Never fear. We are not actually living in Los Barriles. We did, however, end up spending more time there than any other place in Baja. More than three weeks during three different time periods. So I guess, basically, we were living in Los Barriles!
It has been quite amusing to us these last three months, to listen to the judgement imparted by fellow travelers and ex-pats, alike. If you speak to someone from X town they judge Y town on being “too gringo”, “too remote”, too… whatever. Everyone seems eager to judge everyone else’s choice of favorite spot.
Los Barriles is often berated for being too gringo. What we want everyone to know is that yes, Los Barriles does have an active gringo population. But part of what that gringo population does is start a very active recycling program. They also sponsor spay/ neuter days every single Wednesday. They offer up inexpensive movies in the park once a week and a fantastic farmers market on Saturdays. And, when we sat at happy hour overlooking the beach at our campground and saw a lovely little dog with an injured leg come walking up the beach, three of the ladies went down to greet her while their husband drove his jeep around so they could gently lift the injured dog in and take it to the vet at their expense. These people care about their town.
All of these things, and more, are what brought us back to Los Barriles several times. We knew we had three months in Baja, more than many travelers. And, while the empty beaches and remote arroyo’s are wonderful. I will be honest and say that after awhile we just wanted to spend time in a place that was not only beautiful but also comfortable and, yes, easy. A place where we could work online, enjoy a fantastic beach, and also wander down the street for dinner for an evenings entertainment. A place where a wander down the street brought us to a concert with Miguel de Hoyos, one of the most amazing Spanish guitar players we have ever heard.
Martin Verdugo’s campground is absolutely one of the best run in all of Baja. Martin is a man on the job and we would see him out and about by 6am each day and still doing a final drive-around late in the evening. The property is large for sure. It is not rustic. But the bathrooms are clean with excellent showers. The laundry rooms actually have working appliances. The popular hotel rooms are clean and orderly.There is a pool overlooking a gorgeous beach, sitting next to the happy hour beach bar.
The town itself offers up several good local grocery stores and, if you are in the mood for a splurge and just REALLY NEED a touch of home (or Asia 🙂 ) the market on the main road can cure a bout of homesickeness with Tillamook cheddar, amazing freshly made baguettes, jasmine rice, fish sauce or imported chocolate.
As with many places we briefly called home, Barriles has a very devoted and active group of loyalists who would not consider staying anywhere else. We have to admit, we get it.
A fellow overlander remarked that Los Barriles was like Florida, and while he liked Florida, he was looking for a different Baja on the East Cape. And to that I say great! We liked the East Cape too. We loved the endless free beach camping. We loved starlite nights with no one else around. It’s just that we also liked to leave those beaches and take a hot shower before settling into Verdugo’s rocking chairs with a cocktail to watch the sun set over the sea.
In our time in Los Barriles we came to appreciate the local artisans, the gorgeous beach, and the sense of ease that brought us back after Jim got salmonella in Cabo. It brought us back again after a few days free camping on the East Cape.
Although we are now ending our time in Baja…. if circumstances ever were to cause us to return, I have no doubt Los Barriles would once again call us home.