We woke on the outskirts of Punta Abreojos, feeling freshed and mischievous. We decided to ignore the warning from the other camper, and made our way down, once again desperately searching for a delicious sea food treat. Especially, if they often turned up on that beach already in a cage.
Sadly, like always, the beach was empty, although Willow did manage to find some more shells that she just had to take back to the van with her.
We set off, heading east to rejoin the main highway. We had just under a two hour drive to get to San Ignacio, a town with supplies and supposedly near by cave paintings. We were quite sure where we were going to camp, as there weren’t many free appealing sounded options in the town, but the next spots after that were on the coast, and would have probably added at least another hour on to our journey time.
Although the road to San Ignacio was tarmacked, it was still a perilous drive, trying to avoid the countless number of deep potholes which littered the road. At least we were following behind Katy, so we had an idea when the next potential death trap appeared out of nowhere.
We were releived when we finally rejoined the main highway, and the quality of the road dramatically improved. However, we weren’t quite able to relax just yet, as we still had a military checkpoint to pass, and the reviews on iOverlander weren’t great.
We approached apprehensively, as the reviews talked about encounters where they were requested to give over items in return for passage. Pulling up, we were asked to handover our travel documents, already more than we had to do at other check points. From there, the usual discussion occured. Where have you come from. Where are you going? Do you have any drugs or weapons. Once we actually were able to convince that we were in fact the most boring people travelling in a VW, we were waved through and completed our drive to San Ignacio.
Following a side road off of the main highway, we drove through an old European looking town Square and parked up at the local mini market. As we got out, a British couple approached us, as they had seen our English plates.
We learned that they were from Yorkshire, and we’re currently cycling from Alaska, down to Chile. And I thought we were mad for travelling in our small space. We wished them luck and handed them a card containing our social media contact details, so they could keep in touch.
Just as we were about to head into the supermarket, they stopped us.
“I’d better give you this back. Since we started travelling, we careless for those travelling in a vehicle. We only follow cyclists now.”
I told them that I understood, and if I passed them on the road, not to be surprised when I mowed them off the road!
We popped inside the mini market to replenish our dwindling supplies and then moved our vans around to the main square. David and Katy had spotted a Swiss plate on a camper, so went over to say hello. To our surprise, there was another camper parked in the square with English plates. This was definitely a first for us. Excitement and a small pang of annoyance passed through me, as we were nolonger the exception.
We were craving more tacos, after our fantastic experience in Punta Abreojos, and made our way to the restaurant where the English camper was parked outside. There was a couple sat outside, enjoying the sunshine. The weather had really picked up compared to our drive from Ascuncion to Abreojos. Assuming they must be the fellow Brits, we said hi. Their names were Pete and Julie, and they too were from up north. After a good chat, we took a seat outside and ordered some grub. I was feeling adventurous and so order shrimp tacos, instead of fish.
David and Katy came over to join us and ordered some food themselves. We were treated to another fine plate of tacos, with an array of sides to accompany the food. We really were in food heaven in Baja.
We finished our food and left David and Katy to use the WiFi, taking a walk around the square.
The square had a strong European vibe, resembling something you would stumble upon in somewhere like Greece or Spain. With all the Europeans currently located there, you could have easily mistaken it for Europe.
We visited a local stand just into front of the missionary. A very enthusiastic guy explained how all of the products were handmade by volunteers at the missionary, and how every sale helps support the locals once the tourist season ended. Everything looked delicious, so we bought a couple of pastries to help the cause. Taking a picture and promising to share their great work.
We met back up with our friends and treated ourselves to some local made ice cream and then went for a stroll around the neighbourhood. Although we weren’t really doing much, the weather and food had put us all in good spirits, so much in fact, that we decided to park up at a nearby RV park and actually pay for a night’s spot.
After trying to park at the hostel for cyclists (there were reviews on iOverlander for campers), we were sadly turned away, as there was no room. I was very quickly begining to dislike the cycling community.
We ended up at a gorgeous looking campground, located next to a spring fed river and surrounded by palm trees. The only facilities that the site had was a toilet and a shower, which suited us after the scorching day’s heat. It even had some kayaks, which we decided we would take out the next day, after speaking to an American guy who told us you could reach the source.
That night, the sound of acoustic music filled the campground, as we chilled out to a couple of beers with our European friends. It felt strangely comforting to be traveling with other people. So much of our journey before was us by ourselves, meeting up with new people from time to time. We had passed the point of small talk, and were able to just relax in each others company, enjoying the serenity of the music.
We woke eager to take the kayaks out in the morning. The site owner arrived to collect the night’s fee. We felt pained paying, but it was $150pesos, roughly £6. Not really a giant burden on our budget. He turned on the hot water for the showers, and so we all took it in turns to have a well earned washed. I was last to go, and had to see the disappointed looks on everyone’s faces as they returned. I soon learnt for myself the cause for the sadness. A small, mild dribble, poured out from the shower head, barely able to soak my head, let alone clean myself in. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick I suppose!
