By Julia and Carlos Bono of Sahuaros Realty
Puertecitos is located 90 kilometers or 52 miles south of San Felipe, down the newly-improved San Felipe-Puertecitos road. This seaside campo, which currently consists mostly of abandoned trailers and seaside bungalows, was founded in 1949 by Rafael Orozco and is one of the main attractions of this part of northern Baja due to it being host to one of the most beautiful natural hot springs that we have visited.
Puertecitos is not big on amenities, so we suggest bringing what you’ll be consuming with you. Just before the entrance, there is a Pemex gas station, which was nearly completed a few years back and may never be open, a small general store (Abarrotes Las Palmas), and a drinking water outlet. The Cow Patty is a creatively decorated bar located about a mile north of the campo on the west side of the road, if you want to enjoy a drink with the locals.
In addition to the hot springs, the campo of Puertecitos offers palapa camping, a sandy beach, toilets and a restaurant. It also has a dirt airstrip for adventurous pilots. We spoke to two pilots from Colorado who had landed their small planes in Puertecitos to enjoy the springs on their aeronautical trip further south. A gatekeeper usually collects $10 per car at the entrance, but if he’s not there, he usually catches up with you later at the springs if you drive in.
The hot springs are located a short drive from the campo entrance on a medium-quality dirt road. Go past the camping area to its left, toward the residential area, and once in the residential area, generally stay to the right at just about every fork in the dirt road except when you see the marked entrance to the springs on the left.
When arriving at the springs for the first time, all you can see are rocks leading to the sea, but on closer examination, you will discern several pools nestled among the rocks. They have varying degrees of temperature, depending on the tidal level and the pool’s proximity to the springs and the sea. Be very careful to test the water before you enter since at low tide the pools are hot enough to burn. We also recommend consulting a tide calendar (see page 9), since the best time for using these natural springs is about mid-tide in order for the thermal and sea water to mix for a comfortable soak. For example, when high tide was at 1:30 p.m., the springs were too hot at 11 a.m. and perfect at noon. At high tide, the tubs are submerged, and are not much warmer than the sea.
The combination of sea water and geothermal sulfur spring water make these springs especially unique, and people have told us that the water has therapeutic properties for them. One elder gentleman testified that he had made a special trip to Puertecitos from Washington state because the healing waters relieved his arthritis and allowed him much greater movement in his hands.
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