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ScottS
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[*] posted on 2-27-2017 at 09:29 PM
Camping ?'s


Hey all,

New here and thrilled with the info I've been able to read about on this forum. I searched the internet high and low for good information but struck out a lot until I discovered this forum. With that being said, I've got a few questions that would be great to hear from either locals or repeat visitors (and I'm hoping I didn't miss them in the search function!!) We'll be coming from the San Diego area.

1) My wife and I are headed down in April. Which side is the preferred side this time of year? We're just headed down to camp with our dogs and relax and enjoy whatever isolation we can find. Historical records for the area on the Pacific side seem to have 70's-80's. However, people personally say it gets pretty cold. :?:

2) Camping spots! How far south do I need to get for some good camping? Preferably as on the beach as I can get. I've got a 4x4 lifted 2.5", so clearance is not a huge concern for me. Anyone have recommendations of spots they personally camp in/at?

Thanks for any insight you folks have. If I missed some obvious threads on these topics, please forgive me. I'm a big forum user and always use the search function before hand. Some times though, I don't yield the info I'm looking for directly. :)

[Edited on 02/27/2017 by ScottS]
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[*] posted on 2-27-2017 at 09:45 PM


Gonzaga Bay, south of San Felipe

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David K
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[*] posted on 2-27-2017 at 09:59 PM


Shell Island, km. 26 south of San Felipe if you want just a perfect beach and no services. 4WD only. Bring air pump as deflating tires is probably necessary. Percebu, km. 20, if you want to be in a camp. 5-6 hrs. from San Diego via Caliexco.

See http://vivabaja.com/1009 and if that looks right, see http://vivabaja.com/ and go down and see links to other trips. Most are to Shell Island. Of course, it is an island so water or mud during full or new moons may make access messy to impossible. Stay on the most worn track.

The Pacific is nice, too. But is totally different. Baja is so cool that you can do both coasts! Punta Lobos was nice, big beach and sand dunes just south.

Just ask any questions.

[Edited on 2-28-2017 by David K]




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ScottS
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[*] posted on 2-27-2017 at 10:40 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bajaguy  
Gonzaga Bay, south of San Felipe



It looks great down that way, I'll mark it as a destination! Thanks!


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Shell Island, km. 26 south of San Felipe if you want just a perfect beach and no services. 4WD only. Bring air pump as deflating tires is probably necessary. Percebu, km. 20, if you want to be in a camp. 5-6 hrs. from San Diego via Caliexco.

See http://vivabaja.com/1009 and if that looks right, see http://vivabaja.com/ and go down and see links to other trips. Most are to Shell Island. Of course, it is an island so water or mud during full or new moons may make access messy to impossible. Stay on the most worn track.

The Pacific is nice, too. But is totally different. Baja is so cool that you can do both coasts! Punta Lobos was nice, big beach and sand dunes just south.

Just ask any questions.

[Edited on 2-28-2017 by David K]


David, Thanks for the info! I appreciate it. :D

I'm now very intrigued by Shell Island. It sounds like I could be S.O.L. if the moon isn't right when I'm down there though? I'll keep giving your site a read through, the scenery is amazing!

In the event it's inaccessible, where's the next best camping at in the area?

[Edited on 02/27/2017 by ScottS]
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bajagrouper
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[*] posted on 2-27-2017 at 10:42 PM


Just remember Semana Santa starts April 9th.till April !7th. beaches could be crowded more than usual ...............



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[*] posted on 2-27-2017 at 10:44 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bajagrouper  
Just remember Semana Santa starts April 9th.till April !7th. beaches could be crowded more than usual ...............


That's what I've been reading. It'll be a gamble I'll have to take unfortunately. The wife is a teacher, so our time off is limited. Even most spots state side around us would be a mess. :no:
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[*] posted on 2-27-2017 at 11:48 PM


The campgrounds at Rancho Percebu (Km. 20.5+)

Percebu is opposite the north end of the island.


or Nuevo Mazatlan (Km. 32).

Much quieter than Percebu, and lots of shade trees!


I just went to all the camp beaches south of San Felipe, researching for the new guide...

At Gonzaga, Km. 143+ Papa Fernandez' beach is over the hill from the cafe there, they will lower the rope for you to access:




The next places would be Rancho Grande (Km. 147+)


and Camp Beluga (Km. 149+).




