Gorgeous Remote Bay and Challenging Inlet if You Dare
San Quintin is the next logical stop in a wandering route down the Baja coast. It’s a huge open bay with some sand bars that refract the swell in sometimes unpredictable ways. Adventurous cruisers can find better protection for a longer visit, including to the charming village of San Quintin itself, by going into the inlet if conditions allow.
Coming from the north, make sure to mark and clear Isla San Martin. There is plenty of room to sail between this island and the Baja shore, but take care your course gives good clearance to Roca Ben, the next hazard south. This is a sometimes breaking rock which never dries, and can pose a hazard in large swell. Beyond that, the route is clear for 1/4-1/2 mile around Cabo San Quintin, and into the bay itself (which is often called Bahia Santa Maria), giving room to the obvious rocks that litter the water off the point.
There are multiple places to anchor in the bay, and it pays to take your time, in good light, and analyze what the swell is doing. Areas that look perfect on the chart might be attracting swell from multiple angles, turning it into a washing machine. Scan the bay for the best location and try to anticipate changes in swell and tide. This is an excellent anchorage to learn more about all of these forces. Most typically drop the hook in 20-25 feet over sand.
There is excellent dune hiking along the peninsula that forms the bay, and some surf spots along the inner shore if conditions are right. The beach is expansive and great for a walk. Many people share stories of the little town up the estuary, but sadly we have never been. If you have, please add notes in a review here, or email us.
If conditions and your draft allow, head up the river and dinghy into the village of San Quintin. There is at least one excellent restaurant worth the trip all by itself (the Old Mill?). Note that crossing the bar, or finding the channel, should only be undertaken with local knowledge and/or specific updated guidance from a local fisherman.
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