When you live in La Paz, a whole world of adventure lies just outside your door in just about any direction. While there is no shortage of beaches and towns easily reachable by car, so much more of Baja’s magic is found along coastal, desert and mountain trails that defy 2-wheel drive. That’s why you’ll see many La Paz locals whizzing around on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and side-by-side utility task vehicles (UTVs). On an ATV/UTV, you can access deserted miles of shoreline, remote towns and villages, fish camps where fresh seafood is caught and sold, desert canyons and so much more.
There are several informal off-road groups that plan rides together, which is safer than going it alone, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the trails. On a recent weekend, we headed out with a group that call themselves the Moto Geezers. Our destination: San Evaristo, a small bayside village a few hours north of La Paz with a tiny restaurant that we had heard serves amazing fresh fish tacos.
We set out on a dirt road that took us first along the Sea of Cortez, then through the desert and up a winding rocky road through the mountains. Along the way, we passed a large shrimp farm, a few beachside fish camps, cows munching contentedly on desert fauna, a herd of horses trotting alongside the trail, and ababy burro and its mama.
At our first stop, we parked on a cliff overlooking the Sea of Cortez in front of us. Behind, multi-colored cliffs rose from the desert floor, ranging in color from deep desert pink to an unusual dark green from the naturally occurring phosphorus. We exclaimed over the views, snapped dozens of photos, then headed onward.
We arrived at San Evaristo, where a grouping of homes and a single restaurant surround a stunning bay. On the restaurant patio, shells were strung, painted with the musings and messages of past visitors. We settled in for a delicious lunch of fresh sautéed grouper and snapper, served in cast iron skillets and accompanied by warm tortillas, pico de gallo and several salsas.
Full and happy, we hopped in our vehicles and headed back,and content to have spent the day outdoors, enjoying a part of Baja most tourists never see.
No matter what your interest or skill level, there are plenty of trails to explore and sights to see off the beaten path in Baja, and La Paz offers a perfect starting point for trips in just about any direction. Whether you want to ride for a few hours, take a day trip or adventure out on a longer camping trip, remember to be prepared, stay safe and travel with friends.
(Muchas gracias to Rebecca McDonald for sharing "Moto-Geezers Go to San Evaristo".)