Although convenient, our camp spot at Los Barriles was only temporary, and after everyone had enjoyed their morning beverages, campers moved on, agreeing to meet at the beach hot springs later in the day.
We stopped off in the town to shop at a small mini market. The store was actually quite large compared to other stores we had visited recently, it even had a small clothes section! We desperately scoured the isles, hoping to find certain items, which were proving tricky to by in small grocery shops. Fairing alright, at least we knew that we’d shortly be in LA Paz, one of the main towns of Baja.
We were soon back on the road, our Spanish audio lessons filling the van. Everyday our Spanish was now improving, however neither of us were ready for a full blown conversation just yet! We stopped off on the way to refill our water, spending ages faffing around trying to fill our shower, much to the amusement of the owner. With more water on me than in the shower, we drove the last fifteen minutes to La Ventana beach, find John and Ina already parked up with Emma and Luke. As Jerome and Meli had already visited these hot springs, they decided to head up into the mountains around Santiago. We agreed to all meet up in La Paz on Wednesday to surprise Jerome on his birthday.
We heard that the best time to sit in the hot springs was low tide, and so we made sure we arrived at just the right time. We were parked slightly further away from the springs, as the parking was leveler. We packed some basic items, including a bottle of white wine which we had been lugging around with you since Seneca lake, and then set off down the beach.
The springs are made from hot water which lays underneath the sand. You could feel the immense heat if you stood in a certain spot on the beach. The water was scolding hot, and in order to enjoy without needing a visit to A&E, you were required to build up a small area in the sea using big rocks, and them you had to work out a system in which the spring and sea water meet to create a perfect harmony.
As there were already some raised areas, a few of us dipped our feet in, screaming in pain as the intense heat burnt the skin.
“Not this one!” We agreed.
In the end, we improved one which was already there, and tried to relax, sipping on wine and nibbling on nachos with some of Una’s delicious homemade guacamole.
Looking at us from a distance, it probably looked very enjoyable, and at times we did get the water temperature perfect. Mostly though, it was either too hot or too cold, and too make matters worse, the tide was starting to come back in, dragging sea weed and little critters in with it. It was an enjoyable experience overall and was definitely worth venturing to. We ended up staying in the water as long as possible before heading back.
Aimee was acting incredibly weird, and I suspected that she was about to start heat. She was incredibly loud and couldn’t keep still, keeping us up throughout the night. Letting her out in the morning, she roamed the surrounding area, howling every couple of seconds with her bum in the air. Although slightly amusing for the first couple of minutes no one was happy an hour later. We had hoped to one day have a litter from her, but we didn’t believe it was right to out her through this on a fortnightly basis until we were ready. We also didn’t want her to get pregnant too young, as that could cause all sorts of health complications.
“We’ll have to get her done'” I said sadly.
“Yeah, there’s no way we can endure that constantly!” Willow agreed.
Our phone signal was a bit sketchy, but I received a message from out tenant informing me that the toilet was leaking at the flat. Not wanting to flood the flat downstairs, I set off up the hills hoping to find enough signal to message my mate, who said he would help organise maintenance in emergencies. With an S.O.S sent, I headed back to the van. Not able to relax until I knew that the problem was going to be sorted quickly.
As we didn’t have to be in LA Paz until the next day for Jerome’s birthday, we decided to make the most of the hot springs, driving down in John and Ina’s bus to save us walking. The tide was still quite high, and after spending a ten minutes trying to find somewhere to relax, Emma, Luke and Willow returned to the vans, whist Ina, John and I, stayed to try and build some areas under the water which we could enjoy as the tide went out.
We spend hours moving rocks around, enjoying the waters for ages, before shifting to a new spot. We definite had susses out a strategy for perfect hot spring architecture. Allowing just the right amount of boiling spring water into our highly complicated channel system, which we could shut off if temperatures rose to cooking levels. Willow eventually drove Ruby down and I prepared a light lunch with some veggie chorizo soya we had just bought at the market in Los Barriles.
I spent much of the afternoon, roaming in search of signal to get an update on the toilet situation. Eventually returning to find Willow and Ina cooking. Not in the water but apparently the sun. Even though it was cloudy, their skin was bright red, clearly showing the effects of the high UV which they were totally unaware of.
As late afternoon approached, we knew that it was time to move on. I was so pleased that we stayed to enjoy the hot springs for an extra day. It is such a strange experience to feel the hot remnants from below the ground, one that I would definitely seek out in the future.
Our friends David and Katy had told us that they had camped on a remote piece of land near La Paz, and they were able to swim out to whale sharks swimmin in the La Paz Bay entrance. As people were considering paying for a tour in La Paz, we felt it was worth a try seeing if we too could find some to swim out to for free.
We said a temporary goodbye to Emma and Luke, who decided to stay at La Ventana for some alone time. They would meet up with us again the next night in La Paz.
So we set off, with John and Ina following behind. It was amazing how quickly our camper family grew, but people had not forgot the enjoyment owning a whole beach to themselves, even if it was temporary.
The La Paz point was only an hour and a half away, and thankfully to majority of the drive was on decent road. Passing some scrap yards along the way, we joked about how amazing it would be to spot an old VW in desperate need of attention. Literally about five minutes later, we drove past a yard, with a blue bay window sat wasting away amongst other wreckages.
“No way!” We cried in unison.
As I said, most of the drive was down fairly recent tarmac. However, to get to the point, we had half an hour of washboard road to drive along. Having experienced John and Ina’s bus on the bumpy track down to the hot springs, my heart sank when I realised who bad the last part of the journey would be for them.
The point is a narrow piece of land, separating the bay and the Gulf of California. Driving down the last section, we were relieved that the worst of the washboard was behind us. Although it was a dead end road, we didn’t fancy parking on the road, knowing at some stupid time in the early morning, some local would speed past, ignoring the damage they were doing to their suspension. Finding a small off road section big enough for our two vans, we pulled over and unpacked. Aimee had finally seemed to have calmed down and so we let her out to explore the surrounding bushes.
We received a message from Ola and Rachel on the group chat. They had put a big drive in and they wanted to camp with us. Just after we had lost the light, we could see their headlights in the distance, and heard the banging of their suspension as they too experienced the joys of the washboard track.
Our family was growing once again, and tomorrow we would take our boards out into the sea in search of a free whale shark experience, before hitting La Paz to paint the town red for Jerome’s birthday.