San Quintín is really a stop on the way somewhere, for most travelers. But for those who decide to stay a few days, following are a few day-trips itineraries that might begin in San Quintin. Be your own adventurer, and feel free to mix, match and come up with your own plan (and if it’s really good, share it on Baja.com traveler reviews!)
Itinerary 1: San Pedro de Martir
Head north out of San Quintín , and look for the sign on the right hand side of the road, south corner, that will indicate the route turn-off for San Pedro de Martir — the actual place where this happens is called San Miguelito, but you probably won’t know that; as vague as this sounds, it is fairly easy to find the turn-off. The road is paved, and will take you through some little hamlets, like Sinaloa, past the famous Meling Ranch, and up into the beautiful Sierra de San Pedro de Martir National Park. You might have a chance to do some condor viewing (there is currently a multi-natonal condor protection program underway), and there are many lovely spots to stop for a picnic or just to smell the pine-scented air. On Saturdays, between 11 a.m.-1 p.m., visits are accepted at the National Observatory, but reservations are necessary. Call (646) 174-4580.
Itinerary 2: El Rosario & Cataviña
Heading south about 38 miles, you will come to a bend in the road that is otherwise known as El Rosario, a fishing village and home to both a Pemex gas station and Mama Espinoza’s famous restaurant. Driving further south, towards the magical Cataviña area (at kilometer 114), you will see a dirt road turn-off to the ruins of Misión San Fernando, which was founded by Father Junípero Serra in 1769. Further along (kilometer 149), you will arrive at a nine-mile road that leads to the onyx quarry called El Mármol. There is found a crumbling schoolhouse built of thick onyx blocks. Along this route, you will also be treated to views of the unusual cirio cactus plants (boojum trees) that rise to heights of 40 feet or more. These are unique to central Baja.
The area around Cataviña is oasis-like, and some say that there are sites in the region that were considered by the indigenous people to have spiritual qualities. There remain a number of cave paintings in the area, as well – park near kilometer 171 and look for a small rancho, where the resident will help you find some of these, for a small fee.
Itinerary 3: Stay local and go beach-combing
San Quintín is blessed with vast, open beaches (as well as lovely, sea creature-inhabited estuaries) that are often covered with sand dollars, sea shells and crab shells. Thanks to the area’s clean waters and tons of fish, shrimp and other delightful crustaceans, it is also blessed with some fine and simple dining options. Although one might say that, other than taco stands, there is a dearth of dining spots in San Quintín, there are a few that make eating one of the reasons to come here and Cielito Lindo Motel (famed thanks to the occasional fly-ins by movie star John Wayne on the nearby airplane landing strip) is one of those! It is worth going even if just for one giant bowl of Dirty Crab – 20 or so crab claws cooked in a steaming paprika broth.