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Author: Subject: Conception Bay - A Guide to Camping, Beaches & Cafes
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[*] posted on 4-29-2015 at 12:31 PM
Conception Bay - A Guide to Camping, Beaches & Cafes


Bahia Concepcion - It doesn't get much better that this!

This is about a road trip along the western shore of Conception Bay and also a boat trip through the same. I've taken photos of all the beaches and thier attractions. I'd like to invite you along on this beach trip report. We generally have a pretty good time....

I've included many photos that I have posted before, but any good guide book must contain all the pertinent places, so here is a complete photo tour of the entire bay. Hopefully, it will give answers to anyone who is seeking information about the Bay of Conception.

I thought at first that this should go into the Baja Camping forum, but figured it was more of a Trip..and it turned into quite that...a real trip!

If you have some favorite photos of your vacation to Conception Bay, please feel free to add them to this thread.

First some background information: Bahía Concepción lies just south of Mulegé and 625 miles south of the Tijuana border. (Figure a safe and scenic 13-14 hours total driving time.) One thing most all Baja travelers agree on is that Bahía Concepción is one of the most beautiful spots in Baja. The bay is just over 20 miles long and varies in width from two to five miles. Bahía Concepción has, over the years, become the final destination for many Baja travelers. A lot of seasoned Baja travelers simply aim straight for Bahía Concepción with no intention of going any farther. Many first timers arrive and they are absolutely overwhelmed with the beauty and serenity of this area...somehow they just cannot manage to leave, often extending their vacation plans by days or even weeks. In my case, it has stretched out to 45 consecutive winters...6 months at a time. ;)

The dramatic scenery along the western coastline of Bahía Concepción is the ultimate photo opportunity for almost all Baja visitors that travel this far south. This giant bay, within the Sea of Cortez, offers travelers a close up of what "The Real Baja" is all about. The 28 miles of highway that hug the coast below Mulegé offers direct access to what are considered by many to be the finest beaches in all of Baja. This spells FUN IN THE SUN.

Bahía Concepción is one of Baja's favored spots for kayakers, those with RV's, campers, sailors and anyone who just loves beautiful beaches and quiet coves. The bay is especially good for novice kayaker's and sail boarder's as it is usually quite glassy with with light winds and not much in the way of strong currents.

From personable experience, there are incredible anchorages too numerous to count, making this area a sailors dream come true.

Some neighbors in Coyote Bay.

Say Hi to... off in the South Pacific somewhere.

Ralph & Dawn ...he has a piano aboard.

Johnny & Cindy the life.

John & worries.

The traveler will find excellent kayaking and boating adventures ....

...and around the many islands.

There are beach side campgrounds, with varying degrees of services for RV's and campers scattered along the coast below Mulegé. Some of these campgrounds offer complete services and even a restaurant or two. Most others offer no services at all and many camping spots are rather impromptu, discovered only as the need for a siesta arises. Fees range from sometimes free to about $8 night, but signs are usually posted at the entrances.
If you are camping, and unfamiliar with the area, it is suggested that you bring in all of your supplies as you may well end up staying longer than you had originally planned to. The few small stores that serve this area keep irregular hours, at best, and may be closed for days, weeks or even months at a time.

The rugged eastern finger of Bahía Concepción remains mostly unexplored, and almost completely uninhabited. A few primitive fish camps dot the shore, but they are mostly seasonal and may be uninhabited depending on the current fishing conditions. Think twice before any attempt to experience the truly unique adventure that this pristine piece of "The Real Baja" has to offer. I'll have more to offer on the peninsula in another thread.

In the interest of being 'fair and balanced' here is Some embarrassing truth and shame about The Bay. As an avid fisherman who is very aware of the marine violations perpetuated by lax or non-existant law enforcement, I've had to rename this once incredibly diverse marine habitat from 'The Bay of Conception' to "The Bay of Contrition".

