pixel

The Baja Storyteller
By Martina

Rancho San Carlos Hot Springs

By Martina

Ensenada Hot Springs

Everyday can be an adventure in Baja, even after living here over a decade. Destination hot springs is for the adventurous, willing to take a few dirt roads into paradise. My friend wheels her Jeep around rocks, spins the tires in the dust and jounces across rocky streams. She laughs at me hanging onto the sissy bar. We are on an adventure just an hour from home. There is nothing like slipping into silky warm water on a cool fall day. We have a lunch and suits, and who needs anything else?

Baja has a volcanic history. The peninsula first cracked off from mainland Mexico as part of the disruption on the San Andreas Fault some 15 million years ago. Like a giant back bone, the remains of volcanoes run down the center of the peninsula. Deep within Earth's mantle the rocks are hot and when water seeps up through them, voila, glorious geothermally heated hot springs.

It is not a big leap to think that the first people found their way here thousands of year ago. The Kumiai have lived and passed through this area for over 2000 years. Before the road cut through the California live oak trees, they had found plentiful food and acorns which was their staple food source. Along the banks of the streams they collected reeds for basket making. This art form has been passed down for hundreds of generations and the Kumiai baskets are sought by savvy collectors. The San Carlos canyon is a watershed and was a natural route through the mountains to the Pacific from Sierra Juarez. The thermal waters were enjoyed as much or more then as they are today.

Ensenada Hot Springs

We arrive in the narrow canyon where fall colors touch the poplar trees and lush green grass lines the clear stream. I catch sight of a snowy egret fishing along the banks, a bright chartreuse foot is held statue-like waiting patiently to spike a morsel with its sharp beak. Beckoning us onward are the stunning pools built around natural granite boulders. Visually it is already worth every dusty mile it took to get here.

We pay the 60 pesos and groan as the young man assumed we got the Senior rate. When did that happen we wonder? One day I was a senorita, the next a senora. Ah well, no matter what age the body, it loves to soak. With the sunlight dancing across the surface, we slip into the warm liquid velvet. We have a whole afternoon of swimming and enjoying the stillness of the mountains.

This peace lasted for several hours until a young Mexican family arrived and turned up the distinctive sounds of Nortenia music. Two more gringas arrived from la Bufadora area. Here is a travel advisory for Americans who like their solitude when bathing: Come early in the spring, fall or winter, avoiding weekends and holidays. All other times the pools will be filled with happy squealing children and music that can be heard for miles. It is, after all, Mexico, and we are but visitors.

Ensenada Hot Springs

The sun is setting early behind a ridge of mountains, casting long shadows across the surface of the turquoise waters. I was thinking we had made a mistake by not throwing in some camping equipment or a few more pesos to rent a cabin overnight. I imagined myself in the morning bathing in the thermal waters with a steaming cup of coffee in hand, and watching the sun come up. Instead, we packed up and began the half hour drive retracing the 10 miles of rough road back to Ensenada feeling bathed in the magic of Baja.

Directions: Your destination is Rancho San Carlos Aguas Termales south east of Ensenada. Turn left at Baja Country Club - a concrete wall will be on your right. Another left on a dirt road going beneath two electric towers. Signs will be seen along the way.

View the Rancho San Carlos website. The website has not been updated and these photos here more closely represent the rancho's current look. A small grocery store and eatery are under construction and will open summer of 2013.

Martina's email: mteomaya(at)gmail.com

4.8 81 Reviews
  • user logo
    Jose Paez
    From logo

    Had a great experience getting insurance at Baja Bound, before I always stoped at the border to purchase my insurance, not anymore. By the...

  • user logo
    Stefano Pensa
    From logo

    I talked with Yara and she was extremely helpful. She took the time to explain the different options available to me and I was able to get...

  • user logo
    JUSTINE SERRANO
    From logo

    I purchased insurance through them & CHUBB for our trip to San Felipe. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to our vehicle having an oil...

  • user logo
    Christian Minor
    From logo

    Team were on point, provided inside information, prices were great and they had my proposal already in the system when I called back....

  • user logo
    Joey Digiovanni
    From logo

    Easy to work with 😉. Always courteous and helpful

  • user logo
    George
    From logo

    Excellent customer service

  • user logo
    Kellye Pummill
    From logo

    Fast and easy!

  • user logo
    robert kepper
    From logo

    They are very good . There website  doesn't show you need a title to bring  a  vehicle across the border.I was stopped and told I had to...

  • user logo
    Jennifer Toups
    From logo

    Baja Bound is and has been my go to Mexico insurance company.  The website is extremely easy to use, keeps all your info for a quick...

  • user logo
    Cesar Lopez
    From logo

    Very convenient,  great price !!

  • user logo
    Louis Schneidman
    From logo

    I had an awesome experience with Baja Bound.  Family owned and highly personal, top notch customer service.  I have total peace of mind...

  • user logo
    Phil Noble
    From logo

    If you’re looking for Mexican Insurance that you can trust and feel good about while traveling in Mexico, you’ve found the right place....

  • user logo
    Jeff Bunker
    From logo

    Great coverage options . Price buy and print policy , very quick and easy , highly recommend them when driving in Mexico

  • user logo
    Burrell DeVine
    From logo

    Easy to navigate and very competitively priced! I had to call in and add an additional day, they couldn't have been any more pleasant to...

  • user logo
    Nereyda Torres
    From logo

    Me gusta la asuguranza porque la puedes comprar por un dia y te asegura en Mexico por el tiempo que vas ya sea hasta por mes (Translated...

  • user logo
    james whitmer
    From logo

    Best insurance I've had so far

  • user logo
    Rail1riders
    From logo

    Quick, easy, well designed website and not just for Baja. Good rates for temporal residente gringos. We’re not living in Jalisco. Printed...

  • user logo
    Matt B
    From logo

    I always use Baja Bound to source my insurance while traveling to Mexico.  Fortunately, I have not had to file any claims. I do appreciate...

  • user logo
    Refugio I. Rochin
    From logo

    Excellent online and by direct phone. Spanish and English with proven response to questions. Website is very informative about driving in...

  • user logo
    Kelly Carney
    From logo

    Yara is very helpful and explains everything. Love working with companies like this.

  • user logo
    Slumdog Gump
    From logo

    Changed some money. Good rate and friendly people.

  • user logo
    Jeff G
    From logo

    Went down to TJ June 11 2020 No problems going into TJ but the way back was a ordeal 6 hours in line to get back into the USA  but no...

  • user logo
    don letson
    From logo

    Great renewal process, if only south Dakota would do the same for car registration.

  • user logo
    len buckholtz
    From logo

    SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD. OLD GUYS LIKE THAT. WILL DEFINITELY USE IN 6 MONTHS IF STILL RUNNING AROUND THE WILDS OF BAJA.

  • user logo
    Susana Judd
    From logo

    Easy, quick and fair prices. Easy to deal with if needed.

  • user logo
    Seismic Waterfinder
    From logo

    Very excellent service, needed insurance for Mexico, price was fair. The custumer service rep was Yara

  • user logo
    Nicolas Dervé
    From logo

    Very good ans very fast. We hope all will ben good if we need it.

  • user logo
    Blake Glassco
    From logo

    I will never drive south of the border without Baja Bound in my center console. I was in an accident a couple hours south of Ensenada and...

  • user logo
    JohnPaul Gemelli
    From logo

    Baja Bound could not have made it an easier ... also, I made a mistake and called them having to leave a message ... but, they called back...

  • user logo
    Jeff Brandt
    From logo

    so far so good, however I have read good things about them