Our next drive took us back to the Sea of Cortez through beautiful desert landscape surrounded by mountains to the town of Mulegé (pronounced Moo-leh-HEH) whose official name is actually Heroica Mulegé (Heroic Mulegé).
This is because during the Mexican American war (written as the War of North American Interference on one of the Spanish descriptions I read), the people of Mulegé and surrounding defended the region from being occupied. The U.S. was able to keep New Mexico and California, but not Baja California.
Just south of Mulegé is the mouth of stunning Bahía Concepción, one of the largest bays on the Sea of Cortez with multiple coves and beaches. There are many camping options for RVers right on the beaches, we chose Playa Santispac. More on that later. Check out our review of the beach campground here.
Mulegé is another oasis with lots of palm trees and surrounded by mountains. The setting is lovely. The center of town is very hilly and has really narrow streets so it’s not a good place to drive RVs.
Best of all in my opinion is the lovely Río de Santa Rosalía de Mulegé that runs through town. It creates a lush landscape with many palms and there is a lighthouse marking the river’s mouth to the sea.
If you follow the river inland a short distance, you will reach the Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé, a stunning stone structure built in 1771. This is my favorite mission so far because of the rounded and different colored stone. The interior is apparently not original and seems austere for Catholic standards, I love the interior stone walls.
The prison allowed certain male prisoners to work in the town during the day. At 6pm, the sound of a conch shell called them back. This was prior to the Transpeninsular highway being built, and so it was nearly impossible to escape from this remote area. One prisoner did escape once and another was sent to capture him. The second prisoner succeeded in capturing and returning the escapee.
Museum is kind of a loose term for this place as it has a random collection of artifacts most of which are not related to the prison. It does not have too many informative signs, and most are in Spanish.
One weird thing was some space junk, determined to be an engine part from the upper stage of a Delta II rocket that dropped from the sky into a ranch nearby!
Two very informative ladies from INAH, the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, were there when we visited. We speak Spanish when we’re in Mexico, but we assume they spoke English as well. The prison building is impressive and worth a visit.
On Saturday night we enjoyed the weekly pig roast dinner at the Hotel Serenidad just south of town. They’ve roasted a pig there every Saturday since the 1970s!
It’s quite an elegant hotel with beautiful grounds and an interesting history. It once catered to fishermen who could afford to fly to the adjacent airstrip, since the highway didn’t exist at the time. The airstrip is still there and quite active, in fact, there was a group of pilots staying at the hotel when we visited.