Camping Baja

We spent 87 nights in Baja, camping at 19 different campgrounds (4 of them multiple times) 87 nights. Nearly 3 months. Here is a list of where we stayed so match up with the stories of our time that have been flowing as we traveled. I’m working on a follow-up blog but the writing is coming slowly. Baja, although wonderful, took a toll on us in more ways than one.

Estero Beach RV Park ~ Ensenada, BC

We had stopped at Clam Beach en-route and planned to stay, but after driving on the toll road 40minutes into Ensenada and with darkness approaching, we opted for the closer option of Estero Beach. Pricey at $40 night (negotiated down), we were irritated at paying so much, and yet in our two nights there we recovered from our traumatic border crossing, spent a couple of hours streaming Netflix, and during a break in the storm on day two dipped in the steaming hot tub. Just what we needed. Close to downtown, it offers nice facilities, laundromat, pool, hot tub, beach walk, and even a museum. We ended up staying here again for our final night in Baja before crossing the border.

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Kiki’s ~ San Felipe, BC

Kiki’s is a much recognized name among travelers to Baja. Right next to Ruben’s and La Palapa RV parks, all three are walking distance to town and offer 2-story cabanas, great for relaxing, but honestly the top level is most often used for hanging laundry! A friendly staff and good facilities with hot showers, Kiki’s was pleasant, albeit tight quarters with an excellent beach. Lots of snowbirds make this their winter home. $25/night

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Papa Fernandez ~ Gonzaga Bay

We ended up here by accident. We had meant to land on the lovely beach much touted by Ioverlander followers. By accidently putting in Papa Fernandez’s coordinates instead (from the Church’s Baja book) we only realized our mistake after we had paid and gained entrance through the gate. A steep but short climb from the restaurant to the dismal camp with want-to-be palapas and pretty crappy pit toilets with no doors that at least offered up a view. The extreme winds that night made us a bit grateful we had ended up there, as we’re sure our intended camp, a couple of miles down the road, was most likely blown out. $8/night

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Campo Archelon ~ Bahia de los Angeles

After surviving the shit road via Coco’s Corner, we arrived in Bahia de los Angeles. Sadly, it appears the storms of the last few years have reeked quite a lot of damage. We were thrilled with Camp Archelon. Friendly owners, excellent palapas to block the daily winds, and miles of beach to walk. Nice toilet blocks, cabanas to rent, and a solar shower that, shall we say, leaves much to be desired in regards to water pressure. $16/night

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Kadekaman Hotel and RV ~ Vizcaino

A gem of a place. We stopped in Guerrero Negro for groceries but didn’t find the town especially appealing and headed to Kadekaman. Run by lovely Fabiola, and her family, it is a boutique hotel with an excellent restaurant, and eclectic feel. Made up of various buildings, each unique, it would actually feel more at home in Portland than in Vizcaino. The RV park is tiny and simple, but they just added a new bathroom block (they are moving and enlarging their RV sites) that are straight out of a first class hotel with tile and marble and the best showers in Baja. We stayed here 1 night en-route to Bahia Asuncion, another night on the return from the coast, and yet a 3rd night on our way back north. $10/night with no hookup, $15/night with water/electric.

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Campo Serena ~ Bahia Asuncion

We headed back to the Pacific to see what was happening in this small village. Turns out, not that much. It is apparently an up and coming town which Jim liked but I have to admit did nothing for me. Campo Serena used to be quite popular, but seems to have fallen in quality. Basically a dusty lot, with a few random hook-ups for those that want it, it does have a great lending library and hot showers in it’s singular bathroom. We were told that the owner was rarely around anymore and had let things go and I’d have to agree. $12/night

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Los Coyotes ~ Bahia Concepcion

Very nearly beach perfection. A gorgeous bay with calm, clear water, hiking and water activities, yoga 3 times a week, and bootleg movies on Monday nights. Full of snowbirds, of course, but a friendly crowd. Nice palapas scattered along the shore and local vendors will bring you, literally, anything you need from water to beer to veggies to fresh fish or empanadas. The one downside are the pit toilets, which are just ok. Planned on staying 3-4 nights and drug ourselves away after 7. $6.50/night with no palapa, $8/night with palapa.

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Riviera RV Park ~ Loreto

Very clean and well run camp right in Loreto. Two blocks to the beach and five blocks to the main plaza. Efficiently run by Yolanda it offers laundry, hot showers, wifi and outdoor bbq/ seating area. An easy place to stay to catch up on internet and enjoy meeting others while wandering to 1697restaurant for pizza and craft beer!!! (our first since San Diego) We spent a couple of more nights here on the trip North. $18/night with hookup, $16/night without, $11/night for tents.

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Aquamarina RV ~ La Paz

The winds kept us from heading to the point and we didn’t like the location of the one campground listed in the Church’s book. Thank goodness Ioverlander listed this gem. A small campground with just 15 sites and a few apartments to rent, run by delightful 83 year old Mary Lou, this place has bay view sites, walking distance to downtown, the malecon, etc. Hot showers and wifi. Expensive at $24/night but the location can’t be beat for a few days of city living.

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Playa El Sargento ~ El Sargento

Apparently, this campground used to be free. In recent years they have added bathrooms with warmish showers and water/electric and now charge $20 for an oceanfront site with hook-up or $10 For a non-hook up in back. The womens bano had a constant smell of sewer but otherwise was fine. The views from the cliff was fantastic and, in spite of the super sharp rocky beach and crazy winds, we enjoyed our couple of days here.

