New friends, adventures, and perspectives in Baja California Sur
When you know next to nothing about the place you are about to visit and are coming in with no expectations, you open yourself up to new adventures and perspectives. This is how I arrived with four friends in La Ventana, Baja California Sur in Mexico. One of our friends had seen a photo of this place on the Baja peninsula, but other than that, we knew very little about our destination. We had heard this was a town that existed only because of its perfect winds for kite surfing. None of us had ever tried that sport but we were excited to take some lessons. The funny thing is, the one friend who came up with the idea of this vacation does not swim and is utterly afraid of the water. Nonetheless, she loves the beach and even has several beach-related tattoos on her body.
Our first stop was in La Paz, since it’s the only flight option nearby. We spent the night in an amazing hostel downtown where we got to meet incredible people. One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting people and learning their different life stories. I´m always first to ask where are they from and what are they doing with their lives. I´m obsessed with the new options of life that have come up along with technology. One of our new friends in this hostel is from Texas and works in construction. Since he is not working right now because of COVID-19, he came to Mexico to fulfill his lifelong dream of sailing for months on his own. He was looking to buy a small sailboat for himself and came to La Paz looking for the perfect option. There was also a Canadian lady in her late forties who had come looking for some calmness close to the sea and had no flight back. It made me happy to see that no matter the age, life can still be fun and unpredictable.
We only had one day to discover La Paz so we chose to go to Balandra Beach, known by the locals as the best beach around. But first, we went on an incredible hike to see Balandra Beach from above. The weather was great, a moderate temperature but sunny, and the mixture of desert and crystal clear water from the beach made for a one-of-a-kind scenery. We kayaked there for a while and this beach has a very relaxed mood, with many families hanging around the calm waters. The beach has no waves and also no food vendors, so you have to take your own snacks and water. Tecolote Beach is just two miles away and has more life, with small beach bars and seafood restaurants. We liked this place best and left having made some more new friends; the waiters were fun and created a party-like atmosphere for us to enjoy.
The next day we left for La Ventana (the main destination of this trip) very early in the morning. It’s 45 minutes away from La Paz and we took an Uber that cost less than 100 pesos per person. When we arrived, we could not believe our eyes. Our hotel Baja View Project was amazing, featuring glamping-style rooms and situated in the middle of the desert. The rooms looked like teepees and can sleep four people, which was perfect for our group. The showers and bathrooms, which were in the center, were shared by all the guests. Luckily, we were the only ones in the hotel that weekend so we had the beautiful space all to ourselves. We got to meet the owner of the hotel and he gave us some good recommendations on where to eat and where to get our kite surfing lessons with a discount. At night, the view of the stars was impossible to describe with words; it felt like something completely out of this world. One of my favourite memories was on our last day there, when we woke up at 5:00 a.m. to see the stars and an hour later, the sun rose from the horizon at sea and settled between the mountains.
We met a lot of friendly locals who make a living out of tourism or kite surfing. They were all eager to show us around and even gave us free rides around the town. Kite surfing was extremely fun, which was helped by the highly skilled and professional teachers. The lessons were a bit expensive because the equipment needed is not cheap, at about $200 per hour, but it was totally worth it. My instructor told me she was from Sweden and traveled the whole year looking for the perfect winds; she’s been teaching and traveling for six years now. She spends her year between Africa, Spain, and Mexico, depending on the wind season. When asked about her motivations to lead this kind of life, she answered: “I just figured life is too short, I better start doing what I love.” She couldn’t be more correct. With every leisure trip comes some valuable life lessons.
While in La Ventana, I would recommend a visit to El Sargento, which is 15 minutes away. This beach has very good winds and is not as crowded as the main beach. To eat, what I most liked was La Palapa for breakfast, Chilo Chill for food and drinks, and La Mezcaleria for drinks and party later in the evening. Also consider the Baja View glamping hotel, where the hospitality is amazing and the setting is just magical, full of places to chill in a hammock or comfy sofas outdoors. The whole vibe of this town is so relaxed and open-minded, and everyone is very friendly and interested in making new friends. Most of the people there are from all over the world and are just there for some months during the windy season, so the travel stories are infinite. In a nutshell, this place has everything: beautiful beaches, amazing sunrises, magical stars at night, indescribable sunsets, daily yoga classes, water sports, and an unreal vibe. It was truly a trip to remember.
Cover: Baja California. Photo: Claudia Larios
Claudia Larios is a Mexican based in Guadalajara who is a beach and sports lover, adventure seeker, bookworm and freelance travel writer. She is a traveler with a 9-5 job, soon to be a digital nomad.