Mexico is so varied and so incredibly underrated, especially by its neighbors to the north. Steller beaches, incredible food, mountains, jungle, and wonderfully friendly people.
Despite the horror stories on the news and the numerous questionable looks we received when we talked about our camping plans in Mexico, we never had a problem. Mexico is fabulous. Granted we were smart about it, no driving at night, we drove a vehicle that was common (didn’t stand out), and spoke spanish when we could.
We saw no decapitations, we weren’t caught in the crossfire of a narco coup d’etat, but we did stay away from sketchy alleyways in “bad” parts of town, just like we did in Washington, D.C. Remember the summer they put the DC neighborhood of Trinidad under effective marshall law? No? Guess it wasn’t on the news as much as Mexican gang violence. But I digress. We can’t wait to go back to Mexico. We loved it.
As we are preparing to send out car on a cargo ship to South America (Cartegena, Colombia) we are looking back on our time in North and Central America. Inevitably, our hearts go back to Mexico. So, with that, here are our top camping spots that we plan to go back to when we inevitably visit Mexico again.
Baja California, Mexico. It’s incredible. And for its incredibility (that’s a word, right?) it gets it’s 5 of the top 12 to itself. (For the other 7 camp spots on Mainland Mexico, click here.)
1.) Bahia Conception- Fantastic people in the perfect bay, with perfect water, and with perfect clams for the picking at the waters edge. We spent almost a week here and had hard time leaving. The nearby town of Mulege has shrimp tacos that have been permanently ingrained into our taste bud memories.
Talk about camping close to the water…
And an early morning SUP…
2.) Los Frailes- On the East Cape, as the southeast portion of lower Baja is known, Frailes is a boondocking (free camping) beach with beautiful scenery. There is a fish camp on one end of the beach, so their is no shortage of seafood, but it is otherwise fairly isolated. We were awoken one morning by the splashes of schools of manta rays jumping into the air, perhaps 15 feet from shore.
And the sunsets were pretty great too…
And the early morning manta rays…
3.) Tecalote- Another boondocking spot, Tecalote sports beachfront camping and great views of the Isla Espiritu Santo, a breeding area for Sea Lions. There was a great little bar 50 yards from the camp area, and since the beach was located 20 minutes from the small city of La Paz, you have easy access to supplies.
Our breakfast table…
4.) Aguas Caliente- Our favorite non-beach campsite, located in the interior of the East Cape. Another boondocking spot (see the trend?), the Aguas Calientes camp area sits in a striking canyon, complete with a hot spring fed pool, and a hiking trail that leads to plunge pools and waterfalls.
And the Canyon, something magical about this place…
And around the corner to the left… you find this
And one last pic of this canyon..
5.) Bahia Los Angeles- A beautiful bay on the Sea of Cortez. Mountains plunge into the calm, clear water and make for dramatic sunrises. The Mexican government invested some money into the road out to the bay thinking they could attract some yachties (and their money) by building a large marina in the protected bay. There is a small marina, but nothing like the original plans. All ok by us. The town is small, the water crystal clear, and the landscape spectacular.
We stayed here early in our trip and were still finding our camping feet so we opted for a managed campground rather than a boondocking location.
Our camp spot at Daggett’s Campground…
And of course, an early morning SUP. Check out how clear that water is!
And that concludes our favorite Baja camp spots. But we know there are plenty more left to discover. Can’t wait to go back.
Also, you really can’t talk about camping in Mexico without mentioning the camp guide commonly referred to as the “Bible”: Camping Mexico’s Baja. Appropriately, the authors’ last name is Church. This book is so on point. I won’t go back without it. All these spots are mentioned in the book. It has great directions, great descriptions, and great destinations (all those off-the-beaten-path spots too). We used it exclusively for our time there.
There is also a mainland Church’s camping book that we foolishly didn’t buy before leaving the US. After Baja we realized how vital this book would be and thus began the epic search… we eventually found a campground owner that had a copy that gave it to some campers that were planning to eat breakfast in a town near us. After a few awkward “Hi, do you have a book for me?” inquires to some random gringos at a restaurant, we found our dealer, book dealer that is. Money and book were exchanged table side and we finally had our “bible.” Whew. That was close.
Stay tuned, next up… Our favorite Mainland Mexico camp spots!