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Gonzaga Bay  

GONZAGA BAY is one of the most beautiful and pristine destinations in Baja! The fact that it is so difficult to get to has a lot to do with its slow growth. Bahia de Gonzaga is approximately 100 miles south of San Felipe, and about 48 tough miles south of Puertecitos. The road south from Puertecitos has long had a reputation for being one of the worst roads in Baja. Despite the significant road grading provided by the Mexican government in the 1980's, this road is still very intimidating to all but the most seasoned Baja traveler.

Folks that make it to Gonzaga Bay once usually return again and again. It's just too beautiful to see only once. This area actually consists of two separate bays, connected by a small tidal flow at higher tides, and a shallow sand bar at low tide. The large front bay faces the Sea of Cortez, and tends to be the main bay for most activities, including 74 oceanfront homes and the restaurant & hotel at Alphonsina's. The back bay is almost fully protected, except for a wide access channel just up from Papa Fernandez Camp on the north end. There are also a few homes around Papa Fernandez Camp, but this small settlement remains pretty quiet. And that's just the way the locals like it!

Gonzaga Bay is an excellent harbor for those who arrive by boat, and there are two airstrips for private pilots who choose to fly in. The old runway runs north-south behind the beachfront homes and the back bay, and should not be used at extremely high tides! The new runway is just south of Alphonsina's, runs east and west, and is in excellent condition.

The Baja adventurer looking for raw beauty, peace and quiet, and a taste of the Sea of Cortez will find Gonzaga Bay hard to beat.

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Gonzaga Bay Beaches 

The beaches are a main draw for Gonzaga Bay. They are just plain beautiful. The two large bays here are spectacular in their own right, but when you add the great beaches to the bays, the combination is hard to beat.

Bahia de Gonzaga is the main large bay that faces the ocean. Most of the homes in Gonzaga Bay front the beaches on this bay, as well as Alphonsina's Resort.

Behind the main bay, and to the north, are the waters of the Inner Bay. This large open bay is very well protected from the wind, and is quiet beautiful. At low tide this bay gets somewhat shallow on the inside portions, but is still navigatable in the main areas.

Starting from the north, and working south, the beaches in the Gonzaga Bay area include:


Just a couple of miles north of Gonzaga Bay, north of the rockt point.

Take the dirt road off of the the main road (north of Papa Fernandez Camp) one mile east to the Sea of Cortez. This road can be travelled in almost any vehicle, exept after a bad rain.

Private sandy beach with a few homes built above the tide line. Usually a very quiet and relaxing beach!


The northern most bay, accessible via Papa Fernandez Camp.

This bay can also be reached from Alphonsina's, at the very north end of the airstrip, near the restaurant.

Rocky on the north end, sandy at the south end.


The larger southernmost bay, reaching all the way from Alphonsina's to Punta Final. Miles of beautiful beaches! The water is protected from winds at the northern end by the large hill, so the beaches near the restaurant are usually calm and beautiful. Heading south, towards Punta Final, the beaches become more exposed to the prevailing winds, especially in the afternoons.


On the south end of Gonzaga Bay, accessible via a dirt road off of the main highway. Beautiful sandy beaches, plus a few special hidden coves. Very remote.

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Camping is popular for visitors to Gonzaga Bay, more out of necessity than desire. Unless you are one of the 74 lucky souls who owns a home on the beach here, camping is the main way to spend the night.

There are many places along the shore, both north and south of Gonzaga bay, where a Baja traveler can set up camp on open beaches. In addition, there are three areas to camp which offer some degree of services.


Turn west off the main gravel road at the sign.

Open areas of flat land near the water's edge. No camping facilities, small restaurant, very peaceful.


Turn west off the main gravel road at the sign, a mile or two past Papa's.

Sandy beaches await your tent near the restaurant. Bathrooms and showers available for a modest fee.


Take the gravel road off of the main road, at the intersection where the market and new Pemax station intersect. One mile south of Alphonsina's.

10 palapas with private toilets right on the water. No facilities. Room for R.V.'s.

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Fishing can be good in the waters off of Gonzaga Bay. The bay itself offers smaller fish, SO heading out to sea is the preferred direction.

There is a boat launching ramp at Papa Fernandez, through the village to the right. Also, launching near Alphonsina's behind the old airstrip (at high tide), or over the sand (if you've got some help). If you don't have a boat, stop at Alphonsina's and ask around. You might find someone who will take you out for a few hours.

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Alphonsina's is the only game in town, if you are looking for a roof over your head. New rooms with beds offer decent accommodations right on the beach.

The six rooms just north of the restaurant were completed in 1996, and are actually pretty nice. Each one features a private bathroom. Three of these face the ocean, the other three face the airstrip and the inner bay.

Ten new rooms on the south end of the restaurant were completed in 1998. The five downstairs rooms are huge, and the five upstairs rooms offer big balconies with beautiful views of the ocean, back bay, and mountains. What these rooms lack in amenities, nature more than makes up for in spectacular views!


Fax * 011-52 (66) 26-1645.

Mailing address: Post Office Box 2229, Chula Vista, California, U.S.A. 91912.

Located near the end of the sand spit, at the north end of the dirt runway, east side.

16 rooms / restaurant / bar / margarita - sunset deck / on the beach!

Joaquin Cardenas (Alphonsina's son) and his wife Susana (and their new son Joaquin Junior!) have taken over for Alphonsina at the resort, and provide excellent service for guests and travelers who stop by. Good people!

