San Ignacio Mexico
The sleepy town of San Ignacio in the state of Baja California Sur, Mexico is known as a welcome, but out-of-place oasis in the large expanse of the Desierto de Vizcaíno.
San Ignacio is located 89 miles south of Guerrero Negro along the Baja Highway One. But, you won’t find the “real” San Ignacio in the sprawl along the highway. To see the real San Ignacio, go two kilometers down a side road into a fertile ravine, lush with palm trees, Indian trees, and sweet-smelling flowers to find the city square. This is where you want to be to experience the quaint charms of San Ignacio.
It’s been said that San Ignacio is the ideal place to rest one’s soul. Life is slow here and there’s not much to do but take a seat in the small, Indian tree-lined, town plaza, sip on a cool drink, and contemplate the quiet, rustic beauty surrounding you. Enjoy the spring-fed water running right along the village and next to you and feast your eyes on the beautiful 18th century Jesuit mission.
One of the town’s best features is the lush date palm and red river-grass surrounded lagoon, which comes bubbling up from the San Ignacio underground river. In the winter, the river rises and runs for several miles and in the summer it evolves into numerous fresh water pools. A modern walkway surrounded by gardens and palm trees was built for the locals and tourists to enjoy the beauty of the environment.
Being just off the Baja Highway, there are many activities that you can indulge in once you’ve finished quietly contemplating life in San Ignacio. Guided tours are available for all sorts of exciting water activities, such as fishing, surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling.
You can also join an excursion to the San Ignacio Lagoon on the coast to view the Gray Whales that migrates to the area between January and March of each year to breed. The lagoon is about two hours west of town and tours are available but advance reservations are advised.
Main attractions found in San Ignacio include:
The Mission of San Ignacio – initiated in 1728 and completed in 1786, it is constructed with lava walls that are nearly 4 feet deep. The church features a gold-coated main altar of carved wood, seven oil paintings of religious art, and a statue of San Ignacio’s patron saint, San Ignacio de Loyola.
Due to the strength of its walls, the building has remained nearly unaltered over time, and since its founding has been in continual use. Surrounded by beautiful bougainvillea plants and a tiny grove of trees, it is one of Baja’s most stunning churches.
The San Ignacio Museum – a small self-guided museum with exhibits of the area’s history.
The Museum of Painted Caves – features information and photographs related to the nearby cave paintings in the Sierra de Francisco. Exhibits include elaborate rock art displays. You must get permission at the museum to visit area rock art sites.
San Ignacio holds their big celebration in July each year, and it’s a time when you won’t be able to sit so quietly in the town plaza because it’s filled with lively music and fun activities, such as horseraces, cockfights, dancing, arts and crafts exhibits, and fireworks.
San Ignacio has a paved air strip, hotels, RV Parks, a bus depot, and restaurants, as well as many other tourist services. Tourist services can be found at your hotel or around the town plaza, including public phones and Internet access. However, there is no bank, so bring money – but you might not need much, if all you’re going to be doing is sitting in the pretty town plaza quietly contemplating life.