Catavia

Set within a dramatic landscape of massive granite boulders, cardón cacti and cirio trees, the isolated oasis of Cataviña is a special spot for desert lovers. At night, the stars are extraordinary. Two hotels, a couple of campgrounds, an out-of-service Pemex and a few other businesses make up the settlement, but the real reason to stop is to explore one of Baja's most unique and fascinating desert ecosystems. Spend a couple of days hiking among the cacti, climbing boulders and searching for cave paintings and you'll come to love the place too.

Until the Pemex is operating, men selling barrel gas along the highway is the only way to fill up the tank; the next Pemex station on the Transpeninsular is at Villa Jesús María, 198km (123 miles) south.

South of Cataviña, at Km 211, fix your sights on the boulder field of El Pedregoso, a giant pile of granite boulders that seems to have simply fallen from the sky.

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