This bay was once teeming with scallops, oysters, butter calms and nice-sized game fish of every species. My first remembrance of any mention of Bahia Concepción was when someone told me (in the late 60s) that the bottom of this bay was paved with butter clams and scallops. The oysters and scallops are long gone, as are most of the game fish. You can still see the huge piles of harvested scallop shells left scattered around the bay shorelines.

These days the clams that are available and the bigger fish are only found only along the beaches of the eastern shore. Humanity just seems to have a natural talent for depleting nature's bounty...more's the pity for those who care. This should not deter you from the great camping available in this most scenic bay in all of Baja.

Sadly, fishing conditions along the western shore of Bahía Concepción are not the best in Baja although some smaller, yet tasty, fish can still be caught within the bay. At one time the fishing for tuna, yellowtail, and dorado was fantastic inside the bay. This little yellowtail was fun on my light rig and huge schools of much bigger ones were literally everywhere..circa 1974.

Angling fishermen made their camps in the bay and fished there, need to go outside back then. I recall a couple of annual angler's at Burros by a group of San Diego dorado fishermen and another at the southern end for yellowtail. This was during the Golden Age of Baja. I'm very glad to have seen a part of it.

A nice cabrilla at the mouth of the bay.

If Mexico decides to actually enforce it's own marine conservation laws, perhaps those golden days can return.

The eastern shoreline offers a completely different set of circumstances, mainly because of the great effort it takes to get there. The rugged eastern shore is not easily reached and is largely uninhabited. Visits to the eastern shore should only be attempted in 4x4, high clearance vehicles, that are well equipped for extreme conditions. More on this in another thread.

If you are planning a camping trip to Conception Bay, the following photos should help you find a good location.

Beach summary & index:

These are the most popular BOC beaches as you drive south from Mulege.

- North Bay Straits
- Suenos
- Flambes
- Naranja
- Santispac
- Posada
- Escondido
- Coco
- Burros
- Coyote
- Requeson
- Perla
- Armenta
- South Beach

Those pictures don't begin to touch the reality of what it is like being & living here. I was fortunate to move here before the earth cooled..and it still thrills me to this day.

Some general information on cafes in BOC:

General and seasonal hours. Summertime hours and weekly specials could be different….and it MAY temporarily close according to business activity.

This is common practice for all the Coyote Bay area beach cafes. It’s all about the amount of customers. The Bay in summer is rather un-crowded….it might have something to do with the HEAT...which a lot of folks actually enjoy.







Here's the mouth of the Bay as seen from the microwave tower access trail. Note: The service road to the tower may be gated and locked these days.

This is the view I look forward to at the start of my particular season. First look at Coyote Bay driving south. Playa Santispac is just over the hill.






If you're into the wind and water sports, then this is the place for you, as it has been a destination for wind lovers ever since the highway was built.


Heading around the corner to Pta. Arena and Playa Naranjos. Lots of room ..because the old palapa houses at Pta. Arena are now long gone....from fire. Playa Naranjos is still intact, though.


That 2-story palapa was built by some Oregon amigos...and was where I enjoyed many a good cup of coffee with Grand Mariner on the way to the fishing grounds in my boat. Ahoy, Pollo del Mar!


Santispac - The Annex beachcamp & mangrove lagoon

Fire at Anna's Cafe (don't worry, it was a long time ago...)

Sometimes it's almost deserted...and there seems to be plenty of room for you on this day.

Ana's (the old Russ y Lupe's) at Playa Santispac with some happy patrons at the cantina.

Ample parking in front

Russ, Lupe, and Co-pilot at front table

Good times on the dance floor for all ages.

Always plenty of pretty sailboats this one.

C-Pilot goes wading to check out some pretty shells and keep a lookout for sting rays...

SANTISPAC FROM OFFSHORE - Ana's Cafe is far right. A newer beach cafe is to the far left.

