“Southbound travelers will welcome their first sight of the Sea of Cortez after crossing the Desierto de Vizcaíno. Though the town was badly damaged by Hurricane Jimena in 2009, and by the subsequent Hurricane Odile in 2014 , it has repaired and rebounded. Brightly painted clapboard-sided houses, the Iglesia Santa Bábara, the port, the malecón (seaside promenade) and the mining museum are prime attractions.”
The hotel that I had booked, Las Casitas de Santa Rosalia, US-owned, has a real five-star holiday-in-the-sun look with large rooms that have balconies, seamless Sea of Cortez views, exquisite tilework and tasteful artwork.
I knew in advance that the hotel didn’t have a restaurant. However, the owner, who I had communicated with on numerous occasions prior to leaving the UK, was confident that there would be ‘somewhere’ to enjoy a sumptuous Christmas day meal.
Having chatted with Brenda, the hotel owner, then soaked up the stunning views from my personal balcony, I decided, at around 6pm, to walk into town in search of a decent restaurant.
I ended up spending over an hour walking around and asking locals for restaurant suggestions but failed miserably to find anywhere that was open. I did eventually stumble upon a small convenience store and seized the opportunity to purchase some groceries, which ended up being my ‘Christmas dinner’. Feeling somewhat deflated I headed back to the hotel.
Clearing up after dinner didn’t take long. After all, a packet of crisps, a tin of tuna, a Snickers bar, and half a bottle of Malbec doesn’t create that much washing up!
Next day was different again, everywhere was open. This time I really enjoyed walking round town, visiting a few of the tourist attractions. The locals were friendly and chatty and made my day extremely enjoyable. That evening I found an excellent restaurant and tucked into a juicy steak with French fries, and a gorgeous side salad.
Museo el Boleo. Built in 1885 by the French to house the offices of the Boleo Company, this mining museum watches over town and the copperworks from its perch on the hill near the Hotel Francés. It’s surrounded by cool abandoned locomotives and other pieces of machinery.
Iglesia Santa Bárbara. Designed and erected for Paris’ 1889 World’s Fair, then disassembled and stored in Brusels for shipping to West Africa, Gustave Eiffel’s, of Eiffel Tower fame, prefabricated Iglesia Santa Bárbara was, instead, shipped here when a Boleo Company director signed for its delivery to the town in 1895.
Next stage: Santa Rosalia to Loreto.