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Author: Subject: Recommended places to stop overnight driving south from Tecate to Mulege
BajaBuckeye
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[*] posted on 3-18-2017 at 08:26 AM
Recommended places to stop overnight driving south from Tecate to Mulege


Could someone recommend a good stopping point or two If I cross the border at Tecate in the early AM with my final destination being Mulege? Should I plan on three days driving or is it possible to do it in two days? We've got a month to drive the length of the peninsula so we're in no hurry. Just want to get to The Sea Of Cortez as soon as possible. Thanks in advance for any help!!!
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wilderone
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[*] posted on 3-18-2017 at 08:35 AM


If you're in no hurry, take 3 or 4 days. What do you like to do? Are you staying in hotels only? Does your car have a little off-road capability for sight-seeing? When are you going?
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[*] posted on 3-18-2017 at 10:38 AM


Jardines, San Quintin.

What a place.

What a garden setting.

What a bird sanctuary.

What a great onsite restaurant.

Reservations a must. Thanks to all here.
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[*] posted on 3-18-2017 at 11:18 AM


If you want to get to the Sea of Corez ASAP, take Mex 5 down. You're on the Sea of Cortez from San Felipe on. I think it's a prettier drive than Mex 1.

Alfonsina's at Gonzaga Bay is in a setting that is hard to beat for a stop overnight.

Note that there's 23 miles of dirt between Gonzaga Bay and Mex 1. It's not that bad.

Otherwise, Mex 5 offers the advantage of having less traffic, fewer trucks, but also has fewer little villages on the way (for good and bad). Watch out for vados and some sharp turns after SF.

If you go on Mex 1 all the way, Ensenada is a nice stop. So are Cataviña and San Ignacio.

Where in Mulege are you staying?

Edit: it's certainly possible to drive from Tecate to Mulege in one long day. Two for sure. But, if you have the time, take it and enjoy the drive and the stops.



[Edited on 3-18-2017 by BigBearRider]
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David K
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[*] posted on 3-18-2017 at 11:37 AM


A side trip (40 paved mi) to Bahia de los Angeles (many motels, cabins, campgrounds there), is an option that shouldn't be missed... at some time.



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[*] posted on 3-18-2017 at 03:29 PM


We will be staying in motels until we reach Bahia De Concepcion then beach camping. Would like to avoid Hwy 5 as we will towing a kayak trailer behind an F-150 and I'd like to avoid that unpaved section. We also will be driving from The Salt Lake City area which is why we're crossing at Tecate instead of Tiajuana. Where would be a good place to stop for the first night if we wanted to arrive at Bahia De Los Angeles on the second day?
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[*] posted on 3-18-2017 at 03:39 PM


Cataviña is about halfway to Mulege.
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[*] posted on 3-18-2017 at 03:59 PM


El Rosario is 230 miles from Tecate and 170 miles from L.A. Bay. Baja Cactus is next door to the Pemex (top tank here, next Pemex station is at L.A. Bay).



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[*] posted on 3-18-2017 at 04:10 PM


Buckeye, I'd push to Cataviña first night from Tecate. The hotel there is a wee bit expensive but worth it, and this time of year will be cool and inviting. San Quintin is a good bet, but going up the hill over the hogbacks in the morning is a biatch with the sun in your eyes, unless you dally a few morning hours and settle for Guerrero or even San Ignacio second night. The latter would be more amenable if you want shorter days and more ambiance, and a slower pace.



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[*] posted on 3-19-2017 at 07:38 AM


Jardine's for sure. Fantastic restaurant, clean rooms and a beautiful garden area.

About five +/- hours from Tecate and after dealing with traffic thru Ensenada and the farming area traffic you will want a break.

We usually stop again in San Ignacio. RV? We stay at Rice and Beans.

If not we stay at La Quinta. Ok rooms and they let me park my ATV and truck behind a fenced in area behind the office.

Short walk to the Plaza for great food or the restaurant at La Quinta is good, but can be slow at times.

As others have said, try to take your time if you can. There is so much to explore in Baja.

Enjoy
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[*] posted on 3-19-2017 at 07:59 AM


To find Jardines Baja, take paved road right at km. 1, south of San Quintin where the highway narrows. Turn left on the dirt road in a half mi or so. Pass Los Olivos RV Park.

In San Ignacio, I think Tucsonduner is referring to the Desert Inn (formerly La Pinta Hotel)?

There is a campground on the river, right side just after crossing, if that's all you need. I have photos of all the accomodations in San Ignacio I could see driving around town in my February trip report.

I personally think the La Huerta is the place to stay, and under $40, too. New restaurant open on the grounds and the market there is handy, too. Just past the mission plaza, on the right.







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[*] posted on 3-19-2017 at 08:52 AM


The Hotel Santa Maria in San Quintin is much nicer than Jardines and is the only hotel right on the beach; not impressed with Jardines as it's in the middle of nowhere and not so romantic to me.
Campo Archelon in BofLA is a nice palapa camp place with limited facilities.
Huerta don Chano in Mulege is a nice (and popular) RV park parallel to Rio Mulege going out of town.
La Cueva del Pirata in Camalu is an interesting hotel overlooking the Pacific on a dirt road out of town; a little difficult to find but a nice place to stay 1 night.
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[*] posted on 3-19-2017 at 09:00 AM


Stay in catavina. Everything else recommended here is atruck stop accommodation compared to Catavina.
The Santa Maria on beach in SQ is a bit more than a truck stop hotel, but is a semi-modernist ugly concrete building, very cold and unappealing.
Your on vacation, go for Catavina. Take an extra half day and explore the rocky areas about 4 to 10 km north of Catavina hotel, best part of the central baja desert.
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[*] posted on 3-19-2017 at 01:53 PM


Mulege is 2 days drive. Catavina is half-way. You can make it 3 days if you want.

People tend to think that destination is the same as "destiny", with fireworks and mariachi bands waiting there for you. It is not. Make it 3 or 4 days, plan to drive under 5 hours a day so that you could stop any time, enjoy desert and mountains, it could be that this will be your best memories, not the destination.

"Good stopping point" means different things for different people. For me it's fewer people, nicer views and not much noise, restaurant being the last priority.

Edit - PS.
You're right being cautions about dirt road # 5. Flat tire is a possibility. San Quintin or El Rosario is far enough, to get to Bay of LA next day. On a brief stop in LA off-season, there is 50/50 chance to get heavy North or West wind, so - no kayaking. Can't suggest any hotels. I would stay in cabins/cabanas in Camp Archelon, nice place, though not a 5-star accommodation. Book in advance, there are only 2 cabanas on the camp. There are upscale hotels too, about 4 times the cost.

[Edited on 3-19-2017 by Alm]
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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 10:41 AM


Hi,
Good that you have plenty of time to spend in Baja.

Guess this is a topic diversion from places to stay.

Having taken kayaks to Baja for many years, involving over 5000 nautical miles of self-support kayak trips in Baja, and having driven Class A CDL trucks and trailers, I would suggest:
.... Avoid a trailer at all costs for just a couple of kayaks!! Light trailers for kayaks are too fragile, heavy ones are too much dead weight for the weight of a couple of kayaks carried.
Small trailer wheels, with bearing and tire problems are no fun in Baja. Parts will be hard to find; you should carry complete parts from the hub/bearings/wheels to tires, and tools to rebuild on site. Parking and driving/finding things in towns is tougher also with a trailer.
Though you plan on driving pavement, road construction detours- like those between Constitution and La Paz- can go on for many miles, and be almost as bad as the dirt between Gonzaga and Chapala.

The point here isn't to be an agua fiesta, but to point out that it is good to ensure that in Baja the benefits of a trailer-perhaps from a powerboat or travel trailer- outweigh the limitations on mobility. Freedom to explore most anywhere on a whim, or with changing conditions is delightful- as David and others discuss.

We carry kayaks on overhead racks on the pickup cab and shell. Have done this with 21' doubles and 17' singles on 4WD Toyota Tacos. Our truck has Thule artificial raingutter brackets permanently bolted into the cab with stainless steel bolts.
For trucks, you just need to develop a system with 2 people to load/unload, for example:
Stand along side the vehicle holding kayak.
Taller person lifts stern onto rear shell rack- holding it 2 or 3 feet from stern, which gains a bit of height. Meanwhile bow person holds bow at or somewhat below chest height. Then you lift bow onto rack over truck cab. Done!
The side loader gadgets for kayaks are expensive and full of moving parts to shake loose. Also withouta trailer you can easily take the ferry back from La Paz to Mainland and pass back through Nogales, a much shorter/quicker return if you live east of California. It also avoids the dirt from Chapala north.
In years back we crossed at Tecate. However, the increased development and industrial ag growth has made that route less attractive. With the better road through San Felipe to Chapala, that is the best choice now IMHO. It allows more time from LA Bay south, in the real (though changing rapidly) Baja .

There are some quiet campos just south of Gonzaga bay for a night stopover. Gonzaga can be a bit loco with weekenders.
I would second David's idea of stop in LA Bay for some day paddling, fishing etc. Without a trailer, you can also take 2WD dirt road side trips such as La Bay/San Borja/ Rosarito.

If you are new to Baja, remember Semana Santa week is in April this year, with major impact on Baja beaches and roads. There is another recent thread on it.

Cheers,
Jay



[Edited on 3-20-2017 by jaymtb]

[Edited on 3-20-2017 by jaymtb]
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Alm
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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 11:29 AM


Agreed with Jaymtb. It's so much easier to carry kayaks on roof-rack, 2 of them will fit nicely.
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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 03:01 PM


I believe that the restaurant which is great at Jardine's is closed on Monday so don't stay there on Monday..
When we used to go thru Tecate it would usually be not quite 2 days to Mulege... depending on accidents etc.... understand the potholes are growing daily around Catavinia....
Algadones or San Luis are pretty easy crossings close to Yuma...
San Felipe to Guerro Negro is 250 miles with the 23 unpaved section.
Yuma to SF is another 175 or so...
have a great trip, plenty of places to stay in Mulege...




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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 03:29 PM


The pot holes are numerous from Chapala to the Eagle Monument, near Guerrero Negro, not just near Cataviña. That's 120 more miles of being careful!



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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 05:21 PM


I appreciate the advice encouraging me to not pull a kayak trailer to Baja but I purchased a Malone kayak trailer several years ago for the express purpose of not having to struggle to put our two fishing kayaks on top of our vehicle as we continue to get up in years. I've towed it from Ohio to Oregon and back with no problems so I would hope that it will handle anything that Baja can throw at it. Maybe that's wishful thinking. I'm pretty sure the trailer has sealed bearings and I do have a spare tire in the event of a flat! Wish me luck!!!
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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 05:29 PM


Any trailer get bounced a lot onBaja dirt roads. Frequently check all the nuts and bolts to make sure they are not loose during your trip.



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