If you want your own beach with no camping facilities or gates to pay to pass through, I camped at one between El Sacrificio and Punta Final... photos:







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[*] posted on 2-28-2017 at 07:09 AM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
The campgrounds at Rancho Percebu (Km. 20.5+)

Percebu is opposite the north end of the island.


or Nuevo Mazatlan (Km. 32).

Much quieter than Percebu, and lots of shade trees!


I just went to all the camp beaches south of San Felipe, researching for the new guide...

At Gonzaga, Km. 143+ Papa Fernandez' beach is over the hill from the cafe there, they will lower the rope for you to access:




The next places would be Rancho Grande (Km. 147+)


and Camp Beluga (Km. 149+).




If you want your own beach with no camping facilities or gates to pay to pass through, I camped at one between El Sacrificio and Punta Final... photos:







Once youn are in Baja, with 4WD, it just all works out!


David,

When was the percebu picture taken? That pix was from where we were camped. You must have been there after us because when we were there, it was a mess. Old BBQ's all over the camp, sinks and showers filled with sand, etc. Maybe we were there before they really "opened"? The woman in the restaurant was nice enough but it wasn't opened for us; some of the locals came in for a meal and she opened for them. Gave us a discount to camp and we were there with only 1 other couple.
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[*] posted on 2-28-2017 at 08:07 AM


I don't have a favorite spot because exploring with my dog is more of a draw for me than the camp site. My selection is determined by where I happen to be late afternoon or evening.

I prefer the east side, but you should be mindful of the huge tides that are possible, and that you are likely to encounter coyotes!

I consider the coyotes part of the adventure and have not encountered any aggressive ones, but they are bold and curious, and your food, garbage, and dogs will have their attention.





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[*] posted on 2-28-2017 at 08:37 AM


Hi Kevin,
I took the Percebu photos on Dec. 29 (Thu).
It appeared very clean and open (compared to other campos I visited).

Here are the other photos I took there:


On Hwy. 5 (Km. 20.5+)

The road in is 2.3 miles long.








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[*] posted on 2-28-2017 at 03:50 PM


DavidK, it appears on many of your photos that you can drive right on the sandy beaches, si or no?



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[*] posted on 2-28-2017 at 03:56 PM


You can drive right to the edge of the beach, often in any car. Some places may require driving in soft sand to find a camping location, so 4WD in that case. You will always see plenty of tire tracks before you arrive on the sand as the beach is often the only way to get to some camps or fishing spots and the locals use it as a highway. On the Pacific side, near San Quintin, the sand is flat and hard allowing any car to drive on it, or even busses!






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[*] posted on 2-28-2017 at 04:20 PM


David, thanks again for the photos and info! I appreciate it greatly!

I think I've decided to give your Shell island/San Felipe area a go. We're planning on 4-5 days down south, so that'll be great. I'm hoping it's not too packed with the national holiday, but it'll be what it'll be. :cool:
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[*] posted on 2-28-2017 at 06:12 PM


Well, if the tide is out far enough (and especially near the Quarter Moon phases), you drive right out to the beach. You will find few if any people there, and usually never any over-night campers. Even if you do, the island is four miles long, so you have many crowd-free options. ENJOY!

[and if you are not used to sand driving, if you begin to bog down: stop instantly].

Don't spin your tires at all! Let more air out of your tires... look for them to bulge. Get a low-pressure gauge. 8-12 psi range for some truck tires is necessary. Try 15-20 first, 4WD-HIGH, as low range may just want to spin you down... too much power. It's about floatation, not power. If you have traction control options, I use mine and the limited slip really improves the drivability.

I made a test to show how just lowering the pressure was like night and day...

Left the tires at street pressure (32 psi then, 2010 stock tires, new truck):

2010 Post:

We returned to our favorite beach in Baja last Saturday (July 17, 2010) with a heavy load of camping gear including two full ice chests and 6-gallon tank of water.

Two weeks earlier we discovered with the heat and heavy load, the Traction Control in H4 alone couldn't keep us moving (as it had last winter with a light load).

Again, we did cross the expanse of sand to the water's edge, but the truck struggled in the sand. I also tried A-TRAC in L4, but it still wanted to dig in. Once the air pressure was dropped to 15 PSI, I moved on with ease (in H4).

