El Cardonál - A Sleepy Fishing Village,

Worth a Visit

by Pam Gray


Just about 16 miles north of the town of Los Barriles on the beautiful East Cape of Baja California Sur, the intrepid traveller will find the charming community of El
Cardonál. With a population of about 500, this sleepy fishing village is reminiscent of
the ol’ days in Baja but with amenities that make living here less challenging than
way-back then.

My husband and I stayed at the El Cardonál “Hide‐a‐Way” over 20 years ago and while it does not appear to be open now, a lovely boutique hotel,  Las Terrazas Del Cortes, has sprung up and is getting good reviews. There have been some other changes since we first visited: The school has been expanded and remodeled, some of the small tiendas now offer fruits and vegetables alongside the ubiquitous beer and Sabritas, there are a couple nice restaurants and the main street is paved!  

Sounds pretty spiffy, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, other than the fishermen putting their pangas in and out, the beaches are still practically deserted and most nights everyone is in bed by 9:00pm (“Baja Midnight”).

While the locals are benefitting from a small influx of ex‐pats who bring  construction projects and home maintenance work, many of them still commute to Los Barriles daily for their jobs. The paved road from Los Barriles has recently been repaired so the trip to and from town is quicker and safer than in the past. This road is often referred to as “The Road To Nowhere” as it remained unfinished for many years. Now, around mile 16, it turns abruptly to the right and drops you off at the north end of El Cardonál.  You can also reach El Cardonál via the old road that follows the beach. That road is wash boarded and sometimes soft sand but a fun option for a jeep or quad.

If you take the beach road, you will pass the Hotel Punta Pescadero; an old charmer with its own airstrip, pool, restaurant and bar. The beach there offers some of the best snorkeling on the East Cape! As you continue north, you will also pass through some other small communities including Las Tinas and Algodones.  

The ex‐pats who have settled in El Cardonál enjoy the peaceful atmosphere away from big tourist destinations. The town attracts a wide variety of people from self‐ proclaimed “hermits” who live in modest homes or trailers off the grid, to large families who enjoy expansive beach front homes with pools. There are many great lots to choose from in additional to a selection of homes. Beachfront lots are less expensive here than in larger towns, large parcels that stretch back from the beach are available, small remote lots, and even lots in gated subdivisions. It is important to work with a reputable Realtor® when buying in this area as not every vacant lot has a clear title.

I hope you’ll make time to visit this little town and get a feel for the charming community that maintains its Mexican fishing village flavor. Swing by one of the little tiendas to put cold beer and snacks in your cooler then take any of the several roads down to the beach and relax. When it’s time for dinner, enjoy fresh fish at one of the affordable local restaurants (some are only open on weekends). Consider staying overnight so you can enjoy a late night swim in the ocean. With so little “light pollution” the star‐gazing is superb.

By Pam Gray who has lived and worked in Los Barriles for over 14 years. You can reach her at pam@homesandlandofbaja.com Office 624‐124‐8083 US line 310‐494‐5700