Smaller and quieter than Los Barriles to the north, Buena Vista attracts a similar crowd of families, anglers, and retirees—many of them former law enforcement professionals from Southern California.
It won’t be long before the two towns are connected by the homes and businesses that are spreading out between them. Southbound travelers may have difficulty finding the unsigned entrance to town: Look for the turn on a curve between Km. 104 and 105.
Hotels and Resorts
Hotel Restaurante-Bar Calafia (Km. 107, Mexico 1, tel. 624/141-0028, US$45) has nine basic but new and clean rooms with air-conditioning above a simple Mexican restaurant.
At Ramada Baja (Km. 105, Mexico 1, tel. 624/141-0038, www.bajaramada.com, US$37/$200 per night/week, tax included) guests sleep in one of four yurts, one of which is two stories tall. Each has a private bath.
In business since 1952, Rancho Buena Vista (Km. 106, Mexico 1, U.S. tel. 805/928-1719 or 800/258-8200, www.ranchobuenavista.com, US$105 pp) opened to host Hollywood celebrities for fly-in sportfishing vacations. Today the scene is much less glitzy—downright worn down in many ways—but the fishing tradition continues and longtime guests appreciate the simplicity of the accommodations and the quality of the food.
The resort has more than 50 cottage-style rooms, all with air-conditioning, ceiling fan, and tiled floor and shower. All meals are served in one restaurant; breakfast is made to order, lunch and dinner are fixed menus that rotate throughout the week. Boxed lunch is available for days on the water. The grounds include a swimming pool, whirlpool tub, and tennis and volleyball courts. The resort has fishing tackle, including fly-fishing gear, as well as its own cruisers, a boat ramp, and boat storage.
It can be difficult to find the turnoff to Rancho Buena Vista if you’re heading south on Mexico 1. Watch for the entrance on the left just after a small mountain pass and a blue hotel sign on the right.
Popular with families and retirees, the Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort (Km. 105, Mexico 1, tel. 624/141-0033, U.S. tel. 619/429-8079 or 800/752-3555, www.hotelbuenavista.com, US$185–215 all-inclusive) has 60 Mediterranean-style bungalows with air-conditioning, private baths, and private terraces. Buildings are arranged close together against a hillside, and the resort feels somewhat dated, but the location just across from the beach is ideal. A lush tropical garden surrounds the resort’s two pools, one of which has a swim-up bar.
If you’re not fishing, activity choices include spa treatments, kayaking, horseback riding, and snorkeling. The resort organizes trips to nearby cave paintings and waterfalls as well as bird-watching, hiking, and snorkeling tours. Most guests choose the American plan, which includes three meals a day, but European plans (meals à la carte) are available as well if you want more flexibility in where you dine.
Inquire about fishing and diving packages. The fleet of boats at this hotel includes a 23-foot panga (US$270), 28-foot cruiser (US$415), luxury 29-foot twin-engine cruiser (US$485), and 31-foot twin-engine cruiser (US$630). (Tax, tips, tackle, bait, and fishing licenses cost extra.) The resort’s U.S. reservations office can arrange round-trip or one-way transportation from the airport.
Near the southern end of Bahía de las Palmas, the secluded Rancho Leonero Resort (tel./fax 612/141-0216, U.S. tel. 760/438-2905 or 800/646-2252, www.rancholeonero.com, US$150–250) sits on a mesa overlooking the bay. This resort was founded in the 1960s as one of the original fly-in fishing destinations in Baja, and a sense of history oozes out of the rustic palapa-roofed bungalows on the property. All guestrooms have sea views, but there are no in-room TVs or phones. The grounds are well cared for, and the overall effect is something like family camp meets hunting lodge. As at Punta Pescadero, a small development now adjoins the resort, with new homes built on land sold by the owner of Rancho Leonero.
Amenities include a restaurant and bar, swimming pool with hot tub, dive center, sportfishing fleet, and a network of hiking trails. You can snorkel the rock reef in front of the hotel. Three meals a day are included in the room price. Fishing charters start at US$275 for a super-panga, US$425 and up for cruisers. Snorkeling equipment costs US$10 per day. The resort also arranges horseback riding, kayaking, scuba diving, and hiking trips.
Hotel Restaurante-Bar Calafia (Mexico 1, Km. 107, tel. 624/141-0028, 7:30 A.M.–8:30 P.M. daily, mains US$10–20), on the west side of the highway near the local police station, makes tasty shrimp tacos and chiles rellenos, and its outdoor tables have nice views of the bay.
La Concha (no tel., hours vary, mains US$5), at the north end of town, serves up a delicious ceviche in a taco-stand environment.
A Tienda Popular minimarket (no tel.) is located on the east side of the highway, north of the main entrance to town.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition