Mulegé has long been a favorite destination for adventurous travelers looking for a place to relax and enjoy the diversity of nature. Divers, sportfishermen, kayakers, history buffs, and admirers of beautiful beaches all find reasons to stay in this oasis just a little longer.
To the north and east of Mulegé lies the Sea of Cortez, known for its abundance and variety of species of fish, marine birds, and sea mammals. To the north are the mostly secluded beaches of Bahía Santa Inez and Punta Chivato, both known for their beauty and tranquillity. Santa Inez is reachable by way of a long dirt road that turns off from Carretera Transpeninsular at Km 151. Twenty-five kilometers (16 miles) south is the majestic Bahía Concepción, a 48km-long (30-mile) body of water protected on three sides by more than 80km (50 miles) of beaches, and dotted with islands. The mountainous peninsula borders its crystal-clear turquoise waters to the east. Along with fantastic landscapes, the bay has numerous soft, white-sand beaches such as Santispác, Concepción, Los Cocos, El Burro, El Coyote, Buenaventura, El Requesón, and Armenta. Swimming, diving, windsurfing, kayaking, and other watersports are easily enjoyed, with equipment rentals locally available. Here's a rundown on some of the area beaches with restaurant service:
- Punta Arena is accessible off Carretera Transpeninsular, at Km 119. A very good palapa restaurant is there, along with camping facilities and primitive beach palapas.
- Playa Santispác, at Km 114, has a nice beachfront, lots of RVs in the winter, and two good restaurants (Ana's is the more popular).
- Playa El Coyote is the most popular and crowded of the Bahía Concepción beaches. The restaurant El Coyote is on the west side of Carretera Transpeninsular at the entrance to this beach, .8km (1/2 mile) from the water; Restaurant Bertha's serves simple meals on the beachfront.
- Playa Buenaventura, at Km 94, is the most developed of the beaches, with a large RV park, motel, convenience store, boat ramp, and public restrooms, along with George's Olé restaurant and bar.
All of the hotels in town can arrange guided fishing trips to Punta Chivato, Isla San Marcos, or Punta de Concepción, the outermost tip of Bahía Concepción.
The best fishing in the area is for yellowtail, which run in the winter, and summer catches of dorado, tuna, and billfish like marlin and sailfish. Prices run $120 per day for up to three people in a panga, $180 for four in a small cruiser, or $200 and up for larger boats.
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
Although diving in the area is very popular, be aware that visibility right in Mulegé is marred by the fresh and not-so-fresh water that seems to flow into the sea from the numerous septic tanks in this area (do not swim or snorkel close to town). But as you head south into Bahía Concepción, excellent snorkeling can be had at the numerous shallow coves and tiny offshore islands. Explore the middle of the sandy coves for oysters and scallops. For bigger fish and colorful sea life, you'll have to swim out to deeper waters along the edges of each cove.
Boat diving around Mulegé is concentrated around Punta de Concepción or north of town at Punta Chivato and the small offshore islands of Santa Inez and San Marcos. Numerous sites are good for both snorkeling and scuba diving. The marine life here is colorful -- you're likely to see green moray eels, angelfish, parrotfish, and a variety of lobster, as well as dolphins and other sea mammals. The best diving is between August and November, when the visibility averages 30m (98 ft.) and water temperatures are warmer (high 20s Celsius/mid-80s Fahrenheit).
Cortez Explorers, Moctezuma 75-A (tel./fax 615/153-0500; www.cortez-explorers.com), maintains its reputation as one of the best-run dive operations in the state, with excellent prices, exceptional service, and a commitment to sustainability. Cortez Explorers runs trips from a large, custom dive boat and uses only well-maintained, current equipment.
Two-tank dive trips generally involve a 45-minute boat ride offshore and cost $90 to $135 per person, depending on the equipment needed. Snorkeling trips go for $45 to $95 (based on the need to rent equipment and how far you're going). Wet suits and jackets are available, and you'll need them in winter.
Kayaks are the most popular and practical way to explore the pristine coves that dot this shoreline, and Bahía Concepción is a kayaker's dream -- clear, calm water and lots of tempting coves to pull into, with white, sandy beaches. Rent a kayak at El Candil restaurant for $29 per day and explore on your own.
Bahía Concepción, south of Mulegé, gets quite windy in the afternoon and has numerous coves for beginners to practice in. It has yet to pull the hard-core kite-boarding crowd that such places as Los Barriles and La Ventana have, but it's a worthy place to stop and rig up nevertheless.