Thursday, December 19, 2013

Trip to La Paz - getting there

We left San Carlos on Thursday morning December 5th and headed for Puerto Penasco, with a stop in Santa Ana at our favorite taco stand for lunch. After that it was unknown territory for us and the map was a great help till we turned north on the coast road which suddenly ended after a military check point. There was quite a long stretch of dirt road - no signs at all... hoping we were on the right road, the sun had gone down and it was starting to get dark and chilly. It all turned out ok and we made it to Puerto Penasco. We phoned the little B&B where we had booked for the night and the lady gave us directions as we drove through town. The room was tiny - just room for a queen bed with a foot to spare on either side and a miniscule bathroom but very cute. We had a late dinner by which time it had turned rather cold - for us at least. Being used to temps in the high 70s, mid 40's was decidedly chilly!

Day 2: A chilly start at 7:30 am - the car thermometer read 44F and my fleece jacket was packed in the big suitcase somewhere in the back of the truck...

Sunrise Puerta Penasco

We drove around the top of the Sea of Cortez past some beautiful scenery, most of which is the nature reserve. We went though 4 military check points on the way, which made a total of 7 since we left home! Each time we had to get out of the car, explain where we came from and where we were going and they tapped all the panels of the car with the back of a screwdriver, presumably looking for contraband.
                                          Leaving Sonora, entering Baja California

We made it to San Felipe through road works on Highway 5 at lunch time and had a good look around the town. We stayed there 6 years ago and frankly it hadn't changed all that much. The old grocery store expanded, there was a snazzy new one on the main road but the hustlers on the Malecon were still the same... We drove to our destination south of town, a beautiful location but off the grid - well water, solar energy and it was still very cold (to us) Luckily there were lots of blankets in the room!!

Day 3:                                           South of San Felipe, sun coming up 

 Today was the difficult bit... we had 50 more miles of paved road and then it was 35 miles of very rugged dirt road to join Highway 1, it took us 2-1/2 hours to navigate the rough track but we made it! An hour later we crossed into Baja California Sur (southern Baja), where we were greeted by cloudy skies and cell service :) and the unavoidable roadworks at some point. It seems like most of Mexico is being re-paved!
We stopped in San Ignacio at a beautiful place on the river and stayed in a yurt, which sound a lot more basic than it sounds :)
The inside was beautiful and it had an attached bathroom with hot and cold running water - such a luxury after being off the grid the night before!

                                         Our yurt was called "the African room"

Day 4: It's still chilly (mid 40's which is good considering it's snowing at our place in Colorado!) but we had a lovely breakfast in a tent with gas space heaters warming us up. The coffee went down well as did the homemade sausage and homegrown ham with scrambled eggs. We lingered over coffee, basking in the warmth of the gas fires but eventually had to get on the road. We drove to Santa Rosalia, where the ferry from Guaymas (close to our home in San Carlos) docks - talk about a short cut.. very industrial and not much to see. Next stop Mulege, where we drove to the lighthouse and DH had a beer on the beach (so we could use their rest room!) We followed the coast road past Bahia Conception to Loreta, a cute town with a Malacon and a huge cruise ship just off shore (that ship will be in Guaymas the day after!) further south past Loreta Bay - gorgeous scenery and sea views and then across the mountains to the cent of the Baja and finally we stopped in Cuidad Constitucion in a lovely little motel but no dinner to be had - it's Sunday: everything is closed except for coffeeshops and taco stands. We checked out which taco stand had the most locals attending and had some great food. DH had quesedillas and I had carne asada (beef) tacos in maize tortillas.

Day 5: The last leg of our journey to La Paz. This was a relative short drive about 3-4 hours through the mountains and then that gorgeous view of the sea.

It's been a wonderful trip driving down but we may take the ferry on the way back....  We are enjoying our stay in La Paz and should be here till the end of the year. We have explored around the city and area around it - lots of fun!

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