If you turn left exiting the main gate at Rancho la Aguja (23.988347, -110.901114), you enter the world of the old Pacific coast road. The old road runs from Todos Santos all the way up to San Carlos, and according to the aged mother of our ranch worker (she was born on the ranch somewhere in the early 1900s), was a good two-week trip with a burro back then. She explained that prices were lower in San Carlos (also an old seaport) than they were in La Paz, where the rather isolated residents had been held hostage until relatively recently by greedy (her word!) local merchants.
The coast road is a lost piece of infrastructure, a physical appendix of the Municipality of La Paz that somehow continues to exist despite a complete lack of care and love from its corporate body. We have not seen a municipal grader on this road for five years, this despite the protestations of Sal Fish (then-SCORE owner, who I cornered at a cocktail party) that everyone gets paid off to fix the road after every Baja-1000. That was many, many races ago!
We occasionally bring in a grader for work on the Playas Pacificas development, and I always insist that the contractor put the blade down on the right side of the road coming from Reforma Dos (the closest village), and on the left side going back to the lowboy trailer that waits at the village. That keeps the road in reasonable shape to the ranch gate, but north of that, its gets rougher, but can still be traversed by any 2-wheel drive car with reasonable clearance.
The road winds north past Rancho la Ballena (bought by developers at the peak of the real estate boom in 2007 and languishing ever since), climbs beyond the ranch valley and winds down into Arroyo la Vieja with its wide beach regarded as great for fly fishing. After Arroyo Vieja, the scenery is always ruggedly beautiful, descending slowly to the Arroyo el Conejo. Punta Conejo, on a calm day, is a pretty point with a lattice light-tower (wound with razor wire so the grateful local fishermen don’t steal the battery), and has a very good surf break – arguably the best in Baja Sur The surfers camp in the bushes with minimal amenities, and here is a fish camp with the usual ratty shacks, the seasonal cash crop being lobster (the shack inhabitants have perfectly decent homes in Conquista and La Paz, and merely work here for a week or so until they run out of supplies or the call of the bright lights becomes irresistible).
From the cliffs above Punta Conejo, the road winds along the coast to another fish camp at El Datilar and a pretty arroyo at Flor de Malva. About 6 miles (10km) further, the traveler comes to one of my own favorite estuaries – Boca de Guadeloupe. Depending on past weather, the estuary may be dry, but typically has a substantial body of water behind an attractive beach.
Arroyo Guadeloupe appears deserted – but as with so many areas up this Mid- Pacific coastline, although the ranch properties appear abandoned, they are certainly owned, in this case by families in Las Pocitas. A developer bought up huge tracts here in 2007, assembling/optioning almost 50,000 acres and 18 miles of beach and actively marketing them before disappearing into the Great Recession.
The road climbs steeply and roughly away from Guadeloupe and about 9 miles/13kms later, we reach Estero Salado, a large and beautiful estuary that is usually open to the sea. In this wide valley, three large arroyos join – no place to be in a hurricane. Here, by turning north away from the coastal road, and with the combined luck of Livingstone and Stanley, you can find the road back to Highway One and Las Pocitas at Km 111.
We will continue the trip north from Estero Salado to Bahia Magdalena on another day – it is magnificent.
Journey Notes To get to the start of our journey, the main gate of Rancho la Aguja, go to the map page of the Playas Pacificas website at http://www.playaspacificas.com/htm/neighborhood.htm and print the map.
Allow a leisurely 90 minutes from La Paz to Rancho la Aguja/Playas Pacificas if this your first time, and further 3-4 hours to get to Estero Salado (lunch anyone?). From the Estero, it is only about 20km to the main highway on a decent graded road, but allow time for finding the right road (hint – ask a local, they are good people).
FOR SALES INFORMATION:
From the USA: (011-521) 612-141-5561
In Mexico: 01-612-141-5561
In La Paz: (612) 141-5561