Malarrimo Beach

I had read many stories about Malarrimo Beach, which is famous for accumulating all manner of washed-up sea junk — from shipwrecks to antique glass bottles. Apparently, northwest-facing beaches tend to trap items floating on the Pacific Ocean currents, and Malarrimo is in the crook of a 70 mile peninsula jutting out of the west coast of Baja. I had also read that a hurricane in the 1970's buried or washed away most of the good junk, including the shipwrecks, but I decided to investigate anyway.

Malarrimo Beach is only 25 miles southwest of Guerrero Negro, but getting there by car involves a 140 mile circuitous route around the salty mud flats — southeast to Vizcaino on Mexico 1, then west on the road towards Bahía Tortugas (which loses its pavement after 45 miles, and becomes horribly washboarded), and finally north for 25 miles on the kind of windy dirt track I love the most. This unmarked track starts behind the farmhouse at a place my map indicated as San José de Castro. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth 27.5574, -114.465 

Straight Paved Road (1/2/2002 11:42 AM)Road West from Vizcaino - Nasty Washboard Gravel Road (1/2/2002 12:19 PM)Malarrimo Trail (1/3/2002 11:14 AM)Malarrimo Trail (panorama) (1/2/2002 1:45 PM)

This 25 mile trail descends from a rocky desert plateau into a sandy wash, following the (dry) Caribe river to its mouth at Malarrimo beach. The desert was still very much alive. The squat elephant tree below was only 3 feet tall, but must have been very old. The ocotillo in January look as dead as a tumbleweed, except for these tiny red buds.

Malarrimo - Squat Elephant Tree (1/3/2002 11:02 AM)Malarrimo - Ocotillo Bloom (1/3/2002 11:12 AM)Road to Malarrimo - Sandy Trail (1/2/2002 2:45 PM)Malarrimo Beach (panorama) (1/2/2002 2:53 PM)

Yes, there certainly was plenty of junk at Malarrimo, but very little of it was exciting. The vast majority of the items washed up were plastic bottles, but there was plenty of other trash, including lightsticks, appliances, and this scary cylindrical military device (a Navair phosphorus marker?). See in Google Maps See in Google Earth 27.80262, -114.4317 

Malarrimo Beach - Junk (1/2/2002 2:57 PM)Malarrimo Beach - Military Device - Navair phosphorus marker? - Labeled "Notify police or military." (1/2/2002 3:41 PM)

Just inland was a little village of driftwood structures that were perhaps built by other campers. Someone had made the effort to scrawl "Please don't litter" on this dead refrigerator.

Malarrimo Beach - Driftwood Structures (01/02/2002)Malarrimo Beach - Driftwood Structures - Fridge - Please Don't Litter (1/2/2002 3:38 PM)

I wandered away from the junk, into the beautiful dunes that line Malarrimo beach, and camped there. Footprints of various sizes indicated that a variety of critters roamed the area, but I didn't encounter any while I was awake.

Malarrimo Beach - Dunes Geoff (01/02/2002)Malarrimo Beach - Big Critter Tracks (01/02/2002)Malarrimo Beach - Critter Tracks (01/02/2002)Malarrimo Beach - Campsite Geoff Eating Campfire Sunset (01/02/2002)