We were overcome with a state of peacefulness from the moment we drove in. It was not necessary to see the town, or the other campground in the area. Two dogs were there to greet Tucker, and for some reason my normally anal dog greeted them like old friends. We have a BBQ pit, some quaint furniture and iffy toilet facilities. Home for the night.
Loreto all morning, San Ignacio this evening. Such is life on the road in the Baja. We strolled ten minutes into town from our camp spot and discovered the charming and historic village of San Ignacio.
History of the Region
The Jesuit Francisco Maria Piccolo “discovered” this area over 300 years ago, on November 19, 1716. There were, of course, already indigenous people here when he found it. They knew the region as Kadakaamàn in their cochimi language.
In 1728 Father Juan Batista Luyando and Father Sebastiàn Sistiaga founded a mission and dedicated it to San Ignacio de Loyola, the founder of the Company of Jesus.
The Jesuit Father Fernando Consag began building the temple that now dominates the plaza, but he was run out of town. Why I don’t know. The church was completed by the Dominican Father Juan Crisóstoma Gomez. It is believed the structure was finished some time around 1786. The mission was important in developing agriculture in the region.
Sadly, some time around the 19th century the local indigenous people were completely wiped out by disease and cultural changes. The mission was disbanded and replaced by a different society of mestizo families, a mix of European and indigenous blood lines. This has created a unique identity for this region of the country.
The Town of San Ignacio
The church is surrounded by a small plaza with a couple of restaurants and craft stores. The theme of the shops is local arts and foods. The town is famous for it’s date products, I learned from one of my Facebook friends.
It takes only a couple of hours to fully explore the town, but one is tempted to linger. We did not leave this place of serenity on time but stayed another night, cooking chicken over a mesquite charcoal fire. The town enticed us into exploring it’s history, it’s quaint shops and the dramatic scenery surrounding it.
Hiking Volcán Las Tres Vírgenes
Less than an hour from San Ignacio is the hike of the Three Virgins. This is a relatively flat but dramatic trail among the volcanoes. Sadly we sailed past without stopping, but we heard from others it was not to be missed. Maybe next time.
The Baja is best explored without a time budget. For us it is auto insurance that will run out in a week. We have already extended it once. Every stop has been worth more time. This one was no exception.