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An oasis town if there ever was one. After driving the dreary portion of the highway south of Guerrero Negro, and all of a sudden turning a corner to see the thousands of date-palms of San Ignacio is a welcome sight.
Travelers staying here are mostly to here to see the Gray Whale's (in season) at San Ignacio Lagoon, the Indian pictographs in the Sierra San Francisco, or to partake of a visit to one of the better preserved of the Jesuit Missions of Baja (right in the middle of town). If you plan to visit during the middle of whale-watching season (Jan 31 - Mar 31) you'll need room reservations as much as 6 months ahead of time, otherwise plan on camping.
Places to stay:
La Pinta -- The most acceptable choice for the majority of visitors (and for some, the only choice). As usual, my only complaint about this chain is that it's slightly overpriced. 800-336-5454. Moderate
Motel La Posada -- Small place, extremely basic rooms. Ask for directions in town (as it's hard to find). Owned by the Fischer family, who also offer tours to the Lagoon, and to the Pictographs. Budget
Restaurant Chalita -- Offers basic quarters (2 or 3 units) behind the restaurant. Ultra-Budget
Places to eat:
Restaurant Rene's -- What was once a small palapa restaurant, has become a *large* palapa restaurant. Budget to Moderate
Things to do:
San Ignacio Lagoon, one of three noted spots to get close (on a panga with a "guide") to the California Gray Whales, lies approximately 40 miles almost due south from the village of San Ignacio. The road is never really smooth, and has been submerged in considerable knee-deep water after large rain storms in the past. The road seems to improve considerably each passing year however. A high-clearance vehicle is not always required, but a good idea. Be sure to inquire about the condition of the road in-town before setting out to conquer it. Arrangements can be made in town for a package "tour" consisting of being taken out to the lagoon in someone else's vehicle, and the trip with a pangero on the lagoon for approximately 3 hours. This of course, is more expensive than driving yourself out to the lagoon and inquiring with the pangeros themselves. Rates have nudged upward with the onslaught of visitors in the past four years (an incredible amount of people have descended upon San Ignacio), but the going rate at the lagoon is $30 per adult for the trip (young children <12 are negotiable, and sometimes free if there are enough paying adults). Maldo, and brother Refugio, are about a half-mile from where the road reaches the lagoon (past Chema), and not only will they take you out, but for an additional $5/pp Maldo's wife Catalina will make you a hot lunch (including a soda or beer) upon your return. It hits the spot after depriving yourself of a decent breakfast trying to make it out to the lagoon early in the a.m., and being in the panga for a few hours.
Sierra de San Francisco rock art sites, to the north of San Ignacio (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hour drive), are accessible by off-highway graded roads whose conditions vary based upon the weather. Again, arrangements can be made for a "tour" package in town. If you choose to drive into the mountains yourself, arrangements can be made for a guide in the small rancho area of San Francisco. If you insist on a mule trip to do so, arrangements must be made ahead of time (sometimes only a day). | www Link: Sierra de San Francisco |
The San Ignacio Mission is one of the finer sights in the chain of Jesuit Missions built in the 1700's (this one dates from 1786), and it lies right on the town square in San Ignacio. So, not only is it one of the best to see, it's also one of the easiest to get to! For more information, please see the page on the Missions.
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Last revised: June 21, 2002
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