Back In The Day....For you movie buffs, the former beach home of film director, JOHN STURGES after he relocated from a Posada beach home. (Dirty Dozen, Magnificent Seven, Gunfight at OK Corral, The Great Escape, etc.) Someday I might post a hilarious story about how this came about.

Other Hollywood people frequented this bay, too.

PTA. PIEDRITA - A hidden beach just over a small hill from Santispac. Most times you can have it all to yourself.

From my boat I noticed the solitary camper..a fifth wheel...on this relatively unused stretch of camping beach. I doubt many people know of it's existence. You can reach this nice spot by driving all the way through on the Santispac beach road...continueing on out towards the point, then taking the left turn that will take you over a slight rise and onto the beach. Your home for the vacation's duration. ;)

Driving a little south we come to ...


Hillside homes. I noted that my old hillside casa had a Se Vende sign out. Hope that works out.

My old house above Posada and my pickup camper. Hi to Co-pilot. Hah...whenever I look at the white water tank on that roof, I am reminded of the time a buzzard lost his grip, fell and drowned in there...phew!

Here's a flashback photo taken from my old balcony in 1978.

And another from 2012 taken from the same place.

The community tennis court. Back in the day, I played the old 'craters' like everyone else..fair fouls to all. Pulled an achilles tendon on that court...

The now-defunct Eco-Mundo Cafe. Had drinks, snacks, and kayak rentals. Ranger Roy's enterprise.

In that same place this caravan of 100 Airstreams camped for a few days in 1974...probably the first large organized caravan to come down the new highway. We had a lot of fun making up stories about the 'locust horde' drinking all the beer supplies.

Taking a shallow run between shore and an island, we see hard to port the Posada community of homes as we leave the scene by boat. It's constant changes have always caught my eye since it was just a cluster of trailer palapas started by Herman, Sr. back in the day. Those were wonderful times! When we played the love ballad, "A Thousand Bullets." ... You had to be there....:rolleyes:

PLAYA ESCONDIDO ... The Hidden Beach

Offshore view

Our old volleyball beach is always uncrowded with pristine water.

We always had plenty of volunteers to maintain the volley ball court. We hauled many loads of sand & small shell in my old army trailer. The little guy thought it was his personal sand box.

On past Escondido, where it's still semi-deserted..few campers, lots of room. Just a really bad entry road.

PLAYA COCOS to the left and PLAYA ESCONDIDO to the right


I didn't notice the US and Canadian flags yet this year?? Come ON, you people..let's get with it. Get that border UP!


FROM THE SHRINE PULLOUTis one of thee best locations for photos.

A very calm Coyote Bay.

Great landmark for kayakers.

A great place to pull over...for a prayer or simply a superb overlook of the Bay. Bring the camera.

The shrine is precious to the faithful and gets a fresh coat of paint every year.

Lots of candle votives are placed with a special prayer.

A lone kayaker passes below the shrine.

On down the road to.....PLAYA BURROS

As seen from atop a hill to the south.

Bertha's Cafe before the remodel. Now under new management. Good luck to 'Bob'.

Flashback photo....Hiking up above Burros Beach to view some rock art..this was about 1980.

Back to the present...


I've watched a few sunrises from my home in Coyote Bay...and loved every one.

AERIAL OF COYOTE BAY & BARGA ISLAND..looking for some perfect anchorages?.;)


Coyote Cafe - "Estrella del Mar" (Old Boney's place on the highway at Rcho Coyote, another place where we used to play volleyball.)

Drill marks for new highway in 1973. Used in blasting with very loud TNT. I remember one huge rock chunk that arched out over the bay and splashed about 20 feet away from my sloop. A tense moment!

Old Baja Road above Coyote Camping Beach. Co-pilot gives me directions.





Playa Coyote

Still lots of room left..and the beach road is okay for any rig.

Perfect to kayak in the mornings, before the wind comes up.





