Touring Baja Part 6
The town of Santa Rosalia has a strikingly different look from any other town in the area. The straight street and wooden buildings recall Santa Rosalia’s past as an old copper mining center. In 1885 a French company called El Boleo started using the rich deposits of copper reserves in the area, and in exchange had to build a town, the harbor, and establish a maritime route between Santa Rosalia and Guaymas, on the Mexican Pacific coast.
While walking through town surrounded by French colonial buildings, you have the feeling of being in a different space and time. In front of the town museum you will find one of the mine old locomotives brought there in the 19th century, the ruins of the melting plant, the old bakery El Boleo, and the curious Santa Barbara church, designed and prefabricated in Paris by Gustave Eiffel.
Not far from Santa Rosalia, a favorite site for mountain climbers is the Tres Virgenes Volcano. From its 6,740 ft (2,054 meters) above sea level you have great views over the sea of Cortez. There are trails for mountain bikers and good camping spots. The climb to the volcano is recommended to experienced climbers only.
Mulege is another oasis for eco-travellers: a traditional Baja village surrounded by a lush vegetation of palm trees, is located on the arroyo Rosalia estuary, home to many species of birds and wildlife.
The town was build around the mission of Santa Rosalia de Mulege, and hosted the first ‘prison without doors’ (now the local museum): the convicts could go to work in the village and even have a social life, and had to go back to their cells in the evening.
From the mission you will enjoy stunning views over a valley filled with palm trees and orchards, and you can admire the vibrant colors of the bougainvillea.
Only a couple of hours driving from Mulege you can see extraordinary samples of cave paintings, like the ones in San Borjita’s mountains near the Canyon La Trinidad.
Driving south past Mulege you will meet the magnificent natural scenery of Bahia Conception, with its multitude of white sand beaches lapped by the turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez, where you can practice any kind of water sports (amongst these Santispac, Playa de Cocos, El Burro, El Coyote, and El Requeson, considered one of the most beautiful beaches all over Mexico). If it is not windy, a kayak trip in the calm waters of the bay is an experience not to be missed.