Los Barriles

Los Barriles, or “the barrels,”  is another kitesurfing capital like La Ventana, with the addition of several more campgrounds, loads of places to eat, drink and replenish the supplies and a substantial ex-pat community that kind of makes you feel like you’re back home. 

People tend to either love or hate Los Barriles due to the many creature comforts you can find here, including the incessant and often annoying drone of ATVs racing through the streets. 

The town is located on Las Palmas Bay, almost midway between La Paz (65 miles south) and Los Cabos (65 miles north). With a laid-back vibe and shimmering bay, Los Barriles incorporates the Baja beach culture with tons of watersport activities, wind sailing, snorkeling, and fishing. 

Los Barriles has a small permanent population that explodes in winter when northerly winds create the ideal windsurfing conditions that attract travelers from all over the world. Windsurfers and kiteboarders gather to fill the Los Barriles sky with colorful kites and parachutes. 

During the off-season, the town is among the most tranquil and calm places in Baja California Sur, a perfect place to sit, relax and live at a slower pace.  

Los Barriles mainly has miles of pebble and sand beaches. But a short journey to the north and south takes you to powdery white sand beaches with clear and warm water. Relaxing on the beach, hooking some fish, swimming in the tranquil water and watching marine life in the Sea of Cortez are popular activities here. 

There is also the opportunity to go horseback riding on the beach if that’s ever been on your bucket list. 

Los Barriles is ideal for wind sports from November through March as the wind blows consistently most afternoons. Moreover, Los Barriles beaches are the ground for Baja’s biggest kiteboarding exhibition and competition held each year in January. 

But it is important to note that with all of the beach activities, a handful of sea turtles nest on these same beaches during late fall and there are signs and markers to indicate when and where it is acceptable to drive on the beach.

Truck camper camping in Los Barilles

Things to do in Los Barriles

Given the proximity to the desert and Sea of Cortez, the quaint fishing town offers all sorts of activities, from resting and enjoying an escape from the cold northern winters to being as active as you want in outdoor activities. 

Here are the things to do in Los Barriles.

Go Fishing

Sportfishing is one of the popular activities in Los Barriles. The Sea of Cortez has an abundance of game fish species and the waters are full of large private fishing boats moored until the waters teem with big game fish. Some popular fish in Los Barriles are snapper, mahi-mahi, roosterfish, yellow tuna and swordfish.

If you don’t have your own boat, you can hire a fishing trip in town. Most deep-sea fishing tours are between four to eight hours. And you can also charter big vessels for a full-day tour. 

The tour operator provides all the equipment, bait and food. Moreover, after the tour, you can take your catch to several nearby restaurants to have your fish cooked fresh for you.

Enjoy The Wind Sports

Wind sports season starts in November and lasts through March. During this period, the fast northern breeze becomes ideal for kitesurfing, windsurfing and a variety of spinoff activities that harness the consistently strong wind. It usually blows from mid-morning until late afternoon providing significant hours to practice your skills.

During these months, the town of Los Barriles booms with tourists enjoying the unique weather phenomenon. Many professionals come with their own gear, and kiteboarding schools are open to teaching beginners. Some schools provide accommodation and also teach yoga, kayaking and paddle boarding.

Relax at the Beaches

Playa Los Barriles is a beautiful beach with miles of shoreline. The stunning beach has clear water with various volleyball courts, beach bars and pop-up kite surfing schools. The beach is a mixture of small pebbles and soft sand, so it is not necessarily the most spectacular beach in Baja. But it is well worth enjoying if you are looking to relax.

You can also explore the remote beaches on the north and south of Playa Los Barriles. The beaches have nice powdery white sand with warm and crystal-clear water. Moreover, these beaches are also typically calm and peaceful.

Accessing the northern and southern beaches is slightly tricky because of the hilly terrain, so renting a 4×4 ATV or a mountain bike is better. There are several ATV rental companies in town as this is one of the more popular activities to do in Los Barriles.

Get offroad with an ATV or Mountain Bike

Although the main roads in town are paved, the roads just outside of Los Barriles are in pretty bad condition. And many remote beaches, a hidden waterfall and some other attractions are on nearby hilly terrain. That’s why ATVs and mountain bikes are the best mode of transport in and around town.

The rentals are available throughout the town at a handful of shops. You can also hire a guide to take you on informative tours to waterfalls, mango plantations and more remote beaches.

Hike to Cascada Sol del Mayo 

Cascada Sol del Mayo is a waterfall located just south of Los Barriles near the village of Santiago, just half an hour to the south. The beautiful place is like an oasis with fresh and clean water pools.

The hike is quite short, less than 1 mile along a steep trail that leads to a 60-foot waterfall. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit if you want to take a bath under the waterfall. But note that pets aren’t allowed on the trail and there is sometimes a fee to hike the trail.

Cortez Rescue. Taking advantage of the fact that there are loads of American and Canadian travelers in the area, Cortez Rescue is the leading dog shelter in the East Cape. Located just a few minutes outside of town, the rescue is typically full of dogs awaiting their forever home. 

There are lots of ways to volunteer – from simply playing with and walking the dogs to fostering or assisting in airport runs or even being a flight escort for dogs who have been adopted in Canada or the US. 

Contact them through their website contact form or connect with them on Facebook

Campgrounds in Los Barriles

Because Los Barriles attracts so many seasonal visitors, there are several great campground options that range from more high-end resorts to basic dry camping. But the volume of campers also means that you can expect to pay at least $25 USD or more for a full hookup campsite. 

Martin Verdugo’s Beach Resort

Verdugo’s Beach Resort is a huge RV park with a beachfront restaurant and a pool. It is not a big rig-friendly campground (30-32 foot maximum). But it does have clean toilets and showers, fast WiFi and good food at the restaurant. 

You’ll be packed in pretty tight with other campers, most of whom are likely to be long-term campers during the peak season. There is a narrow gate to enter the campground, so be mindful of your rig as you enter Verdugo’s.


East Cape RV Resort

Although it is not beachside, East Cape RV Park is an excellent campground located within walking distance of the center of town. The ground is covered with many trees and plants to help provide protection from the wind. 

Moreover, there are fantastic amenities including full hookups, clean bathrooms and even a hot tub. East Cape RV Resort is big-rig friendly. 

However, the RV spots are limited to only 18 spaced out between permanent campers and rental bungalows. And while you’re not on the water, the popular windsurfing beach is only a 5-minute walk from the campground.


Playa Norte RV Park

Playa Norte RV Park is another beachfront campground on the northern end of town just past the arroyo and within walking distance from the center of town. The campground is slightly expensive, but the sites are clean, well-maintained and suitable for big rigs. 

Moreover, the toilets are clean and the staff is friendly. One great thing about Playa Norte is that there is reasonably priced dry camping available ($16 USD) and they offer a dump station to use for a few dollars.

Arroyo San Bartolo. The arroyo, or dry river bed, just to the north of town is by far the most popular place to boondock in Los Barriles. There are hundreds of places that will tend to fill up quickly in the fall and winter months as kiteboarders flock to free living on the East Cape. 

Follow any number of tracks through the sand toward the sea and set up camp as close to the water as you can get. We do advise you to walk the track before if you do not have a vehicle with 4WD as there will be patches of soft sand along the way. From here it is a short 20-30 minute walk into town either along the beach or roads.