Martin Verdugo’s Beach Resort (20 de Noviembre, approximately two blocks north of Calle Los Barriles, Los Barriles, tel. 624/141-0054, www.verdugosbeachresort.com , US$65–75) has updated air-conditioning units in each of its 29 rooms, located in a two-story hotel next to the beach. Facilities include a small pool, boat launch, and restaurant. Kitchenettes are a plus here (though not in every room). When the wind is blowing hard, the pool at the Los Barriles Hotel offers more shelter. Service was a bit gruff on a recent visit.
Off the beach but within walking distance to restaurants and shops, the exceptionally clean Los Barriles Hotel (20 de Noviembre, approximately one block north of Calle Los Barriles, Los Barriles, tel. 624/141-0024, www.losbarrileshotel.com , US$73) looks unremarkable from the outside but feels something like a well-kept Swiss chalet inside. It has 20 spacious rooms set around a swimming pool with hot tub, each with high ceilings, two firm but comfortable queen-size beds, large tiled showers, and remote-controlled air-conditioning. Minimal but quality furnishings include rustic wooden dressers, tables, and headboards. Popular with families, this hotel is a great value for the price.
The Van Wormer family runs two all-inclusive resorts in Los Barriles, including Hotel Playa del Sol (tel. 624/141-0050, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/777-8862, www.vanwormerresorts.com , US$120–130, closed Sept.), on the beach off 20 de Noviembre north of Calle Los Barriles. This property has 26 air-conditioned rooms, a pool that overlooks the beach, tennis and volleyball courts, a restaurant with outdoor seating, and bar with satellite TV. The resort rents windsurfing, kayaking, and fishing gear as well as mountain bikes. You can charter boats for a day of sportfishing (US$250–385 per day, not including fishing permits) or sign up for windsurfing lessons.
The second Van Wormer resort in Los Barriles is located on the beach at the end of Calle Los Barriles, a little south of Hotel Playa del Sol; the Hotel Palmas de Cortez (Los Barriles, tel. 624/141-0050, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/777-8862, www.vanwormerresorts.com , US$130–160) offers 50 poolside, oceanfront, and garden-view rooms, plus several cabanas and condos that sleep up to six guests. Rates include three meals a day. Amenities include a driving range, infinity pool, and tennis and racquetball courts. You can rent windsurfing gear and fishing equipment and charter a fishing boat (US$275–500, not including fishing permits) through the resort. The Van Wormer family also runs the Hotel Punta Colorada farther south along the East Cape.
Run by the owner/driver of a California-based motorsports team, the Agave Hotel & Cantina (Km. 108, Mexico 1, U.S. tel. 760/275-0339, www.agavehotelandcantina.com , US$85–250, tax included) is a renovation of the former Casa Miramar Hotel. Its nine rooms enjoy a hillside location overlooking the beach, just off Mexico 1, across from the Pemex station. The property consists of a two-bedroom house and separate beachfront casita. It can accommodate up to 25 people. Owner Rick Johnson and Team Agave compete in the Baja 1000 each year. Although not on the premises, they can share a wealth of information about Baja via email or phone. They can also arrange cooking classes, massages, transportation, and other services for guests. This hotel operates somewhat like a vacation rental in the sense that the property managers do not stay on-site. They live nearby and stop in daily to attend to guests’ needs. Additional highlights include a swimming pool, ocean views, and convenient beach access. The town center of Los Barriles is a short walk away.
Among the newest accommodations in town are the suites at the Villas de Cortez (Los Barriles, tel. 624/141-0050, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/777-8862, www.vanwormerresorts.com , US$280–380), next door to the Hotel Palmas de Cortez, which is under the same ownership. Meal packages are available through the sister resort, or you can enjoy outstanding gourmet fare in the villas’ new restaurant, La Taberna di Don Roberto, which impressed local foodies from the get-go with its authentic Italian cuisine (tel. 624/141-0050, 5–10 P.M. Tues.–Sun.).
A trendsetter among parks in Mexico, the East Cape RV Resort (20 de Noviembre at Ocean, Los Barriles, tel. 624/141-0231, U.S. tel. 208/726-1955, www.eastcaperv.com ) designed its property with big rigs in mind. Located a short walk from the beach, the resort has 51 spaces with full hookups (US$25/150/525 per night/week/month). Another dozen spaces with limited hookups are located in an adjacent palm garden that sometimes floods during the rainy season (US$18/105 per night/week). Bathrooms are modern and clean, and there’s a pool as well as a hot tub. High-speed wireless Internet costs US$4/15/40 per day/week/month. Washing machines and dryers require U.S. quarters. Owner Theresa Comber is the closest thing Los Barriles has to a chamber of commerce. Ask her for advice on day trips and activities in the area.
North of Hotel Playa del Sol, Martin Verdugo’s Beach Resort (20 de Noviembre, approximately one block north of Calle Los Barriles, Los Barriles, tel. 612/141-0054, www.verdugosbeachresort.com ) caters to families and retirees with lower rates and a beachfront location. It has dump stations, flush toilets, showers, boat ramps, laundry facilities, and full hookups for US$15 for two people, plus US$3.50 for each additional person. Weekly and monthly rates are US$100 and US$260, respectively (credit cards are accepted). Tent sites cost US$12 per night. Kids play Marco Polo in the beachfront swimming pool, and locals gather for breakfast in the third-story restaurant. Fishing rates are US$390 for a 28-foot cruiser and US$240 for a 23-foot super-panga. Inquire about fishing packages that include accommodations and meals, and be sure to make reservations well in advance during the peak windsurfing season (Jan.–Mar.).
About five minutes’ drive north of town, another big-rig- and caravan-friendly park has one of precious few remaining waterfront locations in Southern Baja: Playa Norte RV Haven (20 de Noviembre, Los Barriles, U.S. tel. 425/252-5952, www.playanortervpark.com , US$22–33 per day) is situated on Bahía de las Palmas between two wide arroyos, San Bartolo to the north and Buenos Aires to the south.
The park encompasses 10 hectares of landscaped property, divided into 85 sites with separate areas for tent camping, caravans (45 sites), permanent RV sites, and seasonal RV sites. A number of the sites are pull-through style for larger rigs, and many also have individual septic and power. The sites are divided into three rows that parallel the beach. The first row (24 sites) costs a few dollars more per day than the second and third rows. The owners have completed a number of improvements in recent years, including new laundry facilities, more restrooms and showers, and wireless Internet.
Power and electricity cost extra (US$3 for 15–30 amp, US$5 for 50 amp). Book early if you want a site with these conveniences. There is a US$5 fee for use of the dump station (caravans and guests of longer than one week excepted). Tent sites have free access to drinking water, hot showers, parking, and Internet.
This park is a good choice for travelers with pets because they can run on the beach or in the arroyo outside the park—and there is even an on-site veterinary clinic; however, management requires pets to stay at their own site while inside the park, and it goes without saying that you should clean up after your dog.
Free primitive camping is available in the area north of these parks, usually referred to by gringos as Playa Norte.