Bahia San Luis Gonzaga is an incredibly serene and beautiful place, a real Baja treasure. Bahia San Luis Gonzaga is definitely worth a visit if you like warm waters, near perfect beaches, a lack of crowds and the beauty of a desert landscape. Gonzaga Bay is not the most difficult place to get to in Baja, but it is certainly not anywhere near the top of the list of the easiest places to get to. That situation will be changing, soon, (that is a Baja soon – meaning it may be quite a while) as the road from San Felipe is being paved all the way into Gonzaga Bay.
Bahia San Luis Gonzaga has one hotel, two campgrounds, a couple of airstrips, a new Pemex station, and three restaurants. Bahia San Luis Gonzaga is really two separate bays that are separated by a sand spit at low tide and look to be attached at high tide. A small community of Baja lovers have built vacation homes (there are a few permanent residents) or have trailers in three different locations on the bay. With the coming of the new paved road, from San Felipe, Gonzaga Bay is sure to become a more popular Baja destination.
When you get to Bahia San Luis Gonzaga you don’t have to make too many choices. If you do not have a trailer or motorhome and you are not going to be camping, you have one only choice – go directly to Alfonsina’s, the only hotel in the area. This is not the most sophisticated hotel in Baja, but it is very nice, clean and the service is excellent. They have 15 rooms which are located right on the beautiful white sandy beach. This is truly a great place to slow down, kick back and relax, Baja style!
Alfonsina’s serves up some really great meals, they serve really cold beer and the bar is fairly well stocked. They can also arrange fishing or diving trips for you. You can make long distance calls from the hotel office.
If you are planning on dry camping, there are numerous places along the bay to pull up and do your thing. If you feel the need for some basic facilities, Rancho Grande is easy to find and offers palapas on the beach and basic bathrooms. Out by the road, they have one of the nicest convenience stores in all of Baja (you can camp here, also). This is no small feat considering the location and surroundings. The store stocks all kinds of things you would not expect to find in this remote place. There is also a tire repair facility and phone service is available.
Note: If the Pemex station is closed or out of gas, just drive across the street to Rancho Grande and they usually have gas to sell out of drums.
Papa Fernandez is another small development on the northern portion of the bay with a few nice homes and a launching ramp. They offer camping, a small store and a outpost style restaurant that serves pretty good meals. If you want to fish, dive or just explore the area, you can sometimes make arrangements to rent a panga here.
There is another smaller group of vacation homes and trailers, at Punta Final, eight miles away at the far south end of the bay. Around the tip of Punta Final are some nice coves with sandy beaches that are perfect for snorkeling. There are still plenty of beautiful shells to be found on the beaches in and around Bahia San Luis Gonzaga, depending on the currents and tides.
Fishing in the area will produce yellowtail, sea bass, trigger fish, mullet, corvina, sierra, pompano, grouper and the occasional barracuda. The area is a frequent playground for dolphins and, if you’re lucky, it may be possible to see a whale or two. Whale Sharks are also a fairly common sight in the bay.
Bahia San Luis Gonzaga is one of those destinations that is to be considered part of “The Real Baja”. At night, all is silent here except for perhaps the sounds of small waves washing ashore. The stargazing at night is some of the best in the world, try counting the shooting stars. The warm days usually bring more of the same tranquility, except for the added sounds of the locals going about their daily chores or some visitors riding their ATV’s off in the distance. Occasionally, a small private plane will buzz the beach to let their friends know they are arriving.
Please remember to respect the environment and take out whatever you take in. This is a very special area and needs to be treated as such. Once you have experienced Bahia San Luis Gonzaga, you will probably be compelled to return. Hopefully, if everyone treats the beaches with the respect they deserve, the bay will be nice and clean when you return.
If we were going to make a Baja – Must See List – Bahia San Luis Gonzaga would surely be near the top.