The largest town on the Vizcaíno Peninsula (pop. 3,000) is Bahía Tortugas, a 160-kilometer journey from Highway 1. It seems to have declined somewhat in recent years, possibly since the closure of its cannery a decade ago. Residents remain optimistic, however, that by organizing their four fishing cooperatives, they’ll be able to preserve the marine life that sustains their community.
Anglers here primarily catch lobster and two species of abalone. The cooperatives, both here and in Punta Eugenia, have night vigilance teams to prevent poaching, as well as abalone cultivating centers. Tourists usually arrive by boat to stock up on fuel and supplies or to take shelter.
The gray-sand beach closest to town was unfortunately covered with trash at last check. But near the airstrip, El Playón offers a suitable camping spot and is also a good place for a day at the beach. To find the beach, head to the airstrip following the road to Punta Eugenia and turn toward the ocean on any tracked road; they all funnel into a more established dirt road that leads to the beach. Once you arrive at the beach, rocky points to the left and right provide shelter from wind as well as decent breaks for surfing on occasion.
Bahía Tortugas fills during Carnaval celebrations every year (Feb.–Mar., dates vary) as well as during its new, annual Feria del Mar (Festival of the Sea; approx. mid-August), during which the town celebrates all facets of the sea through crafts made out of abalone and clam shells, seafood dishes, and a fishing tournament.
Hotels and Restaurants
Try Motel Nancy (tel. 615/158-0056, US$25) for basic rooms with private hot-water showers. The motel office is located inside Novedades Lupita, next door, where DVD rentals are also available. To find Nancy’s, turn left as you are driving into the town and onto a downward-inclined dirt street just after a big minimarket and before the curve in the road at the TelCel office.
On the southwest side of town, Motel Rendón (tel. 615/158-0232) has rooms inside a cinder-block building for US$25–35. Rendón’s office is in El Moroco restaurant, next door.
There are a variety of taco stands and antojito spots in town. Down the street from Motel Nancy, toward the waterfront, is Taquería Delia (no tel., lunch and dinner daily, mains US$5–8), which offers indoor seating for its tacos and tortas.
Farther down the same road is the Tortillería La Trinidad (no tel., closed Sundays) for corn tortillas, with a taco and birria stand in front.
Alex’s Pizza (no tel., lunch and dinner daily, mains US$5–8), on the paved road through the center of town, is open for snacks and pizza in the afternoons and evenings daily.
Restaurant El Moroco (no tel., 8 A.M.–10 P.M. daily, mains US$7–8), near Motel Rendón, serves a variety of fresh seafood dishes.
One of the best eateries in town is La Palapa (no tel., lunch and dinner daily, mains US$5–10), located right in the port. Carlos and Mercedes Jimenez started serving customers a decade ago as an extension of their family gatherings for the anglers who would come ashore looking for some food and company. This is a wonderful spot to spend an hour or two having a beer or some coffee with your home-cooked meal; Carlos, an ex-fisherman, is a fantastic source of local history and makes every visitor feel welcome in this sleepy town.
On the weekends, a disco on the hill above the Pemex is open for the younger crowd that fills the town when visiting family from school in Ensenada.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition