pixel

Baja Travel Adventures
By David Kier

A Sandy Beach and the Vanished Mission of Ligüí

Article and photos by David Kier

Mission San Juan Bautista de Ligüí

Baja California has so many attractions and they are often coupled with beautiful surroundings. Such is the case with the location of California's third Spanish mission, San Juan Bautista de Ligüí. We visited the mission site and the beautiful beach this past summer while traveling between Loreto and La Paz. The village of Ligüí is on Highway One about 21 miles south of Loreto, just before the highway climbs into the Sierra la Giganta mountains.

Turn off the highway at the town's sign and head straight for the coast, another sign is reached in a half mile showing a left turn at a fork, for Playa Ligüí beach. The right fork goes south to the village of Ensenada Blanca. In the arroyo, just past the fork, was the location of the mission. The arroyo widened and undermined the site between 1973 and 2001. Just beyond the original site, next to the beach road, a white cross and outlined area was made as a monument for the vanished mission. This is 0.6 mile from Highway One, and it too is being swallowed by the widening arroyo.

The photo above shows the mission ruin in 1975. Photo by Dr. Robert Jackson.

Erosion of Mission San Juan Bautista de Ligüí

San Juan Bautista de Ligüí mission was founded by the Jesuit Padre Pedro de Ugarte in November of 1705 among the Monqui Indians. Ligüí was the Monqui name for the location but in time the mission was repopulated with Cochimí Indians, who called the place Malibat. A third group of Indians lived on the nearby islands, and they were the fierce Pericú tribe who often raided the mission. Ugarte's first church was made from sticks and was eventually able to get help from the neophytes to make an adobe chapel. Two boys would become Ugarte's assistants, but when he fashioned clothes for them to cover their nakedness, the other members of the tribe laughed and teased them so much that they removed their garments when they went outdoors.

The mission here was never very successful and a Jesuit was not always stationed here after ill health forced Ugarte to depart for the mainland in 1709. Another blow to the mission happened when its benefactor (Juan Bautista López) went bankrupt and funding was lost. Ugarte was replaced by Padre Francisco Peralta who served San Juan Bautista mission from 1709 to 1711. The last Jesuit assigned to the mission at Ligüí/Malibat was Padre Clemente Guillén from 1714 to 1717, and again from 1719 until the mission was closed in August of 1721.

A half mile east of the mission, the road ends on a large, sandy beach with palapas for shade. Several islands offshore add to the exotic beauty of the site where Spanish ships once offloaded supplies for a mission, some 300 years ago. Close your eyes and imagine the activity on that once took place on this beach. While the Spanish and Indians are long ago dead and gone, the beach is still there 300 years later to receive new visitors. One can wonder, will it still look the same 300 years from now?

Cross marking Mission San Juan Bautista de Ligüí Ligüí Beach Ligüí Beach Island
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