Info on Guerrero Negro


Guerrero Negro is the largest town located in the municipality of Mulegé in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur (BCS). It had a population of 11,894 in the 2005 census. Guerrero Negro is served by Guerrero Negro Airport.
The town has a celebration each year to hail the annual arrival of the gray whale to calve in the lagoons of BCS. This festival occurs during the first half of February. Another town in BCS, the port of San Blas, BCS has a similar festival on February 24 and 25.[1]
The population of Guerrero Negro was born in 1957 when a North American by the name of Daniel Ludwig--who also constructed the hotel Acapulco Princess in the port of Acapulco, Guerrero--decided to install a salt mine there to supply the demand of salt in the western United States. The salt mine was established around the coastal lagoon Eye of Hare taking advantage of the heavy salinity of the place, without realizing that eventually this company, called Exportadora de Sal, S.A., of C.V. ("Salt Exporters, Inc."), would become the greatest salt mine in the world, with a production of seven million tons of salt per annum, exported to the main centers of consumption in the Pacific basin, especially Japan, Korea, the United States, Canada, Taiwan and New Zealand. In 1973 Daniel Ludwig sold the company to the Mexican government and the corporation Mitsubishi, 51% and 49% respectively, giving rise to a historic business success which continues to the present. The company is distinguished not only by its growth and its yield, but also by the progress which has reached more than a thousand employees, their community and its ecological surroundings: The salt mine, located in a site of extraordinary beauty, within a reserve of the biosphere, has been pivotal in the development of the region, where each winter whales gather, many species of resident and migratory birds stay, visiting birds originating mainly in the United States and Europe.
Guerrero Negro is the Spanish translation of Black Warrior, an American whaling ship that sank near the coast in the 1850s. It was during this era that Captain Charles Scammon discovered a prolific whale breeding lagoon which became a choice hunting ground for Yankee and European whalers. Although locally known as Laguna "Ojo de Liebre" (eye of the jackrabbit), this lagoon is better known around the world as Scammon's.
The town is on Federal Highway 1
Guerrero Negro (GPS coordinates 28'02 N ~ 113'87 W) is the northern point of entry to the state of Baja California Sur, located just south of the 28th parallel. This working city of over 10,000 people is not a main Baja tourist destination. It is basically a support town for one of the world's largest systems of salt water evaporation ponds. This one area produces over three million tons of salt each year! The salt is transported to the coast in huge trucks, and then shipped by barge to Isla Cedros, 70 miles off shore. From there the salt is loaded onto ocean going freighters, and then on to the rest of the world.
Guerrero Negro's main tourist function is best known as the gateway to Laguna Ojo de Liebra (Scammon's Lagoon) for watching the spectacular California Gray Whales (although Laguna Ignacio further south has been stealing a greater portion of the show over the last few years). The whales begin arriving here in January from the colder waters of the Bering Sea and the coast of Alaska, over 3,000 miles away, and stay through March to mate, give birth, and to watch the tourists watch them. It's an unforgettable experience! It's best to make reservations stateside, just to be sure you can catch the show.
For more information on the Gray Whales, check out the WHALE WATCHING section of Baja Expo and GRAY WHALE ADVOCATE web site. It's full of great information on Guerrero Negro happenings.
Due north from Guerrero Negro is Malarrimo Beach,, famous for it's beachcombing. The geographic 'hook' of Baja here collects much of the jetsam and flotsam that drifts down the coast from further north, as far up the coast as Alaska and Japan!
South of Guerrero Negro is the vast Vizcaino Desert. This empty area features miles and miles of miles and miles. If you are looking for a private place to practice the Macarena where no one can laugh at you, this desert is the place. It is possible to travel a hundred miles here and not see another person.
Most sailors heading up or down the coast don't stop in Guerrero Negro, as it is a bit of a detour as they round the point at Punta Eugenio. They usually stop at Bahia Tortugas, near the point, to pick up any necessary fuel or supplies.
Private pilots flying into Baja appreciate the semi-consistent aviation fuel available at Guerrero Negro's main airport, and gringos driving south on the blacktop often spend the night here when they can't quite make it to San Ignacio before dark. If you are getting low on gas, getting a bit hungry, or need a few winks, you will quickly learn to appreciate Guerrero Negro!
After many years as a dusty, somewhat unorganized town, Guerrero Negro city fathers set up a plan to improve the 'feel' of the town. New curbs, sidewalks, and a main street center median complete with palm trees is in the final stages of completion. And the town has never looked better!
If you are looking for Baja travel information, and want to yack with other gringos in town, the best place to find them is the Pemex station in town. Like the stagecoach stations of old, everyone stops by to get dialed in for the next leg of their road trip here. Whether you need information on road conditions or the location of a good restaurant, this is the place to find out what's happening!
For an interesting perspective on the salt mining operations in the lagoons of Guerrero Negro, and whether we really need to develop the pristine Laguna San Ignacio and the areas north of the lagoon for more salt, check out these interesting perspectives by EARTH ISLAND JOURNAL and from the folks at NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL.
The California Grey Whale makes an annual trek from the cold waters of Alaska to the waters of Laguna Ignacio, just south of Guerrero Negro. For more information drop by our WHALE WATCHING section...and this cool article by Baja author ANN HAZARD.
And just in case you have a few questions on the California Grey Whale, the AMERICAN CETACEAN SOCIETY has the answer!
If you would like to see what Guerrero Negro and Scammon's Lagoon look like FROM SPACE check it out!
Guerrero Negro was just offshore on Carlos Fiesta's 2,000 mile BAJA CIRCUMNAVIGATION!
To purchase a good map of the Baja Peninsula visit the web site of MEXICO MAPS.
Pulling up the book SEA OF CORTEZ REVIEW is a fun way to visit Baja when you don't have the time to head south!
For more information on what's happening in other parts of Baja check out the web sites of BAJA TOURIST GUIDE and BAJA INSIDER.
If you know of a company, web site or event that is not included here we would love to hear from you on our SUBMISSION PAGE.
THE GRINGO FACTOR
The town of Guerrero Negro is a genuine Mexican working town and not a tourist destination. The main gringo points of interest include the whale watch areas south of town, as well as the La Pinta Hotel and the Pemex gasoline station located right at the border of Baja California and Baja California Sur on Baja Highway One. Visitors looking for a good meal, a less expensive hotel, or a quick shop stop will often stray into town for these services.
YOUR FIRST STOP IN TOWN
Taking the Guerrero Negro access road off of Baja Highway One leads you west to the downtown area. Although there isn't really an official gathering spot for tourists (aside from the Pemex station), the MALARRIMO RESTAURANT on the right side of the road had offered this unofficial function to Baja aficionados for many years. The new whale watch center in the parking lot adds even more value to this as a first stop. Got a few minutes? Step inside the restaurant for a bowl of the finest seafood soup this side of Boston!
THE BEST OF GUERRERO NEGRO
Probably the nicest hotel in Guerrero Negro is the LA PINTA HOTEL just north of town at the Baja California and Baja California Sur border. The location is boring, right off of the main highway and adjacent to the military housing, but if you are looking for nice accommodations in the area this is your only choice. Guerrero Negro visitors looking for a special dining experience should head directly to the MALARRIMO RESTAURANT on the right side of the main road heading into town. The seafood soup is fantastic! One of the best places in the world to watch the California Gray Whales during thier annual migration (February through March) is in the lagoon just sout of town. Hang a right at the whale sign on Baja Highway One about 10 minutes south of Guerrero Negro. Like to beachcomb? There probably isn't a better place on the planet than that big "hook" of Baja just northwest of Guerrero Negro at Playa Malarrimo. Items drift to this beach from as far away as Japan. The last few miles of the road leading to this beach get rather soft so be careful. Use the Auto Club map to find your way. The best road trip from Guerrero Negro is the 2 hour drive south east of town into the San Francisco Mountains. The dirt road is usually in good condition for most passenger cars, and the views are wondeful. Tours of the Cave Paintings can be made at the tourism office in front of the Malarrimo Restaurant or in San Ignacio.
