Glamping at San Ignacio on our way to Loreto and La Paz
A short drive through the desert to Ignacio Springs, an oasis. After settling into our yurt, I hopped in a kayak, paddling for two hours in the springs, while Steve joined road trippers of like age for margaritas and cervezas at the camp’s honor bar.
The next morning we visited the very small village of San Ignacio with a beautiful cut stone mission church built in 1786 by the Jesuits.
Rock art (cave paintings) of the Sierra de San Francisco
This region, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has over 400 cave painting sites, known as the best preserved and impressive rock art sites in the world. I cannot lie…we did not take the required 3-4 days, camping and riding a pack animal to view the 1000 year-old art. Our photos are courtesy of an extraction at the small Museo San Ignacio.
Loreto on the Sea of Cortez
Eight hours of driving through desert hills and cactus forests, saguaro (hundreds of years old as they grow tall, with many arms), and boojums (Dr. Seuss trees) gave way to vast and indescribable fields of giant boulders, volcano rubble and tall, stark rocky mountains. Rounding a mountain curve we were mesmerized by the first sight of the Sea of Cortez. The waters, crystal clear, turquoise, sparkle with mid-day sun.
A series of shallow bays and white sand beaches are examples of what’s to come in Baja California Sur. Bahia Coyote offers that…and a beer.
We stopped for two days at the beautiful colonial town of Loreto designated a Pueblo Magico, one of only 3 in Baja. (The other two are Tecate and Todos Santos.) Loreto’s Plaza Juarez, which stretches to the sea, holds the Mision Nuestra Senora de Loreto Concho, built in 1740 by the Jesuits. This mission is significant, not only for its preservation, but as the first mission on the Pacific Coast from Cabo to San Francisco.
A museum in the plaza contains colonial settlement artifacts and mission paintings from the 1700’s. The artifacts are in primitive rooms open to the environment. We are unaccustomed to seeing such pieces unprotected by natural elements, but a closed and locked antique door at night is as good as it gets.
We detoured to visit the tiny village of San Javier through the jagged mountains of the Sierra de la Giganta (appropriately named), a craggy, impenetrable wall of rocky desert mountains, and deep valleys. Cows, horses, goats, and donkeys are around the corners of the twisty mountain road.
The detour added two beautiful hours to our trip.
The Mission San Francis Javier de Vigge-Blaundo was built in 1758, and is one of the most well-preserved Baja missions (It has 300 year-old olive trees.)
Six hours after leaving Loreto, we arrived in La Paz (population 244,200). The AirBnB reservation is more than satisfactory. Our condo overlooking the Sea of Cortez in Costa Baja, is a very, very fine house.
Balandra Beach – in La Paz.
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