There are so many wonderful things to do in Mulege Baja California Sur. Whether you are passing through on a drive through the state or you’re making a destination of it, you’ll want to give this desert oasis at least a few days.
There’s just something about this town that really stole my heart. Maybe it’s because this marked the end of my travels in this incredible region, but I really didn’t want to leave Mulegé.
If you will be traveling around Baja California Sur, be sure not to miss my guides to Loreto, La Paz, Todos Santos, and Los Cabos. Click here to read all of my Baja California Sur articles.
History of Mulegé BCS
Although Jesuits had been in the area from 1705, the construction of the church in Mulegé didn’t begin until 1766 by Father Francisco Escalante. The mission was called Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé.
As the mission changed hands from the Jesuits to the Franciscans and then eventually to the Dominicans, the population of the town remained at under 100 people. By 1828, the town was all but deserted.
The town’s official name is Heroica Mulegé in honor of the people of Mulegé who fought to keep the surrounding area in their own hands during the Mexican American War of 1846-1848.
Where to Stay Mulegé
This small town has a selection of campsites, motels, and small hotels. If you’re looking for luxury, you should keep driving, but if you want to enjoy the delights that Mulegé has to offer, most of these spots are more than comfortable.
Clementine’s is the best option for those that want to self-cater, but don’t have a campervan or camping equipment. There are four hotel rooms at Clementine’s that surround a shared outdoor kitchen and dining area. They have everything you need to cook, including a barbecue, and enough of everything that even if there are large groups in one or two of the rooms, there is plenty of space and equipment for everyone to share.
They also have stand-alone casitas that you can rent if you are with a larger group of people and want to have more than one bedroom as well as a private kitchen to use. The staff here are incredibly friendly and will help with any questions you have about the area.
Historico Las Casitas
It doesn’t get more central than Historico Las Casitas. Located right in the center of town, they aren’t the most glamorous, but the rooms are clean and comfortable. The staff are friendly, the rooms are cheap, and once you park for the night, you can walk everywhere from here.
Contact them by telephone to book a stay: +52 615 153 0019
Hotel Serenidad is something of an institution in Mulegé. Whether you are staying here or not, you should consider coming for their Saturday night pig roast. For $15 per person, you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet of fire-roasted pork, salad, beans, tortillas, tamales, dessert, and one drink of your choice.
However, they also have some nice rooms right along the river. There’s an outdoor pool, an uncommon amenity here in Mulegé and it even has a swim-up bar. The rooms themselves are simply decorated, but clean. In addition to double and triple rooms, they also have cottages that have two bedrooms, a fireplace, and a living room that start at $135 USD per night.
Best Restaurants & Bars in Mulegé Baja California Sur
This is a small town where tourists don’t tend to stick around for long. So there aren’t a ton of restaurants or a happening downtown nightlife. However, there are some seriously fantastic family-owned restaurants and one really great bar serving up their own beers made in-house.
Restaurant Bar Los Equipales
A great option for traditional Mexican fare for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They are particularly popular for breakfast where you can get a huge plate of eggs, beans, meat, and a side of tortillas for about $5 USD.
In the afternoons and evenings, you can get seafood platters, barbecued chicken, or pork ribs with all of the trimmings, and of course, a basket full of tortillas to make your own tacos. The margaritas are cheap and sweet, but the beers are cold and the staff is friendly.
Mulegé Brewing Company
There isn’t much nightlife to speak of in sleepy Mulegé, but craft beer lovers won’t want to miss a stop at Mulegé Brewing Company. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable about not only the beer they’re brewing here, but about craft beer across the country. They have about six beers on draft, some of which are theirs and some of which are from other breweries around Baja California (from Tijuana all the way down to Cabo).
This is also one of the better restaurants in town if you want something like a juicy burger or a nice thin-crust pizza.
Fresh, quick, and cheap seafood is what’s on the menu at this little roadside stop. Order at the window and grab a chair at one of the plastic tables that have been set up next to the kitchen. The chocolate clams are a popular menu item. They also serve up fried-fish tacos, spicy and rich seafood soup, and different types of seafood cocktails like shrimp or oyster.
Asadero y Mariscos Mario
This little stall on the highway heading out of town is another place to stop for cheap and delicious local food. They’re open for breakfast where you can have a traditional Baja-style breakfast of scrambled eggs with machaca (dried beef). They serve it with beans and tortillas so that you can make little breakfast tacos.
Come in the late morning or early afternoon for fish tacos. Opt for Baja-style fish or shrimp tacos which come lightly battered and fried or have it simply grilled without the batter on it. All are served with a platter of salads, salsas, and toppings to fill your taco.
