Winter in Baja Day 30: Experiences like these can’t be planned

LaPaz -> A Cactus Sanctuary //

It was an ordinary start to the day.  Cook breakfast, do yoga, take advantage of the campground’s showers before setting off on the road again.  The afternoon, however, was far from ordinary.

After an easy two hour drive south out of LaPaz and in to the mountains, we arrived at a cactus sanctuary run by a warm and welcoming man named Guadalupe.  When we chose to come check this particular place out, we weren’t sure if it would be somewhere we’d want to stay for long and right as we pulled in it felt pretty obvious that one night would be enough.  While Lupe was more than happy to let our two rigs park at the sanctuary for the night, it was nothing more than a small, dirt parking lot.  On the surface, all the place offered was a respite from the howling wind that was keeping us from going to the beach.

Being in the company of good friends made the choice to stay an easy one.  As long as we have good people to share our time with, we’re not as reliant on the location itself to be our sole form of entertainment.  

Within minutes of getting settled, Lupe was sharing the fresh fruit from a cholla cactus with us.  He pulled the unpeeled fruit from a tub of water where they’d been soaking to remove all the spines and cut them up on the table in front of us.  It was remarkably similar to a kiwi.  

Lupe, seeming excited about our decision to stay the night, informed us he had some errands to run and would be back in 20 minutes.  We self-toured the sanctuary via a well-maintained walking path, enjoying a plethora of cacti along the way.  When Lupe returned he had a grocery bag full of peppers and corn.  He said he wanted to cook some food for us and spend the evening together so that he could practice his English.  

Darci & Josh pulled together all the fixings for tacos while Lupe roasted corn and peppers over the fire and Mark experimented with making corn tortillas from scratch.  The sun was just beginning to set behind the mountain casting a beautiful soft golden hue across the outdoor seating area where we’d gathered for dinner.  Lupe’s mariachi music, amplified from a large speaker that he used as a seat while he cooked over the fire, was the cherry on top of this wildly unexpected experience.

It never ceases to amaze me how kind and welcoming the Mexican people are.  They treat us like family, no questions asked.  I can’t help but think of all the people who have responded in fear to hearing about our travels around Baja with questions like “but aren’t you scared?”.  To think of all the beautiful things in life we’ll never experience because fear holds us back.  There’s nothing quite like getting off the internet and meeting real people, from all walks of life, to remind us how good humanity can be.  

I’ll remember this wildly unexpected evening fondly for a long time to come.

The day in photos…

gear we love that was used or mentioned in this post:

All photos taken with the Canon R6.
The 28-70mm 2.0 is our favorite and most used lens.
The 70-200 2.8 is a close second favorite.

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  • I loved the cactus garden! You can see Lupe has a lot of experience with building fires and cooking with them! I think I saw his seat/speaker in the background. Ha ha! His truck is priceless!

    • Yep, that was his speaker! I got another photo of him sitting on it while cooking, I should have shared that too!

  • Yes. Mexicans are among the best people on Earth. And Baja California – especially the south – is among the finest parts of Mexico. There are so many excellent places and people and . . . wait for it . . . and food. Mmm. Thank you again for taking us with you and showing and telling so much. Mmm roasted chilis oh yeah.


We’re Mark & Michele, modern-day nomads perfecting the art of slow, full-time travel.  Our tiny home on wheels and slow-paced travel style allows us to minimize our expenses while maximizing our freedom.  May our unconventional way of life inspire you to design a life that you love.


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