Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baja California coastal hikes and yoga

Mid-March. Warm, sunny days. Whales breach in clear view of where we enjoy a late lunch at Prana del Mar.

We came to this private resort for a week-long retreat with our local studio, Yogatown. As the resort is small our group of 23 were the only guests.

Whale watching was amazing.
Some boats did get pretty close. Whales seemed to not
mind much though.
Off-the-beaten path and entirely self-sufficiently run off-the-grid, Prana del Mar satisfied our usual desire for remote or at least out of the way. (There is not even a sign advertising its dirt road turn-off.) The resort's backyard is a 2 km long beach, followed by more beach up both sides of the coast. In contrast to the tourist-haven of Cabo San Lucas, located 25 minutes to the South, these long, gorgeous beaches see hardly any visitors at all. A few dune buggy excursions and some tourists on horseback. Mostly, though, this stretch of awesome is just used by our group.

Eric, the owner who built this retreat a few years ago, made sure that every detail was accounted for, from setting up daily excursion options (e.g. surfing, snorkeling, whale watching), to car service to get to town for those who wanted to do some shopping, to having an amazingly attentive and caring staff. In that sense, pure luxury. 

The salt water pool at Prana del Mar at night.
Along the coast there are trails leading along beaches, up onto cliffs and into the hills. We headed out on a  post-morning-yoga jaunt three beaches over on perhaps the hottest day of our stay. We had organized additional vessels for water, and took about 7 litres in total, plus sun screen, hats and I had a long sleeved top as well; that was genius. We wanted to be back for the afternoon yoga class, so we had a 5-hour window.

Obligatory sunset over the Pacific.
We headed North along our local beach, then over trails past an untouched cove, then over to an even longer, even whiter, even emptier beach. We hiked about 8 km one way, taking photos along the way, marveling at huge insects that seemingly had no purpose (we were told later that they eat tarantulas) and hydrating frequently. The sun's heat was formidable. We replenished sunscreen along the way and I was happy I could put on long sleeves after a couple of hours. Our turn around point was a beautiful rocky outcrop pounded by the rising Pacific.

Proof: I am standing on a surf board! (First time ever).
Jan got up first try out!
This hike left us wanting so much more... and it made us want to hike in the cooler hours of the day. Between the two of us, we downed about 5 litres of water and some fruit and nuts in about 4 hours of hiking. Jan in particular was happy to get out of the sun when we got back to the resort. And we did make our afternoon yoga class easily, too.

Pre-sun rise overlooking Prana del Mar from the beach.
While we undertook many activities - and especially some we had never done (snorkel, surf, sea kayak with whales) - the twice daily yoga practices were my highlight. Awesome teachers (thank you, Paula and Tracy!), lots of hands-on adjusting and body awareness raising in class, with a group that quickly gelled, all in perfect surroundings made for a perfect week. (To view photos larger, click on one)

Sunrise on the beach. Waves and currents are such
that swimming is not possible along most of the
Pacific side of the Baja peninsula.

And a few minutes later as the sky lightens bit by bit.
Looking South.
Sunrise over the mountains.
Hiking along the coast only to discover ever more beach.

Powerful Pacific pounds the coast.

One of the coves along the way. Untouched.

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