Baja California Road Trip Week 1: Sensory overload in the best way

Ever since arriving in Mexico it feels as though time has slowed down. From the speed limits to the customer service, nothing happens fast around here. Mark & I always feel as though we’re moving at a slower pace than the rest of the world around us so we immediately felt right at home.

While I’m still digesting and acclimating to the wonder of this trip, I wanted to share with you what our first week has been like!

We crossed the border on a Sunday morning at Mexicali East.  We were casually waved through the border station and in a matter of seconds were driving down the streets of Mexicali.  The first order of business was to get some pesos from an ATM and locate a Mexican SIM card so that we could attempt to have some sort of internet connection during our time in Mexico.

From there we pointed our trucks South and headed for San Felipe.  Within minutes of rolling in to town we found ourselves parked on our first beach of the trip.  The nearly full moon had just risen over the Sea of Cortez and the four of us stood in awe that we’d made it, our trip had finally begun.

San Felipe, Baja California

San Felipe was merely a jumping off point so the next morning we were excited to get on the road and see what we would discover.  A gorgeous leisurely drive brought us to Gonzaga Bay and another waterfront campsite.  It was only our second night in Baja and we had a hard time imagining we would find a more gorgeous place to camp than this.  

Two days later we made our way to Bahia De Los Angeles and on the way stopped at a roadside restaurant in the middle of nowhere for our first taste of authentic Mexican food.  I’m happy to report, it 100% lived up to the hype.

A pristine stretch of shoreline along the Bay of LA offered an ideal place to park for the night.  Four nights in to this trip and I still felt like I was having an out of body experience.  It hadn’t quite yet sunk in that we were doing the thing we’d talked about doing for the last 10 years. 

It is an incredibly surreal feeling when the dreams in your head become the reality in which you exist.

The next day we landed in Guerrero Negro, not necessarily a destination but where we ended up when we were all ready to be done driving for the day.  We found a great little hotel with RV parking in the back.  It was far from picturesque but the hot showers more than made up for it.  Our friends, who are far more in the know than us, knew that Guerrero Negro was a hotspot for whale tours.  As it turned out, the hotel we were parked at offered tours and the next morning the four of us boarded a shuttle that took us out to Ojo de Liebre Lagoon where we would hop on a boat to go search for some whales.

Camping at Malarrimo Hotel in Guerrero Negro with neighbors from Switzerland and South Carolina.

I don’t have an actual bucket list but if I did, seeing a whale would be in my top 3.  The moment I saw the first whale crest the surface of the water my eyes filled with tears.  I have so much love for this planet and its inhabitants.  I had no idea what to expect from this tour but simply sharing a body of water with these creatures felt like something special.  Little did I know the next two hours would quickly become one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

We didn’t just watch the whales pass by in the distance.  Up to five at a time would swim up to our boat and check us out with the same level of curiosity for us as we had for them.  They were playful and engaging and seemed to enjoy showing off.  I gasped and laughed a lot, my mouth wide open in awe the entire time.  If our trip had began and ended with this whale tour, I would go home completely fulfilled.  And yet, our trip was just getting started.

As if the whale tour wasn’t enough, upon returning to land we found Guerrero Negro’s best fish taco truck.  For $1.50 each, I had the most delectable fish tacos I’ve ever had.  It wasn’t even up for debate, the four of us immediately went back the next day for more before leaving town.

The next day started with a variety of chores and errands and then it was off to Mulege.

It was a long day getting to Mulege and we were starting to really feel the toll of the sensory overload.  With everything being new to us and the language being completely foreign, every little task or interaction seemed to require more energy than normal.  At the end of every day we felt drained simply from all the stimulation.  The overwhelm of the beauty, the shock that we were really doing this, the nerves from getting used to military checkpoints, the language barrier, the constant math converting pesos to dollars and kilometers to miles and liters to gallons.  We were ready to stop for a few days, settle somewhere, and really absorb the wonder of this incredible trip that we’ve embarked on.

We didn’t love our camping options in Mulege though, so we continued on to Loreto where we would kick off week two of our Baja road trip.

25 Comments

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  • How wonderful! One of my most memorable trips was a two week road trip in Baja with my friends family the summer before high school.
    I’m so happy for you and a little jelly ☺️ the food the sites the relaxation the people ❤️ Are u going all the way down to Cabo?

    • We’ve barely scratched the surface, there is so much to see! And yes I agree, it’s great to see everyone wearing masks.

  • The pictures are incredible. As usual you made me feel right there with YOU!!! You touched whale!!! How phenomenal was that?!?!

  • We do nearly the exact trip every year on our way to Barriles- better spot for whales near G Negro is Ojo Liebre – turnoff is just a few K’s south of town- you can camp close to lagoon and get pangas there
    Be sure to hit TACOS & BEER in Cabo Pulmo and camp at Los Arbolitos just south of town
    Bout time you were back on the road

  • bahia de conception is a must. skip muleje. Go back and spend some time there. its the best part of the baja drive in my opinion.

  • Michele, your pictures & writings of your trip are fabulous. This should be on a TV travel show. This makes me wish I had been more adventurous but so happy you are able to this kind of travel. Will look forward to your next chapter. Continue having a wonder time. Aunt Linda

    • Thank you so much for your compliments and for following along! Just some food for thought…it’s never too late to pursue a little adventure in your life : )

  • What the crap!!!! You touched a whale!!!! That’s awesome!!!! Thanks for sharing and we look forward to more 🙂

    • Haha, loving all the exclamation points! I basically was an exclamation point embodied the entire time. It was one hell of an experience!

  • Incredible!! I love the huts at your campsite in Gonzaga Bay and the hammock set up! Plus the whales were stunning, really hard to believe how close you were to them!

    • The huts are called palapas and they are such an awesome amenity! Having some shade and a place to hang a hammock is so much nicer than I ever would have imagined!

By michele

About

Hi!  We’re Mark & Michele, a couple of modern-day nomads perfecting the art of slow, perpetual travel.  Our tiny home on wheels and slow-paced travel style allows us maximum freedom at minimal expense.  This blog is where we share our travels as well as our insights in to this lifestyle that we absolutely love.  Thanks so much for being here.

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