Waterfall of Sol de Mayo, Crown Jewel of the Sierra Laguna.
By Robb Rusk
One of the most stunning natural wonders of Baja Sur is the 40ft waterfall at Rancho Ecológico Sol de Mayo. The waterfall at Sol de Mayo (Sun of May) is located about 1.5 hours north of San José del Cabo, very near to the desert oasis town of Santiago. Santiago is a large circular town built around a lush palm oasis in the very center. It has its own rich history including a 300 year old Jesuit Mission with numerous stories regarding native Pericu revolts, dating back to the 1700s. Santiago is very worthy of her own day trip too.
Driving through town, there is a road going north up a tall mountain overlooking Santiago. This is the road to take to Sol de Mayo. There is a fantastic spot up there to stop and take a picture of the beautiful vista overlooking the palm oasis. The beautiful green lushness of it all is reminiscent of a more tropical place, not exactly of the harsh desert surrounding the area
Following this road there are signs that point directly to Sol De Mayo. The road narrows and winds up and down as it goes deeper into the Cañón de la Zorra or Canyon of the Fox. Go a little further, and it ends right at the entrance of Rancho Ecológico Sol de Mayo.
This is indeed a functioning ranch, with lots of plants, fruit trees, and animals. There is a 100 peso admission fee to hike to the waterfall. This fee helps to keep the area clean and also maintain the modern amenities there, like restrooms, the restaurant, and lodging options. If you arrive early enough, you can even order breakfast at the small restaurant.
One thing to note is that dogs are not allowed to hike to the waterfall, so perhaps it's best to keep fido at home. Or he will have to stay under the palapa while you enjoy your hike!
After paying admission, it’s a very short and easy (300 yard) hike to the waterfall. The trail meanders through beautiful tall cactus and desert trees. The hike is truthfully for people of all ages. The family maintaining the area have done an amazing job keeping the trail clear and easy to navigate. After rounding one last corner, the waterfall comes into view in the distance, just below the trail on the ridge. What an amazing sight to see in the desert!
At this point, the trail descends sharply down steep stairs to the base of the waterfall. Fortunately there is a nice rope railing to hold on to and keep steady. Good shoes are a must.
After reaching the base, mission accomplished! Now all that’s left to do is strip down to your swimsuit and jump in! You did remember your swimsuit and towel, right?! The fresh waters at the base of the waterfall of Sol de Mayo are perfect for swimming, and are surprisingly cool and refreshing. It is the perfect thing to conclude a short hike. For more adventurous hikers, there is a secondary path leading to the top of the waterfall. Some people like to do a cliff jump 40ft down to the waters below.
Sol de Mayo is one of many beautiful natural features of the Sierra Laguna, the mountain range in Baja Sur. It’s a great introduction to many other waterfalls and hot springs of the area, as it is a very easy hike and can be completed in an afternoon’s time. Most visitors to Baja Sur are attracted to the beach and ocean, but it’s important not to forget about the unique beauty of the inland mountains too.