Clean, we at least had the kayaks to look forward to. As there were sadly only two oars, David and Katy went diary, whilst I was finishing showering. We followed once they had returned, about forty minutes later. The other two set off to our next agreed destination and we would catch up with them once we were done.
Once we had carefully climbed into the kayaks, we paddle up the spring fed river, fighting the slow current and wind that was going against us. The sun was out once again, and so we took our time, enjoying the free perk from our night of paid camping. Weaving around some fallen palm trees, we passed a small site on the side of the river, decorated with crucifixes and strange markings. Not long after, we reached a point blocked off by overgrowth and more fallen trees. No obvious way of passing and reaching the source. Disappointed, we turned around and headed back. I think we had pretty much reached the end anyway.
Back at the shore, we dragged the kayaks back to camp, cleared the last few items away in Ruby, then hit the road. Driving a little quicker than we had been recently, as we now had decent roads once more.
After driving past some swanky looking houses, presumably owned by rich American’s, we pulled up to Punta Chivato Beach, and were met not only by David and Katy, but Pete and July, the English couple we met at San Ignacio. Just as we went to swing around to park in between the two vans, we felt the back end slip, causing us to stop, stuck in the sand. Luckily, with more help from our friends, we were able to drive to firmer sand, parked just behind Pete and July’s gigantic 4×4 monster. Which was fortunate, as there was a really strong wind blowing, and so they offered pretty decent shelter. We just prayed that the wind wouldn’t change direction in the night.
Punta Chivato was a stunning little bay, with a small rock formation just at the end of the beach. Pete and Julie welcomed us and warned us about some crazy Americans at the end of the beach. Apparently, they came over to them as if they owned the beach and warned them not to post the site on iOverlander, so not to annoy the locals. Seeing as we found the beach spot on the app, it was probably a bit late for that.
“She should have told people to put bad reviews up!” I commented.
“Surely, that way, less people would want to visit.”
As it was particularly windy, we had a quick browse around the beach and then settled in for the night. We decided that we would stay more than an evening there, as we had been bouncing around quite a bit recently and we were all desperate for a bit of time to actually enjoy our surroundings some more.
I was up early in the morning, and being on the east coast of Baja, I was able to watch the sun rise for a change. Once Willow was up, we cooked ourselves a spinach, scrambled egg and cottage cheese breakfast and then had a stroll down the beach towards the fancy rich people’s houses. Willow still poking at the occasional shell. At least she was now prepared to exchange new shells for less exciting ones in her collection!
When we returned, Peter offered to lend us his fishing rod for us to attempt to catch some fish. Fishing had never really appealed to me in Birmingham, because most of the fishing lakes required you to through your catch back once you had caught it, making it seem a little pointless.
The wind had calmed and the sun was out, so I braved the sea, which although it was still a little cold, it became more bearable after a couple of minutes. It wasn’t long before David followed shortly after, prompting Katy and Willow to follow suite not long after.
After fifteen minutes of bobbing around in the clear cold water, we headed back to shore and took Pete up on his offer of a fishing rods. Finding a spot up on some rocks, Willow and I began tossing the line into the water, no idea what we were doing. David and Katy had there own rod and were clearly more talented in casting the line out, and quickly noticed that we had no idea what we were doing. After giving us stupid Brits a crash course in fishing, we were at least able to cast the line out, not that we faired much better.
An hour passed, and all we had managed to catch was a buckets worth of sea weed and a star fish. David had more luck, catching a small fish, which species I had no idea of. Although we returned empty handed, we had found the experience strangely addictive, and would definitely consider buying our own rod in the future. It could definitely save us a few Bob on fish tacos, if we could make it all ourselves!
As we enjoyed a fairly quiet night the evening before, we were all in the mood for some Socialising, so I set off in search of some firewood, once again fully commiting, bringing back enough wood to last us an entire week.
“I told you he’d bring back an entire tree’s worth!” Willow told the group pointedly.
With the fire blazing, we sat in a circle, eating our food, drinking wine and listening to a playlist that Julie shared with us. As it turned out Julie was a musician, and she had a heap of tunes to keep us entertained.
As the night wore on, and we worked our way through the wine, Julie let slip that she was a session musician and played the saxophone. Not only that, but she had it with her. Well, there was no way she was going to get away without an impromptu performance. After a bit of persuasive encouragement, she disappeared inside her van, reappearing ten minutes later, with a sax in hand.
We were then treated to a five star sax performance over some instrumental music from her speaker. None of us were expecting that at the start of the evening.
As the embers in the fire started to fade, so did our wine supplies. So we all bid each other good night. Sadly, we would have to hit the road once more in the morning, heading further south to the town of Mulegé. Our supplies were running low. Otherwise, we would of easily stayed with our new English friends for longer. After days of moving on regularly, it felt nice to slow things back down for a couple of days.