History and Highlights
Perhaps no factor more than its strategic location in a fertile plain roughly halfway between El Rosario and San Diego influenced the rise and fall of Misión San Vicente Ferrer, possibly the largest and most important of the Dominicans’ northern Baja missions.
Founded in 1780 by Father Miguel Hidalgo and Father Joaquín Valero, Misión San Vicente Ferrer gave the Dominicans an important foothold for further northward expansion. Situated in one of Baja’s most arable swaths of terrain, the mission could sustain not only itself but also northbound parties.
Many of the foundation stones and adobe walls visible today would have been used by the military as it maintained an ongoing defense presence against invaders from the north. The allocation of some infrastructure to military uses could inflate one’s perception of just how great the population here could have been.
In fact, no historical data exist to suggest that the population ever rose much past 300. The mission’s location was as convenient for traveling epidemics as it was for traveling missionaries, with wave after wave of disease leading to the eventual wipeout of the Indian population and closure of the mission in 1833.
Modern-era site improvements allow visitors to view sizable remnants of adobe walls, including two corners of the mission’s church. Those same improvements also uncovered impressive segments of stone foundations worth viewing.
Who founded it?
The Dominicans, led by Father Miguel Hidalgo and Father Joaquín Valero.
What should I expect to see?
Restored segments of adobe walls and stone foundations illustrate the expanse of the mission site.
When should I go?
Where is it and how do I get there?
Set your GPS coordinates to N 31° 19.38’ W 116° 15.55’. The access road for the mission site leads southwest from the curved section of the Transpeninsular Highway connecting the bridge over the arroyo with San Vicente’s main street. Once at that curve, look for the first left (northbound) or right (southbound) and follow the unpaved road about six-tenths of a mile (1 km).
Why should I go?
This site is perhaps the best preserved of all of the Dominicans’ missions, and is a quick detour from your trek on the Transpeninsular Highway.