Easter Camping at Punta Arena (The Jeep Got Stuck!)

Punta Arena is one of the best beach camping spots in Baja California Sur. Just make sure you don’t get too adventurous in your 4×4!

Easter is one of the most important holiday periods on the Mexican calendar, with many employees getting more time off than they do during the Christmas season.

In Baja California Sur, most families use the break to head to the beach and set up camp for a few days.

So, in 2019, with a two-year-old Harriet in tow, that’s exactly what we did.

Why Camp at Punta Arena?

In a state that’s packed with world-class beaches, Punta Arena still manages to be among the best. It boasts some of the whitest sand you’ll find in the area (“arena” even means “sand” in Spanish), swimmable turquoise waters, and impressive views of the magical Isla Ceralvo. There’s even a historic lighthouse which offers great photo opportunities and ample “exploration space” for the kids.

Another major selling point for this beach is the lack of people. Most tourists head to the nearby Ensenada de Muertos to take advantage of the fishing tours and facilities. Punta Arena is often entirely deserted. Even on the popular Easter weekend, we were one of a small handful of families that had chosen to spend the break there.

Day 1

The day started full of anticipation. Harriet was packed into the back of the Jeep among the tents and equipment, the roof was loaded up, and after a quick stop at an ice dispensary in La Paz to fill up several giant coolers, we were on our way.

The drive takes about 1.5 hours; you need to head out towards La Ventana and then keep going along the main road. Once you get past the La Ventana area, local stores become few and far between, so make sure you’ve already bought everything you are going to need.

Getting from the road onto the beach is impossible in a car unless you have a 4×4. Luckily, our trusty old 2001 Jeep Cherokee could handle the soft sand without issue. At least, that was until Dan decided to push its capabilities a little too far and drive it down a steep sandbank onto a lower plateau. It promptly got stuck.

Thankfully, we were camping with a local family who are good friends of ours, and they had been in this situation many a time. After letting down the tires, killing the AC, and gently coaxing the steering wheel left and right for what seems like an eternity, we were finally able to get it back up the bank and onto the main beach.

By the time we eventually got around to building our camp, the night was closing in and the wind was getting up. But we managed to get enough built for a good night’s rest and carried on the following morning.

Day 2

The day started with a cooked breakfast and further camp-building duties.

By lunchtime, the fun could truly begin. Most of the afternoon was spent driving around the deserted beaches on quad bikes. Harriet even managed to have a go behind the wheel and quickly proved herself to be a more-than-capable driver for a two-year-old.

Day 3

The third day was dedicated to cooking. Ceviche and a massive fire-cooked fish were rustled up by the crew and those delicacies, along with an ample supply of beer, made the day go by in a flash.

We also needed to restock on firewood, so a trip off the beach and back to the nearest town was undertaken. Dan wasn’t allowed to drive the Jeep again after his earlier escapades, so one of our fellow campers took responsibility. By the time we arrived, the shop’s supply of firewood and beer were both heavily depleted given the Easter rush—it all goes to show the importance of planning in advance!

Day 4

It was finally time to say goodbye. Our fellow campers were staying for another day, but we had a trip planned to Monterrey in Nuevo Leon and needed to catch a flight the following morning. So, as soon as dawn broke, we packed up and headed home.

The drama didn’t even there, though. On the steep road that takes you up and over the mountains and back to La Paz, the Jeep’s engine overheated and died—probably in no small part thanks to the extreme duress it had been under when stuck on the beach on day one.

Thankfully, a kind Mexican truck driver saw us in distress and stopped to give us a top-up of engine coolant. It was touch-and-go, but we just about made it back to our house.


1 comment

  • Hello, any troubles getting through the gate to Punta Arena? As far as I know, this is private property and do not know if we could arrive there and don’t get the permission to access neither to camp. Thanks!