In recent years, the area around El Pescadero has seen the rise of many new homes and businesses, most notably the stunning Rancho Pescadero resort. Happily, you can still get lost in the maze of unmarked dirt roads that lead from the highway to the beach.
Originally from La Paz, Cuco Moyron (Km. 73, Mexico 19, ranchopilar [at] hotmail [dot] com) is an artist, craftsman, and naturalist who uses recycled tire-rubber soles to make custom-fit sandals (US$35 a pair). He and his wife, Pilar, also make pottery, jewelry, and hats of woven grass.
They have campsites available on their property. Cuco leads informative trips through the Sierra de la Laguna. Allow a week to make arrangements. At Km. 73, take the dirt road toward the beach until you see the Rancho Pilar sign on the left.
The West Cape’s most popular beach awaits at Km. 64 (12.8 km south of Todos Santos). A handful of new businesses now provide food and accommodations, and some camping options are once again available.
Road construction obscured the sign to Playa Los Cerritos at last check, but the dirt road to the beach is well traveled, and signs to Hacienda Cerritos point the way. From the turn, drive 2.7 kilometers southwest until you reach the sandy parking area. Sheltered by Punta Pescadero at its north end, the beach is usually safe for swimming, though you should ask at the surf shops about currents and riptides before getting in the water.
Also keep a lookout for flying surfboards on busy days. Throw on a pair of goggles and you may even catch a glimpse of a spotted eagle ray gliding by just offshore. Boogie boarding is another popular activity.
This is generally a good beginner surf spot, but it can get big in the right conditions. Several surf shops rent boards and offer lessons.
The only food right on the beach comes from Los Cerritos Beach Club (tel. 624/143-4850, cell tel. 624/129-6315, www.cerritosbcs.com , breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, mains US$7–20), which offers a menu of ceviche, pasta, sandwiches, and the like. It has a full bar as well as restrooms for paying customers.
A short walk uphill from the beach, toward the highway, Miguel’s (10 A.M.–8 P.M. Thurs.–Tues., mains US$5–15), a well-known Todos Santos eatery, has opened a satellite location for tasty Mexican fare.
About five kilometers south, near Km. 75, a new real estate development, Tortuga del Sol (www.tortugadelsol.net ) is taking shape with 123 home sites.
As you approach El Pescadero from the south (Km. 62), hilly terrain gives way on the west side of Mexico 19 to a series of flat, cultivated fields fed by underground springs, most of which are bordered by a single row of tall corn stalks to break the wind. Between fields of cherry tomatoes and basil, a number of palm-lined dirt roads meander to the water’s edge.
Though still much smaller and more spread out than its neighbor to the north, El Pescadero has evolved in recent years from a cluster of simple tiendas and loncherías into a more developed business center with its own Pemex and Oxxo convenience store. The first major real estate development underway in the area is the 20-hectare gated community of Playa Agave Azul. More development is under way at nearby Playa Los Cerritos.
Local expat residents here are involved with turtle conservation efforts, through egg collection and baby turtle release programs as well as the building of an educational amphitheater, designed in the shape of a turtle, to promote ecological awareness. Visit www.bajaturtle.com  for more information.
Dirt roads heading to the beach can be a bit tricky to navigate. There are few street names or signs, and many roads dead-end at someone’s driveway. The easiest way to find most of Pescadero’s waterfront attractions is to follow a wide dirt road with a row of palms in the median that meets Mexico 19 just across from the Sandbar restaurant. If you’ve rented a place along this stretch of coast, be sure to get specific directions to find it.
Playa San Pedro extends north from El Pescadero to Punta San Pedro. It is filled with cobblestones near the point but sandy the rest of the way south. Surfable waves break along the north end of the beach. The access road may be difficult to find at Km. 59 due to road construction. Once off the pavement, follow the dirt road 3.1 kilometers west to the beach.
Harder to find, Little San Pedro Beach (Km. 56–57) also goes by the name of Palm Beach. With its fan palms and salt marsh, you might forget you’re in the desert here. Enclosed by rocky points at either end, the beach can offer good swimming, shore fishing, and surfing, depending on the swell. Watch for riptides near the points. Beach camping is permitted on the sand.
The access road to San Pedrito is across from the Campo Experimental buildings on Mexico 19. Stay left when you reach the ruined mansion and you’ll arrive at the south end of the palm orchard. From here, it’s a short walk to the water’s edge.
East of El Pescadero, you can navigate a network of dirt roads up into the foothills to palm-filled arroyos, remote ranches, and stands of cardón cacti. A high-clearance vehicle is a necessity; better yet, park in the foothills and hike in.
It’s easy to become lost here, so consider hiring a guide in El Pescadero or Todos Santos. At Rancho Pilar (Km. 73, Mexico 19, ranchopilar [at] hotmail [dot] com), artisan and amateur naturalist Cuco Moyron can arrange mule trips into the sierra and provides interesting information about the local plants and animals. He’ll need about a week to make the arrangements for your trip.
In Todos Santos , Todos Santos Eco Adventures (Cerro La Poza, Calle Guaycura, tel. 612/145-0780, www.tosea.net ) arranges one-day and multiday hikes, including a trip to visit a celebrated local mountain potter named Doña Ramona, who welcomes guests to experience her family’s working ranch for a day. A variation of this day trip involves a back-roads jaunt over to La Candelaria  to meet yet more potters.
The rugged, and often impassable, Naranjos road heads southeast from a point near Playa Los Cerritos and crosses the Sierra de la Laguna to join Mexico 1 between Santa Anita and Caduaño.