Thursday, February 5, 2015

Free Beach Camping in La Paz

After a week of full-hookup, high-speed WiFi luxury at AquaMarina RV Park in La Paz, I wanted to try out the free boondocking beach 15 miles north of La Paz, Playa Tecolote.  While perhaps slightly less scenic than the Best Boondocking Beach in Baja (Playa Santispac on the Bahía de Concepción), Tecolote was free and even offered quite a rarity for beach boondocking in Baja-- a decent Telcel signal for internet surfing!

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It took me about 45 minutes to carefully make my way along the malecon drive in La Paz.  As the road turned north out of town, we hugged the shore up to Pichilingue, where a number of large ships come and go daily. 

Large tanker ships come from the mainland to replenish the giant Pemex fuel storage tanks, where the fuel will eventually be transported to all the Pemex stations in Baja California Sur (the lower half of the peninsula).

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Then, there are the 2 large ferry services.  Baja Ferries caters more to passenger traffic and has supposedly better on-board dining and sleeping berths.  While Ferry TMC caters mainly to trucks (and more adventurous RVers who wish to sleep in their rigs on the top deck of the ship).

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As we continued driving up the coast towards Tecolote, we passed cove after cove of brilliant aqua-colored water hosting everything from simple pangas to the Whale Museum’s luxury tour boat.

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We arrived to Tecolote on a quiet weekday afternoon.  Only 2 other RVs on our side of the beach (and a half-dozen on the other side).  Plenty of room, and everyone got their own palapa!

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Millie wasted absolutely no time in running down to the beach to test out the waters.  Yep, this beach will do just fine!

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Behind the beach was a large swath of dunes and some mountains beyond that (said to contain some interesting caves, but I never made it up that far to check them out).

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We had a magnificent view out our door of the Isla Espiritu Santo National Park just beyond the channel.  It looked much closer than it really was (about 3 miles), and with winds blowing every day from the north, kayaking over there would be way too risky for my flat-water boat (I’d wait for our upcoming panga tour instead!).

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While the beach got a bit more crowded on sunny afternoons (particularly on Sundays),  us small hand full of RVers had the place to ourselves each night to enjoy the full moon and a carpet of stars overhead.

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Every day I could watch all kinds of activity in the channel out my front window—the Baja Ferry…

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Tour boat pangas…

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sailboats…

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and even some dolphins one morning!

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There were a couple of downsides to Tecolote, though.  One of the restaurant owners on the beach keeps a pack of a half-dozen dogs on the second story balcony of his restaurant at night for security.  In the daytime, when the restaurant is open, however, these dogs behave as a wild pack – chasing, yelping, and hunting down small animals in the dunes, and chasing any other dogs that happen to be roaming around.  Thankfully, Millie stayed close by my side all the time (and I carried a few small rocks in my pocket if ever the pack should come too close).

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One afternoon, a fancy SUV pulled up to one of the palapas on the beach near my RV cranking its stereo up loudly while the 4 men sat beneath the palapa smoking and drinking.  I was fearing a long evening of loud music, but they suddenly jumped in their car and left after about an hour.  A few minutes later, I noticed some smoke rising from the palapa.  The jerks had made some kind of fire in a concrete block leaning up against the base of the palapa.  It was a pretty windy day, and I feared the fire might not only consume the palapa, but send some burning embers towards my rig!   I quickly grabbed my 5 gallon bucket and ran to the sea to fill it up and throw it at the fire.  Soon, a teenage boy and his mom from one of the restaurants ran out to help with their 5 gallon bucket and we managed to stop the fire before it consumed the whole palapa (but it still looked in pretty sad shape afterwards).  Why are people so incredibly careless?  Argh!!!!

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But those small annoyances aside, our 5 days at Tecolote were quite nice, and Millie happily got her daily swimming fix.

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Life is not too shabby for this soon-to-be 10-year-old dog!

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2 comments:

  1. Wow! A beautiful spot. And Millie looks like a happy camper. Glad you got the fire doused.

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  2. Looks like a pretty nice spot . Dont like the pack of dogs thing tho ! Have not looked at your blog for awhile. In fact have not been blogging for awhile but I look forward to reading more about your Mexico travels !!! I think when I get my RV I may want to venture down there.

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