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This post is for those in the Overlanding Community or those traveling who might want to visit Los Frailes. Information in a nutshell, not so much a story-post.

But before we dive in on the advice (yes, “we”! – Mikey’s co-writing this post), we just want to remind you that Los Frailes is part of the Mexican National Parks. It’s a protected area. It’s one of the few remaining places where you can camp FOR FREE* and in which there are flying rays, breaching whales, fish, sea lions and butterflies. It’s clean. It’s safe. It’s a spot made of magic and kept our hearts there for 6 weeks altogether.

los frailes billboard

Location:

Los Frailes is about 6 miles on a washboard dirt road past Cabo Pulmo. We do not recommend driving any route to Los Frailes except the route that passes through Cabo Pulmo.

Cabo Pulmo is a small (very small) town and has a bare bones dry goods shop. It’s not a good place to stock up on food or water, but it’s a great place to buy or rent fine diving equipment (at US prices).

 Amenities:

Toilets

Los Frailes has 2 pit toilets by the beaches. That’s it in the way of toilets. It is maintained by Ray who camps there for 6 months out of the year. So be gentle with them, and don’t drop your toilet paper in the pit.

Showers

No showers.

Water

There is a well, in which you can draw slightly brackish water. Your call on if you want to drink it – we didn’t, but we were delighted to have it to wash clothes, dishes, and so forth.

We advise you to come prepared, bringing at least 1 very strong, stiff plastic construction grade bucket with pulling rope. A tight lid is very useful. We had 2 buckets like this and would have been glad for more.

A lot of people seem to use an electric pump with a filter attached. Nice system, it allowed them to pull tons of water at a time (some people apparently can’t go without their 30 minute showers). Of course they also had a vehicle to carry all that water back home. And doing that can take it’s toll on the water supply. We limited ourselves to 10 gallons a day.

Food

There are no shops in Los Frailes; but when the fishermen are there, you can get yourself some really good, super fresh fish, for not so much money.

** check with other campers for all times/days listed below **

On Sundays Fernando, a cherry tomato farmer, comes and sells fruits, vegetables, dairy products, tamales he purchases in San Jose. He also takes orders for water, propane, etc – but you need to have empty tanks to give him for filling, and he will bring it back the following Sunday. You can buy pretty much anything from him, but you might need to wait a week for a full order (- he comes with everyone’s orders and then a little extra for newcomers – he might sell out). His prices are reasonable.

On Friday mornings, Don Pablo and his government supply (DICONSA) truck comes around. You can buy a wide range of staples – cooking oil, toilet paper, juice, coca cola, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, etc. It can be really time consuming because they only service one customer at a time. Try to be first in line!

Another guy comes to sell organic produce on most Friday afternoons, I think – you’ll need to check on all of this with the other campers after you arrive.

A propane truck used to come by to fill tanks. It didn’t when we were there, but that might change, especially since this year has been the busiest ever, according to the old timers.

 Stocking Up

Los Barriles

The Chapitos Grocery Store on Los Barriles’ main street has everything. Ev-er-y-thing. Like, rye bread, contact lens solution, lots of other foreigners, everything. And they are annoying to me because they don’t list prices on any-thing, which means you have to scan it all in the price checker or just roll with it. 🙁

For better prices (but smaller selection) there are a couple of Tienda Populares, one outside of Los Barriles, and the other within the town limits.

Shopping at Los Barriles was an hour away from Los Frailes, hard to beat. Even though we weren’t crazy about, we went a few times

San Jose del Cabo

We also went to San Jose del Cabo, visiting one of the Soriana’s there – the prices at Soriana were lower than Chapitos, but it took a couple of hours to get there. We coupled up the Soriana trips with stops at the propane place and water distributor, and in one case, the auto parts store for new front shocks for Myrtle (- all three in the outskirts of San Jose).

If you are able to hold a lot of non-perishable items, you can stay at Los Frailes for a long time. Stock up on rice, beans, canned food, etc and then just order the fresh stuff from Fernando’s/government truck who come weekly.

Books

There is a great lending library under the Big Tree. A table or two are always set up with books. Take one, leave one.

 Camping

There are 3 communities at Los Frailes: the arroyo (- dry river bed), the trees and the beach.

They all have their benefits:

  •  Arroyo: great because it’s flat and easy to get your rig level. And there is a lot of space. The arroyo is on both sides of the road into Los Frailes. Don’t forget to stop by Steven’s fort and tell him we say hi.
  • Trees: the shade is nice, but no dogs allowed,and there seems to be a “clickish” feel to the place.
  • Beach: what’s better than waking up, stepping outside and being 20 steps from the perfect, clean, crystal-clear water? That’s right. Nothing.

No campers or big rigs are allowed on the beach because of turtle eggs (!!!!). You can tent camp on the sand though, or park your rig just by the beach (which is what we did).

 Internet:

THERE IS INTERNET AT LOS FRAILES!!! yes, unbelievable. They built a tower close to Cabo Pulmo, so the access at Los Frailes is pretty good – just bring your pre-paid Tel Cel modem USB stick (- for more information on this stuff, read Life Remotely’s posts). 7 times out of 10, you’ll have access – and if you climb a hill nearby, you’ll always have access.

