Got back earlier this week from an amazing trip to Baja with 3 of my kids, my brother, and 2 of his kids ages 9, 7, 6, 4, and 3. I say that to hopefully inspire some of those ExPo dads out there with younger kids to take them on a journey they'll never forget. Interestingly enough it was exactly 2005 miles round trip door to door and thus...My Baja 2000.
It was the Fall 2010 issue of the Overland Journal that really cemented it for me. I had been to Baja several times and knew there were tours to see the whales, but the Baja Whales article really made the trip seem tangible, and I knew I wanted to take my kids someday. Spring break and some forced vacation seemed to line up perfectly and so we were off.
Preparations weren’t extensive…although I was pulling a Conqueror Base Camp with all my camping/cooking gear. Stock 100 Series Land Cruiser , Baja Rack, a set of MaxTrax for insurance (and they worked great!), and some Scepters to make sure we made it through some of the long stretches.
This was in Puertocitos where we planned to refuel and were on empty...good to we brought our own!
We crossed outside of Yuma in Algodones and continued on through San Felipe and Puertocitos. The road beyond Puertocitos is being paved and is absolutely beautiful. Some of the nicest in Baja without tolls. It’s a slow process but they’ve made it until about 15 miles north of Gonzaga Bay and Alfonsia’s. We spent a few nights on the gulf side and then crossed over and headed for Laguna San Ignacio. The town of San Ignacio is honestly one of the most charming little towns I’ve ever been too, especially in Baja. It’s an oasis in all aspects of the term, and there are plenty of locations there in town to stay should you choose, but we were planning on camping at Kuyima. The road out to the lagoon is also being paved, but still had about 20 miles of dirt to cover. The camping facilities were excellent; they have both cabins and camp grounds, very friendly staff. We chose Kuyima for the facilities and because they offered significant tour discounts for kids. But be warned that the Pacific Coast winds can be mighty strong; some campers in ground tents didn’t get much sleep. We did fine, but the trailer was rocking pretty good.
East vs. West
Whales: We woke up the next day to a pretty chilly morning. Tours typically leave at 9 am and it was still pretty windy. Because our group was so large and with so many kids, (we didn’t know how long they might last out in the cold) they offered to take us out later once the first tours had returned and we’d have the panga to ourselves. (Again, VERY accommodating.) So we broke camp and let things warm up a bit before we set out. Words can’t describe the experience. Humbling, awesome, emotional, exciting, beautiful… Hopefully a few pictures can add some idea of how remarkable it was to have been a part of this experience, and to have shared it with my kids. The young calves are just so curious and the opportunities to interact are amazing.