En Espanol
Guerrero Negro
El origen del nombre de Guerrero Negro se deriva del barco ballenero 'Black Warrior'. Construido en 1825 en los astilleros de Duxbury, Massachusetts, este barco realizó, hasta 1845, viajes de caza en el Océano Indico y al norte del Pacífico hasta 1851. Vendido después en Honolulu navegó desde ahí a las costas de Baja California llegando a la Bahía de Vizcaino; entró al canal de la laguna de Guerrero Negro el 28 de noviembre de 1858 a esperar las ballenas. El 10 de diciembre zarpó. Después de salvar la barra de la laguna el fuerte oleaje lo batió contra la barra abriéndole la quilla. Los restos de la nave permanecieron a la vista durante varias décadas, señalando el peligro de la entrada a la que dieron el nombre de Black Warrior, mismo que después se tradujo a Guerrero Negro, actualmente nombre de la laguna y de la ciudad.
Guerrero Negro nació y se desarrolló alrededor de la explotación de sus salinas. Estas constituyen el ecoproceso unitario productivo de salinas a cielo abierto más grande del mundo, a partir de la evaporación solar (20 mil hectáreas de vasos de evaporación, que conforman un extraordinario y alucinante paisaje). Explotadas originalmente por comerciantes ingleses, fueron adquiridas por Daniel A. Ludwig, fundador de la Compañía Exportadora de Sal. En 1957 salió el primer embarque de sal de los muelles de la laguna de Guerrero Negro, cuyas instalaciones portuarias muy pronto fueron insuficientes. Así se construyeron las del puerto de El Chaparrito de laguna Ojo de Liebre, ahí se embarca el producto en barcazas para ser conducido hasta el puerto de Isla de Cedros, en donde los barcos cargueros de más de 150 mil toneladas, lo llevan a su destino final.
En 1976 la empresa japonesa Mitsubishi Corporation adquirió las acciones del grupo de Daniel A. Ludwig y actualmente el gobierno mexicano es el accionista mayoritario.Eminentemente joven, la ciudad se conforma por personas provenientes de todos los estados del país. Su clima mediterráneo - desértico, tiene una temperatura muy agradable con una media anual de 22 grados.
En febrero se lleva a cabo el festival de la ballena gris en un ambiente de feria se ofrecen: conferencias, conciertos, exposiciones, cine de arte, concursos, etc. Guerrero Negro cuenta con buenos hoteles en varias categorías, restaurantes, campos para casas rodantes, aeropuerto nacional, terminal de autobuses de pasajeros e infinidad de servicios propios de una población de importancia
Guerrero Negro es el punto de entrada al estado de Baja California Sur. La población localizada en las cercanías del paralelo 28, da la cordial bienvenida o el cálido adiós al visitante. Su ubicación geográfica le garantiza el reposo a la mitad de la jornada, tanto a la venida como al regreso, de un viaje transpeninsular
La zona de Guerrero Negro es particularmente atractiva para el turismo ecológico, por su ubicación dentro de la gran Reserva de la Biosfera de Vizcaino. Cientos de turistas llegan para observar a la ballena gris en las aguas de la cercana laguna de Ojo de Liebre donde, de enero a marzo, se aparean y dan a luz; para recorrer los esteros y marismas que son el hábitat de diversas especies de aves como el pelícano blanco, el halcón cola roja, la garza blanca y parda, el zarapico, el águila real y la pescadora; y para explorar el gran desierto de Vizcaino con su excepcional flora y fauna, donde destacan las cactáceas.
El águila es el símbolo de Guerrero Negro. Conviven con sus habitantes, ya que construyen sus nidos en los postes de la ciudad, o en plataformas construidas por los pobladores para ese fin. De ahí, la estructura monumental, que representa una águila posándose sobre el paralelo 28.
Otros sitios de interés para el turista lo constituyen las salinas (se pueden visitar únicamente con la autorización de la Compañía Exportadora de Sal); laguna Guerrero Negro, donde se localiza "La Isla" creada de manera artificial para hacer el primer puerto y con los años ha ido acumulando enormes cantidades de arena, formando hermosos medanales y playas, el faro viejo y las marismas. Las extraordinarias dunas de "Don Miguelito" (el desierto gris donde se puede escuchar el silencio). Las pinturas rupestres de la sierra de San Francisco, las misiones jesuitas, islas, bahías, etc. Los agentes de viajes locales ofrecen las mejores opciones en bien planeadas excursiones. Por las particulares características de la zona, se recomienda tomar tours guiados por expertos.