Baha Tortugas Around

Bahía Tortugas has the reputation of having the friendliest people on the peninsula. And it's no wonder - anyone who can make the drive out here is worthy of a smile. From the Transpeninsular town of Vizcaíno, the 172km (107-mile) road is paved for the first 75km (47 miles). On the way out you pass two decaying settlements (with their clapboard shacks and rusting car hulks they make for an apocalyptic scene) before crossing salt flats (which fill with water after the rare rain) and an area of shifting sand dunes (announced by signs reading 'zone of flying sands'). And that's all before the pavement disappears.

The gravel begins at the junction to Bahía Asunción and slowly deteriorates into hellish washboard within 15km or so. The only way to drive the road (without going insane or destroying your car) is to lower your tire pressure and take it at a quick clip while watching for washouts. It's a white-knuckler to say the least. The reward for driving the road is Bahía Tortugas, one of the most isolated towns on the peninsula.

Bahía Tortugas has a few hotels, a bank, a Pemex and a long-distance telephone office.


If you're driving, you can continue north to Punta Eugenia and, if you chance upon a panguero who's willing to go, hire a fishing boat to take you out to Isla Natividad.

Anglers cruise the offshore kelp beds for bass, mackerel and barracuda, while further offshore they find bonito and yellowtail. You can hire a guide to take you fishing in a panga for about US$75 per day.

From Bahía Tortugas, a rough dirt road leads northeast to the almost mythical Playa Malarrimo, a desolate beach hanging into the Pacific like a giant scoop, collecting all the debris that washes south on the ocean currents.


There are two decent hotels in town.

Motel Rendon (% 615-158-0232; Altamirano; s/d US$18/23) This place is friendly, simple and clean. The decent restaurant next door, El Moroco, is run by the same family.

Motel Nancy (Av Independencia; s/d US$18/27) This is an equally friendly, popular place.


From Vizcaíno's bus terminal, minivans depart at 10am daily headed for Bahía Tortugas (US$18, three hours); they depart Bahía Tortugas for the return trip at the ungodly hour of 3 am.

Passing yachts usually anchor at Bahía Tortugas because it's still the only port between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas that has direct refueling facilities, making it a good spot for lifts south despite its remoteness. Hang out on the pier near the tuna cannery.

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