Bahía de los Ángeles
Shortly after veering southeast from Highway 1, the road to Bahía de los Angeles (called the east branch of Highway 1) crosses through the Sierra de la Asamblea. The drive is especially scenic in summer, when abundant copalquín (elephant trees) are in bloom. At Km. 44, travelers with high-clearance vehicles can take the turnoff southwest 35 kilometers to the restored Misión San Borja.
Alternatively, a better road connects San Borja to Rosarito from the west branch of Highway 1. As you descend out of the mountains to the bay and village below, the Sea of Cortez presents itself, a carpet of blue dotted with islands big and small.
Spanish explorer Francisco de Ulloa discovered the bay in 1539 during the last expedition financed by Hernán Cortés. It later became an important access point for exporting gold and silver from mines in the Sierra San Borja.
Today watersports are the main draw at this still-remote seaside village. Adventurous anglers discovered the spot in the 1940s when thatched-roof huts were the only structures to be found. Today kayaking, kiteboarding, and windsurfing bring tourists. A new sailboat monument on the main boulevard through town harbors the arrival of visiting yachters, though they have yet to appear in any great number.
In November 2007 power lines made their way to the bay, ending decades of reliance on a generator that shut down at night. As of spring 2009, most of the town had been connected to the new power lines, but some businesses were still awaiting the fulfillment of their promised connections, as were those along the bay just out of town.
You can pick up postcards or books on Baja at the Museo de Naturaleza y Cultura (on a dirt road south of the main commercial strip and west of the town plaza, no tel., 9 A.M.–noon and 2–4 P.M. daily) while you soak up some local history and culture. Inside are mining exhibits, a collection of shells and fossils, and Native American artifacts.
Sixty-eight-kilometer-long Isla Angel de la Guarda is the second-largest island in the Sea of Cortez (after Isla Tiburón), with cirios, sea lions, and beaches suitable for camping. Stop by the office of the Islas del Golfo de California (9 A.M.–2 P.M. and 4–6 P.M. Mon.–Fri., 9 A.M.–2 P.M. Sat., permits US$4 pp per day), located in town between the Hotel Villa Vitta and the Delegacion building, to obtain a permit.
Getting to Bahía de los Ángeles
The road from Highway 1 to Bahía de los Angeles was repaved in 2005 and was still in great shape at last check. Currently, the pavement extends north along the coast, as far as Los Vientos, and plans are to continue paving all the way to Punta la Gringa.
Two new Pemex stations are now in business at the turnoff to Punta la Gringa. A mechanic located behind Casa Díaz can provide minor repair services and air for tires.
Unfortunately, public transportation is not an option for travel to Bahía de los Angeles; however, once there, you can reach just about everything on foot. Taxis offer service out to Punta la Gringa.
The 1,500-meter airstrip near Punta la Gringa was recently repaved. If you fly over the town once prior to landing, a taxi will meet you at the runway. Visit www.bajabushpilots.com for information.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition