todas Santos, does that mean anything to you?? Well, it didn’t to me. Until I got there. Until I stood outside the Hotel California, THE Hotel California!! The Hotel California where The Eagles wrote the song. What a cool place to visit.
We had lunch with the owners and heard the full story. The hotel had become run down and disused until an American couple and a Mexican guy had began a restoration project there almost 15yrs ago. Today it’s a funky, boutique hotel. Lots of interesting guests come from all over the world and in the gift shop…….. they sell sheep?!
We rocked up in Cabo San Lucas just in time to ride the bikes up a dirt track to the highest point to see the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.