The pinks and purples dance as if painting a morning symphony of beauty. It is dawn in Mulege Mexico and I stand transfixed on the third floor terrace of our desert/ocean view rental. The rich aroma of coffee brewing wafts from the kitchen below as I gaze toward the deep blues of Bahia Concepcion (Conception Bay), within the Sea of Cortez.

Mulege Mexico

Having been to Mexico on many occasions, the serenity and quiet of Mulege (moo-leh-HEH) is notably different than other locations we have visited. Here on a hill, at the end of a gravel road above the sleepy town, there is no rushing for beach chairs and no pulsing traffic. Just the magic of the morning light show.

Driving through the endless cactus spotted desert of Baja California, Mulege appears as if a mirage of green lushness. The laid back oasis atmosphere nestles in the groves of date palms, lining one of the only two rivers in Baja Sur Mexico.

Visit Mexico Mulege

Oasis in the desert Mulege Baja Sur Mexico – View from lookout at Mision Santa Rosalia de Mulegé

Mulege remains relatively undiscovered in tourism circles. Those who come upon Mulegé, while driving the long geographical finger of the Baja California peninsula, often end up staying longer than intended. The peacefulness is intoxicating.

Where is Mulege Mexico?

Should you search the internet for best places to visit in Mexico, lists of shiny all-inclusive Mexico resorts and big cities leap to the screen. Tell people you are heading to Baja Mexico and folks often assume Cabo San Lucas (with crowds more like Las Vegas on a beach) is surely the destination.

Mulege Map

The serene town of Mulege lies 136 kilometers (85 miles) north of Loreto, hugging the shores of the Sea of Cortez. The South Pacific-like white sand coves, south of Mulege, are some of the most beautiful in all of Mexico. Loreto is the closest international airport.

Mulege mexico beach

Mulege Mexico Beach

10 Things To Do in Mulegé and Beyond

Wondering what you will do now that you have found where to stay in Mexico? Our typical frenzied pace of traveling slows in the tranquil rhythm of Mulege life. Besides swinging in  a hammock of our palapa-covered outer living area, here are 10 of our suggestions for your visit in this Mexican hidden gem.

Mulege Lighthouse

Mulege Lighthouse

Mulege Lighthouse

Standing atop a rocky outcrop at the entrance to the harbor is one of the most photographed sites in Mulege Baja California. Once open for visitors to climb the ascending stairs, thelighthouse is now fenced off.

Signs in Spanish provide stern warnings and as such we climbed no fences. Still the Mulegé lighthouse makes for great photography from both the sea and the beach.

Bird Watching

One can imagine that the birds of Baja California Sur have spread the secret that Mulege is the place to be. With both fresh and sea water, orchards and endless palm trees, the blazing blue skies are filled with birds happily winging their way on sea breezes to oasis central.

Bird watching Mulege

Fork-tailed frigate birds, Heerman’s gulls, turkey vultures and even Blue-footed Boobies have been sighted. On the Mulege river, brown pelicans repeatedly dive as if performing a synchronized acrobatics show, leaving the occasional tourist audience in awe.

Hike to Punta Prieta

As the Sea of Cortez splashes its salty wave greetings on rocky bluff faces, we  gaze through the large hole in stone to the ocean below. A tourist might expect pushing and shoving at such a natural wonder. Here in Mulege Baja Mexico the place is a well kept secret. Only the pelicans and frigate birds keep us company.

To reach Punta Prieta we meander out the back door of our quiet rental house to the hiking path. If coming from Mulege town center, take the river road toward the coast.

Turn left off the river road before you reach the sea. A Tel Mex utility box marks the turn. Head uphill on a gravel road, into the community of Loma Azul. Look for the communications tower surrounded by fencing. Take the dirt road behind the tower toward the coast and watch for trails leading to the bluffs.

Mexican Beach Hopping Paradise

Sometimes things are too good to be true but not when it comes to the beaches south of Mulegé. Bahia Concepcion is a seaside treasure chest awaiting discovery.

The white sand beaches of the coves and inlets, with sparkling water, are considered the best in all of Baja Mexico. The surreal shades of blue of Bahia de Concepcion and surprising lack of people, make this area a gem for swimmers, snorkelers and kayakers.

Mulege Baja map

Mulege Baja map of beaches

Heroica Mulege Arch

Finding what has been called the prettiest town in Baja California Sur is made easy by the presence of a grand arch at the town’s entrance. The town’s official name, Heroica Mulege greets those passing under the curved entrance.

