Falling in Love with Mexico and vegetarian sharks

Trip Start Dec 22, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of Mexico  , Baja California,
Saturday, January 5, 2013

Beautiful beaches, pumping waves, artists and surfers- Todos Santos is the perfect mix of México authéntico and Baja's tranqilo vibe spiced with some Gringo familiarities like soy vanilla lattes and BBQ ribs or de la Plancha. The downtown is lined with countless fine art shops and delicious (and overpriced) restaurants. One of those being the famous Hotel California, yes THE Hotel that the Eagles wrote a song about a while back. We end up running into Todos Santos’ unofficial one-man-visitor-center at the local coffee shop and he suggest for us to head a little south to Pescadero where the prices are lower and the surf is better.

Turns out that this was a fabulous idea as we end up at the fun and quirky Pescadero Surf Camp. This place is guarded by a suspicious yet charming hot-dog (tax in Swedish) Mata. Mata, a rescue from a beach further north, takes her job quite seriously and one better watch their ankles while entering the camp. We pitch our tent in between the communal open-air kitchen and some casitas. Toilets and showers are shared on the compound as well as the BYO swim-up bar located in the middle of it all. Young surfers from all over the world chill with cervezas under the palm trees and Josh quickly joins them.

The following days we hang out with the Surf Camp guys and they all fall in love with each other while I smile broadly at the budding bromance. The bros surf some of the biggest waves I’ve seen, show us the best local places for tacos de pescado and get Josh a music gig at the local brewery where we all hoot and holler and cut the rug on the dance floor to J’s version of Hey Ya and Just the Two of Us. I find fabulous yoga at the fancy Rancho Pescadero and get beat up on my boogie-board in the ocean. We take long beach walks and see the sunset and moon rise over the Pacific. We fall in love, Enamorados de México.

 I am happy to say that Josh went from not wanting to go to Mexico, believing that he would meet his maker on this trip… to falling in love with the country, it’s people, food and ultimately proclaiming aloud , yes señores y señoras, "I want to MOVE here." A little casita on the playa sounds good to me, so why not right? In the future that is, as Josh finds out that he got straight A’s this last semester and he will most surely be accepted to USCD this fall. But in the meantime we can always just pop down here and hang out as round-trip flight tickets go as low as $200 roundtrip from San Diego to Cabo.

By the time Josh navigates Pescadero’s dirt roads like a local and a fin on his surfboard breaks off, we head over the town of La Paz for some snorkeling and Stand Up paddle boarding in the Sea of Cortez. Our first adventure is to take a “Panga” out in the bay to swim with the whale sharks that like to hang out in this area this time of the year. Heading out, the Capitan navigates the Panga like a champ but we manage to get completely soaked before even jumping in the water. One guy even decides to ride with his snorkel on his face to prevent being blinded by the massive amounts of water splashing over us. The shark-spotter yells that he sees a fin and before I know it, el Capitan yells at us to “Go, Go, GOOOOO!!!” My heart beats as I see the fin and the fact that I am about to jump INTO the water. Yes I am paying for this and yes I want to do this, I mean, the whales are vegetarian after all……

The amazing feeling of swimming alongside a 15 foot (5 meter) long whale shark was incredible. It’s massive body moving quickly and effortless trough the ocean. So peaceful and cool. I on the other hand, tried to stay calm in the 4-5 foot waves while my mask kept fogging up and my mouth kept getting filled with saltwater. Being afraid of the ocean doesn’t really help either! But when everything synchronized and I could see this stunning animal, it was pure magic and on our way back we all smiled like kids. What a morning!

La Paz turns out to be a great little town with a beautiful Malecón and out-of-this-world Mexican cuisine. Josh finds out that the got straight A's his last semester and we celebrate with the best guacamole I have ever had, ceviche del toro and camarones endiablados. The odds for him to get into UCSD are looking very good now, and we toast with cerveza and tequila.

Our last day is spent on Stand-Up Paddle boards at the incredible beautiful Playa Balandra. The morning starts out a little dramatic as two of the SUP boards fly off the truck and land on the other side of the highway. Our guide and driver (who tied the boards to the car) run across to examine the boards and one of them has a big dent in it and a broken fin. This turns out to be an incredible expensive repair, but luckily nobody had a gigantic 10 foot board flying trough their windshield that morning. Gracias a Dios.

Beautiful Balandra beach is protected and has no commercial buildings or structures surrounding it. It's azure water is home to several fish and we marvel a large manta ray gently floating by. Lots of birds make nests in the nearby mangrove trees where one can float trough while watching hundreds of fish swimming by. It was a fabulous experience.

 From huge waves, organic vanilla lattes and yoga in Todos Santos to whale sharks, SUP and extraordinary food in La Paz; southern Baja quickly becomes a favorite in my travel book. But don't tell anyone, let's keep it a secret and it will stay this way a little longer ;)

Peace, Love & Vegetarian whale sharks
Yours Truly
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tiotodd on

that sounds AMAZING! Btw, Micaela, (Maria not read this) Whale Sharks are fish and thusly Sharks. You willing jumped in the water with a gigantic shark...Loca Chica

Kevin Garduno on

Bromance doesn't even begin to cover it!

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