Guadalupe Island or Isla Guadalupe is a volcanic island located 241 km (150 mi) off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula in the Oceania. According to Seacology’s website, Guadalupe Island is a biosphere reserve.
Guadalupe is part of Ensenada, a subdivision of the state of Baja California. In 2010, the island had a population of 213 people.
Guadalupe has a rugged landscape with numerous shield volcanoes. The island measures 35 km (22 mi) north-south and up to 9.5 km (5.9 mi) east-west, with a total area of 244 km2 (94 sq mi).
The southern part of the island is barren, but there are fertile plateaus and trees in the northern part. The coast generally consists of rocky bluffs with detached rocks fronting some of them.
There are also some islets off the coast of Guadalupe Island, such as Islote Afuera and Islote Adentro.
History of Guadalupe Island
Guadalupe Island was a major destination for Russian and American fur hunters seeking the Guadalupe fur seal in the 18th and 19th centuries, until they were nearly extinct by 1844. The northern elephant seal was also hunted for the oil in its blubber, but managed to survive and the seals remain today.
Goats were brought to the island in the 19th century by European whalers and sealers for provisions when stopping over. Their numbers have fluctuated over the years, peaking at 100,000 and in more recent times being about 20,000.
The island has been a nature conservancy area since 1928, making it one of the oldest reserves in Mexico.
The island has two major climate zones: a very arid, semi-hot climate between 0–800 m (0–2,625 ft) elevation, with mean annual temperature between 18–22 °C (64–72 °F) and a very arid, temperate climate above 800 m (2,600 ft) elevation with temperatures over 22 °C (72 °F) in the hottest month of the year.
The weather station is at a low elevation, and temperatures may be more than ten degrees Fahrenheit colder at the higher elevations of the island.
Most precipitation occurs over the winter months with strong influence of northwestern winds and cyclones.
Rainfall averages 133 mm (5.2 in) near sea level at the south end but appears to be much more at the higher northern end.
With about 200 people in 50 buildings, Campo Oeste (“West Camp”) is by far the largest settlement on the island. It is a fishing community which is connected by a dirt road to the rest of the island. Additional temporary fishing camps are Campo Norte (“North Camp”, four buildings), Campo Lima (Campo Corrals) (one building) and Arroyitos (four buildings). An abandoned fishing community, Campo Este (“East Camp”), sits near a cove on the eastern shore.
At the southern tip, on Melpómene Cove, there is a weather station staffed by a detachment from the Mexican Ministry of the Navy. The site is called Campamento Sur (“South Encampment”). Campo Bosque was established in the cypress forest in the north and houses members of a cooperative farming society which removes goats from the island and sells them in the State of Sonora. Campo Pista is located at the small airport, near the center of the island.
Flora and fauna
Guadalupe shares the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion with the Channel Islands of California in the United States, but the island was at one time practically denuded of all plants higher than a few centimeters by up to 100,000 feral goats. The goats have continued to be a problem, and their destruction of vegetation has caused desertification on the island. In more recent years, much of this has been prevented with goat fence installation, and the island is recovering.
The goat population was completely eradicated by 2007 due to the activities of a Group for Ecology and Island Conservation NGO, and the vegetation has started to recover. Measures have also been taken to control the populations of wild cats and dogs, which has been of benefit to the island’s birds.
Many island or marine species that reside on or near Guadalupe also frequent the Channel Islands, and vice versa. In stark contrast to the rampant extinction of terrestrial life that happened at the same time, Guadalupe has been the last refuge for the northern elephant seal and the Guadalupe fur seal since the 1890s. The island has been a pinniped sanctuary since 1975, creating a large pinniped population – therefore, Guadalupe is now one of the best spots in the world for sightings of the great white shark.
Guadalupe fur seal
This is one of the most challenging places to reach on Earth.
However, there are options for getting to the island. The first is to get there on your own, with a boat or a plane. The other is to take the Guadalupe Sharks tour, but this tour does not actually go on the main island.
- Airport Isla Guadalupe (ICAO code MMGD). has a 1,200 m (3,900 ft) long runway for private planes. There is no airport terminal or air traffic control, and multiple planes have crashed near the runway since it is not completely flat. Also, there is no hangar at the runway or really anywhere to park the plane once it has landed.
There are three dirt roads from the airport to the other parts of the island, and unless you want to start your vacation walking several miles on a desert island, you’ll need to arrange for a vehicle to be there to pick you up. This will need to be arranged privately with one of the locals before the trip, since there are no car rentals either at the runway or in any other part of the island.
It is 18 hours by boat from Ensenada, over deep water in areas where communication for help is impossible, so make sure you have a decent boat before setting off on such an expedition. Nearer to the island, watch out for great white sharks!
Diving expeditions to see the great white sharks have been available since 2000 and continue to this day from Horizon Charters, Guadalupe Great White Sharks, Shark Diver (starting at US$3,000 for a 5-day package), and on the Solar V from Ensenada.
There are several dirt roads on the island. The main dirt road goes along the top plateau, and other minor dirt roads branch off to the towns. The main road intersection is at the southwest end of the runway, where three roads intersect.