Day of the Shotguns

The cafe as seen coming from the South.

More Playa Buenaventura

An afternoon at Playa Buenaventura - Mark & Olivia's

The other day,we were coming back north towards home base, pulled into Mark & Olivia's, met some new folks, and had a good discussion about kayak fishing around Roca Frijoles...and some other things.

As always in Baja, we are met by the parking attendant who checks our tires for free.

Just a nice Baja beach bar, great hamburgers, with a killer view.

A funky, cozy haven..full of Baja memorabilia and interesting stories as told by the interesting patrons..

I listen to a tale of woe from a local and offer a shoulder to cry on..or whatever..?

Things go sour when .....

.. I find he's put all his drinks on MY tab. Carumba!


Playa Buenaventura - Mark & Olivia's Open for business as usual.


A short drive down the road will bring you to this....

UNNAMED CAMPING BEACH - You should camp there and give it a name. ;)

A little used beach just before Playa Requeson. We've had many a private picnic here. The steamers and chocolates in the little bay were outstanding.

Now comes a real jewel for campers.... with it's own isthmus.


Flashback for next 4 photos: 1974 Clamming at Requeson...and it hasn't changed much in the last 40 years.

Those clams were sooo delicious!!

We'd just bring a folding table, go for a little wading, and set out the feast...

Lots of room on the other side..??.:rolleyes:

Boating into Playa Requeson so Co-pilot can go clamming.

Highway entry to Requeson

A few long-term setups. Nice place for it!

As you can see, all these beaches, Armenta, Perla, Requeson and the entire southern shore...are not crowded and easily accessible to any size rig. Come find your spot and relax.

PLAYA PERLA A real 'gem'... :rolleyes:

We LOVED this familiar & fun sign. Some Happy Farts! And I'M happy that there was NO smell!

Public rooms

Looking back at Playa Perla.

Going from Perla to Requeson

All these trails were in GREAT shape..
...for off-road Baja . :rolleyes:

Playa Requeson ahead...and a chance for a fixer-upper beachfront condo?



(Be advised that this beach is not the best place to leave any belongings unattended or out of sight, as there has been a history of petty thefts here.)



Well, that's the west side of the Bay of Conception and it's best-in-Baja beaches. Hope to see you there.

Happy Camping, amigos!

[Edited on 5-6-2015 by Pompano]

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[*] posted on 4-29-2015 at 12:56 PM

As always, SUPER

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[*] posted on 4-29-2015 at 01:02 PM

Thank you Roger! I hope it was a labor of love putting this together as it must of been extremely time consuming.

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[*] posted on 4-29-2015 at 09:46 PM

Thank you for taking the time. Brought back tons of memories.
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[*] posted on 4-30-2015 at 07:17 AM

Thanks. Loved all the old pictures.
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[*] posted on 4-30-2015 at 07:01 PM

Nice pictures, Roger, I played tennis with Herman Sr. There, when all it was 3 palapas, and Sr. Sweeping the beach with a broom every morning.
Good old days.
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[*] posted on 4-30-2015 at 08:13 PM

What a beautiful thread. Thank you.
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[*] posted on 5-1-2015 at 06:15 AM


You were the first person I met on my first trip to Bahia Concepcion in 2004. I walked into Ana's on Santispac that Saturday night and you walked over, stuck out your hand and welcomed me. I was grateful then and I thank you now. Those pictures brought joy over my morning coffee. Steinbeck was wrong. I know why I must return.

