“Beware of flowers in the desert.”
-Brittany’s ancient proverb
Another weekend, another marvelous wild camping spot on the Baja Peninsula. After being tempted by the Punta Chivato camping spot on iOverlander, we decided another nearby location called Puffer Fish Beach would probably be more remote. It was, and we basically had it all to ourselves with two other rigs in the distance at the opposite end of our small bay.
There was no cell service there, so we were blissfully off-line from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.
Watch video footage of Puffer Fish Beach on our Instagram Story.
Stopping by Santa Rosalía
On our way from San Ignacio to Puffer Fish Beach, we had a quick stop-over in Santa Rosalía. We didn’t do it any justice, since I didn’t feel like walking around yet.
We quickly visited the famous panaderia, El Boleo, then walked around the corner to El Muelle where Eric ordered a pizza. I did a quick grocery shop on the way out of town. We know we missed pretty much everything, but we’ll have to cover it when we come north again.
Sidenote: The military checkpoint in Santa Rosalía was the second strictest we’ve encountered in Baja. Our Red Oxx duffle bag in the backseat had a dog tag-style tag on it, which is part of the Red Oxx branding. The soldier at the checkpoint kept asking Eric whether he was part of the Army. After some explanation, we were let through.
Road to Puffer Fish Beach Near Punta Chivato
The “road” to Puffer Fish Beach was not what we expected from iOverlander reviews. There was no need for 4×4 or high clearance, though there’s one rock descent (arriving) and ascent (departing) that a low clearance vehicle would have to take carefully.
One iOverlander review mentioned 4×4 was needed because “the shells can be slippery.” I have no clue what this could refer to, as the whole road in is packed sand and you don’t need to drive anywhere near the driftwood/rocks on the beach to find a good camping spot. Airing down would have made for a more comfortable ride, but we didn’t bother.
Choosing Our Spot
We decided to park close to the northern rock peak, though that area lost sun earliest in the day. We hypothesized the cliff would provide some relief from the cold wind blowing off the water.
However, there was something we didn’t bargain on: visitors from the flowers growing at the bottom of the rock hill (insert horror movie soundtrack).
Our Weekend at Puffer Fish Beach
We arrived late afternoon on Friday. While I rested in the roof top tent, still feeling sick, Caspian helped Eric make a beautiful fire pit. They collected driftwood from the beach, and I came down for a camp fire. We called it a fairly early night, so we could all rest.
Saturday morning, we experienced a stunning sunrise from our tent. Sometimes we feel like we’re living in a magazine or novel, and this was one of those times.
And what did we do all weekend? Other than normal life tasks like cooking, cleaning, and tending to my little guy, I did some reading for the first time since we arrived in Baja.
Eric worked on camp improvements and organized our supplies. We put up our Rhino Rack Batwing awning and Eric experimented with making a wall from our tarp. We’re seriously considering saying adios to our iKamper annex, which we don’t seem to use enough to justify the footprint and weight. Perhaps we’ll invest in Rhino Rack’s zip-on walls for the awning. Any thoughts?
Caspian had the time of his life. A large rock became his house, with a “garden” all around it. A slingshot-shaped stick was a “Cantelouper,” which evidently is a gardening tool. He reveled in hiking over the large rocks by the beach. He even stood on a rocky crag normally occupied by gulls, spread his arms, and shouted to the ocean, “I’m Caspian!”
He *loved* beach-combing, building the fire pit with Daddy, decorating it with shells, and collecting wood. He was just thoroughly in his element.
Beware of Flowers in the Desert
We did experience a beepocalypse. On Saturday when I was enjoying a cup of coffee (in a Yeti with a lid), Eric and I noticed a couple of bees. Before too long, we had a swarm of bees at our camp–and we had no idea why.
As I tried to clean up our dish station, which seemed to be attracting them, I told Eric I thought they were thirsty. Sure enough, the bees were being attracted to every drop of fresh water in or around our camp.
After rushing to clean up, we escaped camp, hoping the bees would disperse while we were gone. We did some beach-combing and it was a thrill. I grew up in a beach city (Corpus Christi) and could never understand the concept. Evidently, you should pick a beach with things worth combing through.
I have no good camp cooking to report. I ate nothing on Friday other than a muffin, and kept it simple for the rest of the weekend. Both Caspian and I gradually started to feel better, though.
