Last year we spent a month in San Felipe, Baja California on the Sea of Cortez in our The Bago. San Felipe is about two hours from El Centro, California and an easy drive to shrimp tacos, sand, and the sea. We called this first RVing trip into Mexico “Baja Lite”. This year we were determined to make it further south into the real Baja, but road reports showed potholes the size of kiddie pools that would potentially destroy our RV. We opted to return back to San Felipe for a week and then head south via Highway 5 with the potential of tackling the 22 miles of unpaved road to connect back to Highway 1 and skip the potholes.
Even the paved portion of Highway 5 south of San Felipe was a bit challenging with vados or dips that could launch you into the desert if you attempted to drive at US highway speeds. Nearly 90 miles and two and half hours later, we arrived at the beautiful Rancho Grande in Bahia San Luis Gonzaga AKA Gonzaga Bay for us gringos. For less than $14 a night we camped on the beach, facing the water with a great partially enclosed palapa.
We inflated our boards and paddled out on the glassy bay to enjoy the sunset. This finally felt like the Baja we’d been dreaming about.
We set up our outdoor living room in the concrete-floored palapa and enjoyed the calm nights on the bay.
The next day we paddled out to the nearby islands.
The water was very calm in the mornings or was at least for the first week we were there.
I heard loud splashing and breathing sounds. A pair of whales surfaced about 3/4 of a mile out to sea. Too far to photograph and paddle to, but a great memory from the trip.
We drove our Jeep further south on the 22 miles of unpaved part of the road.
It was an interesting drive, but still a very active construction zone. After a bumpy ride that looked like torture in an RV, we arrived at Highway 1 and drove North to Catavina.
The highway was pretty narrow with no shoulder and some pretty good sized potholes. The truck traffic would be a little scary with The Bago. Hell, it was a little scary even with the Jeep.
Catavina was definitely a place I would like to come back to and photograph more of the Dr. Suess-like landscape.
Gas stations are very limited in this area so entrepreneurs have sprung up to bridge the gap and sell fuel out of jugs.
On the way back to Gonzaga, we stopped at Coco’s Corner, one of those iconic Baja back road stops owned by an 81-year-old guy who lives alone in a remote area. He only had Bud Light left so we didn’t buy a beer. He also has a reputation for giving ladies a good old fashioned dose of good nature (?) sexual harassment and requesting their panties to hang on the ceiling so Jaime was a little apprehensive about going in. Coco has no legs and is in a wheelchair so I assured her he couldn’t be much of a threat.
The nearby Alfonsina’s Hotel and restaurant had pretty good shrimp tacos, margaritas and beautiful views of the bay.
Our views were not too shabby either. Even Crosby seemed to agree.
The last couple of days got a little windy but our solar panels were still cranking away with enough power to run the Instantpot on our inverter.
After scouting both Highway 1 and 5, we opted not to take The Bago further south. This year. For now, Gonzaga Bay would be the furthest South we’d go. After nine days of enjoying this amazing place, we were OK with that.
Check out our go-to guide for Baja Camping (Amazon affiliate link).
2 Replies to “Bahia San Luis Gonzaga”
We love your post and now want to go! Thanks for sharing your details…. helping us newly retired folks get motivated. Where did you get your boards? Brand recommended on boards?
Hi Nancy – Great. We bought the boards from Isle and highly reccomend them.
We did an article on SUP for Winnebago’s blog with more details.