The southbound road at this junction begins along a flat plateau, and begins to twist as it reaches a mountainous, volcanic region. Around here it begins to descend the Guadalupean slopes, somewhat following the contour lines and going through mountain passes. As it becomes nearly level with the ridge to the west, it begins to follow a more obvious downhill grade, winding around several miniature volcanoes. It eventually follows the path of a minor creek, before turning and following the western cliff until it reaches Camp Sur.
The westbound road follows the plateau to the west until the plateau begins to evolve into a cliff, and zigzags begin. It then follows a creek southwest until it reaches Campo Oeste. Here it divides into two roads, one going along the physically higher end of town and one going along the shoreline at the lower end of the town.
The northbound road steadily climbs the volcanic northern half of the island, eventually reaching an elevation of more than 4,000 feet. At the top, a cliff is visible on the right, which leads towards the ocean, and on the left the first woodlands are seen. The dirt road from here follows the cliff until it reaches Campo Bosque, where it begins to descend the cliff. It goes down the cliff sections at a time until it reaches a major canyon within the cliff itself. The canyon, however, becomes extremely steep, and the dirt road begins to zigzag down a steep ridge in the cliff until it reaches a beach, where Northeast Anchorage is located.
Apart from town roads, these are the only proper roads on the island.
Cliff faces at Guadalupe Island
The challenge with navigating in this fashion is the size of the island, and its rugged terrain. Except for hiking, this method of transport is only reasonable within communities; there are often several miles of dirt road between the communities.
The roads that are mentioned above are on rugged terrain, to add to the problems. Just getting from one town to the next may require a 2,000-foot climb or a 4,000-foot drop.
Of course, one could venture off the dirt roads. However, do “look before you leap”. There are numerous volcanoes, cliffs, and mountain slopes, so one must be extremely careful about walking in certain areas, especially the higher parts of the island in the north. Even the far south, though, there are hundred-foot cliffs, so sticking to roads is how you will want to travel, since they do not go straight down the cliffs, but zigzag down easier slopes.
As Guadalupe Island is not yet a major tourist attraction, there are no footpaths or hiking trails in the park. However, the dirt roads are much like wide footpaths, and traffic on the roads is not busy, so it should not be a problem walking along the dirt roads.
There are, however, some slight traces of paths off the dirt roads. One of these clearly branches off the main dirt road near the pine woodland, and follows scattered trees and chaparral until it crosses a gully and peters out in a shrubland to the west of the woodland. Yet another path, even farther north, branches off at Campo Bosque (where some cars are located) and divides at a small woodland. Another path leads from here to the north, running parallel with the main northbound dirt road.
This would seem to be a good way to get around the island with your own craft. Campamento Sur, Campo Oeste, and Northeast Anchorage are all on the coast, but whether they are reachable is another question. Northeast Anchorage does not have any harbor or marina, Campo Oeste has just a boat slip, and there is no proper harbor at Camp Sur. Campo Bosque, of course, is not on the coast.
From mapping services, Campo Oeste appears to be the best place, since it has a semi-decent boat ramp.
Camp Sur also has a boat ramp, although it only works well at high tide.
What to see and do
Of course, besides the act of getting there, the main point of all that effort to get to the island is to look around. All of the island is dramatic, and you can really do sightseeing anywhere on Guadalupe Island. The sights on the island consist of some wildlife, particularly on the shorelines and in the upper parts of the island; the great rocky cliffs that go around most of the island; the oceans around the island; and everything on the top of the island.
Guadalupe has some interesting attractions on the island itself, along with some other islets just off the coast.
- Airport (Runway). Poorly constructed runway in the center of the island where a plane crashed several years ago.
- Campamento Sur (South Camp). Small camp on the southern end of the island.
- Campo Bosque (Forest Camp). It was established as a temporary camp in 1999 in the cypress forest in the north. The camp houses members of a cooperative farming society which removes goats from the island and sells them in the State of Sonora, with permission of Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources and the support of the Secretariat of the Navy.
- Campo Oeste. The main settlement with about 200 people, Oeste is a small community of abalone and lobster fishermen, on the western coast. It is on the north side of West Anchorage, a bay that provides protection from the strong winds and swells that whip the islands during winter. Generators provide electricity, and a desalination plant provides fresh water. Ten months of the year, the 30 families of a fishing cooperative live here.
- Northeast Anchorage. A group of abandoned buildings near a canyon in the north of the island.
Two high and prominent islets are within 3 kilometres (1.9 mi)*of the southwestern end of the island, separated from one another by a gap called Tuna Alley:
- Islote Adentro (Inner Islet, also El Toro). Another barren islet, located near Roca del Skip and Church Rock.
- Islote Afuera (Outer Islet, also Islote Zapato). The most distant island, steep with almost vertical walls above and below water
Elsewhere, the other islets are very small and close to the shore, all less than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi)*away:
- Islote Bernal. 1.1-ha (2.7-acre) islet about a mile south of a major landslide and a couple miles south of Campo Oeste.
