Our first destination was Cataviña-Parque Natural Del Desierto Central and Bahia de los Angeles. Cataviña is located in the northern part of the peninsula and sits in the middle of a huge granite boulder field. Besides the incredible rock formations, the Sonoran Desert surrounding us included a strange and wonderful array of cardón cactus (similar to the saguaro found in Arizona), elephant trees, and cirios (also known as boojum trees). Many of the plants found in this region grow nowhere else in the world!
We’ve always been intrigued with the Cataviña area but on previous trips had only stopped for picnic lunches. This time we decided to camp for a couple of nights and explore the area. Some of the boulders are so huge, they would dwarf a two-story building. It was fun to climb around on them, acting like children in a playground exploring all the nooks and crannies! Brad and I lazed around enjoying the solitude and incredible scenery. The settlement of Cataviña had a Hotel La Pinta that boasted a wonderful little restaurant, and one of the evenings we went into town for dinner.
Cataviña had a gas station that closed since our last visit in spring, making for a long stretch on the peninsula without gasoline. We had filled up at the last possible spot in the urban area south of Ensenada. When traveling through Baja, you make sure that you fill up every chance you get! It is not like being in the USA where gas stations are located nearly every city block. We had enough gas to get us to Villa Jesus Maria but not enough to make the spur trip to Bahia de los Angeles. Almost, but not quite enough. So Brad decided to go into town and see if there were any options. Fortunately, some enterprising locals had set up next to the now-defunct gas station and were selling gasoline out of containers. He bought about five gallons from them; now we were set to go to Bahia de los Angeles!
The next morning, we had breakfast at Hotel La Pinta and headed south. The morning was beautiful and sunny, and we were looking forward to seeing marine life at the bay.