In the heart of the Viscaino Biosphere Reserve is the quiet pueblo of San Ignacio in Baja Sur. Even deeper into the interior is a true destination, if the traveler chooses to stay a few days to fully experience what San Ignacio has to offer. The best place to discover the hidden treasures is Ignacio Springs Bed and Breakfast. Off the road by the river's edge is luxury camping in stylish Yurts. The fierce desert sun is tempered by the grove of date palms that are a canopy for a weary traveler.
Gary and Terry Marcer moved from Canada to their "little oasis" in 2001. They have a very typical story similar to many. They traveled into Baja and found they could not leave. Having had a bed and breakfast established in Canada, it was natural for them to carry this idea into the heart of the palm forest. It was a significant decision to utilize the Yurt over building a hotel as it saved the sensitive river ecology and having to cut down the graceful palm trees. A splendid idea that has made them a very popular stop for whale watchers and other Baja affectionados. In fact it is such a wonderful experience that it stands on its own as an unparalleled destination. People from all over the world make reservation during whale season. For holidays the Marcers go all out preparing a banquet for their guests, including Gary's home-cured ham and Terry's homemade bread fresh from the oven.
Inside the Yurt's fabric structure with its wood ribbing left open as part of the design, every detail is considered on behalf of the guest. Big comfortable beds, the softest of linens and fluffy towels worthy of royalty. There is air conditioning when needed, but the river-breeze blows through the windows and sunlight filters though the fabric roof lending a very soft touch to the experience.
The breakfast is out of this world. Served ranch style, the fresh fruit bowl is over flowing with color and Gary's handmade sausage is piled high on the platter as an all-you-can-eat temptation. Gary uses the finest beef from the Viscaino ranchers. He is well known throughout the community for the spicy Italian and tasty Polish. Terry adds to the table her homemade jam from the local oranges to slather onto the thick French toast. If this weren't enough, the coffee is robust and gets you off to a fast start, especially if you plan a day on the river kayaking and bird watching. This is bird lovers' paradise. The Night Heron with its distinctive red eye is an opportunist, waiting for a visitor to catch a fish just right for him to swallow whole, while the Coots gang up on him going after the free lunch. The "water eagle" is actually the Osprey hawk and is an expert fisherman that skims the surface, reaching below with sharp talons spearing its wiggling catch.
As a special service, your hosts will fix you a delicious dinner upon your request or you can make the short trip into town for a fish taco at one of the stands around the central plaza is an easy choice. But the Mexican hot dog is the best. I don't know why. Maybe it is the bacon, the warm homemade bun warmed and filled "con todo" and if you are lucky you will find the stand open in front of the church.
The San Ignacio river is spring fed and swimmers are invited to find the hidden spots along the shore line. A small landing dock is provided to push off the kayaks and even a few fishing poles are available. My personal favorite is the lounge chair by the river, just right for pen and paper and a point and shoot camera. Who needs to move when it all comes to you? I've notice when I least expect it and when I am sitting most still, a bit of Baja magic moves through. Sometimes in a traveler's form, a person with a great story or just the right words that needed to be heard that day. It is always a mystery of perfect timing and it happens very frequently to those who are in love with Baja.
Martina's email: mteomaya(at)gmail.com