Cabo Pulmo – Southern Baja

A few years ago we spent Christmas with my parents and a friend in Cabo Pulmo, a tiny hamlet located north of Los Cabos on the Sea of Cortez side of Baja. It’s a national marine park and the only coral reef in the area.

We visited in December 2014. The diving was ok (we saw a few big schools of fish) but it was right after a hurricane and both the visibility and the reef were pretty poor. There isn’t much to do besides scuba diving in Cabo Pulmo, except for visiting two nearby beaches called Los Arbolitos and Los Frailles. We also spent a few hours driving back down to Los Cabos on a dirt road that hugs the coast. It was gorgeous and mostly deserted.


So, why not do it again?


I was positive that I’d found the perfect campsite, right on the edge of the national park.

Perfect, that is, until we hit deep sand.

This was our first big offroading scare. Feeling the entire vehicle sink into the sand was not a particularly enjoyable experience. It was also blisteringly hot and there was nary another vehicle to be seen. 

Chris went ’round and aired down the tires while I searched for rocks and branches to place under the tires. The kids were oblivious, happily listening to audio books in the air-conditioned truck. Those lucky ducks.

In the end, we got lucky. The truck reversed cleanly out of the sand on its newly deflated tires. Thankful we took the recovery class at the Northwest Overland Rally last Spring! This was not, I decided, the ideal campsite. We continued south.  

We eventually set up camp at Los Arbolitos (Little trees), just south of Cabo Pulmo. It was full of day-trippers that cleared out at 6pm, leaving us with a few other campers and a herd of cows. 

This is what our typical camp looks like after a long day of driving and water play: bikes out, clothing on the line, shoes everywhere, and life jackets on hand for big wave excursions. Oh, and a random hilltop cow. It was awesome right up until we went to bed: too hot for this Seattle family! Plus, there was a rooster onsite and I wanted to commit avian homicide at 5am the next morning…

The rainy season has just begun in Baja; consequently the vegetation hasn’t had time to change from brown to green. It was a lot prettier in December, if we’re being honest. Hello cows!

The road was also in better shape a few years ago. This time around it was several hours on a very washboarded surface – not exactly our favorite. 


It’s the poor road, however, that keeps this stretch of coastline deserted. Only a few miles south are the crowded beaches of Los Cabos. Here there are places without any homes or resorts, and only a surfer or two in the waves. That’ll change, however; the southern portion is currently being paved and I doubt it’ll be long before the entire stretch is developed. Despite the miserably hot summer nights, I love this part of Baja. Here’s to hoping that it stays wild for a few years longer.



Our other Baja posts:

Baja – Ensenada: beaches, puppies, and an animal sanctuary
Photos from Above – drone photography (haven’t lost it yet!)
Bahia de los Angeles – swimming with whale sharks
Southern Baja – Sun and sand. And sunburns

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