On Sunday morning as we packed up, we had higher wind than we’d had all weekend–but nothing like Bahia de Los Angeles. We had good protection behind the Jeep. It would’ve been even better if we’d parked with our tent shell directly against the water/wind, but we wouldn’t have been able to see the sunrise that way!
Let us know if you have any questions about Puffer Fish Beach. And stay tuned for our adventures in Mulege, Loreto, and beyond! (I’m working hard to catch up.)
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Hello. I came across this post as I was searching for punta Chivato on ioverlander. I would estimate 90% of people coming to punta Chivato to camp “found it on ioverlander”. The trouble is now it is a busy spot. A few days ago there were 16 people here. There are homes above and residents I can imagine don’t want an RV park below them.
I know you are probably well intentioned in your detailed post about dead mans beach (puffer beach as you put it), but posts like yours will be the end of hidden gems like dead mans. We go there regularly to collect firewood and hang out with our 3 kids. Since someone listed it on ioverlander we see evidence of camping every time we go. Where is the sense of adventure when one can just find it all on ioverlander or posts like yours?
Many long time Baja campers are cursing ioverlander. Saying that their favorite beaches have 20 people at them now. Even youngers campers like us say, ioverlander just sucks or, if you find it on ioverlander it means the beach will be packed.
I came to your post entirely by accident, and I feel moved to ask you to consider, please consider if it is necessary to post such detailed reviews of places like dead mans beach ( puffer on ioverlander).
Erica, thank you for commenting (this is Brittany). Your perspective is completely valid and I appreciate you taking the time to share it. Those of us who travel have a heavy responsibility to consider our impact. In our case, when we come across a place that is already public knowledge (like “Puffer Fish Beach” on iOverlander), our responsibility is to tread lightly. We follow the trails that have already been marked, avoiding making new trails. We monitor our fires and never leave them unattended. We don’t pick live brush or walk on it. These are only a few of the things we do as we camp, and teach our three-year-old to do the same. Of course, we can’t control how other people camp. But by overlanding responsibly, we hope others will follow our lead. There are some camping places we find that are not public knowledge. In those cases, we have to make a decision about whether it’s responsible to share them publicly, or maybe just share with our closest friends privately. I actually read through the iOverlander reviews from the actual Punta Chivato camping spot. It seems that the people who live in the houses are actually very welcoming to campers. They meet them and take their trash. This is more than I might do myself! But we all have a small role to play in taking care of our environment, and sharing it with others so they feel empowered to explore. If others didn’t share their overlanding experience, then we possibly never would’ve traveled into Mexico, experienced its wonders first-hand, and encouraged other Americans to travel through Mexico. There are multiple perspectives to consider. I, for one, think every American should know how wonderful Mexico and the Mexican people are. I hope many others travel here, rather than believing what they hear from mainstream media.
I just saw this Brittany. Thanks for the reply. I like what you say and thanks for taking time to answer me.
The residents are very nice yes, but if you ask them how they feel about the campers they will tell you, a few are fine. Due to ioverlander, and word of mouth, there were 18 people at punta Chivato recently. The residents came on the beach and had a word with the campers. They were not happy. They had enough of overlooking an RV park. There was plenty of dog poo left and we passed a guy who squashed a beer can and left it in the dunes! We were actually told by half a dozen people and many residents to just report that the campsite is closed. They kept saying just shut it down. Many people I have met traveling say ioverlander is such a bummer. Once secret spots are now packed, etc etc.
The reason I wrote you is that the sense I got is that you were looking for a remote spot for you and your family, but then in describing it so very thoroughly you lend to that spot to being packed. I left with the sense that you did it for the personal profit of your blog. I also know that we have friends in Chivato and they went to Dead Mans and we’re shocked to see campers. They said no one is ever there. We had the same experience.
The point in the end is, it can’t be controlled. I even regret writing you a bit.. Everyone must do as he sees fit, and you are convinced your way is good. So it is. Spots like Dead mans beach and Punta Chivato camping beach are accessed by private roads. The access can be shut down in a moment. Maybe that’s the fate of these spots when they get so busy from ioverlander campers. They shut down the north end of Chivato for camping already. Who knows.
I agree it helps people travel, but it also takes the adventure out of it. People are saying maybe just post the camp spots and the water and the propane, but ditch the comment part. Maybe.
Anyway take care and thanks again for the kind reply