Malarrimo, Baja California Sur – Latin America’s largest nature preserve

It is not recommended to drink tap water in Mexico. Water available on campgrounds is at best suitable for body cleaning, as long as one doesn’t have a filter and disinfection system. But even then brackish water may contain too much salt to be healthy for human beings. Even tap water is often stored in tanks that don’t fulfil our hygienic requirements, and where algae might grow as most harmless variation. One option is to take water from a well when it is sure that it doesn’t contain too much salt, and if there is no agriculture too close. Safer is to buy drinking water in gallons from a purification plant that can be found in each town. There is a deposit fee for the first container, later you change empty to full and just pay the water. Many of these plants have a water meter and hoses with which you can fill your water tank. That is about 25 Cents per gallon.

After lying in stocks we go to the backcountry, the peninsula of El Vizcaíno. The headland is an interesting mix of desert, mountains, and coastal landscape. El Vizcaíno is extremely dry, in some years there is not even one drop of rain. Plants and animals often gain moisture only from the coastal fog that’s so typical for the Pacific coast. The road to Bahía de Tortugas is paved for the greatest part, although not always in excellent condition. We drive into the Vizcaíno biosphere reserve, a desert area that occupies 2.5 million ha from Baja’s west coast to the east coast south of the 28th parallel. It includes the whale sanctuary Laguna Ojo de Liebre and is said to be the most extensive nature preserve in Latin America. The strange elephant trees with their thick stems are starting to bloom in purple colour. Just before reaching Bahía de Tortugas we turn to the north coast of the peninsula to Malarrimo and then along the beach where we find places to camp above the Pacific that roars with the chilly winds.

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