by Gabriel Arcoleo
Over the last 10 years I have hiked, biked, and ridden hundreds of trails, beaches and ravines in Baja California while searching for new experiences in unspoken locations. I love sharing those experiences in the hope that others will venture out, find their own, and fall in love with the land as I have. With so many great outdoor activities in Baja California I would be remiss to focus on any one location, so I have created a Top five list.
CAMINO DEL CIELO or road to heaven is a hiking trail located on the crest of The Lands’ End and boosts some of the most spectacular views of both the sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. The trailhead is on what’s known as Sunset Hill and finding it is part of the experience. The trail is safe and generally hiked during the morning and afternoon hours.
BALANDRA BEACH is not the local’s hideaway it once was, but I still consider it one of my favorite places to visit in Baja California. Balandra Beach has some of the clearest water you will ever swim in due to the white sand floor of the bay. An occasional sea turtle or pod of dolphin’s swim through the bay and elicit surreal experiences. Do not forget your camera, swimming and snorkeling at Balandra is straight out of National Geographic and unforgettable.
TECOLOTE BEACH is located in La Paz just north of Balandra Beach. An amazing stretch of land with islands just off shore that frame your view of the Sea of Cortez. Tecolote offers great shore fishing, dining, and music that goes well into the early mornings on Friday and Saturday nights.
LOS PASTOR BEACH or Lost Pasture is found just north of Todos Santos and is one of the least known surfable beaches on the Pacific side. Todos Santos is and has been a surfer’s paradise for years. The area has several geographical points that create great ocean breaks for advantages surfers. Pastor is grand in every way and seldom has a crowd which makes for quaint private experiences.
SOL DE MAYO WATERFALL is one of my favorite spots that is off the beaten path and has little to no tourists. The waterfall is just west of the town of Santiago – once you get to town there is quite a drive down a dirt road- and then a little hike to the waterfall. It’s not a large waterfall but the lagoon is beautiful and the water color hues from clear to green with small fish swimming throughout. It is a great daytime excursion, be sure to stop in Santiago and enjoy the local ambiance.