We initially only planned to stay 3 nights at Cabo Pulmo. It wasn’t until we arrived to the campground that we realized we had severely underestimated the awesomeness of Cabo Pulmo. The campground isn’t clearly marked but it is the first fenced in area on the beach you see coming into town from the north/east. Surprisingly, we both had cell service and internet in this seemingly off the grid, remote paradise. Not to mention, the cost to camp here is FREE! There are no facilities besides the Sea of Cortez, which is right outside your door or tent flap. Our only fear was having to leave early from running out of water. Thus we immediately began water preservation tactics. We filled up a large pot of water from the sea and used that to pre wash the dirty dishes (then we lightly rinsed them with fresh water). For showers, we swam in the sea. We were able to go ten days on our 70 gallon water tank and could have gone longer (we didn’t run out). We could of bought five gallon tanks at Cabellero’s restaurant in town and manually filled the tanks to stay longer if we wanted to as well.
There are a couple little hiking adventures you can start from the campground. One would be walking down the beach and up to the top of Cabo Pulmo point. Another is a gravel road hike you can access across the road from the campground. The road winds all the way up a mountain and gives you awesome views of the village as well as the east cape.
We were going to go scuba diving but the morning we were supposed to go I was still coughing from getting over a cold. Tim rode the bike up to Pepe’s dive shop and told him I was sick and couldn’t go. Pepe was understanding and even gave us a piece of ginger root to help my cold. You can scuba with Pepe for $100 for a two tank dive. Pepe is a great resource if you want to learn about the history of Cabo Pulmo, he was one among locals that pushed to make Cabo Pulmo a National Park. At Cabo Pulmo campground, you can easily find relics from the fishing village that once thrived. There is a natural reef just outside the campground you can kayak to and snorkel. There are several other reef sites in the area as well.
Los Arbilitos is only about five miles further down the east cape road. It costs 30 pesos a person to park here (15 pesos for the ninos). There is a short trail that takes you up to amazing viewpoints of the cape and then down to little coves where you can snorkel and observe many beautiful fish. You can camp at Los Arbilitos but I only recommend small rigs and four wheel drive. We had a hell of a time turning our fifth wheel around after a fellow traveler recommended we stay here. I nearly had a panic attack after two hours of trying to get ourselves out of there. Just don’t do it if your rig is over 20 feet. Anyways, a couple miles even further down the east cape road is Los Frailes. There are a ton of RV’s full timing it among the bushes in the arroyo. The beach is sandy and wide, if you have a kayak go around the point to check out the sea lions barking and basking in the sun.
Our campsite at Cabo Pulmo campground was the best site to camp in the area, in our opinion. It was next to the only palapa with unobstructed views of the sea. Inside the palapa was signed by the family that built it only 2 months prior to our arrival. We checked out their website, homealongtheway.com, and posted a comment thanking them for the building of the awesome palapa we had been enjoying. A couple days later a large motor home shows up, having a little bit of trouble squeezing through the gate. When I heard the tires overturning in the soft dirt, I ran to get Tim from the beach where he was talking on the phone. Tim and Ol’ Oso (our 1999 F250) dragged their 37 foot motor home through the gate. It was a proud moment indeed. We then realized that the family we helped was the same family that built the palapa! We immediately made friends with them. The whole family, including four kids ranging from 3-9, was really cool and welcoming. It was interesting to talk with them and get a feel of how life would be traveling with children.
It was so hard to leave Cabo Pulmo. Out of all the places we have boondocked this has got to be my favorite, followed by the site outside the Grand Tetons, then Moab. With beach access, a palapa, and internet it felt like a private beach house, but free…for now. I am happy to have had a chance to experience such a beautiful place that I will never forget.