Loreto to La Paz
We ended up staying in Loreto for three nights. This is a pretty little city with lots of palm trees and a nice malecon. There is a nice beachfront with thatched umbrellas to sit under and a little marina where boats can be hired to take you out on the water to fish or to the islands within the Loreto Bay National Park. We enjoyed a hot walk along the malecon and then some happy hour time with Fred & Marietta and met their neighbour, Brent, back at the RV park.
Sunday morning, we grabbed our snorkel gear to go to the marina and hired a boat captained by Gino to take us out to Coronado Island in the NP to go snorkeling. He circumnavigated the island with us first and we saw a big colony of sea lions on the rocks. The island is uninhabited and has various types of shorelines: sand, cliffs and cool rock formations. You can see where birds have roosted including the tops of cacti!
As Gino sailed into the small bay, we sadly saw a dead tortoise floating on the water. We moored the boat at a nice white sandy beach and we got into the crystal clear water. There were rocks on one end of the beach with a few snorkelers. We swam out there and there were many little fish, some needle fish and starfish. Unfortunately, Doug had trouble with his mask. Seems the purge valve was not staying put and was letting water in. He gave up after a while and then Gino lent him a mask and took us to a different and deeper spot where we just jumped out of the boat to snorkel. Here the water was almost as clear and there were lots of bigger fish.
When you are in the boat here, the water all around you is that lovely tropical island blue and you can see down to the bottom for quite a distance as you sail away from the island. It was very beautiful. We had not had clear water like that since the Philippines last year.
That afternoon we walked into town (less than ten minutes) and checked out the town square and historic district which included a centuries old mission. After grilling up some of our fresh yellowtail fish for dinner we did go back into town to check out the Loreto anniversary party but not much was happening. We found out next morning, the fiesta was a few blocks from the square! Darn.
Monday we ran a lot of errands and were successful in doing/finding all we needed except getting Doug’s snorkel mask fixed. Using our limited Spanish (mostly Doug’s), we were able to find a seamstress to fix a shirt he had torn, a hardware store for some weather-stripping we needed, a place to print some documents and some groceries/beer.
We are quite pleased how well we are getting along with our Spanish. Doug has kept up practicing his more than Fran, but Fran has a better ear for hearing what is being said. Doug has no problem asking as much as possible without using English.
The RV park had good Wi-Fi so we got some stuff done in the cool of Tigger as it’s still quite hot here and being on the Sea of Cortez, seems to mean it comes with humidity. Hopefully by next month, that will die down some. For now we feel we need AC to be able to sleep at night.
We left Loreto on Tuesday after Doug’s weekly conference call and made the drive to La Paz, which is the capital city of Baja California Sur. We had originally thought about doing it in two days but the place to stop in between was a place with nothing to see or do so we pushed on. This highway was pretty good with more sections with actual shoulders and decent speed limits.
Enroute we stopped again at El Juncalito as the water looked calm from the mirador on the highway and it actually was when we got to the beach.
Doug had siliconed his mask hoping that would stop the leaking problem and out we went. Unfortunately it did not work and he didn’t stay in long. The water here was pretty clear and there were lots of different fish including needle fish, star fish and Fran saw a purple octopus! It seems however, that she was too excited and the photo was blurred! We rinsed off the salt water using our outdoor shower and continued down the highway.
We are getting used to the driving here. There is a very quirky thing about making left turns on the highway though. IF you put your left blinker on, the driver behind you thinks you are telling him it’s safe to pass you, NOT that you are turning left. In theory, to turn left on the highway, you are supposed to pull over to the right first and wait for no traffic in both directions before turning. However, that is hard to put into practice when there is no shoulder to pull over to!
At about the two thirds marker, we noticed ahead on the highway a little girl trying to flag down cars for help. She was about 10 and with her mother. So we stopped to see if we could help. Fran was a little nervous wondering if this was one of those decoys where someone jumps out at you from behind trees to rob you but it seemed innocent enough. They said they’d run out gas and could we spare some and did we have water? So Doug syphoned a gallon out of a jerry can and Fran gave them a litre water to drink. They seemed quite genuine and we felt better about stopping but then they began asking for food and money. We did give them each a granola bar and a few pesos and got back on our way realizing it was probably a scam and they do this over and over. Considering what it could have been, we got of lightly and a littler wiser.
Gasoline in Mexico is sold only at Pemex stations and the price is pretty consistent so no need to look around or have an app like Gas Buddy as we used in the US/Canada. The current price is 13.57 pesos per litre which is $1.07 CDN per litre or $3.12 US per gallon. At first Doug thought the numbers advertised below the Pemex signs were the prices and they were all over the place, then we realized that those numbers were the station numbers! 🙂
La Paz is a big city with a very long malecon. We love malecons but the problem we find is that shade is hard to come by on them. A funny thing we’ve noticed is that many of these have the same type of garbage cans on them as well as the same light fixtures. La Paz was quite hot while we were here with quite a bit of that darn humidity so we have to have power. Our Mexican camping guide book is about 6 years old and so we learned that the campground we were looking for that was supposed to be in town, was no longer there. That left two other places one of which was rather pricy so we opted for the one furthest from town and settled in. We met two couples who also just pulled in and they come to Baja every winter, one actually has a home at Los Barriles. We shared experiences with Cliff, Carol, Bill & Susan and they gave us some tips. The mozzies were out in force that evening so we resorted to bug spray to make it bearable to be outside.
Wednesday, we drove Tigger to the edge of the El Centro of La Paz and walked the malecon and what they called the historic area; that latter was not impressive but the former was wonderful; gotta be two miles long but it was hot. We looked for snorkel masks for Doug and went to the Baja Ferries office to check the prices and schedule for the ferry to mainland Mexico which we will take in about three weeks.
We found a lovely spot on the malecon to have lunch at Tribu on a second floor balcony overlooking the water and enjoyed shrimp tacos and mushroom quesadillas. They were serving 1L beer for about two dollars! Boy did they taste refreshing.
Walking back to Tigger, we bumped into Sam and Henne, the Flemish overlanders we’d met in Bahia de LA, then a couple walked up to us asking if we knew Ernesto & Taisa (whom we’d met back in Vegas). They had met them recently and had spoken of us. They recognized our rig on the street from our website and left us a note! Small Overlanding world it is. We all chatted for a bit, Sam & Henne carried on and Stefanie and Robert invited us for a beer; can’t refuse that right?! We learned from Stefanie and Robert, that they too, had seen that mother and child on the highway!
We finally left downtown to do our grocery shopping at the Sorianna (recommended by Sam) and Walmart (yes Walmart!) where we bought a new snorkel mask and got back to the campsite way later than we planned, but no biggie; what’s the rush?
Sam & Henne were staying at the same campground as us and dropped by around 8, we all got into our swimsuits and cooled off in the RV park’s pool in the dark and caught up some more. After drying off, they joined us in the cool AC of Tigger and we chatted and exchanged some movies/shows on our hard drives. They are catching the ferry tomorrow to Mazatlan so we are not sure if we’ll meet up again as this will put them several weeks ahead of us but who knows? We wish them well.
Now we are heading down along what they call the “Cabo Riviera” heading to Cabo San Lucas by Nov. 6th where we’ve booked a condo for a week.