Things to Do in Mulegé Baja California Sur
Mulegé is a town packed with history. If you want to learn more about the indigenous people of this region or about the mission churches that have cropped up here or even more recently, about the mining history of this region, there are endless things to do in Mulegé.
Museo de Mulegé
Museo de Mulegé is a fascinating place to start your tour of the town. While it doesn’t offer much in terms of information, it is a large part of the history of Mulegé.
Before the roads were paved to town, the government of Baja California Sur sent most of their criminals to the prison in Mulegé. This building was that prison. However, you’ll notice this doesn’t look like any prison you’ve seen before. There are no bars, no gates, no fences, and no barbed wires.
This was an “open” prison. Prisoners could leave the building each day and work, have families, visit friends, and do pretty much anything else they wanted during the day as long as they returned each evening to the prison.
Escapes were rare since the town had no roads in or out and the nearest town was almost 100 miles away. Mulegé was (and still very much is) a lush jungle area surrounded by dry, dangerous desert and surviving on your own would have been nearly impossible. Some of the families of these prisoners still remain in the town today.
Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé
Carretera Transpeninsular, El Rebaje
Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé is the mission church of Mulege, however, the church you see today has been extensively rebuilt since originally built back in 1766. Like many of the mission churches of Baja California Sur, the interior is simple.
Walk behind the church to find one of the best viewpoints in town. The mirador or lookout point offers views over the river where you can see one of the Jesuit’s most lasting footprints, rows and rows of palm trees.
When the Jesuits arrived here, they brought their horses and mules carrying all of their belongings. Among other things, they fed the animals dates. They then led them down to the river where they would drink the water, feed on the grasses along the river, and then digest those dates and leave behind the seeds. These palm trees are not native to this land, but they have added to the tropical paradise that you see there today.
Faro de Mulegé
Faro in Spanish means lighthouse. As you pass through the center of town and follow the road and river towards the sea, you’ll eventually reach the lighthouse. The area itself is closed to visitors, so you cannot go to the top of the steps that surround the structure, but you can perch under the palapas or umbrellas that are planted in the sand and take in the views of the Sea of Cortez.
If you enjoy walking, you can follow the paved path, also referred to as the malecón, that runs from the downtown area to the lighthouse. It’s a popular place for locals to jog or ride bikes in the mornings or evenings when it’s slightly cooler.
La Trinidad Rock Paintings
Visiting the rock paintings outside of Mulegé is a highlight of most people’s trip to this region of Mexico. These rock paintings are thousands of years old and give us an idea of what life must have been like for the indigenous people of this region.
While there are several different sites where you can see rock paintings, the closest, most famous, and easiest one to get to is La Trinidad. If you plan to visit this site on your own, you must have a four-wheel-drive vehicle with high clearance.
The road is very sandy in some places and made entirely of rocks in other places.
Unless you have some experience with this type of driving and you feel comfortable exploring off-the-beaten-path in Baja, it is recommended that you visit La Trinidad with a guide. A guide is also the best way to learn more about the flora and fauna in the area as well as get a deeper understanding of the paintings that you’ll see.
The best guide in Mulegé is Salvador Castro Drew. He has been running tours to the different rock paintings for years and if you ask for a tour guide from any of the locals, his number is the one you’ll get.
You can message him on Whatsapp to plan your trip: +52 615 161 4985 or you can email him at [email protected]
About an hour north of Mulegé is a historical town that is unlike any other place in Mexico. Santa Rosalia is an old French town and much of the architecture and history remains today.
Why is there a French town in the middle of Baja California Sur, Mexico you may be asking? Back in 1884, the French mining company El Boleo founded the town and began mining copper here. They operated the copper mines here until 1954.
All around the town, including in the houses, in the business buildings along the main street, and even in the church and town hall, you’ll see French architecture. It’s said that the church, Iglesia de Santa Barbara, was designed by Gustave Eiffel.
While you’re visiting, be sure to stop into Panadería El Boleo. This bakery has been making bread since 1901. They claim to have the best baguettes in all of Mexico, but you’ll have to come early to find out because they usually sell out.
Traveling More of Baja?
This year, after traveling this region for six months, I published a guide book all about Baja California Sur. It covers the best things to do, see and eat in Todos Santos, Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, La Paz, Loreto, Mulege, and all of the beautiful spots in between!
You can get a digital copy of the book here which includes lifetime access to FREE updates of the book whenever I update it (about once every 18 months). Or you can get a hard copy of the book to take with you on your trip here.