Puertecitos, Baja California Norte – Rommel and the cacti

The Valle des los Gigantes is a private nature preserve. Here one finds Saguaros or cardón, how they are called in Mexico, the world’s tallest cacti. These ones are even bigger than those in Arizona. The largest one stands right in the beginning of the cacti field: 18 m high, 12 t heavy, and some hundreds of years old. From here on there is a lot of soft sand and making headway is only possible with a 4WD or on foot. The Mexican government sent in 1992 a cactus almost as big as the one here from this park to the Expo to Spanish Sevilla on the occasion of the world exhibition. The plant continues living in its new home as a symbol for Mexico.

Ocotillos, Palo Verde, mesquite bushes, and Cholla are among the fauna as well. The entrance to the Valle des los Gigantes is 14 km south of San Felipe on the west side of the road. The entrance fee is 10 US $ per vehicle. Those who don’t go further south should visit the park, the others will have the opportunity to see more than enough cacti later on – free of charge, by the way.

Just before we exit, as we shoot a last photo, we finally meet Rommel. No joke, this is really the man’s name, his father was a fan of the German warfare general who still has astonishingly many supporters in foreign countries. A heavy burden rests on him, complains the Mexican, his first Christian name is David, his second Rommel. But he doesn’t seem to be too downcast. Rommel actually lives in Tecate and is a friend of Fritz as well as of Werner and Gabi whom we also met in Tecate. But he spends Easter on his family’s estate Rancho Punto Estrella where the cacti sanctuary is located. What a coincidence that we meet here, I shout. Rommel is happy as well. “But no”, he says melancholically, “there is no coincidence in life”.

And there is something else we find today: The lonely beach at Cinqo Islas where we can camp and swim in the astonishingly tempered water of the Gulf of California. It is the first time after we started our trip that we swim in the sea.

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