A European filled San Ignacio & Punta Chivato

We have never met so many tourists as we have in Baja. There are not only a lot of Americans which is really to be expected considering the time of year, but also a lot Europeans. San Ignacio is no exception, as we go further south we seem to meet more and more, probably because the weather is improving. Outside the supermarket we met another two Brits who had spent the past 7 years travelling on the bikes, something that I admire but have no desire to do myself. Deciding to explore the town square we noticed another camper with British plates, and went over to meet Pete and Julie. They were lovely and it turns out the we would be following a similar route on our travels too, so no doubt we will bump into them again.

We went for a little walk around the pretty little square and its church.

Much to the delight of one of the vendors, we bought some homemade fruit pastries from a small stall which was for the local mission.

Funnily enough, Katie and David meet another person travelling from Switzerland so we went and ordered some tacos and continued to talking to Pete and Julie at the restaurant for a little while.

Katie and David joined us a little while later and after they had eaten their food we walked over to the other side of the square that had an ice cream shop. I don’t think we’ve had ice cream in months, especially as we don’t have a freezer in our van, so this was a bit of a luxury. I have now tried ‘moose tracks’ which is basically Reese’s pieces in vanilla ice cream, and it is most excellent.

We went for a bit of a walk around the town, which is fairly small, while we ate our ice cream, before deciding where to stay that night. There wasn’t really much choice in the way of free camping, the only recommended place being just off the town square. We decided to try La Casa de Cyclista, which is a place mainly for cyclists as you might expect, but will allow vans too. It had showers and Wi-Fi and was supposedly 100mpx a night, which wasn’t bad. Having driven up there, we spoke to the owner who showed us where we could park. One camper would fit in the driveway, while the other would have to park on the street outside. He also told us he wanted 200mpx. Not really fancying it, we went back to Los Petates campsite, which we already drove past earlier. It was an absolutely gorgeous spot, tucked in between palm trees by a lake.

This one was 180mpx a night but didn’t have Wi-Fi, it did apparently have hot showers on request though and kayaks. I was pretty happy with our choice; it was such a pretty place.

Aimee chilled out in the shade.

We spoke to another couple in a trailer tent next door, who told us that you could kayak a short way down the lake on the other side of the road and see where the spring came up on the bottom. This sounded like a good plan for the morning and David and Katie tested out the kayaks in the evening.

When the owner came around that evening to collect his money, we asked about showers and he told us he would turn the hot water on in the morning and we could pay then. It had been a very warm day, and we enjoyed an evening where it was not only warm, but still as we sat outside. We tried some of the interesting alcoholic beverages on offer here, including alcoholic lemonade which was actually quite nice, and some ‘fancy’ Strongbow with honey which I am slightly ashamed to say I liked!

We were planning to all go together for our morning kayak, but unfortunately there were only two paddles available. The showers were also a little on the pathetic side. They were indeed warm, but only one person could use it at a time as the pressure was so low. It was like being stood under a steady lukewarm trickle, just about enough to wash your hair. Still, it did the job and shower is a good start. As we showered last, Katie and David took the kayaks out first. We then went and swapped a little later on. They said they never reached the source however. While we went for a little paddle, they pack up and moved on towards the east coast again. We agreed to meet them either at the Santa Rosalia or out at our next camp spot, Punta Chivato. In the meantime, we set off in the kayaks.

It was a pretty little paddle upstream, with emerald coloured waters full of ducks and egrets. My arms hurt already, and hopefully it would be a bit easier coming back as we wouldn’t be fighting the tide or the wind.

We paddled around a mile until we reached the end, we never saw the waters get any clearer or any evidence as to where the spring was, but it was picturesque nevertheless.

It was also pretty cool to have the use of the kayaks included. It took us around an hour to arrive back at the road, and finish our little trip.

We turned around and headed back towards our camper, now all packed up and ready to move on.

This is what I have to deal with on a daily basis.

Having carried our kayaks back to the campsite we packed up and moved on. It was around an hour to the town of Santa Rosalia, one of the bigger towns on the peninsula. As we drove in we saw Mister Taro parked up at a local coffee shop and went to join them for a cuppa. One Chai frappe later, we headed out into the town to pick up a few groceries and have a look around.

This was the first time we had ventured inside a Mexican clothing store, and as you might expect it was incredibly cheap. We bought ourselves a couple of new tops for a few pounds each, before continuing our wander. We also ended up in an off licence, where we made the mistake of buying some more interesting drinks, lemon and pepper flavoured no less although we wouldn’t know that till later. I was also pretty proud of myself when I understood some of the Spanish that was rapidly fired at us when we went to pay, we’re definitely learning.

