Bahia de Los Angeles Baja
The first view of the Sea of Cortez, from the road leading into Bahia de Los Angeles, is considered by many to be one of the finest vistas in all of Baja. The rugged mountains and desert with their vast array of tall Ciros and Cardon cactus offer a sharp contrast to the deep blue water of the bay and the islands that lie offshore. The extraordinary, natural beauty of the area is undeniable and will likely stay with you long after leaving.
Bahia de Los Angeles, also called Bay of LA, is not quite what you would call a town, it’s more like a very large fish camp with a lot of amenities. It doesn’t have a full-blown supermarket, but there are several small grocery stores that provide enough inventory so that you are able to stock up on the basic necessities.
It seems like progress is unstoppable, even in the remote areas of Baja. What the local residents have now, which was absent until just a few years ago, is not one gas station, but two. Bahia de Los Angeles existed for years on generator power but progress has brought 24-hour electricity (of course, there are sporadic outages) to the area. Municipal water is (as always) scarce and is dispersed sparingly. There is long-distance telephone service available and Internet access is available in many locations.
The attraction for visitors, along with the extremely tranquil setting, is the proximity to the Sea of Cortez and all the activities that come with the peaceful, glassy waters. The incredible fishing is one of the major reasons most people travel here, it is, after all, not a casual two or three-hour drive for most tourists. Kayaking is also very popular in the area and quite a few of the motels and RV parks rent them out at reasonable rates. Fishing, diving, snorkeling, or sightseeing trips, are easy to arrange. If possible, try to deal directly with the boat owner for the best possible rate.
If you have come to fish, as most visitors do, your odds of doing well are very good. Bahia de Los Angeles is famous for the amount of yellowtail caught in the local waters. The bay also offers up bass, cabrilla, barracuda, sierra, roosterfish, needlefish, skipjack, and grouper. In the summer, a bit farther out, you might even come across some marlin or sailfish. In late summer, when the water gets really warm, the area can produce some pretty good dorado action.
Whales are frequent visitors to the outer bay. In the summer months, the area is visited by whale sharks, which are actually the biggest fish in the sea. If you are visiting in the summer (June – Nov.), ask around about their presence. A close-up encounter with a 50-foot whale shark is something that will not soon be forgotten. You can hire pangas from the local fishermen to search them out. Take cameras whenever you are on the water in Bahia de Los Angeles, as you never know what you are going to see.
There are sixteen islands in and around the bay so the snorkeling, diving, and just plain exploring are usually every bit as good as the fishing. There are sea lion colonies on some of the islands. It is also a great place to take your jet skis with lots of “usually” glassy water to play on.
If you bring your own boat, there are a few places to launch. However, be warned…winds in the Bahia de Los Angeles area can whip up quickly and can be rather strong. Northerly winds, as well as a strong Westerly, can suddenly make the bay “a not so pretty” place. Caution is the key here. Check with the local fishermen at Guillermo’s, Casa Diaz, Dagget’s, or any of the launching ramps. You may not want to leave your boat in the water overnight.
The town square has a large bandstand in the center and faces the city hall. A good clean but basic medical clinic is located beside the town square with a 24-hour physician available for a nominal charge. The clinic does not have all of the latest, or the very best, equipment, but the doctors seem to be truly dedicated and are not too proud to tell you if an injury is beyond their capabilities.
A small, rather basic, sea turtle hatchery/research station dedicated to the preservation of the species is located on the beach just north of town. It is open to the public (when it’s open) and the work they do is great stuff. You can view turtles of various ages in the 3 large tanks and get some idea of the difficulties of survival that sea turtles must endure. This is a great place to take the kids (if it’s open) and is deserving of a friendly donation.
The local museum is well worth a visit. The garden is regional and shows the names of all those cacti and plants that you saw on your way in. The museum itself is very well done and filled with local history and is a nice tribute to the early mining days and the strong families that originally built up this small community. The sailfish and dolphin skeletons alone are worth the price of admission, which is a donation of any size. The museum also stocks a pretty good selection of books about Baja, tee shirts, hats, etc.
There is virtually no organized nightlife in Bahia de Los Angeles, other than what your own group can create. This is no glitzy resort. Remember, you are in a fishing village where what little nightlife there may be, usually dies down pretty early. Occasionally, there is a dance or celebration of some kind held on the tennis court behind the Internet cafe.
I have a friend (an expert on the subject) who swears that they serve the very best fish tacos on the whole peninsula in Bahia de Los Angeles. He always has a difficult time remembering which establishment serves up the best, as he usually has to stop at five or six different places for testing purposes. Rest assured, there are enough restaurants in town to perform your own fish taco test. Anytime you order fish in Bahia de Los Angeles, you know it will most likely be very, very fresh.
The two hotel anchors in the area, Villa Vita and Guillermo’s, both offer restaurants, bars, and rooms with A/C. Villa Vita even has RV spaces. Hotel Costa del Sol is right on the main street across from the water and has a great little restaurant.
There are a couple of new hotels just north of town that are very nice, one is Los Vientos, complete with a restaurant, beach bar, and pool. This hotel also provides wireless Internet service, as do several others along the beach.
Camping sites are numerous, with several right in town and more to either the north or the south along some questionable roads in various states of rough. The camping in Bahia de Los Angeles, although plentiful, is mostly pretty basic. The best camping (for amenities) is directly in front of the motel rooms at Guillermo’s, these spots provide a view and access to the water. Daggett’s is a popular spot with large palapas at each camping site, right on the bay. A decent restaurant is open from late October through March. There are also rooms with hot showers and fairly comfortable beds. Kayak rentals are available here.
Nearby there is an old, well-preserved, mission dating back to 1762. Misión San Borja de Adac is one of the most remote missions in Baja. Some rock art located near the mission is also worth the time to explore. Tours can be arranged from Bahia de Los Angeles, ask at your hotel or campground. You can drive in (about 20 miles) on a rough trail from the main road although we do not recommend you try this unless you have a 4×4 vehicle.
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