Winter in Baja Day 41: Returning to Rancho San Dionisio

La Ribera -> San Dionisio //

Sure enough, the locals came to party last night.  That’s always the risk when camping on a beach near a populated area but we were in need of a place to sleep and hoped for the best.  Luckily it didn’t last all night but for a few hours the music was loud and the hooting and hollering even louder.  Interestingly enough, what did make noise all night long were the whales.  Every few minutes an explosion of water could be heard in the distance as a whale would breach and come crashing back down to the surface.  Laying in bed, in the middle of the night, listening to whales breach was certainly a first for me.

After a slow start to the day we ran errands around the strange town of La Ribera.  We can’t quite put our finger on what makes this place peculiar but part of it has to do with all of the construction projects, some of which are currently being worked on and others that look entirely abandoned.  

A short drive south takes us to Santiago where we stop for lunch at Restaurante Pericu and enjoy far more food than there is room in our bellies before continuing on to our destination 25km in to the mountains.

Last year we spent four days at Rancho San Dionisio and it was one of the most memorable experiences of our entire winter in Baja.  So good that I was hesitant to return for the bar had been set so high.  When we arrived the ranch was nearly full with fellow travelers but Clarence graciously offered us three different options for places to park.  True to our style, we chose the spot hardest to get to but with the most privacy and best views.  Mark, embracing his “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” approach, was a total pro in carefully getting the truck and trailer turned around within an area offering little margin for error and then reversing through a winding, narrow path all the way to the other side of the property where he eventually tucked us neatly in to our chosen spot.  With only inches to spare, he cleared shrubs, trees, rock perimeters, and other vehicles while guests watched and commented in amazement, I simply stood back and smiled knowing this was just another day for Mark.

After getting settled it didn’t take long for me to be swept away by the peace and serenity that is this remote ranch in the Baja backcountry.  It has something special, something hard to name, that sets it apart from anywhere else we’ve ever camped.  When we set out for a short walk down to the stream, we came upon four horses bathing in the water.  The afternoon glow of golden hour lighting them up as though we’d stumbled on to the set of a movie.  We’d arrived no more than an hour earlier and the magic of San Dionisio was already on display. 

As darkness of the desert night settled in, crickets and frogs began their serenade, Mark retreated to a hammock, and I fell in to a slumber of utter contentedness.  

Drone photos taken with the DJI Mini.
Land- based photos taken with the Canon R6.

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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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