Having got what we needed, we started making our way out towards Punta Chivato. Continuing down highway one for a short distance, you then turn off into a small village and continue to drive out the back of it onto a gravel road. It takes a little while to get out there, but the road is decent enough. As you get towards the coasts you start seeing the large and expensive American homes built here. Clearly an ongoing development, there are expansive villas and small mansions here, the winter retreat of the wealthy.

Towards the end, you can turn down onto the beach itself and here there were already a few people parked up. I went ahead to check for the least soft route, and we nearly made it to where we wanted without getting stuck. There right at the end we saw Katie and David, and also Pete and Julie, parked up. After a hefty shove from all of them, we freed ourselves from our sand pit and strategically parked up behind their larger rig to try and shelter ourselves from the wind.

Aimee was not bothered by proceedings.

Always a little unpredictable, the only thing you can probably guarantee is that it will change. We arrived in a gale that was blowing the top layer of sand across the beach, but luckily by the time we went to bed, it was suddenly still. This is also the moment we made the error of trying the lemon pepper drink. I thought it would be lemon and spicy, and maybe that would be okay. But in actual fact it’s flavoured like sweet peppers, which is really not something I want to drink and very bizarre. We weren’t alone in our mistake, David had bought the other flavour and that was even more horrible.

We had been moving on a daily basis for a while now and the prospect of staying somewhere for more than one night was getting appealing. We gave ourselves a lazy beach day and decided to enjoy the weather. We walked down the beach where I naturally acquired a lot more shells, and we both acquired sunburn. It seems that the mid-morning sun here is very strong, compared to the midday sun I’m more used to.

It was also the first time I had been swimming since the east coast, I can’t say that the water was warm and it’s one of the only time where I’ve felt warmer getting out of the water. Still, it was refreshing and very easy swimming as it was so salty you could float easily. Swimming now is also improved by the fact that we can shower afterwards, as I can’t stand being salty. Drying off on the beach in the sun afterwards, while reading by book, it occurred to me that this is definitely the life.

Pete had offered us the use of his fishing poles that afternoon, so once the sun had passed its peak, we headed out to the rocks. David had his own fishing rod, while we have our little free one and the Pete’s two proper rods. Katie taught me how to actually cast the line as I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. The first time I actually managed to chuck it out properly I also got it stuck on a rock. Having spent a long time trying to free it, we finally decided we would just have to pull the line until it breaks and use a new lure. Luckily for us though, Lee pulled it much harder than I would have thought possible for the line to withstand and it came free. From then on I was a lot quicker winder it in, but still managed to catch my fair share of seaweed.

David actually managed to catch a fish, and after repeatedly stabbing it finally managed to kill it, which was a lot harder to do than I thought. Soon after this, they headed back to shore and we stayed a little longer trying to catch our own. I nearly caught two, watching them swim into the rocks chasing the lure, only to turn away at the last minute and swim off. The only thing I actually managed to catch was an accidental starfish. Lee had no better luck, just routinely dragged chunks of seaweed off the bottom. We tried our little fishing rod, but it wasn’t much good being so short and we decided at some point we will leave it and buy a telescopic one.

We also headed back to the camper and returned Pete’s rods. Julie then mentioned the magic words, “We should have a fire,” and Lee was off. We set about building ourselves a fire pit out of rocks and collecting odd bits of wood. There wasn’t all that much to burn out here, but Julie had some heat logs which made it worth the effort. They also very kindly offered to share out the meal amongst all of us, as the evening got later and we sat around the fire. Unfortunately for us, it was meat, so I went and threw together some noodles while everyone else had curry.

Julie treated us to some live music, which was pretty awesome.

We enjoyed some drinks and each other’s company until the firewood had gone and night was getting late, before returning to our respective campers.

The following morning our water tanks were empty and we had no beer, which meant we needed to move on. As we packed up, we were watched by a family sitting on the dune just above us. After a while the woman came over to accuse Lee of littering. She clearly had nothing better to do that morning than argue with a stranger over something that wasn’t even true, as she was very rude and aggressive. We took it kinda personally as we really hate littering, and never leave and rubbish behind. In fact, we often take other peoples too if there is any. Not the best way to start the morning, By the time she had finally flounced her way back down the beach with a demure looking husband following, we were about ready to go. We said goodbye to Pete and Julie, who we hope to meet again later on in our travels as we are doing a similar route, before braving the beach drive again. I took a good run up at the sand, and very nearly made it, but got stuck just at the last minute. Luckily it wasn’t too bad and a good shove from the other three got us out and onto the dirt road.

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