This is an interesting area 120 miles south of Ensenada. It is
a growing center of tomato production and packing. Each of the
two towns has now sprouted a stop-light (1996) - a sign of
progress which, I suspect, the locals will be slow to accept.
In September '96, further signs of progress were evident in a
widening of the road to four lanes as it passed through the
If I have a guest along for a first time ride down the highway,
I try to stop at San Quintin overnight (at least stop for a
long walk on the beach). The best place to reach the beach is
from the La Pinta Hotel south of the towns (there are two
versions of San Quintin - a north and a south). Follow the
signs to the west to reach the La Pinta (about 2 miles off the
Road condition note: In August of '99 I drove out to the La
Pinta/Cielito Lindo area and found the "road" between Highway 1 and the old
Parador (if you've been there you'll know what I mean) to have
deteriorated considerably. The road seems to be following an
inexorable trend taking it back to its origins - as a desert
The beach can even be driven on if a "road" out to the beach can
be found - look on the back side of the La Pinta for a track to
the beach. The beach is very wide and very flat, with many
"sand dollars" to be found. At times of extreme low tides many
locals will drive out on the beach and dig for clams - the beach
can become a minor thoroughfare!
Beginning in 1997, there have been numerous reports of
tourist-oriented crime in the San Quintin - El Rosario area. If
you are stopping in the area, I'd strongly recommend that you either
stay in a hotel/motel or an established campground.
About 30 miles south of San Quintin, the road turns inland to
enter the great Central Desert. South of El Rosario, the
fantastic desert scenery begins. It reaches a peak at the "rock
garden" of Cataviña.
There is available a book on Baja California plants which makes
this section even more interesting (Baja California Plant
Field Guide by Norman C. Roberts, Natural History
Publishing Co., P.O. Box 962, La Jolla, CA 92037; 1989, ISBN
0-9603144, the cost is about $23).