- Islote Negro. 8.8-ha (22-acre) islet off the west coast of Guadalupe Island about a mile north of Camp Sur.
There are five other islets, which are all less than 1 ha (2.5 acres).
Besides the populated places and islets, Guadalupe features a chain of high volcanic mountain ridges. There are some major peaks on these ridges, which are listed below:
- Mount Augusta. This is the highest point on the island. It is not really a large mountain, just a high point on the eastern cliff of Guadalupe. Mount Augusta is 1,298 metres (4,259 ft) above sea level.
- El Picacho. At an elevation of 975 metres (3,199 ft), El Picacho is the highest point on the southern side of the island. It is on a desert ridge which sits above Campo Oeste.
There are also some unattractive volcanoes in the south, which have no vegetation on them and vary from white to gray and red in color. Only one of these are named, which actually in the east of the island:
- Red Cinder Cone. Red-topped volcano on the eastern side of the island.
What to do
Southern end of Guadalupe Island
On Guadalupe Island, there are no major events, and any exploration is self-guided unless a local is interested in showing you around the island. Hiking is the main thing to do on the island, along with fishing.
For fishing, the best locations are in the towns, where there is a shoreline. Much of the coastline of the island has high cliffs, making any beach or shoreline activity impossible. The best beaches are at Campo Oeste and Northeast Anchorage, with a small beach at Camp Sur; however, all these beaches are a mile or less in practical length.
There are some boat tours which go towards Guadalupe Island, starting from either Alta or Baja California. They will journey for several days looking for sharks around Guadalupe, but will not go on the island itself. This is by far the easiest way to see Guadalupe Island, but you will not get the same experience as one would who was on the island.
(They begin in other places, but go to the Guadalupe Island region)
- Great White Adventures – Guadalupe (Begins in San Diego). They do 5- or 6-day trips in late summer.
- Great White Sharks of Guadalupe (Begins in Ensenada). They do 5- or 6-day voyages to Guadalupe Island in late-summer.
Fees and permits
Considering how hard it is to get to the island, it is unlikely that the Mexican government will worry about restricting anyone from getting there, although you may want to get in touch with Seacology or another environmental group first before going to Guadalupe Island to make sure they’re all right with tourists going there.
There is no entry system at Guadalupe for those who go straight to the island from other countries, so it would be best to go into Baja California (Ensenada) first, and then go to Guadalupe, rather than starting the expedition to Guadalupe from San Diego or Los Angeles in the United States.
There are no restaurants on Guadalupe Island. Most of the locals live not far above subsistence level, and food is obtained through fishing at Campo Oeste. There used to be a lobster camp on the east of the island.
When you go to the island, bring enough food with you to last the trip.
Great white shark off Isla Guadalupe
For water, a desalinization plant has been bought for Guadalupe. The desalinization plant can supply thousands of gallons of water a day. The deal is that a marine reserve will be created as well as this plant, and no fishing can be done in the reserve. The location of this reserve is unknown.
Also, a lake is located near the runway, a few hundred feet from the westbound road. The lake is about a hundred feet long and nearly a hundred feet wide.
You should also bring a supply of water, in case there is not enough water at the desalinization plant or the spring.
There are no stores on Guadalupe Island — at least, no stores with connection to the rest of the world. In a place that lives primarily at subsistence level, operating a proper store would be extremely difficult, if not entirely possible.
Do not go to the island with the intention of buying material; instead, bring any necessary items to the island with you.
Where to stay in Guadalupe Island
For proper lodging, you will have to rely on getting a room from one of the residents. They generally have small huts and the communities are densely populated, so this could be a challenge.
Another option would be to camp on the island. Of course, tents would have to be brought with you to the island.
The best camping locations are most likely near villages, although there is very limited flat ground, even near villages, especially at Campo Oeste. A flatter location is on the plateau near the runway, although this is several miles by road from the coast, at an elevation of 610 m (2,000 ft).
There are few flat locations in the north, where cliffs are on both sides of a narrow strip of flatter ground. The Campo Bosque area is flatter, although the inhabitants may not want people camping in the area since it is the ecological center of the island where the pine forests grow.
Camping on the Northeast Anchorage is basically limited to the small beach, which may be perfect until high tide.
The temperatures are fairly reasonable for camping, except for winter, when it can get to freezing temperature at the weather station.
Great white shark off Isla Guadalupe
Be extremely careful about exploring the top of the island; cliffs are scattered around the peaks of the island, and it would not be challenging for a tourist to start exploring a woodland or rocky outcrop, and not realize how close they are to a 2,000-foot cliff. The immediate dangers of this situation need not be explained.
Also be careful about going in small boats, swimming, or diving in the Pacific Ocean. Great white sharks are known for being numerous here – videos and pictures on the Great White Shark Tour website show someone in an underwater cage, surrounded by sharks. This is a good reason not to swim in the area, even though the locals go diving in the area.
It’s extremely hard to get in touch with anyone on Guadalupe Island, at least from outside.
Once on the island, there are no newspapers or radios or even official websites. Since nearly all the islanders live in the same community, there is really little need for such communication.
