Mexico — Tijuana – Rosarito – Ensenada – Ojos Negros – Heroes de la Independencia – El Parasio
We’ve been staying just north of San Filipe for 3 days now but it’s taken us a while to write this, mainly because we’ve been distracted by the incredible thing that is the Sea of Cortez right in front of where we’re staying. It’s like those evenings staring, transfixed by a roaring fire, but a lot hotter 😉 How did we get here? Well…
Smooth, wide tarmac roads took us out of Chula Vista to the border that we’d seen and heard so much about for the last few months. Unsurprisingly, we had no bother getting through and were deposited onto Tijuana’s smaller, busier, louder, pot-holed streets about 20 minutes later with 180 days to play with. We’re in Mexico, yay!
Ooooof, we knew negotiating Tijuana wasn’t going to be a walk in the park and it didn’t disappoint – It’s a big city after all! The first actual Mexican we met in Mexico (a bus driver, literally 6ft after immigration) tried to help us get on the right road, and once we left him a couple of wrong turns ensured we saw a bit of the infamous red-light district of TJ. Once safely back on the right track we started going up and up and out. And got hotter and hotter, welcome to Mexico! There’s one road out of TJ and it seemed everyone was driving on it, big old semi’s, smoke-billowing rust buckets, local buses, smart new air-conditioned RVs (US holiday-makers!), you name it, we were over-taken by them. We didn’t fancy hanging around in TJ and so made our way to a warmshowers host that we’d contacted in Rosarito, Ix Chel. After a bit of a false start (hanging around in the gloom for 2 hours outside a gate we really hoped was hers) we were finally in and setting up our tent in her front yard in the dark. We stayed 2 nights with IxChel – mainly because she was awesome – but also she spoke good English and so we got a good introduction to Mexico, it’s food ($2 for a traditional breakfast? Yes please!) and some of it’s people.
We waved goodbye to Ix Chel, Maud and Luciene (temporarily, we actually went out for drinks with them that night too!) and made our way down the beautiful coast to Ensenada – to yep, another warmshowers contact! Hey, we’re making the most of them, they’re getting thinner on the ground now ;-). The roads were great, plenty of room and wide shoulders – we found again that everyone* gave us loads of room when overtaking. The roads got smaller and MUCH steeper when we got to Ensenada though and the climb to the house gave me a slight panic attack, eeeeek! Liz, Elvis and Astrid (and the animals) made us really welcome and again had a great chat with them and picked their brains about where we should go/avoid later in our train in mainland Mexico.
After having mostly followed the Southern Tier route for the last 3 months we’re now drawing our own map and really making it up as we go. It’s exciting but also pretty daunting, we could go ANYWHERE! Which brings us to San Filipe, El Parasio/Pete’s Camp. We got here over 3 days – 1 hilly, 1 beautiful, 1 long, hot, windy and beautiful! – after spending a couple of nights in cheap hotels. We’re so glad we did hotels though as it was freezing overnight, and so meant that we slept pretty well and were ready for the mornings. So now we’re on a roof deck overlooking the Sea of Cortez and have been here for a couple of nights -we weren’t kidding when we said we were slowing down a bit! We met Wayne in Blythe, CA and when he heard of our plan to head to Baja immediately offered up his roof terrace as a spot to camp as well as loads of great info on the roads and routes we could consider. It’s an amazing place he’s got here, thanks to the birds we wake up to an incredible sunrise over the sea and we go to sleep (not long) after the sun sets over the mountains behind us! There’s a big ex-pat community here, all of San Filipe seems to be a favourite with mostly Californians.
We’re staying here until Wayne arrives for his holiday in a couple of days and then we’re making our way (bit by bit) South. We’re using our time to catch up with a few things (inc. the blog!) and get more of a plan together/pick locals’ brains about a route as it’s getting hotter and hotter and will be even more so as we head back across the island before we hit the sea again. But if you need us we’ll be on the roof, watching the dolphins** 🙂
*bloody local buses! Arghhhh.
**/hummingbirds/sunrise/sunset/locals staggering out the pub/stars depending on the time of day.
On and off internet so we’ll update post with some pics asap…!