By David Kier
Halfway down the 800-mile-long peninsula of Baja California, and 70 paved miles west from Highway One is the seaside community of Bahía Asunción.
Bahía Asunción is a fishing center for all kinds of seafood (including lobster, abalone, seabass, yellowtail). The arrival of Canadian whale researcher Shari Bondy has added a new dimension to the town; that of being a tourist destination. Shari had been studying gray whale behavior in Baja’s great lagoon nursery, Laguna Ojo de Liebre (Scammon’s Lagoon) before deciding to stay in Mexico and raise her daughter there. In 2002, Shari moved to Bahía Asunción and exposed its attractiveness to foreign visitors who sought a slower-paced environment than what Cabo or Ensenada offers.
In 2006, Shari with her fisherman husband Juan Arce, opened their home to guests with a bed and breakfast, named for the wave-created water fountain just outside, a blowhole or bufadora. Their home and guest rooms are located on the opposite side of town from the paved highway entrance. They are right on the edge of the ocean. Traveling through town, fork left at the fisherman monument to the end of the pavement and go to the right. You are just a half mile away from La Bufadora Inn. GPS and Google Earth view: 27° 7.530'N, 114° 17.864'W.
It wasn’t long before the need for more than one room was evident and Juan began constructing the Rock Room, next to their home, between fishing seasons. Today, La Bufadora Inn is no longer a Bed & Breakfast, but instead a boutique inn. Rates in 2017 begin at $30 (dollars) and go to $75 for the honeymoon suite. They have a three-bedroom beach house available for $90 per couple and $15 for each extra person. A one bedroom Sunset casita on the beach rents for $65. Weekly and monthly discounts are offered as you may not want to leave!
A breakfast of waffles or crab omelets may still be ordered and is prepared by Shari, but she encourages her guests to experience the new food venues in town. Increasing opportunities for the locals of Asunción has always been a goal of Shari’s.
Local eating establishments include: Loncheria Mari features fresh local seafood; Keykos Restaurant for meat dishes and Baja’s best piña colada; Tacos Don Ramon for great shrimp tacos on the weekends; Blady’s Palapa on the beach for seafood cocktails and tostada; and La Casa de las Hamburguesas for Saul’s barbecued burgers.
The region around Bahía Asunción has several attractions that include beautiful beaches in both directions from town with water sports like surfing, kayaking, swimming. Surf fishing for halibut (lenguado) and yellowfin croaker (boca dulce) is popular. Hire a panga (open fishing boat) for catching yellowtail, wahoo, tuna, dorado, and calico bass. Go to see the sea lion colony on the island, as well. Juan Arce is a licensed, bilingual fishing guide and provides nature tours of Asunción Island. Snorkel with the sea lions for a special Baja adventure that is hard to beat.
Photography, fossil searching, mountain bike riding, and miles upon miles of unpaved dirt roads to explore all begins here. Lost mission legends and pirate’s treasure stories are also part of the area lore. In 1893, gold was discovered a dozen miles from Asunción, to the northwest at San Andrés. Mining lasted to 1920 but rich veins are believed to still exist.
In addition to the paved highway east to Vizcaíno, three good dirt roads go to other locations. One heads southeast, along the coast to La Bocana (40 miles) and Punta Abreojos (50 miles). One goes west to San Roque (8 miles). The third heads north then west to Bahía Tortugas (67 miles, with 33 miles on paved highway), and 16 additional dirt miles to Punta Eugenia.
Back in Bahía Asunción, traditional fiestas are colorful gatherings in mid-August with horse races, a rodeo, dances with live music, and plenty of great food served, naturally. My friends and I enjoyed a great street fair on Mexico’s Independence evening celebration (Sept. 15) which included fantastic food, fun, and fireworks. The activates were documented on video by Baja Extreme Tour member ‘Ham Jam’ with the Bahía Asunción area (including Juan and Shari) captured between minute 2:48 and 4:34 here.
Here is another video featuring La Bufadora Inn and area attractions, produced by Pat Malone of the Baja Extreme 2016 tour.
In addition to La Bufadora Inn, there are also two motels, right in town. The Hotel Verduzco is on the main street. Hotel La Playa, is on the beach, next to Campo Sirena (campground), near town entrance. Bahía Asunción may be a ‘diamond’ location for fishermen and naturalists seeking what Baja offers, but it is still ‘in the rough’ as there are no fancy nightclubs or tourist shops. It does have a well-paved highway, 24-hour electricity, telephone and Internet, a Pemex station, nice people, and year-round great weather. Whales migrating pass right in front of La Bufadora Inn each year during migration in April and May.
Directions to Bahía Asunción are easy. Use the highway signed for Bahía Tortugas that heads west from downtown Vizcaíno (at Hwy. 1 near Km. 143). This is about 50 miles southbound from Guerrero Negro if you are unfamiliar with Baja California Sur. Go west to the Bahía Asunción highway junction at Km. 75 (46.5 miles from Vizcaíno), and turn south (left). Travel 39 kilometers (24 miles) to Bahía Asunción on the well-paved highway.
Visit the Bahía Asunción website.
David Kier is a veteran Baja traveler, author of 'Baja California - Land Of Missions' and co-author of 'The Old Missions of Baja and Alta California 1697-1834'. Visit the Old Missions website.