Los Barriles

It’s been awhile, here is the second half of Baja …..

Cafe El Triunfo where we had brunch.

From La Paz & Tecolote Beach we slowed down and did a short 65 miles to an overnight spot in the bush, reminded me of the Transvaal Highveld in South Africa. But first a stop for brunch at El Triunfo, a town who’s claim to fame was mining in the late 1800’s.

Brunch Table.
Feels as if we’re on holiday.
Marcus – photo from foodgps.com.

Ran into Marcus Spahr  on the main street  as he was telling one of  us  that we  were blocking a  local’s business entrance.  Really twists your head a bit when you stop at this sleepy old mining town, run into this biker who runs the cafe and bakes the absolute best sourdough bread in the whole of Baja.

Solid brickwork on the bridge from the late 1800’s.
Current caretakers.
Caretakers take 2.
All right, enough of that.
“La Ramona”, a 47 meter smokestack, built entirely of hand made brick to ventilate the toxic fumes from the towns mining activities.

You can find a lot of history here but the one thing that has a local myth to it is “who built the brick La Ramona ?”. Folklore would like you to believe that the famous French engineer, Gustave Eiffel, had a hand in it but a placard at the site specifically says Gustave was NOT involved and they do not know who designed & built the chimney stacks.

El Triunfo.

After El Triunfo we headed for our overnight spot at Rancho Verde, somewhere between here and there. Our handout describes it as “gorgeous vistas, sunsets and miles of hiking trails for birdwatching”. I call it a place in the bush. One of those places I would never think of stopping at but nonetheless peace in the wilderness .

Overnighting at Rancho Verde.

Short hop down to the beach at Los Barriles (the barrels, named for supplying fresh water to passing ships). We stay at Baja Sunrise RV park just south of the town and settle into our assigned spots. This is a “gringo” RV park where only they will pay US prices so that they can park and view the Sea of Cortez at their door stop. The handout says “Fortunately, Los Barriles has remained relatively untouched by much of the less desirable aspects of change ….”. Maybe so but the little main street is overrun by white faces, ATV’s and plenty of establishments courting their $$.

Here is a view of the campground we took later on one of our hikes in the hills above.

That’s Baja Sunrise RV park on the Sea of Cortez.

Next day Lorne & Josie offer to take the group to canyons and hot springs a little bit further south near the town of Santiago. Six of us head out and Rose & I are grateful for getting invited into L&J’s truck for the excursion.

Santiago oasis.
Parking & trailhead of Cañon De La Zorra.

We ride the dirt roads and park at the trailhead where they collect an entrance fee, I think it was 200 pesos. A short hike drops you into the canyon with it’s beautifully clear waterfall and swimming pool.

Hiking down to the waterfall.
Beautiful water in an otherwise dry environment.
Can be steep at times.
That’s Dale on the left and Rose sitting on the rock.
That’s me splashing back from the waterfall.

Then Lorne asks if we would like to visit some hot springs, “of course” and off we go. We follow dirt roads with a lot of discussion as to whether we’re going in the right direction or not. Glad I’m not in the Subaru and we finally arrive at the trailhead where we again pay a fee (reduced because we’d been to the waterfall) and walk into the “hot springs”. They were so impressive  that neither Rose or I took any photo’s, well actually a bit of a letdown. Some warm water trickling into the river from a small side spring but it was great fun finding them and exploring.

Rough road to the “hot springs”.
Should we go or turn around?

The group then headed back to La Paz for 3 nights and two day trips to the city center and Todos Santos. We did not like the RV park there and decided to opt out for a few days and spend two extra nights in Los Barriles before catching up with the group as they now headed north.

Back when we were in Loretto riding our bikes around the town center a fellow tourist asked where are we going to and said “good bike trails in La Ventana and Los Barriles”. We looked it up on trailforks and decided on a hike  to get a feel  for them.

Los Barriles hike behind the RV park.
I liked the bright colors.
There is mountain biking here – checkout Trailforks.

We’re hanging around at an intersection and I see a biker coming towards us. Long story short, his name is Todd out of Oregon and he has been instrumental in building many or these trails. Good meeting you Todd!

Can be rocky and watch for those cactus thorns.
Looking north’ish along the road we came in on.
More views to the south.

We were told to visit the flea market and dropped by. Looked nice on the outside but full of gringo stalls selling stuff at inflated prices.

Market day in Los Barriles.
Liked the sign.
That’s one way to overnight it.
Sunrise towards the east over the gulf.

Now to find the rest of the group.

Categories Trips

3 thoughts on “Los Barriles”

  1. So, now that you have had time to digest…..Would you visit Baja again? Perhaps setting your own agenda? (I’m sure I would be bummed if I was there at the wrong time for the whales as you mentioned in your previous post.)

    Nonetheless, I think your photos are great and your analysis is very helpful. Thanks for taking us along.

  2. Hi Lee, In 2019 when we joined a caravan down to Mazatlan it was because we wanted someone to show us the ropes. IF after that we had found one or two like minded RV’s to go and explore Baja, we would have done that but nothing came up so we joined the Baja caravan. I was concerned about the frequency of daily travel and would have picked a place to break the trip for about 2 weeks but the only option was to wait a month and then come back with one of their subsequent caravans. Glad we went, saw a lot and now we know first hand what it’s like to travel Baja.

    Next time? It’s not a slam dunk but to make it work I would prefer some traveling buddies, pick a few beach spots to hang out at and go more prepared with water toys (kayak, paddle board, even a small fishing dingy) to have something to do rather than simply lounge around.

    Baja certainly has the allure to escape, get lost, get primitive but I would unlikely stay down there for more than a couple of months. My biggest disadvantage is not being able to speak Spanish. Maybe go down, catch the ferry over to Mazatlan and return via the mainland …..

    1. Andre-We have been crossing into Mexico for shorter trips for several years and not getting far from the border (San Felipe, Puerto Peñasco, Bahia de Kino.) One advantage is not having to worry about getting ULSD for the Sprinter, but I guess you didn’t have problems. Somehow we manage to get by on my bumbling high school Español. We’ve toyed with the idea of joining a caravan, but there is now so much info available online for travelling in Mexico that going solo doesn’t seem so intimidating.
      We’d really like to take a couple of months in the Baja, especially concentrating on whales (a bucket list sort of thing.) In February we had the kayak ‘way out in the Sea of Cortez off of Puerto Peñasco and were visited by dolphins and a sea lion….pretty cool.
      Who knows what the world will be like by next winter, but maybe we should keep in occasional touch on future plans.
      Lee & Jane in Colorado lpost59@gmail.com

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