When you cross the border from the state of Baja California to Baja California Sur, you are also crossing the 28th parallel and switching time zones to Mountain Standard. When you cross you’ll go through a military checkpoint, there’s the possibility of a agricultural inspection and they spray your vehicle with insecticide.
Right after the checkpoint the first large community you enter is the town of Guerrero Negro. Guerrero Negro was founded in 1957 when a saltworks was created on a coastal lagoon because of its high salinity. Today the saltworks produces about seven million tons of salt and employs about 1,000 people.
But before you reach the downtown area, right off Federal Highway 1, is Mario’s Tours and Restaurant. The establishment also has a basic RV campground in back with bathrooms, electrical hookups and two friendly dogs who are more than likely to greet you each morning.
While we were there we unhooked the jeep and did a little exploring. The town has the world’s largest salt mining operation, with vast evaporation pools on the edge of town. Most of the area around the saltworks is accessible by dirt roads although eventually you will reach a gated fenced off area manned by a single gentleman and his dog in a guard shack.
Nearby is a natural wetlands preserve and bird refuge that has birds such as White Pelicans, Red Tailed Falcon, White and Red Egrets, Whimbrel and the Osprey. We also drove out to an old lighthouse that has been abandoned for years.
The highlight of any trip to Guerrero Negro tough is the whale watching. Grey whales arrive in Ojo de Liebre Lagoon every year in December, calve their young and usually stay till March before they begin their migration. The whales here are so used to human interaction any come right up to the whale watching boats and some even allow themselves to be petted. Seeing these magnificent giants so close was an experience of a lifetime.
Coming face to face with these mother and baby whales was absolutely wonderful! We recommend anyone in Baja during the breeding season (January to March) come to Guerrero Negro to see the whales!