For Memorial Day Weekend Jay and I, along with a few of our friends, cruised south to a little strip of paradise called Gonzaga Bay.
Gonzaga Bay, or Bahía San Luis Gonzaga, is about 2 hours east and 4 hours south of San Diego. It sits about ¼ of the way down the coast on the Sea of Cortez side of Baja California.
I had never heard of this place and granted, I haven’t heard of a lot of places in Baja considering I’m still new to the West Coast, but when I searched Google images for ‘Gonzaga Bay’, I had no qualms with the plans that were made. ????
Jay had actually driven past Gonzaga Bay on his way down to Bahía de Los Ángeles last summer, Bay of LA being about 2 hours farther south than Gonzaga. He described Gonzaga Bay as a smaller version of the Bahía de Los Ángeles and I think he preferred Bay of LA, but the experiences to him were both pretty unique.
Where is Gonzaga Bay?
As mentioned, Gonzaga Bay is on the east side of Baja California, also known as the Sea of Cortez. If you’re looking at a map of Baja in its entirety, you’ll notice it sits just above that massive green section in the middle, El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve.
One of the things I love about road tripping in Baja is it’s scenery, and how different it can be from one hour to the next. On this drive, we drove through desert, little towns and of course, the stiking coastline you see in most pictures. I’m not one who likes to drive (nor am I good at it – living in Manhattan for 7 years will do this to you) but I have to say, I enjoy every minute of our car rides in Baja. Ask Jay (the driver), on the other hand, and he might have a different opinion. ????
Where did we stay?
We stayed at a hotel right on the beach called Alfonsinas (marked on the map), but this wasn’t always the plan.
Our initial plan was to camp. We had all of our gear packed, coolers stocked, my mindset was trained & prepared (I went camping once before this… in a parking lot. Again, city girl!). But as it turned out, every single camping spot was booked. Two of our friends reached Gonzaga Bay before us, early that morning, and were able to scope out the different campgrounds. They said they were mobbed and wound up finding Alfonsinas and getting us the last 2 rooms at the hotel.
Alfonsinas was awesome (and not just for the running water and showers). It’s a little hotel right on the water and the end of a strip of about 40-50 houses on the bay.
It’s in such a remote location, allowing you to feel completely disconnected, but has just the right amount of civilization and access to comforts, if needed. There is a restaurant at the hotel (don’t eat the Machaca; drink the margaritas), and a Pemex down the dirt road slash landing strip that leads to the highway.
I would definitely stay at Alfonsinas again and would 100% recommend a stay there if you’re interested in visiting Gonzaga Bay. The staff was great, the place was clean, and the location is unbeatable. For being only 6 hours away, you can feel completely disconnected from your everyday world and, at the same time, feel like you’re in an entirely new one.
What did we do?
As for what you can do in Gonzaga Bay, the list is sort of endless: snorkel, swim, boat, fish, off-road, hike – if you’re the active type, there’s no shortage of things to do. And even if you’re not the active type, grab a margarita or a Modelo and just bask in Gonzaga Bay’s beauty. It is truly picturesque.
We spent a lot of our time in and on the water. Jay brought a blow-up boat that he took out to fish every morning. I went for a little spin with him and my margie at one point. ???? We all chartered a boat and the boys went spearfishing. We lit fires, sunbathed and just relaxed. There was no cell service at the hotel, nor anywhere close to it, but they did offer WiFi for $10 USD. It felt good being completely off-the-grid for an entire weekend and in a setting like Gonzaga Bay, surrounded by great people, it definitely goes down as a weekend to remember.