Distance: 136.8 mi (220.2 km)
Notes: Sea of Cortez!, wide open desert and mostly high quality roads, limited services, very sandy track between El Arco and Vizcaíno for 10+ miles (3” tires and low tire pressure) recommended, off-route trip to fishing community of El Barril
Warning: Extremely sandy track between El Arco and Vizcaino, lower air pressure in tires.
Resupply: BOLA-FWMCR, San Rafael-C beach camp, El Progresso-WMC rural touristic ranch with some services, Piedra Blanca- fWM very limited snack stand, El Arco fW limited hours and very small snack stand, Vizcaíno-FWMCR$ Bus
The route from Bahía de los Àngeles travels inland to return to the sea at San Rafael, a small commercial fishing access point. Pancho is the lone inhabitant at San Rafael. He offers camping on a white sandy beach and generally welcomes visitors. No services are officially available, although he occasionally provides services in exchange for tips.
There is a mild climb to El Progresso about 25 miles away, where Rancho Escondido provides lodging, on-site camping, water and meals. It is a beautiful setting and a nice family looking to develop ecotourism in the backcountry. The fishing community of El Barril is 8 miles away should you choose to take a day trip to the sea. There are no stores in El Barril, but if you asked around you may find someone selling packaged snacks, while fresh fish may be available during the week.
A sandy road continues southwest of El Progresso toward a pass, whereafter a mostly hard road continues past Rancho Piedra Blanca to El Arco. Piedra Blanca is a working ecotourism ranch which offers rooms and meals and has a small snack stand on request. El Arco is a declining factory town. Ask politely for purified water. You may be able to purchase cold soda and chips at one of two ramshackle stores.
Leaving El Arco the road quality diminishes to eventually become a purely sandy track traveling dead straight for 7-10 miles. Let some air out of your tires! The road remains sandy for a couple miles past Ejido Guillermo Preto although the final miles into Vizcaíno are on hardpacked roads among low hills. Vizcaíno is one of the best highway towns on the route with inexpensive motel rooms, great street food and ceviche. Even though it feels like you’re in the middle of the desert, Vizcaíno is within close proximity to both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez.
Alternate: To avoid the sandy road to Vizcaíno, take the main graded dirt road southwest of El Arco to MEX1 and ride the remaining 30 miles to Vizcaíno on the highway. This stretch of MEX1 is narrow and does not have a shoulder.