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Martin Verdugos ~ Los Barriles

We stayed here three different times for a total of a little over three weeks. Super convenient, Verdugos is a mainstay in Los Barriles. Walking distance to everything with a beachfront bar, pool, and rocking chairs. There is a small hotel between the campground and the beach and a restaurant on site although we never ate there and it’s not really advertised. $21/night based on a weekly rate, there are clean, hot showers and bathrooms, laundry, a book exchange, and water/electric/sewer. All in all, we kept coming back because it was just so easy. Great snowbirds to hang out with, weekly bocce ball tournaments and in town a weekly farmers market, some great inexpensive restaurants, and Wednesday night movies in the park. Big with kiteboarders in the winter/ fishermen in the summer. Great beach.

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El Pedrito beach ~ Surf Camp

Free beach camping shared with Here until There and The Vagabroads. No facilities but it was walking distance into a little store. A surfing beach with very strong undertows and crashing waves. Amazing sunsets. Free

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Pescadero Surf Camp ~ El Pescadero

Fantastic little place. Jaime has one of our favorite spots. Amazingly lush foliage with a refreshing pool, hot showers, and wonderful camp kitchen. The property is mainly made up of some very cute casitas (ranging from $35-75/night) but there is room for a few tents and just a couple of campers of truck camper / van size. $21/night with water/electric. Only negative is it’s nowhere near the beach.

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Cabo Surf Safari ~ Cabo San Lucas

Martin & Lara offer an Air BnB in their family “compound” right in downtown Cabo. Basically, there is room for a tent or two and a place for one truck camper/ van to park in the driveway. No water or electric but there is a bathroom/hot shower. Martin’s brother in law runs the pizza/sushi restaurant on one of the compound and his sister and mom make some fantastic empanadas in the center of it all. $20/night. A lovely family and a truly welcoming stay.

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Villa Sirena ~ Cabo Corridor

The best of the options in Cabo. And that isn’t saying much. An open, dusty lot but with nice bathrooms/ hot showers. Laundry which was broken while we were there. We didn’t have electric at our site so convinced the manager to (reluctantly) negotiate down from $21/night to $18/night. Stayed one night only because of the lack of camping options in Cabo area and shared it with a caravan of 18 RV’s.

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Los Frailles ~ East Cape

Free beach camping with just a line of palapas in Los Frailles. On one side of the fishing “village” were a dozen or so campers in an unattractive arroyo. On the other side is the basically empty beach with the palapas. Gorgeous bay, although the beach is a little rocky. Amazing star gazing, we spent our days watching the flying manta rays, baby seals and whales in the distance. Two pit toilets. There were no services when we were there, but the only other camper on the palapa beach said until that week he had been getting fresh fish/ veggies, etc from local vendors who stopped by camp a couple of times a week. Free

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Kurt-N-Marinas ~ La Ventana

We stayed here for a couple of weeks to meet up with some family and friends who make the trek here each spring. A small hotel and 9 site campground within a walled compound with a super friendly staff. Decent bathrooms with hot showers… when the water is working. Big camp kitchen which doubles as a restaurant a few nights a week. The front 5 sites are oceanfront, but never expect to get those as they’re reserved a full year in advance by the snowbirds. $21/night when we were there. I think it’s a couple of dollars higher in peak season.

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Rancho Santa Ynez ~ Catavina

Loved this place for it’s quiet on Easter weekend! What used to be a working cattle ranch is now mostly an RV stop for caravans and an overnight for some of the rest of us. It’s got lots of options for a campsite, including quite a few mesquite trees for shade. Great hiking in the arroyo and surrounding rock boulder area but watch out for the cactus. They are everywhere and they are vicious! (just ask my foot). Restaurant onsite although we didn’t eat there. November-early April the rancher next door, Ralph, stops by a couple of times a day to check and make sure everyone is doing well. $8/night. No hookups. Toilet block with 1 flush toilet and one or two water spouts in the main part of the campground.

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Cielito Lindo Hotel & RV Park ~ San Quintin

We had hoped for a two night stop but found this place not great, in spite of good reviews on ioverlander. What could have been a very cute hotel/ campground is pretty run down and not looking so well loved. A long walk to the beach. One toilet/ one shower for the whole campground so luckily only one other camper was there with us! Others raved about the crab in the restaurant but they were out so we just ate at camp. $10/night for hookups.

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And that is our Baja. We will forever remember the empty beaches and stunning water of the Sea of Cortez, the amazing $1 tacos, and the new friends we made.

 

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2 thoughts on “Camping Baja

  1. Your camp south of San Felipe is called Papa Fernandez, a Baja pioneer, a one night stay is not enough to explore. His children, grandchildren and great grands run the camp. There is no store, just the restaurant. This is the real Baja, but the road is making it not so nice. It’s not meant to be luxurious, just a place to enjoy nature. In a way, it sounds like you might have been expecting too much out of Baja, hope you have good memories

    • oh gosh.. thank you for fixing the name for me. As for the rest of your comment… you obviously don’t follow our blog so don’t know that we had a serious camper accident coming into Baja and ended up losing one of our beloved dogs in La Paz so whether we expected too much or not.. Baja will forever be bittersweet for us.

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