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Have you ever visited the small Baja California Sur town of Bahia Tortugas, a.k.a. Turtle Bay?  Have you ever heard of the town?  The overwhelming majority of Baja visitors have never heard about Bahia Tortugas, let alone visited the town, as it's a long ways off the beaten track, has absolutely no tourist facilities, and most people would complain that "there's nothing to do."  For me, that's one of the sheer beauties of this out-of-the way town.

Photo:  Welcome to Bahia Tortugas, as the highway enters the town from the east.  The only gas station in town is pictured in the photo.  The tall antenna with the flat top marks the center of town, and provides an excellent reference point, when you're exploring the haphazard streets of town.

If you choose to drive to Bahia Tortugas, keep in mind that it's a three and a half hour drive, along a partially paved, dusty road, through some of the most inhospitable scenery that you'll ever encounter.  

Photo:  From a hill on the east side of town, looking west down Highway 1, the only paved street in town.  It is tastefully divided with small palm trees.  The beach is the right of the photo.

Photo:  Looking towards the center of town, and the bay from a hill on the east side of town.  The tower with the flat top marks the center of town, which makes it a good reference point.

The town is laid out haphazardly along the sheltered bay, and it's a destination of the yacht crowd, as it's the only place that offers fuel and services between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas.  It's interesting to note that the town is constructed from wood imported from the Pacific Northwest, and is very colorful, as the most buildings are brightly painted in garish colors.  The main street, which enters the town from the east is paved, but all other streets are dirt, which makes the town very dusty.  There doesn't appear to be any downtown or zoning of any kind, as there is no clearly-defined business district, as businesses, government offices and houses seem to be mixed together.

Photo:  Looking across the bay, with the closed cannery in the foreground.  Punta Sargazo, at the entrance to the harbor, is marked by a flashing light.

As previously mentioned there is no tourist infrastructure in town.  During the four days I spent visiting the town, I saw no tourists, and no other Americans.  I definitely look like a gringo, and I mix well with people, but nobody even attempted to speak English to me, as I doubt if any of the approximately 2500 people that live in town can speak English.  When you visit Bahia Tortugas, bring your Spanish with you, as your English will do you little good.

Photo:  One of the few paved side streets, this unnamed paved street cuts north from Calle Independencia, and connects with the highway.

The town does offer facilities for visitors, such as two motels, one hotel, a gas station, grocery stores, laundry facilities, Internet cafe, and several restaurants.  Since the town is so small, everything is within walking distance, which makes it nice for a dedicated walker like I am.  

Photo:  Motel Nanci, and Calle Independencia in the foreground at sundown.  Desert mountains rise abruptly east of town.  Note the water cisterns on the roof of practically every building, to supplement the town's meager water supply.  This is hard-core desert.

There is a large cannery near the municipal pier that looked at one time to be a rather large operation, but as of this writing, it is closed and appears to have been out of operation for a couple of years.  There is another cannery to the south,, near the town's baseball field, that seems to be in operation, but during my visit, I witnessed little activity.  There is some sport fishing, and pangas for rent, but to no extend of towns like Bahia de Los Angeles, or San Felipe.  I asked Ernie, the manager of Motel Nanci where I stayed during my 2008 visit, what people do for a living in town, and she shrugged his shoulders and replied that they "do lots of things."  Such is the laid-back attitude of Bahia Tortugas.

Photo:  Four of the local residents relax as I explore Calle Rio Jordan.  In Mexico, dogs are free to roam the streets, and are unfettered by non-existent leash laws.

Photo:  Calle Rio Bravo, on the north side of town, looking across the bay.  The loncheria near the center of the photo was closed, as were so many of the other restaurants in town, during my visit.

Photo:  Dusty Calle Independencia, looking west toward the beach.  Motel Nanci appears to the left of the photo.

I spent three wonderful nights, Friday, September 26, 2008 to Sunday, September 28, 2008, wandering the streets of town, enjoying the fine cuisine that the town offered, meeting friendly people, and taking in the scenery, and exploring this seldom-visited, interesting, Baja California town.

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