Planning A Day Trip to Los Barriles, Jewel of the East Cape
Los Barriles isn’t hip and it isn’t pretentious, but it is filled with nice folks and enjoys great year round weather. The town was little more than a fishing village until about 25 years ago. Now it’s populated with full and part-time expats, retired and otherwise, who have discovered the area’s natural beauty. Los Barriles offers numerous outdoor adventures, from first-class water-based activities like diving, fishing, kiteboarding, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, whale watching and windsurfing, to land-based pleasures like bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and off-road racing. Just listing them all makes be a bit tired! But rest assured: if you’re looking for a more relaxing day trip, we also boast miles of uncrowded, easily accessible white sand beaches. There is even a little nightlife.
Los Barriles is easy to find. It’s located on Highway One just 45 minutes north of the international airport in San Jose del Cabo, where you can find an excellent selection of National rental cars. You’ll know when you get here, as the highway veers inward towards the Sea of Cortez. Look for the fountain with water spraying into old wooden barrels and the Los Barriles sign on a stone wall.
If you arrive in time for breakfast, the Roadrunner Café and Bakery serves the best in town. Donna, the owner, does the baking and always has fresh pastries, breads and desserts. The restaurant opens early (7 a.m.), serves great fresh-roasted coffee, and offers free Wi-Fi for their customers. El Viejo is another local favorite, and is perfect for lunch. It features Mexican food, comfortable outdoor seating, and a central downtown location. Verdugo’s RV Park has a restaurant right on the beach, and is also a great place to stop during the day.
In the evening, your selection of restaurants grows. The old standard is Tio Pablo’s. It’s the first dinner place on main street. Tio Pablo’s has indoor and outdoor service, a wide selection of food, nightly specials, a full bar, good staff and plenty of televisions. A little farther down the street you’ll find Campestre Triny, where the food and service get high ratings from locals. Their seafood is good, and they’re also happy to cook your catch. Next in line is Smokey’s Sports Bar. Smokey’s has lots of strategically placed TV’s and covered, outdoor seating. The menu focus is on seafood, sandwiches and burgers, and this is a popular place for sporting events, as well as live music and raffles. Otra Vez is also downtown, and boasts an Italian-themed menu, pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven, and live music several times a week.
Be sure and call for reservations if you’re coming to fish. Palmas de Cortez and the Hotel Buena Vista are good choices for both accommodations and fishing charters. They’ve been here for many years and employ experienced captains. You can choose a cruiser or panga from either place. The Hotel Los Pescadores isn’t on the beach, but they do have some boats available. If you have an RV to park, East Cape RV also offers fishing. Would you rather shore fish? Try The Reel Baja. They have years of experience and specialize in fly fishing.
There some great day trips you can take by 4-wheeler. The quaint village of Santiago is only a few miles away. There you can swim in the fresh water pool at Cañon La Zorra, or lie in the San Jorge natural hot springs just a few miles further. Afterward you can order a nice lunch at the Hotel Palomar. To rent a 4-wheeler, go see the Quadman on the main drag. Quadman will show you how to operate the machine safely before he lets you go. He also has maps of the trails around Los Barriles.
The beaches at Los Barriles are protected, and safe swimming in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez can be enjoyed by people of all ages. North of town the old road runs along the water for long stretches, and there are some great spots to snorkel, including in front of the Hotel Punta Pescadero. Long stretches of unpopulated beaches are located south of Los Barriles, and are wonderful places to spend a day sunning or swimming.
What is your favorite Baja day trip? Let us know at Baja.com.
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Photos courtesy of Van Wormer Resorts’ Hotel Palmas de Cortez.
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