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Hammering it home in La Purisima with El Pilon in the background.

Ciudad Constituci�n
& Bah�a Magdalena

Ciudad Constituci�n, the second largest populated city in the state of Baja California Sur is not generally a destination for foreign travelers, except from January-March, and even then it's just as a gateway to the whale-watching ports of Lopez Mateos and San Carlos.  The city is mostly a large metro-center to the vast agri-business interests in the area (which uses those bay ports for shipping supplies in and out of). 

To the north a highway leads to and gives the easiest access to the areas of La Pur�sima, San Isidro and the Comond�s (San Jos� and San Miguel).  Further north of La Pur�sima a graded road leads to San Juanico, popular for surf, especially during a summer south swell (south of Constituci�n at Km.80 is a road leading west to Punta El Conejo, another surf spot).

As mentioned, to the west is Magdalena Bay, and the two more popular access areas:   Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos and Puerto San Carlos.  San Carlos offers a couple of surprisingly nice (albeit overpriced) options for accommodations.  "Mag Bay" itself is a large area of vast wetlands, making it a prime location for fishing and bird-watching, and the barrier islands (basically just large sandbars) create calm waters friendly to small boats and canoes/kayaks. 

Places to stay:

There are various next-to-the-highway motels in this area, but Ciudad Constituci�n and Puerto San Carlos are really the only locations with much choice over lodging options (and actually, there isn't much choice in that either).   In Puerto Lopez Mateos various locals hang out signs announcing rooms for rent during whale-watching season, so you'll have to try your luck if you plan for this option/locale.

Ciudad Constituci�n:

Hotel Conchita -- Centrally located with extremely basic rooms available.  Rooms are upstairs.  Place is pretty clean, not a bad deal for the price.... there just isn't anyway to watch over your car parked somewhere out there in the street.  113.20266  Ultra-Budget

Hotel El Conquistador -- Upstairs rooms also (there may be some on ground level as well).  Everything I read said this place would be nicer.  It's not.   Basic, clean, drab, but slightly larger rooms with TV., a/c and bottled water (a plus).  No off-street parking (a minus).  Centrally located. 113.21555  Budget

Hotel Maribel -- Slightly north of the central part of town, but still within walking distance.  Average sized rooms upstairs.  Third level rooms cost less than second level, otherwise there is little difference in the rooms.  Some are carpeted (old-time shag), some are tile-floored.  Rooms have TV., telephone, a/c and bottled water.  The hotel has a small parking lot in back that makes it somewhat easy to keep an eye out on your own vehicle (a plus).  113.20155  Budget

Puerto San Carlos: (there's either nice and overpriced, or not extremely nice, but cheap... no in-between options here)

Hotel Palmar -- Better value of the two budget options here.  Hard to get a room, so make reservation early if possible.  Two-story building.  113.60035  Ultra-Budget

Motel Brisas -- Extremely basic rooms set around a courtyard/parking area.   Cheapest digs in town by a couple of dollars.  Follow the signs in town to locate this property.  Plenty-o-hot-water.  113-60152  Ultra-Budget

alcatraz_kitchen.JPG (18914 bytes)Hotel Alcatraz -- Nicest property in town.  Rooms look over a pleasant courtyard that includes a restaurant where you can watch what's happening in the outdoor kitchen (I like setups such as this).  Overpriced, but if you don't favor the budget options, then this is your best choice.  English spoken quite well here.  Save $4-6 by paying in pesos and not U.S. dollars.  113.60017  Moderate

Photo: A peek into the kitchen at the Hotel Alcatraz

Hotel Brennan -- If the Alcatraz is full, then this facility is around the corner and offers similar amenities for the same price.  113.60288  Moderate

Places to eat:

In Cd. Constituci�n there are numerous opportunities from various street vendors.   I highly recommend you seek out such a local vendor either along the highway, or along the market, a block to the east (paralleling the highway).  Also:

Rinc�n Jirocho -- Basic seafood fare.  Located just south of the monument at the intersection of the Puerto San Carlos highway & the Transpeninsular (on the east side of the street).  Budget

Mariscos el Puerto -- Roadside seafood stand has become a regular stop for me heading north or south through Cd. Constituci�n.  Excellent ceviche.  BYOB.  Located just north of the intersection of the Transpeninsular Hwy. and the Puerto San Carlos highway next to Pemex station (and across the street from the Mercado Baja 1000).  Ultra-Budget

Things to do:

Whale-watching -- Far and away the number one activity for foreign travelers stopping in the area.  Both the areas of Puerto Lopez Mateos (to the north through Cd. Insurgentes, about 45 miles total), and Puerto San Carlos (about 40 miles west) are where you can find boats-for-hire.

Misi�n San Luis Gonzaga -- 40 kilometers from the highway (south of Cd. Constituci�n) on, surprisingly, one of the better graded roads in Baja, is this well-preserved Mission.   See more info on the Missions page.

La Pur�sima -- Quite a quaint village and worth the trip if one has the time or inclination to head here.  From here, it's not far to either the Comond�s (inland) or San Juanico (along the coast).  The only local gringo in this village flatly states that all of the locals are a little off-kilter, but then again, maybe they think the same of him.  The picturesque El Pil�n sits between La Pur�sima and neighboring community San Isidro.  It's a well-known feature throughout the region, even a drinking water company in Constituci�n uses its name and outline as a brand.  The road is paved all the way from Insurgentes through La Pur�sima to San Isidro, making access easy.

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Last revised: June 21, 2002

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