Oh Mexico. Conception Bay, Baja Sur.

Drive 630 lonely miles (or not-so-lonely if you bring a 3 year old) south of the Mexico/San Diego border and you arrive, bug-eyed and a little seat sore in a desert paradise. Around hour 11, as you approach the Sea of Cortez, the road ascends the coastal mountains. Awaiting you at the top is  a breathtaking view and a well-deserved break from the preceding hours of desert landscape.

When I tell people that we drove 12 hours in one day with our just-turned-3 year old, they look at me like I am crazy. SAM_0009 Will you believe me if I tell you that it really wasn’t a big deal? And that we did it without using movies or an iPad? Don’t let a long drive deter you from exploring the world with your child and trust me, an iPad doesn’t have to be your lifeline. We had so much fun talking to each other, telling stories, singing songs, creating window art with removable stickers, reading books… she spent time gazing, daydreaming out the window. As a child, those were the times my imagination went wild. I still remember, to this day, the stories I created in my mind with the passing landscape.

My husband has deep ties with the rugged isolation of Southern Baja. 30+ years ago his parents bought a piece of land and spent subsequent school holidays building a home on this hillside in paradise.

What they have accomplished year after year, stone after stone, is an impressive feat. Every family vacation he can remember involved building this home, fishing in the Sea of Cortez, and exploring the volcanic hilsides, unsupervised (like real outlaws!), with his little brother in tow.

Because this beautiful spot in paradise has so much meaning to him, Peter wanted nothing more than to share this special place with our daughter.

SAM_0093 Once you arrive, the turquoise water and a horizon painted with rocky volcanic soil, cactuses, and fan palms create a unique and stunning sight.

IMG_1507This area sits on Bahia Concepcion (Conception Bay) and
is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful spots in Baja. The bay is approximately 25 miles long and varies in width from two to five miles. It is a spot with more to do than any amount of time you will have, as the opportunities for adventure
are endless. Be careful- once you get down there, you may decide not to come back.

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The adventurers that call Bahia Concepcion home are folks who want isolation and beachfront property.Some of the many activities include sailing, fishing, kayaking, camping, diving, snorkeling, spear-fishing, whale watching, cliff jumping, waterskiing, windsurfing, etc. If you can do it on water- you can do it here.

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I was surprised to find out as well that there is some decent hiking if you are up for trail blazing.

The thing that makes this part of Mexico so special is that it’s relatively undeveloped. There are beautiful homes but their electricity
comes from solar panels and their water is either drawn from ground-wells or trucked in. So even if you are lucky enough to stay in one of the homes on the water, a bit of it is going to feel like camping.

 

 

 

Many people bring their RV’s or car campers and set up a few feet from the water.

If you want to feel the rugged isolated experience of Baja but you don’t have in-laws with a house, you will feel right at home in a tent, camper, or RV. Another option is the Playa Frambes Lighthouse Resort. I only saw this resort from the water but it looked very clean and quiet. This would be a great option if you don’t have a boat or gear to bring as they will set up activities for you.

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I also checked out  Dive Mulege and it looks like they have a lot of organized scuba/snorkel/fishing trips for tourists coming without their own gear. If you have a kayak, canoe, inflatable boat, paddle board, and snorkel gear throw it in your RV and check out this great list of campgrounds.

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Plan to pack your own food with enough to last your entire stay. Mulege has some grocery stores but the items are limited to fruit, vegetables, and the basics. If you have special dietary needs and don’t want to subsist on quesadillas and packaged foods then start packing your cooler.

I don’t feel comfortable writing this post without mentioning the drive. While the road is in very good condition, some sections are extremely isolated and aren’t the types of places you would want to break down or get in an accident. Many parts of the road twist and turn, have little to no shoulder, and do not have cell service. We felt very safe but it would have been a long wait had something happened to our car.

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Drive carefully and be extra cautious when passing.  If you wish to do the drive in two days, we found some great spots.

We stayed at the Baja Cactus motel to break-up the long drive on the way home. There is a restaurant and another hotel next door called Mama Espinoza’s. I really liked their beef tacos. Email ahead to reserve a room.

Other options that my in-laws like are

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Once we arrived, our daughter lived like an island queen. She had her baths in the ocean, slept in her bath suit, and spent hours swimming in the warm salt water and digging in the sand. It’s an unplugged paradise for family connection and active rest.

 

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This little guy was living in the neighbors bathroom. Isn’t he so cute?!

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3 Responses to Oh Mexico. Conception Bay, Baja Sur.

  1. Lisy says:

    Hi there. My husband and I spent 6 months driving thru mex 10 years ago and absolutely loved it. Now, 3 kids later we long for a Baja trip but I’m not sure how safe it is anymore….. Any insight? Our children are 3,7,8. We would take our RV.

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    • Hi! Thanks for reading our post! So here’s what I can tell you. My inlaws (65 yrs old and 75 yrs old) make this drive 2 to 3 times a year round trip. So 6 times total. They go in a big nice truck. In the past 9 years that I have known them I have never heard them mention a situation where they felt unsafe and they have been doing this trip for over 30 years. Also, my brother in law and his wife are in Mexico surfing or fishing up and down this same coast almost once a month and also have never mentioned anything. I never felt unsafe on this trip nor on the previous trips without our daughter. From what I have heard, from my husband’s family, it’s the border areas like TJ that can be more dangerous. And even those still attract many US tourists. I would agree that just like in US cities or in other parts of the world, there is usually more crime in the urban areas than in more remote regions. To be honest, we left Chula Vista CA at maybe 3am and were driving through Ensenada before sunrise. I was a little nervous bc of headlines you hear on the news but nothing happened or even seemed remotely suspicious. I think the media highlights and sensationalizes stories about Mexico. That being said, I would always encourage smart traveling and staying extremely aware of your surroundings at all times but I would say that for any international travel and we have done quite a bit. We have been to countries that have imminent state department warnings and still never felt unsafe. My friend who works for the state department once told me that many crimes could be prevented if people were more aware and prepared. So I take that to mean trusting my instincts, never letting my daughter out of my site when we are at a gas station or stopping at a market… Just being a more perceptive that I would be at my local grocery store here in San Diego. Does that make sense? I found a great article about this http://uncorneredmarket.com/danger-map-world-fear-awareness/
      Hope this helps and again- thank you for reading!!!!

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  2. alofoss says:

    Looks like a blast :)!

    Like

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