- Ensenada – the base point for tourist expeditions to the Guadalupe area, it is the third-largest city in Baja California
- Guerrero Negro – town of 13,000 people in Baja California Sur, located near a large lagoon with a lighthouse and numerous whales
- Isla de Cedros – a desert island much like Guadalupe, except that it is near the coast of Baja California Sur
- El Rosario – town on the Baja California coast northeast of Guadalupe Island
Rosarito | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak Baja California
Travel to Rosarito
First thing, buy liability insurance. This can be purchased online or at numerous agencies at the border in San Ysidro. If you don’t buy it, have fun in jail. Even if the accident is not your fault, you will be held until that’s cleared. Even if you hit livestock on the road, you the driver are at fault. Liability ensures the cow’s owner is compensated. Also, arrive early most check=in times are around eleven and on busy holiday it will be very hard to find a room. The mexican cops prey on american plates so go early.
Rosarito Beach is easily accessed via a toll road that runs along the Pacific Ocean. The drive around Tijuana can be daunting. Follow the signs on the freeway, but be careful the signs usually appear only at the turnoffs. Don’t expect any notices before the turnoffs.
When returning there is an unmarked u-turn in Tijuana you need to take to get back to the United States. It’s at an interchange next to a Pemex station. Look for a line of cars with American plates making a u-turn.
If you don’t want to drive in, there are buses from Tijuana.
For about US$15 you can take a taxi to Rosarito. Some Taxi Drivers may charge more, though.
There are 2 main roads to Rosarito coming from Tijuana/San Diego.
The Toll Road (Mexico 1D – Cuota) is much easier and faster on getting to Rosarito. After crossing the border get into the 3rd lane (counting out from the median), in about 100 meters you’ll be on an overpass and a 4th lane will bring on merging traffic, move over to the 4th lane and an offramp to the right will take you to the Via International/Carretera Mexico 1D. This is the main highway to take you to Rosarito, Ensenada, and the western part of Tijuana (Las Playas). If you keep your eye out for signs that indicate any of these three locations it is easier to drive in Mexico, but remember that the toll (cuota) and free (libre) route often split from the same road so may careful attention to the signs to avoid taking the wrong road. The toll cost will be about M$30 (about US$2.50) each way.
The Free Road (Mexico 1 – Libre) goes through Tijuana and can be harder to follow.
One of the best ways to visit Rosarito Beach is by going on a one day tour from San Diego. You can call Five Star Tours at 619 232 5040.
Get around Rosarito
The whole tourist industry lies on Benito Juarez, the main street in town. There’s plenty of taxis as well. You’re never without friends or drinking buddies as long as you have cash.
What to do in Rosarito
- The Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Ride twice a year in April and October, is a “fun ride” 80 km (50 miles) along the coast and a few miles inland. Up to 10,000 riders participate in the ride, which ends with cervezas (beer) in Ensenada.
- California Motorsport Adventours Off-road adventure tours for people of all riding abilities. Everyone welcome: families, couples, friends, single riders, bachelor and corporate groups. Full day excursions or longer tours available also. Ride in the dunes and then enjoy a guided adventure into the surrounding mountain trails. Contact the office for reservations.
If you go to Rosarito for food a must stop is Puerto Nuevo located just 8 minutes south of Rosarito. This small town offers more than 35 restaurants all serving Lobsters. This style of lobster can be found throughout Baja called “Puerto Nuevo Style”
La Flor de Michoacan, on the north side of town on Benito Juarez, has a well-deserved reputation with tourists and locals alike. This restaurant is known for its carnitas (simmered and fried pork) dinners served family style with rice, beans, pico de gallo, fresh guacamole, and steaming, fresh tortillas wrapped in cloth and served in a basket. The restaurant also has a full bar and serves margaritas made with real strawberries. Carnitas plates are served two different ways. Mixed pork includes tripe and other pieces many do not find appetizing. If this is you, shell out the extra couple dollars and get the solid pork. You’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than US$10 a person, even with a pitcher or two of margaritas. The building is hard to miss, an imposing brick structure on a corner with a stop sign. Look for the word “CARNITAS” on top.
- Cha Cha Cafe, Km.31 Blvd. Popotla, La Barca, Rosarito Beach. (2 miles south of the Rosarito Beach Hotel.). 7am-4pm. Rosarito’s place to enjoy Food, Coffee, Desserts, People and Music. Take out and Delivery Available. Monday -Sunday.
Fresh sea food right off the boat, head south on the old road, at the Fox studios, there is a fishing village on the south side of the complex, about twenty restaurants, lots of locals and traffic on Sundays! Park on the main road and walk in. Food is very good, but if you expect American restaurant standards be aware, you are in Mexico. Walk around, don’t go in the first one, lots of English-speaking deported Mexicans trying to get you into their restaurant.
- The Mongolian Grill, Carretera Libre Tij-Ens Km.30 (2 miles south of Rosarito Beach Hotel). 11:30AM-8:30PM. Mongolian BBQ (select your meats, fresh veggies and seasonings). Weekly specials like Korean tacos and Thai coconut curry with chicken, shrimp, and bamboo shoots. US$6.75 + tax.