The best way to be sure a room is available when you arrive is to fax Joaquin or Alphonsina 30 days in advance. The fax number is 011-52 (66) 26-1645. Rooms run $45 and sleep 4 people in two big beds. Discounted rates for one person in a room.

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Culninary options are not Gonzaga Bay's strong suit. As a matter of fact, if you arrive in town much past nine in the evening, you are probably going to go to bed hungry, unless you stashed a few Power Bars in your bag before you left San Felipe.

There are two places in the Gonzaga Bay area to eat a good meal, and a third one on the way.


Right in the middle of the village.

A small shack with limited menu. Quaint and quiet. Check out the photo of Papa Fernandez with John Wayne!


Facing the beach, next to the rooms.

A relaxing environment, good food, bar. The rooftop deck is perfect for sunset margaritas!

It's always a good idea to give the kitchen crew as much notice as possible as to when you want to eat, and how many are in your dining party.


Next to the Gonzaga Bay campground.

A nice stone building right on the water. Not yet open as of early 1998.

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A small market has been built near the main gravel road near the ice plant. This is a good place (actually it's the only place!) to buy ice, beer, and other basic necessities. The selection is limited, but sufficient.


Open from 7:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Located on the west side of the road, this small market sells oil, toilet paper, film, tampons, shampoo, cold drinks, water, canned goods, bread, snacks, and an excellent selection of tequila!

A telephone is available for $1.50 per minute, but it usually only works in the morning when the atmosphere is just right.

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The main gravel road brings most Baja travelers to Gonzaga Bay. The airstrips bring in the rest. There is no bus service, no taxis, and no commercial airlines. Lack of easy access is the one element that has helped Gonzaga Bay maintain it's tranquillity.



LOCATION: Located between the beach and the estuary.

SURFACE: Hard packed dirt.

ELEVATION: Sea level.

RUNWAYS: 18 / 36

LENGTH: 2,290 Feet.


Fuel: No


COMMENTS: A dependable north-south strip, except at very high tides when it becomes flooded. Convenience is the name of the game here. From the time you land your bird and shut of the mags, until the time you are swimming in the water, it's usually less than 10 minutes. If weather dictates a longer, wider, or dryer runway, Rancho Grande Airport is just a spit to the south, running east and west.


LOCATION: Running between the main road and the Sea of Cortez.



RUNWAYS: 8 / 26

LENGTH: 5,620




COMMENTS: A hard packed strip that runs east-west, from the beach to the main highway. This airstrip is very long, and is in excellent condition. A landing fee may be charged. Slopes uphill from the beach. Market at west end of runway, palapas on the beach at east end of runway!



Until the new PEMEX station is opened, gasoline options are limited. Follow the signs off the main highway towards the beach.

Gas is often available from large drums, but it's not inexpensive.


On the west side of the main highway, near the new airport junction. Gasoline is usually available, a PEMEX station is on the way, just across the street.

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PUNTA FINAL is a collection of 37 homes tucked in at the base of the mountains on the very south end of Gonzaga Bay. This area sports a small natural harbor (fun for snorkeling!), beautiful beaches, and an airstrip that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up when landing! It's a very quiet place, and offers no services for the Baja adventurer who may stop by. Punta Final can also be reached by taking a marked dirt road west from the Gonzaga Bay road, between Coco's Corner and Rancho Grande.


Taking a relaxing sea cruise around the island which separates the two bays is a wonderful way to soak in the natural beauty of Bahia de Gonzaga (or Godzilla Bay, as Tracy Fiesta calls it). It's an easy one hour loop, out around Cactus Point, along the open sea, and then back past Papa Fernandez and through the inner bay.

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The pace in Bahia de Gonzaga is very slow, but allows for certain recreational opportunities. It is not the kind of place you want to hear a Wave Runner screaming by on the water at 50 miles per hour, although the calm waters of the bay seem to beg for just such an adventure. Water sports more in tune with the natural environment seem much more enjoyable.


Snorkeling and scuba diving can be enjoyed in the large bay, but the inner bay is just too shallow. Following the rocky coastline from Alphonsina's to Cactus Point one will find many places to enjoy. When the water is calm, diving on the outer part of the island is a ton of fun, and the underwater scenery in very interesting.


The waters in and around Gonzaga Bay are absolutely perfect for kayaking. The bays are very well protected from the prevailing winds, allowing for very smooth paddling. Using Alphonsina's as a base camp, excursions around the island or directly to Papa Fernandez Camp for lunch is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. For the serious kayaker who wants to cover some real territory, a trip over to Punta Final and back is a great adventure.


The roads south of Gonzaga Bay offer great offroading. For a short adventure, the dirt road to Punta Final is fun. For a longer trek, heading out towards Coco's corner (a half hour south) and then to the coast is a another good destination. The gravel road heading south from Gonzaga Bay ultimately connects back to the Transpeninsular Highway, south of Catavina.


The two separate bays of Bahia San Luis Gonzaga are excellent places to drop anchor. Both bays offer sandy bottoms. The north bay gets shallow relatively quickly, but offers enough draft to get far enough into the bay to escape the prevailing winds. The south bay has sufficient depth all the way in, and also offers a couple of inside coves for even greater wind protection. The coastline from here to Bahia de los Angeles offers few protected moorings.

For emergencies and general information, Alphonsina's often monitors the Marine Band on Channel "22".