A weekend in Baja on a beautiful beach, good food in a desert village and a trip up the entire Arroyo Matomí road… That’s what Elizabeth and I did last June, 2006.

Porpoise bones?

Elizabeth with one of the bones…

Another beautiful day in Baja!

Looking south a low tide…

Shade is important, and easy with a tarp, pvc pipe, bungees and buckets of sand.

We had a nice view!

Saturday afternoon we drove 5 miles down Hwy. 5 to Ejido Delicias (at Km. 35) for an early dinner at CHELO’S Restaurant.

Inside Chelo’s place…

I had the breaded fish dinner (it was great).

Elizabeth had carne asada tacos… also very good.

Back to our deserted island beach to enjoy the evening.

The breeze was nice and kept the temperature pleasant by day and calmed at sundown.

On the west side of the island, looking towards Rancho Percebu across the almost empty estero/ lagoon.

This palapa is new, just south of our camp. By the looks of the droppings below it, pelicans hang out there!

It didn’t take long for the incoming tide to refill the lagoon!

Looking north from the dunes on Shell Island…


We packed up camp and returned to Ejido Delicias for breakfast. This time, west, down the street from Chelo’s to MARINA’S RESTAURANT.

A great breakfast of chorizo and eggs for me!

ARROYO MATOMÍ 30°29.43′, -114°40.03′ (WGS84). Km. 60 on Highway #5.

One of the longest dry washes one can drive in. From Hwy. 5 to Rancho Matomí is 32.0 miles and 4WD is necessary! The drive begins 10 miles north of Puertecitos (45 miles south of San Felipe).

Elizabeth (‘Baja Angel’) and I… The smoke tree behind us was in bloom.

Like frosting on a cake, the geology in Arroyo Matomí is fascinating!

Continuing west on the road often used for off road racing… a section that SCORE calls ‘The Best of Baja!’. The SCORE San Felipe 250 came this way (going east) about four months earlier.

The canyon closes in as we get closer to the mountains.

Entering the ‘Matomí Narrows’… only a few more miles to go!


Year-round flowing water fills this deep pool, located just behind the Matomí ranch house.

It was over 110°, but the water was refreshing to swim in!

Elizabeth had heard so much about this place that I just had to take her there!

A final look back…

RANCHO MATOMÍ 30°27.41′, -115°4.87′

At an elevation of 2,466′ ASL the rancho is periodically occupied by cattlemen. The trail down to the oasis pool begins at the far side of the corral (behind me).

Tough road the final 5 miles to Rancho Matomí

The other way to Matomí comes in from the north via Valle Chico. For that road, we back track 5.2 miles to where it drops into and joins the canyon road.

About 2 miles from the ranch…

It was here, on my first visit to Matomí in December 1978, that the rising water almost took my 4WD Subaru for a swim!

December, 1978 Matomí River!

It was a small creek just minutes earlier… I proceeded to the next crossing which was too deep, so I turned around and was heading out and got bogged down here! Before the water was high enough to enter, I got it out by letting air out of my tires. This was pretty scary because I was 50 miles from any help!

The heat or bouncing road (?) was getting me to see ‘cactus people’!

A steep grade brings you out of Matomí Canyon and up to the long Valle Chico at the base of the Sierra San Pedro Mártir. This sticker covered truck bed marks the top of the grade.

Valle Chico Expressway

The first 8.5 miles north from Matomí Canyon are slow going (cross grain dips), but that changes for the remainder of the drive back to San Felipe on excellent flat roads.

Looking back south towards Matomí.

Clear sailing to wrap up another great Baja weekend!

Map of Valle Chico Roads


Hope you find fun and adventure exploring Baja California as much as I do! David K info@vivabaja.com

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