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[*] posted on 5-1-2015 at 07:01 AM

Pompano, great pictures and thread.. Although we have never met, I have been coming down here since 2004 and have camped at nearly every one of those beaches with my 38ft Motorhome.. Presently, living in Loreto but visit Bahia Conception often. Hope to meet up with you one of these days. Have followed your posts for all these years and have enjoyed all of your pictures.. Keep up the good work..
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[*] posted on 5-1-2015 at 07:28 AM

Thanks Roger, great way to have coffee in the am. First trip to stay at Hermans 75 or 76, have been driving by on my way south every year since. Thanks for the memories Cliff H
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[*] posted on 5-1-2015 at 07:57 AM
The Best Photo Guide -EVER

Thanks, That is the Best photo / description EVER of the BOC! No guide book comes close. Well done. We will drive down from Chivato and see how many beaches we can identify!
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[*] posted on 5-1-2015 at 08:59 AM

Amazing, that was great! Thanks for the effort you took to do this report.
Dang I feel like getting down there!!!
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[*] posted on 5-3-2015 at 08:12 AM

Thank you for the kind & flattering replies, they are greatly appreciated. One of my main hobbies is recording scenes by camera, while others include road trips and boating, so it's my pleasure to put together a photo journal like this one. Conception Bay and the Mulege area are easy ones for me as it's been my home for over 4 decades, giving me lots of times to tramp around the neighborhood with a trusty Nikon. Right now I am putting together a photo collection of islands of the Bay and the peninsula. I hope you find it interesting and entertaining.

Some replies to posters:

Maron, Howard, moose29, ehall, alacran, güéribo, healthdetective, cliffh, Fastbird, fish101, sincere thanks to you all. Your comments have spurred the same thoughts and jogged up some memories.

alacran, I also remember Herman Morante, Sr. with his busy broom. He was fastidious about keeping his piece of paradise clean and orderly. When a few of us helped in completing the first tennis court, I gave him a box of Cuban cigars for it's inauguration..which smoothed the way to dating his daughter..

healthdetective, I'm glad we met all those years ago at Ana's. It is/was a great place to meet new Baja folks. And indeed, like must return.

Again, it's been a pleasure and I'm happy you all could make the trip with me.

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[*] posted on 5-6-2015 at 06:25 AM

Thanks Roger! It's always great to see your posts and photos and especially these since I am in one of them. Conception Bay is truly a wonderful and unique place.
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[*] posted on 5-6-2015 at 08:11 AM

Nice to see the photos, no matter how often! Viva Baja!! When Requeson is full, we go next door to La Perla... A favorite little bay, in 2012, southbound:

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[*] posted on 5-6-2015 at 08:54 AM

Good show there, Roger! That seaplane reminded me of the time two old WWll pilots flew a PBY down from Long Beach and landed right in front of our place on Coyote bay in the late '70's. That big bird was all decked out like a modern yacht inside. The two couples came up to our porch for drinks and dinner and the next AM took off for parts unknown in the Gulf. I also remember Ralph with his trimaran and the piano inside, my kids loved playing that piano. Thanks for the memories.
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[*] posted on 5-6-2015 at 09:08 AM

Quote: Originally posted by Vince  
Good show there, Roger! That seaplane reminded me of the time two old WWll pilots flew a PBY down from Long Beach and landed right in front of our place on Coyote bay in the late '70's. That big bird was all decked out like a modern yacht inside. The two couples came up to our porch for drinks and dinner and the next AM took off for parts unknown in the Gulf. I also remember Ralph with his trimaran and the piano inside, my kids loved playing that piano. Thanks for the memories.

I knew you would like it, Vince. Looking back, mi amigo, both of us are blessed with such great memories courtesy of the Bay..but then, that was the plan, right?

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[*] posted on 5-7-2015 at 10:06 PM

This was awesome, Roger. Thank you very much for the journey!
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[*] posted on 5-8-2015 at 12:30 AM

Thank you to the voices in your tackle box. This was super! Can't wait to try it myself.

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[*] posted on 5-8-2015 at 04:58 AM

Señor Pompano; your pics of La Perla have a particular joy for me. Notice anything similar in my avatar? That's my 5th wheel! And my better half and I are sharing a brewski with you at the Aaaarrrrr- Bar with Georgia on your shoulder.

Small world, isn't it? Great pics.

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