Although there is a very small private plane landing strip, most travelers to this region will carry with them what they need to enjoy the land and waters of Mulegé. This is a driving destination. The closest commercial airport is in Loreto, and there is limited service to the area.
The upshot here is that you don’t need to plan a day for shopping or going to the museums…you just need to be ready enjoy fun, sun, sea, sand, and perhaps some amazing shrimp tacos and beer.
- Beaches and beach-combing
- Boating and sportfishing
- Bird watching
- Diving and snorkeling
- Cave paintings
- Mountain biking and off-roading
- Art events
- Camping and RVs
- Whale watching
Beaches & beach-combing
Arguably, this is the most popular pastime in Mulegé — time to spend meandering white sand beaches that, until you got there, were not marred by a single footprint. There is only you and the perfect wild nature of the Bay of Conception’s protected waters. Fresh breezes skim the shimmering gulf waters, and the sky is filled with soaring birds and gulls with their distinctive cry. This is beach-combing paradise for those that like to go off the beaten path for day of adventure peering into volcanic tide pools. You’ll discover huge mounds of pink clam shells left behind by the divers who clean them on the beach. Tiny shells looking like part of the sand are brought in on the extreme tides. At low tide, the water can recede 24 feet. Beach-combing makes time disappear as you find a pale blue shard of sea glass or countless perfect shells: Jingle shells, fragile and translucent, Pink Murex said to be rare are easy to find, unbroken sea urchin, and sand dollars. Throw your blanket on the sand, reach into your backpack for a Corona, and stretch out in the sun. The more adventurous hiker will leave the car behind and go on foot around volcanic hills and coves. Treasures wait.
Snorkeling & diving
There used to be a dive shop in Mulegé…which unfortunately is no longer there. However, some locals retain the knowledge and they can help direct you to the best snorkeling areas, which are abundant. So are the clams, mussels and scads of other sealife that lurk in these tropical waters. There is also a tour operator that can assist in Loreto, about 123 miles to the south. However, for those DIYers, it is good to know that diving is excellent north of town near the Santa Ines islands and just north of Punta Concepcion.
The Bay of Conception is only 20 minutes south of Mulege, and has spectacular beaches and crystalline waters…even some palapas. There are individuals who rent kayaks and also tours specializing in kayaking the area. Some of the area’s major tour operators work out of Loreto, which is south of Mulege. There is also kayaking in and amongst the mangroves that finger out from San Igancio Lagoon and its environs, and these are great places for bird watching and other activities (remember that only government-permitted tour operators can hire out kayaks in this region).
Mountain Biking and Off-roading
There are tour companies available to help with transportation and guides…sometimes necessary to effectively traverse the trails that snake through the volcanic hills around the coastline.
Cave Paintings in Mulege
Salvador is a Mulegé native with eighteen years of experience as a tour guide in and around Mulegé, and was the first person to offer guided tours to the famous La Trinidad Indian Cave Paintings. He is knowledgeable about both natural and cultural history, and speaks English fluently. You will find him in mid-town at the taxi stop. There are also rupestrias, cave paintings, in the Sierra de San Borjita and the Sierra San Francisco. In fact, there are estimated to be 12,000 square kilometers of land in the deep canyons in and around the San Francisco mountains near Mulege, with more than 300 sites that have been identified as hosting cave paintins.
Hiking is left up to your imagination, desire and ability. There are no marked or maintained trails, however, you can pick your way (carefully) through the Jumping Cholla and Cardón cactus groves to find a hidden beach at the edge of the gulf. Perhaps daunting, but worth the effort!
Without or without binoculars, you will see — often soaring together — the largest birds in flight on the north American continent: The magnificent Frigate-bird, Brown Pelican, Osprey Sea Hawk, and the gawky Turkey Vulture, often misrepresented as a “buzzard,” which is actually of the raptor family. The
California gulf region is a winter migration for many species of bird from the United States. The areas by San Ignacio lagoon, to the west, are a hug for migratory birds.
With all the glorious sunrises, pristine landscapes and seascapes there are bound to be artists inspired by the beauty and the colors of Mexico. Mulege has its share of creative folks, and they meet during special times of the year. Most of the artists are seasonal residents. A Christmas art show in early December has always been well attended. There is a large group of artists at Punta Chivato, just north of Mulege, who host the season’s first Art Show in November. Another group of artists winters on the beaches at Conception Bay. Many of the artists donate a percentage of their sales to the PAW Animal Clinic. Others support the Scholarship programs. There work and influence is ever-present.
The 20 miles (32 km) of highway that hug the coast south of Mulege give access to what many consider the most extraordinary beaches in all of Baja. This unique ecosystem offers endless swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and camping opportunities, as well as spectacular photo opportunities of the sparkling bays, secret coves and islands that beckon to be explored. The beach side camping spot offer few services. RV vacationers can find adequate places to park, if they do not require hook ups. It is suggested to take everything you need including water and toilet paper. Frequent travelers call this area, “The Real Baja.” Playa Santispac, 20 minutes south of Mulege, is a favorite with “snow birds,” called for their migration from the snows of Canada and northern United States. Playa Santa Barbara is known as Honeymoon Cove, because the access is by boat and one of the most secluded coves for young love, or retirees returning to reminisce. Further south, Playa Buenaventura does serve the traveler with restaurant and bar, and there are shade palapas and bathrooms available. Those who love wilderness camping will head for El Requeson and Armenta, and the extreme southern end of the Bay of Conception. Camping is also available in the San Ignacio lagoon area, but best arranged by private tour companies.
Whale watching begins in January and lasts till early April in the lagoons of Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio. This is probably the singularly most important activity in San Ignacion and the optimum time to visit is from February to early April.
Most villages in Baja celebrate local festivals throughout the year; but one that is worth the trip is the end of July patron saint festival in charming San Ignacio, one of the few towns in the region with a true zocalo — town square. This event features food booths, vendors, music, the smell of grilling meats for tacos, and more, all in front of the little town’s beautiful church.