- Nonnies Italian Restaurant, Km. 31.5 Blvd. Popotla, La Barca, Popotla (2.5 miles south of Rosarito Beach Hotel). 11 am – 8 pm. Delicious, reasonably priced! Spaghetti & meatballs, fettucine, pizza, salads, and a great view! Call ahead for to go orders – your food will be ready when you arrive. Open Tuesday through Sunday. Open for “Spring Break fast” Fri, Sat, Sun at 7AM economical.
The history of Puerto Nuevo – in the 1950s and early 1960s this was a little fishing village where Americans would meet local guides at the billboard off the road. That billboard was for Newport Cigaretts – Puerto Nuevo is Newport in Spanish. This is the likely derivation of the name. One day the wife of a fisherman starting cooking the fish her husband and his clients caught… and the restaurant business was born. That original restaurant is known as #2 (this has to do with the lot numbering system); #1 was the second restaurant in town. Also, there are 8 restaurants in town with the name Ortegas. They are related and the competition is not all that friendly. Puerto Nuevo is a fun stop – the lobster is good – and you have plenty of choices for food, shopping and people watching!
Going out for a Drink in Rosarito
The Beachcomber lies in the central part of town in a resort village. The resort village is gated, so you’ll have to park in the lot outside of the gate and take a small walk. If the guard asks at the gate where you’re going, just say you’re getting drinks at the bar, you don’t have to have a house there to drink. The bar has a patio right next to the beach, making it the perfect place to drink a beer or margarita and watch the sunset. There is also access to the beach here as well. While the drinks aren’t the cheapest in town, they aren’t overpriced, and you’re not going to pay a cover.
For a big club experience, check out Papas & Beer . Papas & Beer is a large club in the heart of Rosarito. Although the drinks are overpriced for the area they are cheap compared to US prices. There’s usually a cover, and sometimes a line, but the positive side is that if you are looking to dance, meet new people and have some cervezas, you will find what you are looking for here.
Where to stay in Playas de Rosarito
Rosarito Beach is a fast-growing town. With that growth comes growing pains! For this reason, it is best to avoid all high-rises and accommodations in downtown Rosarito. Loud music coming from the clubs is a persistent problem that tourists face when they try to go to sleep every night. The best bet is for people to go to privately owned Villas or Condos or Houses. Listings of all three types are plentiful and readily found everywhere.
- Rosarito Luxury Penthouse Garden Floor Luxury 2 bedroom, 2 bath penthouse. Large balcony overlooking the beach. There is a circular bar as well as a kitchen, spa and pool nearby.
- Villa Bonita Vista 3 Bd 4.5 bath vacation rental in Bajamar. Villa Bonita Vista is located on the 7th green of the Los Lagos Course with ocean and golf course views. Bajamar is in Ensenada.
- Rosarito Beach Hotel, Blvd. Benito Juarez 31. Built in 1925, this classic establishment is perfect for younger couples looking to have a great time in Rosarito. It has multiple pools and jacuzzis, and is situated right on the beach. There are numerous restaurants and bars in the hotel, and guests are given vouchers upon check-in so that they may enjoy a certain amount of free meals and drinks. If tranquility and relaxation are what you have in mind, this is not the place for you. Due to the fact that it is centrally located amongst Rosarito’s downtown area on Benito Juarez, the music from the clubs is audible until 4 AM, and the bass will shake the hotel, making it hard for those guests who are not out partying to fall asleep. If you are looking to go clubbin, let loose, and catch some sun during the day, however, this is the place for you.
- SeaSide Reservations Rosarito Beach. A great selection of Baja California vacation rentals to fit every group size and budget, with properties in Brisas del Mar, Calafia Resort, La Elegancia, Pacifica at Ensenada Bay, Playas de Tijuana, Ricamar, Rosarito Shores, San Antonio Del Mar, Santa Barabara at Baja Mar, The Park At Malibu, and Villa Serena Condos.
- Casa El Jardin (Bed & Breakfast), Emiliano Zapata St. #600, Rosarito Beach, BC (Col. Reforma. A Few blocks down from Wal-mart Shopping Center).
- Las Rocas Resort & Spa, Toll Free Road Tijuana-Ensenada Km 38.5, 1 888 527 7622 or 1 866 445 8909, . 72 ocean front rooms and suites, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, Holistic Spa, Ballroom and Gardens.
- Bobbys Baja by the Sea – One of the nicer places to stay in Rosarito Beach is Bobbys Baja – just North of Puerto Nuevo’s lobster village. Bobbys is a condo resort – so all the units have a kitchen and they are a lot more spacious than a hotel room. There are really nice – which is something one cannot say about some of the local hotels.
Culiacán | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
Culiacán (Culiacán Rosales) is a city in Sinaloa, Mexico. It is rarely visited by foreign tourists and is heavily underrated as a tourism destination. Almost no guide books on Mexico cover Culiacán, or if they do, they give very brief one-paragraph descriptions at most. However, Culiacán is very well-known by Mexicans for its distinct sinaloense culture.
