Well off the beaten track, in Baja California Sur lie the serene waters and long sandy beaches of Agua Verde.
“Agua Verde is our absolutely favourite place,” said Diego on the beach back in Ojo de Liebre. He looked at our truck and trailer and thought we could make it.
Getting to Agua Verde
4 hours or so northeast of La Paz there is an innocent sign on the highway directing one to turn off for Agua Verde. It includes no warnings or mileage marker, just the images for a beach, camping and restaurant. In fact the road is paved for a while, almost the first 10 kilometres.
When the pavement ends, the fun begins. The next 30 k are the scariest I’ve ever seen Ray drive. Even Tucker was hanging out the window, watching the cliff edge like there was something he could do about it. 4X4 is absolutely required here and you may as well throw it in low range right from the start. The road is a long, narrow, steep gravel switchback for the entire remainder of the drive. It took us over two hours to drive 40k.
I’ve already got a love affair going on with The Ritz, but now I’m adding our truck to the ménage à trois. My driver, the Princess Ray performed like a pro.
Don’t stop at the first campsite sign you get to. It directs you to a ranch on a pebble beach. There was no way this was Diego’s favourite place on earth so I insisted Ray keep going. I think we were lucky to meet a Westie coming out who encouraged us to keep going. Yes, Westies can make it up this road, although we heard he needed a bit of help when he buried his tires in the sand on the beach.
The established campground is on a gorgeous sandy spit but down an incredibly steep and rutted approach. We checked it out and decided to try the next beach, but we almost didn’t make it up the hill. The tires started skidding on the gravel. Backing up was out of the question. I could feel the campers down on the beach cheering us on.
When we finally drove onto the beach we chose, and saw four other campers on the entire stretch of sand and a few sailboats in the bay, we knew we too had found paradise. Thanks Diego.
I am in no way exaggerating the treacherous road to get into this place. Yet we are completely blown away that there is a beautiful little fishing village down here. About 50 people call this home. Chickens and goats wander the town and there was a piglet tied to a tree. There are two churches and a huge modern school. There’s a mini-mart and a restaurant. I cannot believe these people drive that road on a regular basis.
The beach itself is just beautiful. Only the far side of the beach is set up for camping and there are no services, not even a biffy. For 20 pesos you can use the baño at the restaurant in a pinch.
Things to Do
Every morning the water here was like glass. The paddle boards finally got wet. We explored all the little bays, there were sailboats and motor yachts to check out and reefs to snorkel on. The water is still cold. The wet suits were welcome.
In the afternoon the wind picked up making the ocean just a little too choppy for the boards. That’s when we, and almost everyone else on the beach would wander down to the restaurant for some fish tacos and cervesa. The fish is, of course, fresh from the sea. The service is pleasantly slow, leaving lots of time for idle chit chat, like “where are you from?” and “where have you been?”
After the long and lazy lunch Ray and I would take a hike. You can walk to the other bays at low tide, or climb trails in the hills for the view. A stroll through town is positively idyllic. The locals wave and call “hola”. You could always just kick back and watch the pelicans and herons fish.
As the sun began to set each evening we lit our campfire. The neighbour Phil wandered over to sip tequila with us.
Agua Verde is a hard place to leave, in more ways than one. The beach is magnetic, prodding you to stay just one more day, and that daunting 40 k climb on the switchbacks awaits you on the way out.
For us the weather threw us out. Gale force winds were forecast. Sailboats looking for safe haven arrived for the night. When the storm finally hit we had to sand the fire to keep the sparks down and batten down the hatches. The wind howled all night, rocking The Ritz and us to sleep. It’s time to leave.
Love the picture of the two camping chairs – signifies so much about how a partnership is ideal to have such fun
My cousin who lives in LA is somewhere down where you guys are and with looking at whales on the agenda but not so much “The Ritz” style of traveling (which going “local” is more my favorite way to travel) – BTW the previous pictures of the grey whales were wonderful.