I took photos where I deflated the tires and seeing the two sides is pretty dramatic.







SHELL ISLAND, KM. 26


32 PSI the truck was digging in and moving slightly sideways on the steep beach. Once deflated to 15 PSI, the truck 'floated' on the sand and drove straight. I circled back to take these photos.











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[*] posted on 3-1-2017 at 09:48 AM


You will find signs and turnoffs for at least 40 camping places between just north of San Felipe and Gonzaga Bay. I once turned down a sand two-track that led to someone's casita. They asked what we wanted, and we said we were looking for a place to camp. They said we could camp down the beach from their house. They were fisherman, and we bought fish from them for dinner. Just sayin, there's so many places to camp - just check out a bunch of them til you find what suits you.
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[*] posted on 3-1-2017 at 10:22 AM


As wilderone says, nearly everyone in Baja is nice (why not, it is the greatest place to be)!

Most of the "Campos" are not camping places but are private home locations or places with lots for long term leasing.

In the new map/guide I am working on, I have been documenting only the camping places. If the signage on the highway is not clear, then I investigate.

My first research trip was from Km. 0 (south of San Felipe town) to Punta San Francisquito.

Trip Two was from San Ignacio to Loreto area (and west to La Purisima).

Trip Three will be (I think) Mexicali to San Felipe (so I can check out all the places north of town).... and then desert camping possibilities, like all the canyons to the west of San Felipe down to Matomi.

Once it stops raining, then I can work on the Pacific side.

Here are the Highway 5 camping places I recorded south of San Felipe. Again, if they are only home locations and not campgrounds or RV parks, then they are not included. Distance to camp from highway included.

Km. 0 is 6.1 miles from downtown traffic circle, left turn off airport road.
Km. 6.5 El Faro Beach (no name on lighthouse sign, just spray painted "Camping") 0.5 mi to gate.
Km. 8.5 Villa Marina RV Park and palapas 0.3 mi.
Km. 12 Punta Estrella Beach 0.9 mi.
Km. 20.5+ Rancho Percebu 2.3 mi.
Km. 26+ Shell Island (no services, just beach) 4WD only 2.0 mi.
Km. 32 Nuevo Mazatlan 0.5 mi.
Km. 72+ Campo La Toba 0.1 mi.
Km. 74.5 PUERTECITOS paved road: 0.2 mi. to Octavio's Playa Escondida road (0.3 mi. in). 0.9 mi. to Puertecitos camping palapas (go left after Pemex station).
Km. 82 Beach no services
Km. 83 Bahía Cristina
Km. 84.5 La Costilla 0.4 mi.
Km. 103 Nacho's El Huerfanito
Km. 105.5 Campo Tano (future home lot campo)
Km. 133.5 Punta Bufeo (motel) 1.4 mi.
Km. 143 El Faro 1.6 mi. No services.
Km. 143+ Papa Fernendez' Resort (camping) 1.1 mi.
Km. 147 Alfonsina's Resort (motel), 1.8 mi. in, first left after Pemex.
Km. 147+ Rancho Grande palapa camping, 1.2 mi., second driveway after Pemex.
Km. 149+ Camp Beluga 2 mi., El Sacrificio 4 mi.
Km. 156 Punta Final 6.3 mi.




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[*] posted on 3-1-2017 at 03:09 PM


David that is a useful list.
Thanks
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[*] posted on 3-1-2017 at 03:37 PM


De nada, Paul, wait to you see what we have planned to do with all the data I am getting!

In your opinion, is the arch (up Las Blancas/ Canelo Wash) worth the drive, as a 'natural wonder'?




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[*] posted on 3-1-2017 at 05:51 PM


The arch is unique, but no comparison the the US national park. Las Blancas arch and the Ventana are near San Felipe. So far the two are the only ones I have found. BTW, The Los Blancas arch seems to me as fragile.
Both are short easy drives and IMO worth seeing. Short hike is optional, But I hike to both.
I have a write up for both and will post
Late for Dinner I will post later.
edit
Not camping so I will make a new thread.

[Edited on 3-2-2017 by PaulW]
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[*] posted on 3-1-2017 at 06:53 PM


OK Paul, thanks! I may get to it. Not sure, but if I do go as far as Matomi, then probably.



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