Culiacan is a large city located almost in the geographic center of the state of Sinaloa, about 900 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. Locals of Culiacán are known as culichis (Similarly, natives of Guadalajara are known as tapatios.).
Culiacán is famous for producing some of the best-known norteño and banda musical groups in Mexico, including Los Buitres de Culiacán, Los Bukanas de Culiacán, Larry Hernandez, Los Buchones de Culiacán.
Culiacán is dry for most of the year, except for the wet season which lasts from July to September.
Volaris offers three daily flights from Tijuana to Culiacán. A one-way ticket costs about $100 USD. There are also Volaris flights to Culiacán from Guadalajara and Mexico City.
Travel by train to Culiacán
Mexican Federal Highway 15 (Carretera Federal 15) connects Culiacán to cities in Sonora state such as Nogales, Hermosillo, Guaymas, Ciudad Obregón, and Navojoa (from north to south), as well as Los Mochis, Guasave, Guamúchil, Mazatlan, Tepic, and Guadalajara. Toll booths and checkpoints are stationed throughout the highway.
The Culiacán bus station is a major hub offering connections to various small towns around the state of Sinaloa. There are regular buses to Culiacán from Los Mochis, Mazatlan, Hermosillo, and Guadalajara.
The port of Altata is a tourist beach town directly to the west of Culiacán. By car, it is about 50 km or 1 hour from Culiacán.
Taxis are plentiful in the Centro.
- AGA Rent a Car, Av. Camaron Sabalo #312-A, Zona Dorada, . AGA Rent-A-Car has been renting vehicles to travelers and local renters since 1989. Its first location opened in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, and it has since expanded to serve Los Mochis and Culiacán, with locations both at the airport and in town.
What to see and do
- Plazuela Alvaro Obregón — The city’s main square, the Plazuela has many acrobats, artists, and musicians entertaining passersbys.
- Catedral Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Av Dr. Ruperto Paliza (Directly south of the Plazuela Alvaro Obregón). The city’s main cathedral
- La Lomita (Temple of Our Lady of Guadalupe). This church is situated on the top of a hill directly to the south of the Zona Centro. It offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Culiacán, and the sierras surrounding it. From the Plazuela Alvaro Obregón, take a bus that with a placard saying “Lomita” on its front window, and tell the bus driver to stop at La Lomita. It should take you south along Bulevar Alvaro Obregón.
- Capilla de Jesús Malverde. This is the most well-known site in Culiacán. This chapel is dedicated to Jesús Malverde, a bandit who was executed in 1909 who has since become venerated as a folk saint by locals. Narcotraffickers and migrants alike visit this shrine to pay homage to Malverde, hoping for a successful journey up north. Malverde is often called “El Santo de los Narcotraficantes,” although the chapel operators will say that he is far more than that. Plaques thanking Malverde adorn the chapel. The owner and operator of the shrine is Jesús (“Chuy”) Manuel González, son of Eligio González (d. 2020), the shrine’s founder. Ironically, the Palacio Estatal (State Government of Sinaloa) lies almost directly in front of the chapel, on the other side of the street. A biographical booklet on Malverde is available for M$50 (pesos).
- Malecón — Playgrounds and picnic tables abound on this beautiful and carefully maintained greenbelt which runs along the banks of the Río Tamazula.
- Museo de Arte de Sinaloa (MASIN), Calle Gral. Rafael Buelna. This museum has many impressionist and modern abstract art pieces produced by artists from all over the state of Sinaloa. Admission M$5.
- DIFOCUR. The cultural center of Culiacán. The complex includes various exhibits and small museums. Events take place often at DIFOCUR.
- Ayuntamiento de Culiacán, Calle Carl. Mariano Escobedo. Many beautiful murals featuring street scenes in Culiacán and motifs glorifying the sinaloense spirit.
- Parque Revolución. This park has very beautiful fountains. Just to the north of it is a newly erected statue dedicated to the 75th anniversary of XEBL (710 AM, 91.9 FM), one of Sinaloa’s olest radio stations, which has been running since 1936. Live music also plays from the statue.
- Puente Negro. This bridge is an iconic symbol of Culiacán, and is located at the confluence of the Humaya and Tamazula Rivers, which join together to form the Río Culiacán. This is comparable to the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh (forming the Ohio River).
- Culiacán Zoo
- Botanical Garden
- Presa Sanalona
What to do in Culiacán
There are casinos, discos and theaters.
- Musicians, consisting of norteño, banda, and mariachi bands, can be found on Bulevar Francisco I. Madero (the Mazatlán-Culiacán highway, or the 15) between General Aquilines Serdán and Venustiano Carranza. There are Pemex gas stations at both intersections. Many musicians have rented out buildings, and some of the bandas have their own trailers. The norteño bands tend to congregate around the Madero & Carranza intersection, which is easily recognizable because of the 135-degree bend that Venustiano Carranza makes at the intersection. Norteño bands can also be found at the Mercado Garmendia playing for tips.
- Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa (UAS)
- Instituto Tecnológico de Culiacán (ITC) http://www.itculiacan.edu.mx/
In the centre are many little stores where you can buy anything. There are also malls.
- Mercado Garmendia
- Restaurant Huy Fong 匯豐餐館 (Rosales #5, Col. Centro; Tel. 715-78-17; 8:30AM – 8PM) is a Chinese restaurant offering very affordable meals for around M$50 or less. It is located just north of the catedral at the intersection of Alvaro Obregon (the main street that runs north-south) and General Antonio Rosales; to the left of Subway. Located in the Centro. The restaurant owners and employees are from the town of Enping in Guangdong province, China.
- Restaurant China-loa, Donato Guerra 160. Comida China & Sushi, offers an all-you-can-eat buffet for 90 pesos. Located in the Centro.
Where to stay in Culiacán
- Hotel Sevilla, Jose Maria Morelos 170 Nte.. Located on Morelos Street (which runs north-south) between Escobedo and Colón, in the Zona Centro. It is in the 170’s block, located on the east side of the sidewalk. The lobby room has a guest computer with Internet, free of charge. Filtered water is also free. Rooms from M$300 per night.
- Microtel Inn & Suites. A 113-room hotel located in a new developed zone of the city adjacent to the Modern Hospital Angels of Culiacan.
- Hotel La Quinta Posada Real. Located near the intersection of Francisco I. Madero & Venustiano Carranza Boulevards. From M$500 per night.
Downtown Culiacán is safe to walk around during the daytime and evenings (before midnight). Traveling around the outskits (“colonias”) of Culiacán at night is not recommended.
Traffic in Culiacán can be extremely aggressive, much more so than in many other parts of Mexico. Locals will attribute this to the “sinaloense” attitude, which is stereo-typically aggressive, proud, and boisterous.
Culiacán (along with the town of Badiraguato) is notorious for being the birthplaces and residences of many drug lords and narcotraffickers. Mexicans from other states will often point out that Culiacán is very dangerous to visit. However, overall Culiacán is still much safer than Juarez and many Central American cities. Most deaths occur only among drug cartels and federal armed forces.
Mahahual | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
Mahahual (also spelled Majahual) is a city in the municipality of Othón P. Blancothe, state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, a short distance northeast of Belize.
Mahahual used to be a quiet and friendly small fishing town off the beaten track. However a large cruise ship docking jetty dubbed “Puerto Costa Maya” has been constructed just up the beach. Every day a couple of cruise ships dock and the occupants are disgorged onto the town to drink, shop, swim and ride jet skis and quad bikes. However the further south away from the cruise ship dock you go the quieter the town becomes, so it’s still possible to have a quiet time of it, especially at some of the hotels south of town.
In August 2007, Hurricane Dean landed just north of Mahahual. It heavily damaged the cruise ship dock and destroyed much of the small village. The village was rebuilt, cruise ships returned, and many nice hotels opened.
A new seaside Malecon runs from the main road to the southern end of Mahahual Pueblo. The Malecon is a pedestrian walkway with the beach to the east and businesses to the west. Many nice restaurants and shops line the Malecon. The town has several ATMs: one is in the “Casitas”, a subdivision adjoining the port, at the Mobius internet/DVD rental store; another is located at Luna De Plata, a kilometer south of the pueblo; a third is an HSBC bank ATM within the town’s only Pemex station, 4 kilometers west on the main access road. Cash is still the best option as many times the ATM machines do not work or are out of cash.
If you are looking for quiet tranquil beaches, away from the crowds, drive through Mahahual and continue 4 kilometers along the coastal road. After passing the small bridge of Rio Bermejo (hardly a river, more a small stream connecting the mangrove waters with the ocean) you will find small ecological hotels, restaurants and rental houses, all beachfront. Electricity is generated with solar panels, wind mills and most of the businesses use a generator as a back up. Rain water is captured on roof decks and collected in systerns used tio shower and flushing toilets.
When you arrive at km 15, there is a turn off to the right, take it to either return to Mahahual or continue to Xcalak. If you continue on the beach road, you will find lots of empty bays,only a few rental houses on the road side.
From the port: Organized tours are also available from a variety of companies. You will not necessarily be over run with the tourists from the cruise ships, when they leave you have this sleepy town to yourself. Things switch quickly from bustle to mellow.
From the airport: ADO bus service is now available to and from Mahahual from either the airport, central station Cancun or the stations in Playa del Carmen. Staying just a few km outside of town will keep you from the majority of the cruise traffic.
Your best bet is to rent a car. Most travelers land in Cancun. It will take over four hours but do not confuse this area with Cancun. Four hours gets you to an entirely different world.
What to see and do
- Puerto Angel Beach –
There are several sites of Classical Period Mayan ruins close enough for a day-visit. Mexican law requires a fee of about US$5 for the use of video cameras at these sites.
- Chacchoben – Dates to the 3rd-8th centuries. The tallest pyramid rises above the trees and for those physically and psychologically equipped to climb it, offers a view of the countryside. Several smaller ruins at the site may have been the houses of nobles.
- Kohunlich – A ceremonial center and the capital of a powerful dynasty. The Temple of Masks features five stucco masks with the features of the Sun God, along the its stairs. It also contains the ruins of residences and a ceremonial ball field.
