Mulegé offers adventure travelers a full lineup of activities, both on land and in the sea.
Diving and Snorkeling
As the Sea of Cortez becomes more tropical, the underwater environment becomes more colorful and full of warm-water life. Green moray eels poke their heads out of rocky crevices; angelfish, damselfish, and parrot fish school along the reefs, while red, spiny Cortez, and slipper lobster hide in dark caves.
Visibility and water temperatures are best June–November; it’s not uncommon to see 30 meters at depth with temperatures of 30°C during these months. Bring or rent a full wetsuit for winter diving; in summer a Lycra dive skin is a good idea to protect against jellyfish.
The three rocky outcroppings known as Islas Santa Inés offer divers and snorkelers an opportunity to observe playful sea lions, schools of anchovies, and a variety of marine life along a shallow reef. Divers can explore the boulder fields below. Farther afield, Bahía Concepción has more diving and snorkeling sites, including Pelican Reef, Isla Santispac, Isla Guapa, Isla Requesón, and Roca Frijole.
Cortez Explorers (Moctezuma 75A, tel./fax 615/153-0500, www.cortez-explorers.com) has attained the highest level of PADI certification that a dive center can earn and offers a full-service operation. You can rent gear, fill tanks, take classes, and charter boats at the shop. A one-tank guided boat dive trip costs US$70, and a two-tank trip costs US$110.
Guided shore dives cost less (US$50 and US$90, respectively). Snorkeling gear rents for US$21 per day. Credit cards are accepted. A two-tank dive to Isla San Marcos or Isla Santa Inés costs US$135. Stop in 10 A.M.–1 P.M. and 4–7 P.M. Monday–Saturday.
Paddlers can launch kayaks along the estuary for trips north to Bahía Santa Inés or south to Bahía Concepción; however, if Concepción is your target destination, there are better places to put in farther south. In a challenging five- to seven-day trip, you can paddle from Mulegé all the way to Loreto, 135 kilometers away. This trip is best attempted with an experienced guide or outfitter.
Las Casitas (tel. 615/153-0019) and Hotel Serenidad (tel. 615/153-0530, www.hotelserenidad.com) can arrange sportfishing charters to Punta Chivato, Bahía Concepción, and nearby islands (US$180 per day in a panga for up to three people or US$200 per day for a five-person cruiser). For the best onshore fishing, head to the south side of the estuary, where you might catch yellowtail, roosterfish, mackerel, or red snapper in winter; offshore catches in summer include dorado, yellowfin, and various billfish.
Salvador Castro Drew (tel. 615/153-0232, cell tel. 615/103-5081, mulegetours [at] hotmail [dot] com) offers guided cave-painting tours delivered in flawless English for US$40 per person, plus an additional fee charged by the rancho through which visitors must pass to get to the rock art site (US$7–10).
Salvador can customize tours to include two of the following sites: Piedras Pintas, San Patricio, or La Trinidad; or he can cover all three in one day for a slightly higher fee. He also takes visitors to San Borjita, but this site requires a full day without time to see the other caves.
Salvador will pick you up in his air-conditioned van and share his knowledge of local natural and cultural history during the day. The standard tour includes stops at a local orchard, a rancho, and then the cave sites in La Trinidad. Participants need to bring photo ID to register at the INAH office and should also have good walking shoes, a hat, sunblock, camera, and water.
Salvador also leads walking tours through the towns of Mulegé (US$10), Santa Rosalía, and San Ignacio. And he can arrange bird-watching, clamming in Bahía Concepción, snorkeling, and sportfishing outings. Overnight trips include cave paintings in the Sierra Guadalupe and whale-watching at Laguna San Ignacio. Airport transportation is also available.
If you don’t reach Salvador by phone, inquire at Hotel Las Casitas (Madero 50, tel. 615/153-0019), on the town’s main east-west street. As Mulegé’s only guide certified to conduct all these tours, Salvador is highly respected around town.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition