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San Quintin, Baja California: Travel Tips for 2023

  • Joel CZ 
  • 9 min read
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San Quintin is a small fishing town in Baja California. It has privileged access to the Pacific Ocean, making it an important tourist area of the Ensenada Municipality and an economic key for the state.

The people of San Quintin grow everything from shellfish to vegetables. The bay is always busy with fishermen, gray whales, and surfers.

In the times of explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, it was known as Puerto de la Posesión (Port of Possession).

The Dominicans were present here in the 18th century and founded the mission of Santo Domingo de la Frontera, the second in the entire peninsula.

In the 19th century, the town of San Quintin was founded as an English colony.

A dock was installed, the bay was dredged, a flour mill opened, and a bridge was built leading to the slopes of the Kenton volcano.

However, this settlement disappeared with the Revolution in 1910, leaving only the dock and the mill machinery.

Twenty years later, San Quintin started again, but this time inland, 12 km from its original location.

Today it is a town that exports tomato, strawberry, and cucumber crops.

Where is San Quintin, Baja California?

San Quintin is about 185 km from Ensenada and 290 km from the U.S. border with Tijuana.

Several nearby towns, such as Lázaro Cárdenas, pass through Camalú, Vicente Guerrero.

TOP attractions in San Quintin, Baja California

san quintin baja california
San Quintin Bay – Source: orion cc / flickr.com

San Quintin Beaches

On this coastline of more than 15 km, you can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, sport fishing, and swimming.

San Quintin has established itself as one of the best coasts of Baja California, thanks to its crystalline and calm waters, pale sands, and the variety of aquatic activities it offers.

Read more about the best beaches in Baja California.

Birdwatching

Observing the variety of birds that live in and around San Quintin and migrate each year is a must.

This town has a sanctuary for their species’ protection, close to the marina.

In addition, you can enjoy a stroll along the bay while the birds feed on the fish in the sea.

San Quintin Botanical Garden

san quintin baja california
Interesting flora specimens – Source: jvpowell / flickr.com

The botanical garden has an extensive collection of plants representing the state’s flora. Trust me, you won’t see anything like this elsewhere.

There’s also a cafeteria and a wide variety of walks with protected plant areas and everything you need to get in touch with nature.

Nautical Activities

As I said before, San Quintin’s coastline has the best waters in Baja California for sailing, docking a boat, and spending the night at sea.

Hundreds of boats anchor off its shores every year, and from there, you can explore the town.

Enjoy the Giant Clams

san quintin baja california
Fresh wild Pismo Clams

Clams, and other mollusks, are abundant here because of natural conditions like the fertile volcanic soil of the coast combined with the nutrients that the ocean current brings to the bay.

These conditions provide an unlimited seafood feast and the possibility of finding Pismo clams, about 15 cm long.

In fact, the abundance of these and oysters is such that you can find them yourself on the beach, especially in Playa Santa Maria.

Surfing in San Quintin

Surfing is one of the many things you can do in San Quintin.

Punta de San Jacinto and Picacho are the best destinations to enjoy this activity, thanks to the strong waves and currents in the area.

For this, it is important that you have a four-wheel drive vehicle at your disposal to reach the best spots along the coast.

Check out the San Quintin surfing forecast.

Attend the Tomato and Wine Festival

This delicious festival takes place in August. The goal is to promote the tomato culture, a common fruit in San Quintin that they are proud to export throughout Mexico.

Among the activities you can enjoy are tastings of tomato-based dishes paired with regional wines of the best vintages. Read more about Baja Wines.

There is also live music by local bands and contests to delight the family.

A Camping Adventure

Among the things to do in San Quintin, Baja California, are strolls around town, where miles of delimited camping areas stretch out, either on your own or as part of a resort, which includes walks and hiking in the package.

You can even rent a motor home and take a road trip, that way you will get to know the outskirts.

Visit the San Quintin Museum

san quintin baja california
An old mill outside the museum – Source: Stefan Dietz / flickr.com

Although not exactly the most luxurious museum of all, it has small exhibits on the town’s history, covering the journey from rudimentary and fishing life to what it is today.

The facility was originally an English settlement, where they manufactured a wheat mill and a salt mill, which is still available for display today.

Snorkeling and Diving

Again, the beaches of San Quintin are privileged by the variety of marine species that live there, highlighting the volcanic formations between Cabo San Quintin and Punta Arrecife, whose colors amaze tourists.

It has excellent visibility for photographing the underwater flora and fauna, where rock formations and algae beds feed and give a home to millions of colorful little fish.

If you move a little further out, in the waters around Roca Ben, you’ll find deeper water, which is the place to dive, enjoy the corals and, with luck, catch a few lobsters or scallops through supervised fishing.

What are the Best Hotels in San Quintin?

A good tourist experience begins with a good place to stay, its location, service quality, and fair rates.

La Villa De San Quintin Hotel

baja california
Source: Booking.com/lavilladesanquintin

Among its features are that it is a pet-friendly hotel and suitable for families and children.

You’ll be welcomed by the owners of the place, who, after 25 years, are still the hosts and in charge of ensuring you have a wonderful stay.

Most of the staff is bilingual.

Check for the best rates and availability at La Villa de San Quintin

Hotel Mision Santa Maria

san quintin baja california
Source: Booking.com/hotelmisionsantamaria

Its best feature is, without a doubt, the ocean views in almost every room and the immensity of the beach surrounding it.

Among the hotel’s added features are free wifi and parking. Keep in mind that smoking is not allowed anywhere on the property.

Check for the best rates and availability at Hotel Mision Santa Maria

Don Eddie’s Landing Hotel

This is the perfect hotel for sea adventurers.

They have boats equipped to navigate the bay, allowing guests to do a little scuba diving and recreational fishing with strict instructions from the team.

5 Best Restaurants in San Quintin, Baja California

baja california molino viejo
The Molino Viejo Restaurant & Bar – Source: Samuel Gutierrez / flickr.com

1. Molino Viejo Restaurant Bar

An excellent restaurant to enjoy the bay. It has two atmospheres: the bar (which has a marked American and tourist vibe) and the restaurant (which maintains the influences of Mexican gastronomy).

The Mexican combination platter is highly recommended, where you can enjoy different local gastronomy specialties, sauces, and moles.

2. Jardines Baja Restaurant

Here you can enjoy a good “ranchero” experience.

A restaurant with an air of the great ranches of the locality, surrounded by beautiful gardens and varied vegetation, offers an excellent atmosphere and live shows on Saturdays.

As if that weren’t enough, its diners are captivated by the excellent service of its staff.

3. Muelle 30

Although it is not recognized as the most elegant restaurant in the area, Muelle 30 has many local fans.

The seafood is entirely fresh, and you are usually treated to a free appetizer to whet your appetite. This is the place to go if you love seafood!

4. Mission Santa Isabel

Although the restaurant’s menu offers a variety of dishes and a distinctly spicy Mexican flavor, this small establishment is known for its breakfasts, available until 11 a.m.

5. La Ostionera San Quintin (False Bay)

La Ostionera is a small island inhabited by only eight people whose main activity is the production of oysters, the jewel in San Quintin’s crown and its main export product both nationally and internationally.

The care and release into the sea for the oysters’ maturation occurs in this bay, known as La Ostionera.

Although it is not on most tourist tours or lists of things to do in San Quintin, Baja California, traveling to the false bay to understand the process of oysters and consuming them directly is an opportunity not to be missed.

As you have seen, San Quintin is a small but picturesque town full of attractions and exciting aquatic adventures waiting for you.

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