Understanding Baja Wind 101

Experienced Baja sailors and kiters understand the nature of Baja winds and plan accordingly.
There are 4 basic Winter time wind patterns in Sea of Cortez shore line of Baja Sur.

Local sea breeze pattern: There are frequent local sea breezes in the 10-15 knot range at locations like Los Barriles and especially La Ventana where a large valley downwind heats up in the afternoon. As parcels of hot air rise in the afternoon they create a Low Pressure area. As this low pressure increases the wind offshore begins to ramp up and head towards shore.

Often in this pattern the Sea of Cortez will be glassy calm in the AM then mid day you will see a wind line in the distance. Shortly there after very steady but mild winds reach the shore. As you head further away from shore the wind will gradually weaken. Expect very small swell in this pattern. At sites like LA bay that lack a large valley down wind local sea breezes are uncommon.

Strong El Norte wind pattern: These gusty winds in the 20-30 knot range occur every several weeks. These winds occur after a storm passes over California and high pressure that follows the storm settles for a day or two in the 4 corners (where all the square states meet). This creates a strong pressure gradient from the 4 corners to low pressure south of Baja. This high pressure is strongest at night when the frigid airs of the 4 corners strengthen the high pressure.

So typically you will first notice huge gusts of wind in the middle of the night that announce the arrival of El Norte. These winds roar down the middle of the Sea of Cortez so you will notice huge lumps on the eastern horizon at dawn. The key to getting these winds to move to the shore is inland heating. If the sky to the west is mostly clear then expect the wind to ramp up between 8 and 11AM.
A lot of the force of El Norte is from winds just aloft that make the surface wind UP AND DOWN. Sometimes the wind just aloft is NNW,  which tends to blow the El Norte surface wind away from shore. This often means on and off wind at the beaches.

Typically Los Barriles has the strongest El Norte winds because it sticks further out into the Sea of Cortez than La Ventana. The further outside you sail the stronger the wind and the bigger the huge swell.

Local sea breeze pattern + Weak El Norte wind: This is the most common wind on Baja’s East Cape with winds in the 18-24 knot range. This occurs when there is a weak low pressure in the 4 corners, which creates wind that slides down the Sea of Cortez as 5-10 knot winds. Once it arrives it combines with the 10-15 knot local sea breezes. This brings you wind in the 15 to 25 knot range with small swell.

The wind blows in cycles as high pressure areas move across the USA. So you have several days of good wind and then several days of modest to no wind.

No Wind: And every season there are periods of a a few days to a week or more without wind. So sailors and kiters in the know stuff every possible toy into their caravan that space and budget will allow. The most useful toys are mountain bikes, surfboards, dirt bikes, ATVs and kayaks.

General Information: La Ventana, BCS MX

Useful La Ventana information is available courtesy of the Ventana View. To receive Ventana View mail: ventana.view2@nullgmail.com

Emergency and Useful Phone Numbers:

  • Emergency 066
  • Red Cross 065
  • Police 060
  • Directory assistance 040
  • Tourist protection and information 01 800 903 9200 or 01 800 987 8224, from the U.S. and Canada 1 800 482 9232 or 1 800 401 3880

Phone calls in Mexico
From within Mexico
: 01 + city code + local number

From the U.S. or Canada to Mexico: 011 + 52 + city code + local number
From other countries: international access code + 52 + city code + local number. Sometimes for MX cell #’s you may have to dial this way +52-1-cell code + local MX number

Calls to a cellphone from outside Mexico: omit the “044” which often prefixes a cellphone number and replace it with a “1”, e.g. 011-52-1-(xxx)-xxx-xxxx.
Land line calls to mexican cell phones dial 044-(xxx)-xxx-xxxx

The Shuttle From La Paz to Cabo Airport: www.shuttletolapaz.com
Costo $325.00 pesos
Leaves La Paz for Los Cabos airport – 7 am & 9 am – arrives 10 am & 12 NOON
Leaves Los Cabos airport for La Paz – 2:30 pm & 5 pm

LOCAL TAXIS:
Harold’s taxi service 612-157-6520
, Also Contact – nicerev@nullyahoo.com Giles
Moises Hirales Calderon is offering taxi service with a new fully equipped van.
Please contact Moises at (612) 114-0030 or his Cell # is (612) 149-1053. English spoken here. We look forward to serving you!

BUS:
El Sargento bus to La Paz leaves here at 7 am & 4 pm.
It arrives here from La Paz at 3 pm & 8 pm
Driver – 114-0266

MORE BUS INFO: El Sargento Bus – From Rita:
The bus fare is 40 pesos each way.
Monday to Saturday inclusive, the bus leaves La Ventana for La Paz twice a day: at 7:00 a.m. and at 4:15 p.m. Just flag down the bus as you would a taxi. (These are the departure times from in front of Pablo’s store, across from the campground.
The bus takes the main road into La Paz. The driver stops for passengers who flag him down along his route so just add or subtract from the 7:00 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. departure times depending on where you are on the bus route.)
Monday through Saturday.

The bus returns from La Paz to La Ventana, leaving La Paz, at 2:00 p.m. However, on Sunday, the bus leaves La Paz an hour earlier, at 1:00 p.m.
For those who wish to return from La Paz later in the day, there is a bus leaving La Paz for La Ventana in the early evening (Though I don’t believe there is a 4:15 p.m. or evening bus on Sunday.). It is best to always confirm the return time with the bus driver. Simply ask, in Spanish: A que hora regressa a La Ventana?
If you ask, the driver will let you off at La Soriana shopping center. However, most passengers take the bus to the end of the bus route at the intersection of G. Prieto and Bravo streets. This is 5 blocks up from the Malecon. (If you walk down Bravo street to the Malecon from the bus stop, you’ll come out on the Malecon at Applebees Restaurant which is across the street from the Mexican Artisan shop and the tourist Information Centre. You’re close to downtown.)

One of the unique features of this bus service is that when the bus arrives at its final destination in La Paz – stopping at G. Prieto and Bravo street – the bus stays parked there until the driver makes the return trip later in the day. As a consequence, if you arrive 20 – 30 minutes early for the return trip, there is a good chance the driver will let you board so you have a comfortable place to wait until the bus departs.
Although the bus driver lets people off at various destinations on the trip into La Paz, the return trip appears to be a non-stop run from the bus departure location at G. Prieto and Bravo streets.
The bus used to go to La Paz via Los Planes. However recently when I took the bus into La Paz – on Monday and on Thursday – the bus went directly to La Paz. (Perhaps our little town of La Ventana now rates its own bus service.)
The bus driver is exceptionally pleasant and a very professional driver. As a bonus, he seems to remember where all of his passengers live (or boarded) and stops his bus close to his passengers’ “front door”.
Rita (#1, Calle sin Nombre, La Ventana)