 Los Frailes Packing List

 

  •  Extra propane tank
  • Strong buckets for water
  • Rope
  • Plunger (to wash your clothes with – more on that later)
  • Everything you need to make your life go
  • Non-perishable food
  • LOTS OF WATER – we went through around 25 gallons a week
  • Something to handle flies/wasps
  • ** there are also non-aggressive bees **
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Beach stuff
  • Kayaks, etc
  • Hiking gear if you like hiking: there are great trails there through the desert and hills
  • Photography equipment: of course

 

Garbage

They have little garbage cans by the beach, but the best place to dispose of your garbage is by the big dumpster. It’s on the main road, by the main entrance:

los frailes garbage

You can also leave the items that you would like to give away by the dumpster – people come by and take what they’d like to keep.

*Cost to Camp

It’s still free to camp at Los Frailes, but the grapevine says that might be changing. We don’t know, so don’t blame us if you wait a long time to go then find out the policy has changed and it suddenly costs money to camp! Go now!

los frailes

 

 

Thanks for not leaving me alone at the cafeteria table with my last post. Thanks for scooping up your trays and coming on over and stopping for a bit, if even just to say hi.

I am still feeling chicken shit over this post – like, I was scared to check Facebook because I was worried I’d be looking at a bare naked comment-less post perched on a status all by it’s lonesome.

I need to get over that.

I want to keep talking about moxie, keep talking about this act of courage-growing. I want to share stories and try to do things that help each other. I’ll try and keep that balanced with the telling of our story right now and also with talking about disability. I’ll try for one or two posts a week, probably on the weekend – does that sound about right?

Back to the road, where I started thinking about all this to begin with.

kids

We were traveling on the coast of Baja – I don’t know if this makes any sense, so here is a map:

Southern Baja

See, we had driven south from La Paz to San Jose del Cabo. The lady at the Pemex gas station in San Jose del Cabo had told Mikey that you don’t drive to Cabo Pulmo via the coastal route, but he thought he knew better, so we went and found out the scary way that you don’t drive to Cabo Pulmo via the coastal route.

the coastal route to cabo pulmo

Oh sure, if you have a jeep or a sliver of a something (along with a death wish?), go for it! But I wouldn’t recommend this road to anyone. But I do have to say the donkeys hanging out by the side of the road were pretty cool

raodside donkeys

The cows were too

cows in baja
beach cows! being herded!

Our last trip down to Cabo Pulmo was in a post on my now defunct travel blog, but I kind of think this picture sums it all up:

moxie at cabo pulmo in 2012

But maybe that’s not fair, because in the way that crappy things can shape a positive future, that night in Cabo Pulmo sure did shape ours, so we are glad we experienced it.

Up till that point you see, we had been happy with our tent/truck arrangement – we had an F150 with an extra cab. Mikey had split the back bed for storage and sleeping, and we had a truck tent that fit around the back of the truck. It was a really easy, great set up – the kids in the truck and Mikey and I in the adjoining tent.

our old rig

But with the WIND – the ferocious, unrelenting, tiring, unforgiving WIND in Cabo Pulmo, we took one look out of our shaking, bowling sack of staked-down flim-flam and saw those guys next door in their comfie camper eating a nice warm meal while we were making peanut butter and jam tortillas because we were too scared to use propane in that wind, and we were like, WE ARE GETTING ONE OF THOSE!!!

And that, my dear, is how we ended up with an Alaskan Pop Up Camper 🙂

Back to the story.

So we were driving towards Cabo Pulmo but we were going to check out Los Frailes, a beach that had been recommended to us by our friend Chloe. She said it had great snorkeling and those are pretty much winning words for us, “great snorkeling”.

We finally reached the Los Frailes area…. and it was weird driving in because it was like – ‘huh? There’s a camping community way out here in the middle of nowhere?!’ followed by ‘HOLY COW, beach vultures?!’, swiftly tailed by ‘a Mexican FISHING VILLAGE?‘ then the mother of all exclaimations,

 LOOK AT THAT BEACH!!!

los frailes

We probably looked a lot like people must look as they enter the heavenly gates of pearly white, kind of dazed and slightly confused, “good grief, is this HEAVEN?!

And… yeah. Maybe it was. Maybe it really was.

 Los Frailes, a little slice of heaven, right here on earth.

moxie in heaven

The kids know heaven when they see it of course, and got busy immediately. That’s one of the things that I think is infinitely awesome about children. How they can just be plunked down anywhere (just about) and they’re all, “HEY MOMMY! Look at the OPTICAL REFRACTER BEAM I JUST BUILT!”

micah

Or was that his optical refracter beam? I get it all mixed up. Might have been his warp core drive, powered by optical laser beams.

Whatever.

He was happy building his things, she was happy playing with them and for once it seemed, everyone was cool sharing

moxie and micah moxie and micah moxie and micah

Mikey played with these weird things that were actually plants – we thought they were HILARIOUS, solid fun – we’d come to hate them but we didn’t know that then

mikey

And we settled in.

on los frailes

Unpacked. Both our camper and the tensions that had built up inside.

Just let it all out in a big whooooooooosh, along with the sunset

los frailessunset at los frailes

PS

Fantastical hipstagram photos that I took that day!

a little moxie on los frailes a little moxie on los frailesAnd a few of the older photos from Cabo Pulmo in 2012:

me and moxie in 2012
me and moxie in 2012
micah listening to his beloved mariachi music
micah listening to his beloved mariachi music
cabo pulmo
cabo pulmo
my favorite: micah in cabo pulmo
my favorite: micah in cabo pulmo
sweet delight
sweet delight
another sweet delight
another sweet delight
mexican cows are just cool
mexican cows are just cool

PS
PS

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