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About Tom Gatch

For over a decade, Hooked on Baja author, Tom Gatch, has built a solid reputation as one of the foremost writers and columnists focusing on travel and recreational activities in Baja and southern California. His company, El Puerto Creative Consultants provides professional copy writing services and creative support for business entities on both sides of the border.

Have a Baja Moment! Fishing in Mulege

 Have a Baja Moment! Fishing in Mulege

Situated on Baja’s sunny central coast alongside the Sea of Cortez, Mulege is considered by many to be one of the most picturesque locales on the entire peninsula. Located less than 40 miles south of the historic town of Santa Rosalia, this quaint poblado sits between two hills and is studded with immense groves of date palms that line the shores of a life giving fresh water stream that casually meanders down into the sea.

Fishing in Mulege

Situated on Baja’s sunny central coast alongside the Sea of Cortez, Mulege is a secluded hideaway where visitors can truly relax and unwind.

Originally discovered by the Jesuit father Juan María de Salvatierra on his return from a trip to Sonora on Mexico’s mainland, Mulege quickly began its transformation into a captivating oasis replete with hundreds of palm trees, fruit orchards, bougainvillea and other colorful foliage. Since the Jesuits were known to have brought large quantities of dates with them as easily preserved food, it is believed that they distributed the pits near the local water source in the hopes of eventually developing a sustainable resource for the future.  It is obvious that they were successful beyond their wildest dreams. They also brought along the seeds of fan palms, which allowed them to fashion thatched roofs for the local structures.

Over past centuries, the blessing of a freshwater stream has helped turn Mulege into a thriving oasis.

Today the town offers several good restaurants, R.V. parks, a bus station, a nearby airport, and a variety of accessible lodging options. There are also several outfitters that are readily available to help you plan fishing and diving trips, as well as excursions to visit the sites of ancient cave paintings.

Less than 10 miles northeast of this palm lined refuge, Punta Chivato is a popular destination for anglers. For many years, it was primarily visited by hardcore Bajaphiles and RV groups, but since the construction of improved launching facilities and other infrastructure developments it has become an extremely popular destination for private boaters who come to fish its still relatively abundant waters. 

There was a time when this area was known as a ‘sure thing’ for those targeting large sea bass and grouper, but several decades of intense commercial fishing pressure have reduced populations of these species to all-time lows. Nevertheless, anglers who ply the deep holes and pinnacles around the small, inshore islands known as Islas Santa Ines can still look forward to a host of snappers, cabrilla, and leopard grouper that are interested in taking their bait or lure.

The offshore bite during summer can be absolutely sizzling in these waters. Yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, dorado, marlin, and even occasional sailfish are available several miles out. And, as with most pelagic species found in open water, almost all of these fish are best located by keeping a keen eye on your sonar while simultaneously looking for working flocks of circling or diving birds.

The pristine shores of Bahía Concepción may no longer be covered with a variety of shellfish, but they still offer some of the most picturesque beaches in Baja.

Just south of Mulege, Bahía Concepción is one of the most beautiful spots in Baja.  It is just over 20 miles long, and ranges between 2 and 5 miles in width. This incredible bay was once teeming with scallops, oysters, butter clams, and nice sized fish.  Sadly, these days the oysters and scallops are long gone, as are most of the larger gamefish. The relatively few clams and fish that are still available are generally only found along the eastern shore of the Bahia. Nonetheless, Bahia Concepción remains an idyllic destination for kayakers, beachcombers, and RV enthusiasts.

Those seeking the vibrant Baja nightlife so enthusiastically embraced in places like Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas will not find it here. Mulege is a gentle place where, as whales and porpoise cruise just outside a secluded cove, you can sit on the beach and immerse yourself in the true essence of‘old Baja’.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Discover Santa Rosalia and its Gaelic Roots.

Have a Baja Moment! Discover Santa Rosalia and its Gaelic Roots.

by Tom Gatch

By the time that a humble rancher named Jose Rosas began noticing oddly round, green mineral deposits showing up in his soil back in 1868, the future of Santa Rosalia on the Cortez coast of Baja Sur had already been forged. After the small pellets were later analyzed on the Mexico mainland and determined to be copper, it was not long before foreign interests moved in and formally began excavating in 1870. By 1884 over 42,000 tons of copper and more than 6,000 ounces of gold had been produced from the town.

Santa Rosalia harbor. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, by Gregg M. Erickson

By 1885, the architecture of Santa Rosalia then began taking on a distinctly Gaelic influence after a French company named El Boleo acquired rights to set up a large mining facility in exchange for building the town as well as an adjacent harbor and ferry system for transporting workers in from Guaymas, just across the Gulf of California on the Mexican mainland.

Touring the town today, visitors often get the sensation of being in another time and space. The small wooden houses festooned with porches and balconies, the Hotel Frances, the Municipal Palace and the popular Morelos Garden, where you can find one of the locomotives shipped over from Europe in 1886, all harken back to a less complicated era.

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While it may be true that Santa Rosalia lacks the long, beautiful beaches and upscale resorts that are so common in many of Baja’s other tourist destinations, it definitely offers a more sedate and relaxingly pleasant venue that is quite unlike any other region in the Republic Mexico. One of the most stunning examples is the French architecture of the quaint church designed by Monsieur Eiffel, whose world famous tower is situated on the Champ de Mars in Paris.

 

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Santa Rosalia and its church of Santa Barbara, designed by Gustav Eiffel.

 

Just south of Santa Rosalia lies the naturally protected San Lucas cove and nearby Isla San Marcos, just across Craig Channel. The inshore waters harbor pinto bass, cabrilla and leopard grouper, while the channel allows access to seasonally exceptional fishing for yellowtail, white sea bass, dorado, yellowfin and skipjack tuna as well as the ceviche friendly sierra.

 

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Fishing around the island can also be very productive, especially near deep pinnacles and holes where big grouper and snapper wait within rocky liars to ambush their prey and play havoc with the terminal tackle of the anglers who pursue them.

Although Santa Rosalia’s nightlife and social culture can quite subdued most of the year, the town still puts on a great Carnaval celebration in the middle of February, their annual Fiesta de Santa Rosalía in early September in honor of their patron saint and a festive Founder’s Day celebration that takes place in mid-October. And, while you should certainly be aware that the weather here can often be extremely hot between June and October, you should always bear in mind that the nearby waterfront malecón offers an excellent venue to catch a cooling afternoon breeze with a frosty margarita in hand.

La Damiana Inn offers a nice place to stay in Loreto, just 120 miles from Santa Rosalia.

Although there are some nice hotels in Santa Rosalia, like Hotel El Morro, visitors might also think about staying in nearby Loreto to the south, or San Ignacio to the west. And a word to the hungry–Santa Rosalia boasts famous pastries and one of Baja’s top rotisserie chicken restaurants (on the right side of the street after you turn into town). Buen Provecho!

Baja.com would love your photos of Santa Rosalia.  Be sure to have a good time and share it in pictures! Send photos to info@baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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