Heroica Mulege Arch

Heroica Mulege Arch and the main entrance to town

Locals happily share the proud history of the Battle of Mulegé on October 2, 1847, when  a small group of Mexican military and volunteers held back the enemy during the Mexican American War. Mulege was never taken and the arch stands as both landmark and historical monument.

Mission Santa Rosalia de Mulege

Santa Rosalia Mission Mulege

Mision Santa Rosalia de Mulege

Built by the Jesuits in 1705, the structure is comprised entirely of local stone and stands high on a rocky outcrop. The second oldest mission in Baja California, it remained in use until 1828 and has been renovated several times.

There is ample parking at the Mission Santa Rosalia de Mulege. Alternatively, walk the pedestrian bridge across the Rio Mulege from the main town near the arch. Don’t miss the stairs climbing upward to a lookout point. Here you will find one of the best views of the oasis-like setting in Mulege.

Walking bridge to Mission Santa Rosalia de Mulege

Pedestrian bridge to Mission Santa Rosalia de Mulege

 Baja Sur Prison – Open Door Policy

A prison without bars where inmates, (or would that be guests?) can leave for the day and return in the evening. Until 1975 the Baja Sur Prison ran on the honor system. Inmates were given leave to work for the day to make money to support their family, returning promptly to the bugle horn being sounded at 6pm.

Should a rare escape take place, fellow inmates swiftly rounded up escapees. Now the Mulege Baja Sur Prison serves as a fascinating museum where for a small donation you too can come and go as you please.

Petroglyphs and Cave Paintings

Indigenous peoples have inhabited the area near Mulege Baja Sur for thousands of years. Their petroglyphs and cave paintings are reported to be the oldest in Latin America. The caves are only accessible with a guide and Salvador Castro Drew is renowned as the  local expert.

Salvador Castro Drew Tour Guide Mulege

Meeting Salvador Mulege local cave expert and guide

Salvador’s Mulege tours include stops at orchards, where guests can taste in season grapefruit, mangoes and oranges. Salvador discusses use of plants for natural medicine and how to survive in the desert should you ever find yourself in that predicament. Let’s hope none of us have that adventure!

Salvador, who speaks English fluently, can be reached at +52 615 161 4985. Although we did not have the opportunity to take the tour, in researching reviews Salvador comes highly recommended.

A Taste of Mexico

Taking advantage of having a full kitchen in our rental and buying produce daily from the small grocery markets in town, we did most of our own cooking. However there are several good Mulege restaurants.

Las Casitas Restaurant Mulege

Las Casitas Restaurant Mulege

The entrance to Las Casitas is an unassuming doorway. Once inside the authentic Mexican decor and jungle like setting is pleasant surprise. The service is friendly, the salsa and guacamole especially delicious.

We found the prices extremely reasonable with dinner for six including drinks totaling 50 USD. Las Casitas also displays information on Salvador’s cave tours as well as other guides and tours in and around Mulege.

Day Trip to Santa Rosalia

Santa Rosalia

View from Santa Rosalia Museum

North of Mulege is a unique Mexico travel stop, the beach-side town of Santa Rosalia. Likely not found on a list of must see beach Mexico destinations, this bustling town centers around a once thriving copper mine. The structures remain and the local museum traces the history of the town and the discovery of copper here in the 1880’s.

If history is not your thing then head straight to Panadería El Boleo known for making the best baguettes in Mexico since 1901. Our noses also led us to the neon green building Tortilleria Santa Aqueda. Here fresh tortillas come off the family run assembly line by the hundreds.

 

Please check out Dave’s video of Mulege including some astounding drone footage of the beaches nearby.

 

Final Tips for Visiting Mulege

Plan to save money

Compared to other more known destinations on the California Baja, this would be classified in the cheap trips to Mexico category. The cost of food, drinks and accommodations are substantially less expensive in Mulege than in tourist filled Cabo San Lucas.

Use Mexican pesos for the best price but US dollars are widely accepted.

Where to stay in Mulege

There are several hotels in Mulegé as well as Mulegé RV parks. We stayed as guests of friends in their renovated three-story authentic Mexican home.  If you would like to know more about their long term rental in Mulege you can  inquire by email.

Rent a car

We took the bus from Loreto to Mulege which worked well. However had we not had the use of our friend’s vehicle we would have been limited. There is no local bus within Mulege. A taxi can often be found at the arch entrance however one could not rely on that for transportation.

Do you enjoy an off the beaten path getaway?

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