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This page will collect reports from travelers on conditions along BCS Route 286, between La Paz and Bahía de los Muertos. Send any current reports to me at Include information about road conditions, major construction zones, and any other situations travelers might be well advised about. The reports should be particular to Route 286 (general trip reports appear on the main Travelers' Reports Page).

Fred Metcalf

Page Contents
Baja California Information Pages
Travelers' Reports
BCS Route 286
La Paz-Bahía de Los Muertos


Bahia de los Muertos Bahia de los Muertos
BCS Route 286 provides a lovely ride over the mountains behind La Paz. On the eastern side of the mountains the road drops down to a large agricultural plain and the small, but growing, town of San Juan de los Planes. It then makes a short swing to the northeast, passes a yet smaller settlement, Agua Amarga, and resumes the path southeast to Bahía de los Muertos (now as a dirt road, but in the process of being paved).

In February of 2003, there were five topes passing through San Juan de los Planes, and a divider strip with many streetlights. The town is definitely on an upswing, even though the highway from La Paz seems to be on a downswing.

Punta Arena Punta Arena
Punta Arena
Click photo for a larger image
There are a number of side trips to be taken off this highway. There is a paved road to the northeast which leads to La Ventana and El Sargento, with excellent views of Isla Cerralvo. A dirt road leads off to the hotel at Punta Arena. Another dirt road connects to Highway 1 near San Antonio. These roads are all normally passable in ordinary sedans. (However, ordinary sedans should not attempt the rough road leading from Los Planes to the coastal dirt road leading south to Las Barriles.)

    Travelers' Reports

February, 2003

Contributed by Fred Metcalf . . .

The condition of the paved road all the way past Los Planes had deteriorated since I last drove it. There were numerous shallow potholes, and no sign of repairs. On the other hand, the dirt road out to the bay is now being paved. There was an adjoining detour road in use as far as the turnoff to Punta Arenas.

The Hotel Arenas is closed for renovation, and I have no information as to when it might reopen. In conjunction with the new development at Bahía de los Muertos, the airstrip has been paved to a length of 5000 feet - enough for small jets.

Now, for the main event. The development along the shores of Bahía de los Muertos is well under way. The operation is known as "The Bay of Dreams," and that same name is being used for what has been known for years as Bahía de los Muertos (now being referred to, locally, as Bahía de los Sueños").

While I can acknowledge that "progress" is inevitable, this was a place that had a special place in my heart for many years. There is now a pleasant restaurant near the remains of the old pier, and we stopped there for a cup of coffee (20 pesos / $1.80US per cup). That would be fine except for one thing that deeply disturbed me - the restaurant is a branch of the "Giggling Marlin" in Cabo San Lucas. Yes, along the shore of this most beautiful of bays, there is a bit of Cabo, and it's one of the places that I personally feel represents the worst of Cabo San Lucas. If they'd just given the restaurant a different name and dispensed with the rig for hanging customers upside down . . . oh well, I'm just an old man with memories of something better.

The company developing the area has currently sold off some lots for luxury homes, and several have been built (the largest was quoted as being 17,000 sq. feet in size!). There are plans for moorings in the bay, a marina, and a hotel. The company owns 2.5 miles of shoreline around the bay, and another 2.5 miles of shoreline on the gulf side of Punta Arenas.

March, 2001

Contributed by Fred Metcalf . . .

The condition of the paved road continued to be very good, with a few potholes beyond Los Planes. The dirt road was in poor condition, with most of it a rough washboard surface.

The Hotel Arenas was functioning, and on this visit we were able to enjoy a cold beer in the second floor bar. The waiter indicated it had been a slow season, as seems to have been the case throughout much of southern Baja California.

Lots of activity out at Bahía de los Muertos. Fishing, fences, power lines, and a loader moving dirt around near the old pier. It appears that some development is on its way.

November, 1999

Contributed by Fred Metcalf . . .

The condition of the paved road was very good, with just a few potholes near the summit. The dirt road was also in relatively good condition - it may have been graded at some point during the summer of '99 (a dry year).

The road out to the hotel at Punta Arenas has been widened and was quite smooth. The hotel is functioning, although we were unable to get service in the second floor bar when we stopped for something cold to drink.

The area formerly used by RVs out at Bahía de los Muertos has been fenced off. There is a small parking area where local fishermen launch their pangas.

Contents Page: Copyright 1999-2011 Fred T. Metcalf