Posted by: Sailing Camelot | May 27, 2011

Thu May 26th – ROADTRIP!

Puerto Escondido sits at the foot of the Sierra de la Giganta mountains. It is a natural hurricane hole, well protected and surrounded by hills. Puerto Escondido lies about 18 miles south of Loreto, which is the nearest City. The Marina of Puerto Escondido has a small store, free Wi-Fi, a restaurant and a small Yacht Club. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all there is and the taxi fare to Loreto is about $35 one-way, so we decided to rent a car.

Looking at the Mooring Field - Puerto Escondido

The Marina at Puerto Escondido

The agent from Hertz Car Rental picked us up at the Marina and drove us to her office in Loreto. Tiare speaks very good English and has a great personality. Along the way she pointed
out various landmarks and of course the useful boat-related stuff, like where to buy propane and where to shop for groceries.

Once we picked up the car we drove just one block and parked to walk around downtown Loreto. This time of year it is pretty quiet, but the stores and restaurants definitely
cater to tourists. We found the Mission Loreto, originally called the Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó, founded in 1697. It is considered the “Mother” of all missions in Baja and California.

Mission de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó, aka Loreto Mission

The Priest's Home, adjacent to the Mission

The tourist shopping district is located just south of the mission and has large bush trees stretching over the road, forming a nicely shaded tunnel – much appreciated in the 95 degree day. We had lunch in a small restaurant, which featured various Mexican foods and fresh caught fish from the Sea.

Loreto Shopping District

This is what Lori looked like BEFORE the road trip... Her hair is now white!

After that, we decided on a whim to head west into the Baja Desert and visit the town of San Javier. As we left Loreto and turned off the main highway we saw the Baja Desert in all its beauty and starkness. It is hard to imagine anything living or growing out there, but the land had various kinds of grasses, bushes and the ever present cactus. The desert hills and mountains are the most prominent features, with odd shapes and flat mesas with colors ranging from brown to brilliant reds.

Mountains of the Sierra Giganta

The Prettiest Mountain in the Desert

A medium size Cactus

As we drove the two lane highway we saw construction ahead and then realized that although the paved road ended, the construction workers were waiving us through. It seems
that only a stretch of about 20 kilometers of the road to San Javier is completed, after that it becomes nothing more than a fire trail, occasionally crossing dry Arroyos.  This is definitely not the place you want to break down, but it was fun cruising along the desert.  Another great adventure!

Am I really supposed to squeeze past you?


We really needed a 4 wheel drive here, not a small car!

As we approached San Javier we noticed painted white rocks marking the side of the road, which was still unpaved. Around the next corner we came to a large arched gate and once
inside realized the whole town was paved in cobble stones. We followed the signs and drove down a long street, which ended at the Mission.

Almost there!

At last! Misión San Javier

Quite impressive! Definitely worth the trip.

Mission San Javier -actually Misión San Francisco Javier de Viggé-Biaundó – was completed in 1758 and is considered a Mecca from many of Mexico’s Catholics.

Mission Style Naved Ceiling

The Altar

The return trip seemed somewhat faster, maybe because this time Tom was driving at breakneck speed… Along the way we stopped to see the Cave Paintings, situated in what
appeared to be an oasis in the desert.

The Arroyo at the Cave Paintings site

Cave Paintings site

The area has an arroyo (small river) with trickling water, keeping most of the plants and palms green. Although there is no consensus on the reason or meaning of the cave
paintings, all agree they were made hundreds of years ago by the indigenous people.

The Mysterious Paintings

I would really like to know what this means

While admiring the cave paintings we noticed two Turkey Vultures eye balling us from a distance. As we moved they would hop from one cactus to the next, following us… We
started to wonder if they knew something we didn’t. ..

So graceful in flight, yet so ugly when perched on a cactus staring at you...

Are you comfortable up there. buddy?

We finished our day in Loreto shopping at the local grocery store. We were very surprised to see the shelves stocked with everyday American goodies like Skippy Peanut Butter
and Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. It further confirmed that Loreto is largely populated by Americans and Canadians.  And the shopkeepers adjust their inventory accordingly…

Hwy 1 - The road from Puerto Escondido to Loreto

Puerto Escondido is just on the ther side of those hills

Tomorrow Saturday May 28, we will leave Puerto Escondido and head for the closest island off shore – Isla Danzante – supposedly another spectacular place. We will probably be incommunicado for about two weeks, no phone signal and certainly no Internet access. Not a problem, as we’ll be busy sunning ourselves and enjoying the beautiful waters of the Sea of Cortez.



  1. Hey Guys! You’ve gone a long way since we first met in Catalina. Congrats! What’s the route plan from Southern Mexico. Heading West? Heading to Costa Rica?


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