Whenever I thought about spending my winter days lazily boondocking on a beach in Baja, this was always the scene I always imagined—RV’s (not too many, not too few) parked around an emerald bay with views of islands in the distance.
When we first drove down Baja Highway 1 and crested the hills south of Mulegé to see this stunning picture postcard in real-life for the first time, I knew I wanted to come back ASAP to camp at Playa Santispac along the Bahía de Concepción. So after a few days together in Loreto, when Hans and Ursula continued south to La Paz to visit their old sailing buddies, Millie and I backtracked 70 miles north to find a bit of paradise on the beach!
It was a gorgeous December day for a drive along the Bahía. Light winds and sunny temps in the upper 70’s. Baja 1 hugged the emerald shoreline as we rounded each cove towards Santispac.
Before we knew it, there she was! Plenty of room for our little View to find a front-row spot along this beach. Santispac is one of a half-dozen RVing beaches along the Bahía. It’s the easiest to get in and out of with a large, wide straight ramp to get you from the highway down to the beach, and has various vendors who come calling each day to provide water tank fills, fresh fish, bread, and even Mexican blankets and jewelry.
After getting parked and leveled, I opened up the Winnie door to this relaxing scene. Not bad for 100 pesos (US $7) a night!
Millie wasted no time in testing out the crystal clear waters. Santispac met her requirements for “paradise” too!
Santispac’s southern-facing crescent-shaped cove provides a bit of protection from the northern winds that often blow each winter along the Cortez-side of the Baja coast. Its emerald waters are the result of a rather shallow sandy shoreline that becomes quite apparent when the tide is out. Take a look at these 2 photos to compare the tide in versus the tide out! (our View is the last RV on the right).
Millie woke me up just before sunrise on our first morning at Santispac. What a magnificent scene when opened the door of the rig!
I quickly ran back inside to get my big camera and tripod to try this wide, wide panorama of the scene. What a way to start the day!
After breakfast, it was time to inflate the Sea Eagle and get out on the silky smooth waters.
There were always a small handful of sailboats anchored in the cove, so we paddled up closer to take a look at them.
Then Millie began fidgeting in the front of the boat. Darn! In my haste to get on the water, I had forgotten to take her for one last walk. We’d now need to find a good place for a quick doggie pit-stop.
I paddled around the bend to a tiny, uninhabited cove with just a few feet of a sandy beach.
Just the right spot for Millie to jump out and quickly take care of business.
Millie quickly returned back to her seat at the front of the boat, and we next headed out to paddle around the largest island in the cove.
As we rounded the island, our RV neighbors were coming the other way in their long wooden sea kayaks. Just a perfect day to be out on the water!
Even the pelicans were enjoying their day!
While a bit hard to photograph with my point & shoot, the waters were so clear, I could see dozens of fish swimming around the rocks a few feet below us.
After an hour or so, Millie was ready to head back home
Once she recognized her RV, she was standing at attention ready to navigate us to shore!
The more I paddle this second-generation FastTrack 385, the happier I am with the upgrade. The only complaint I’ve had is that the long skeg can get hung up a bit before reaching shore in some of these shallow beaches. But I just recently noticed that SeaEagle now offers a shorter “shallow water skeg” for this boat. Problem solved! Can’t wait to order that when I get back to the U.S.!
Over the next few days of beach camping, I saw vehicles of every shape and size on the beach. Some were here in their big overlander vehicles…
While another neighbor camped here in his old European ambulance turned into a camper van!
Lots of sand buggies here too. No doubt, a few Baja 1000 racer wanna-bees!
Alas, the best boondocking beach in Baja was not without a few downsides—there was no cell signal (or internet) to be found unless one drove 10 miles north to Mulegé, and no larger grocery or produce vendors unless one drove even further (Mulegé did not offer much above a “corner store” in terms of food selection).
Santispac, while protected, wasnot completely immune to the northern winds. Two of the four days we were there, the winds were too strong to kayak or even sit outside.
But Millie was still able to get her swims in most every morning, and her complete happiness was my main goal for this Baja trip!
Our final night at this magical place concluded with a moonset over the water, right between a panga boat and the Winnie. All in all, a very relaxing time camping on the beach and celebrating the winter solstice!