- Dzibanché – An important city, featuring stone plazas bordered by temple pyramids, including the Temple of the Owl and the Temple of the Cormorants.
- Ichkabal – Under excavation by INAH since 1995, this vast and important preclassic city, located 30km from Bacalar, will open to the public within the next two years. A “lost” city of gigantic proportions, Ichkabal may be one of the most important discoveries in Mayan archeology in decades.
What to do
There are many tours offered from Costa Maya port and the town of Mahahual to meet all kinds of demands. Enjoy the many resturants and shopping along the sandy beaches located in town. Venture out onto the water with unlimiited water excursions. Enjoy the culture and charm of this small and diverse village.
The barrier reef, which is part of the Meso American Reef, just off shore offers opportunities for snorkeling or scuba diving, and keeps the waters of the Caribbean safe for kayaking. This reef is the 2nd longest barrier reef in the world being just over 900 km long, starting at Puerto Morelos in Mexico, stretching down past to Belize to terminate at Honduras.
- Nomad Divers. Scuba Diving in Mahahual, Costa Maya, Mexico
- Gypsea Divers, Malecon (Infront of Nacional Beach Club). Professional Dive and Snorkel Business
- Dreamtime, South Malecon. Professional Dive and Snorkel Business
- Amigos Del Mar, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Official Cressi Dive Center with top of the line dive equipment. Their customized dive boat fits 14 divers and has racks for 32 tanks. They also have the required official government permits in order to take divers to the Banco Chinchorro Protected National Reserve.
- Doctor Dive, Calle Coronado con Calle Huachinango s/n, Centro, 77976 , ✉ email@example.com. Dive trips, PADI courses, snorkeling
You can find many water excursions from town, including snorkel and dive tours, catamarans, paddleboards, fishing, jet skis, flyboard, and kayaks.
The beaches of Mahahual are often restaurant concessions that provide many services to you. You can find great food and drinks and massages on the beach. The nice sandy beaches provide great swimming and snorkelling opportunities.
- Yaya Beach (Yaya), Av. Huachinango con Calle Coronado. 09:00-23:59. Bar, restaurant and beach service.
- Almaplena Restaurant, km 12,5. Facing directly on the edge of the Caribbean Sea. The restaurant menu offers mainly Mediterranean cuisine with local influences that incorporate and enhance the best ingredients and regional flavors.
- Casa del Mar Serves excellent shrimp tacos.
- El Grito, inside Matan Ka´an hotel. real Mexican food
- Pizza Papi Pasta, avenida paseo del puerto 1095 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 5:30 pm. Pizza Papi Pasta is located at Puerto Costa Maya, really Italian food with brick owen wood. Cool service and nice night ambient
- Tapas Bar, Capitan Mono, El Delfin are a few of the bars/Restaurants on the Malecon.
- Travel In’ (Travel Inn), 6km south of Mahahual on the beach road. Fantastic and varied international food from a Dutch couple who transplanted to Mahahual some years ago.
- Restaurant Maya Luna, km 5.2. Beachfront restaurant south of town. Mix of European and Mexican kitchen with an Indonesian touch. Famous for their stuffed pineapple.
- Maya Chan Beach, Km. 6.5 Carretera Mahahual – Xcalak. 7:00. Maya Chan Beach Resort is located minutes south of Puerto Costa Maya. Discover the underwater world through the glass bottom of a Costa Maya kayak tour or the mask of your snorkeling gear. All included. 5.
- Maramao Resturante, Calle Robalo (Just on the southern part of Mahahual at the side of the local school). Nice place to eat fresh seafood. Mix of Mexican and Italian dishes with the possibility to eat right on the beach.
- La Bodeguita, Center of Mahahual. 13.00-01.00. Sports bar and meeting place for locals who gather here after work to watch their favourite sports game, often a soccer or boxing game. Or to play some pool or darts
Where to stay in Mahahual
- Almaplena Eco Beach Resort.
- Arenas Hotel. Boutique hotel
- Mahahual Hotel.
- Cabanas del Tio Phil Carretera Antigua a Xcalak
- Dreamtime Diving.
- Margarita del Sol Oceanfront Suites.
- Maya Luna Hotel.
- Maya Palms Resort & Dive Center.
- Mayan Beach Garden B&B, KM 21.5 N Camino Costera Rio Indio-Uvero, ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11PM.
- Casa del Cielo de las Estrellas (vacation rental house), km 8.5 Coastal Road Mahahual-Xcalak, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. see website for rates.
- Travel In’ (Travel Inn), 6 km south of Mahahual on the beach road. Quiet and isolated if you want to get away from the noise of Mahahual. Guest house and camping palapa. M$200.
- Casita Dragonfly, Km 11 S Camino Costero Mahahual-Xcalak, ✉ email@example.com. Charming 2 bd., 2 ba. beach house: internet, caretaker, gardens, kayaks, privacy.
- Hotel Caballo Blanco, Malecon lote 1 manzana 12 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Beachfront boutique hotel with rooftop pool.
- Xcalak – Remote village for Great fishing and diving
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