San Quintin: Fishing Paradise
Only a 4 hour drive from the U.S. border, San Quintin (no, not the high security prison in California) is a small city located on the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula. Sitting n one of the largest protected bays on the west coast of Baja, San Quintin does not look like an attractive town from the Transpeninsular highway, but is a scenic and enjoyable Mexican town lays 3 miles west of the road on the bay.
San Quintin is an important agricultural center in Baja as well as home to beautiful beaches, great camping and fishing opportunities. Sitting on a sheltered harbor 116 miles south of Ensenada, San Quintin has yet to be developed into a major tourist destination, but is nonetheless an area ideal for camping, clamming, beachcombing with its attractive beaches at the foot of a group of ancient cinder cones. Today, San Quintin is the world’s largest producer of tomatoes and the protected bay also makes clamming an important (and tasty) industry here.
On the ocean side of the bay outside of town, visitors can find miles of empty, beautiful beaches and a few modest hotels and restaurants in town. Because San Quintin is a popular fishing and boating destination, and because of its close proximity to the United States, there are some large scale plans in the works to develop this area for tourists. However, these plans are still relegated to the drawing boards and for the time being, this scenic little fishing village remains just that—an important fishing and agricultural center with beautiful beaches and no big resorts.
Playa San Ramon, located north of town offers the best clamming in the area year-round during low tide. Yields are limited to 12 clams per person, but if you are camping in the area, you can each take your yield and steam them over a fire for fresh and delicious sea food.
There are good breaks for surfing at Cabo San Quintin. However, rough roads and poor infrastructure in the area make this beach difficult to reach without or 4WD or if traveling by boat.
Although visitors can head to Playa San Ramon and dig up their own clams, there is a restaurant in town where you can let someone else do the dirty work for you. Palapa de Mariscos El Paraiso, is a casual reaturant that will serve you up great seafood cocktails (cocteles), fish tacos (my favorite), ceviche tostadas and of course local clams. Because fishing is a major industry here, no visitor to San Quintin should leave without sampling the local, fresh fare.
Many people head to San Quintin for the fishing alone. Because of this, there are several tour fishing operators in town, where a guided boat will take you out to do some deep sea fishing. There is a sportfishing pier in town, where all of the various tour operators leave from. Daily rates for these fishing tour start at about $160 per boat for up to 3 peole. The day starts early (around 6 am) and ends around 2 pm because the water often gets to choppy in the afternoon. However, depending on the season, there are a wide variety of big fish to be caught in this area of coastline.