Spanning across Baja California Sur’s peninsula between La Paz and Los Cabos lies the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, a UNESCO designated biosphere reserve recognized for its extreme importance to the world’s ecosystem. The Sierra de la Laguna mountain range has distinctive flora and fauna that vary throughout the elevation levels. While many think of Baja as only a stark desert, there are actually pine-oak forests and evergreen woodlands to be found. Some of the most special environs within the range are located at the base, in the surrounding area of the towns Santiago and Miraflores, inland from the East Cape. What makes these so unique is that they are true oases thanks to the thermal springs and freshwater pools found there.
While there are several springs and pools hidden throughout the area, only a few of them are open and accessible to visitors. When visiting Los Cabos, consider taking a day trip to Santiago and exploring the oases. To arrive to Santiago from San Jose del Cabo, drive on Highway #1 north. You will pass the towns of Caduaño and Miraflores and also the landmark of the Tropic of Cancer before arriving to the turn into the town of Santiago. Santiago is an agricultural town, with a small main plaza anchored by a church and surrounded with a convenience store, restaurant, and gas station.
El Chorro Springs – From Santiago, follow the signs pointing to “El Chorro Hot Springs/ Agua Caliente,” and you will arrive at a small ejido village (farm cooperative) welcoming you to their ranch. This watering hole is located at the base of the Agua Caliente Canyon and collects into a large pool of warm water, part of which is protected by a dam. As you follow the stream past the dam, you will find bubbling hot spots. The water is rich in minerals, so find a relaxing spot, sit back, and enjoy their healing properties. Exact Location
Santa Rita Springs – From Agua Caliente, turn right towards the small town of San Jorge, which is about 15 minutes north. Santa Rita is an extraordinary place part of the San Jorge Canyon. As you arrive, similar to El Chorro, you will need to pay a small entrance fee to the ejido before beginning your short hike leading to freshwater pools and thermal mineral hot springs. The pools are of all different temperatures so that you can choose your ideal personal lagoon. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can continue the path alongside the pools and explore various small waterfalls. Exact Location
Rancho Sol de Mayo – One of Baja Sur’s most popular sites is Rancho Sol de Mayo and the beautiful waterfall that leaps from Fox Canyon (Cañon de La Zorra). Most tour companies offer day trips to visit this site, but it is very easy to do independently. From Santiago, follow around the palm oasis and the signs leading you to “Cascada Sol de Mayo”. Eventually, the road turns to dirt and ends right at the ranch. From there, pay your entrance fee, and you are on your way to the falls; if you’re lucky, you can meet the owner Don Prisciliano and visit his small animals, including his xoloescuincle dog, Baganza, who often leads as a tour guide to the falls! Exact Location – Facebook
Tips: Come Prepared and Tread Lightly
– Plan for a weekday since the weekends can be busy. Be sure to pack a lunch, snacks, and plenty of drinking water. Leave the cooler in the car and bring the bare minimum with you to the actual site; these are part of a protected reserve and visitors should try to minimize their disturbance to the environment as much as possible.
– Pay attention to the signs and your drive within the reserve; there is no cell signal and you want to make sure to stay on the main paths. Be sure to pre-load the points on Google Maps on your phone. Don’t forget to fill your gas tank prior to your journey. A regular 2-wheel drive car will work just fine, but a 4×4 is more fun!
– No need for hiking boots unless you plan to vigorously explore and hike nearby. The path and access to these pools do not require strenuous effort.
– Be prepared with cash on hand, as there are entrance fees which often correlate to the permit allowing you to access to reserve.
For more information on Los Cabos, visit http://visitloscabos.travel.
Disclaimer: This site was created in partnership with FIPROTUR, a private trust in conjunction with Los Cabos Tourism Board.