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Bay of Angels: Heaven on Earth?

The real name for this glorious spot on Baja California’s Sea of Cortez doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue: Bahia de Los Angeles. Bay of Angels, la Baie des Anges. It is a small slice of heaven, in whatever language, at least if your idea of heaven is full of sun, sand, and sea creatures.

For years before I visited LA Bay, I heard stories from Baja aficionado friends, and each anecdote involved sand, beach, water. It seemed every day was lived outdoors. An encounter with enormous manta ray while diving, an impromptu dance under the moon. This is a place for people who like to feel sand not only between their toes but on the floor of their tent or their humble lodgings. They don’t freak out when they find a few grains in their food.

Many long-time LA Bay fans trailer their owns boats for fishing, and most are grateful for the paved road that now connects this once-remote hamlet with Highway 1, Baja’s only north-south highway. In 2003 this east-west road was paved in preparation for a series of marinas proposed by the Fox administration. This marina has yet to materialize, but the new road shortens the drive from the U.S. border from 11 hours to 10.

Fishermen and women brave the blazing summer heat of this desert place to catch yellowfin tuna and dorado, red snapper and cabrilla. There’s something to catch year round. If you don’t have your own boat, local fishermen will take you out for the day for $150--$200. Singles and couples can meet other interested fisherman, divers or eoctourists at the town’s informal taco stands and form a small group to share the cost.

Folks with boats bring their own supplies and camp on isolated beaches, enjoying the solitude. Looking for at least a few creature comforts, others shack up at the simple campground and RV Park smack in the middle of town. Accommodations in LA Bay are basic; most still don’t have an internet presence. Ask around for Daggett’s Beach Camping and Sportfishing, Raquel & Larry’s, Villa Bahia, Guillermo’s Motel-Restaurant, Las Hamacas or Campo Archelon. Luxury hotels, even the rustic-chic variety, have not arrived. But the yurts at Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge, in Bahia Alacrán (Scorpion Bay), are spacious and downright sexy, with a backdrop of sandy beige hills and an ‘Arabian Nights’ feel. Villas de Loreto, once one of the few upscale accommodations, has closed, so it’s once again back to basics in LA Bay. And that’s just fine with us.