Home » 2019 Baja Adventure

Eco Tour Las Tres Vírgenes, Mexico

Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 10:45am by Lolo
70 miles and 2.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Eco tour cabins at Las Tres VírgenesEco tour cabins at Las Tres VírgenesSince our entire drive through Baja was along one two-lane highway (Mexico 1), we pretty much knew from the guidebooks everything there was to see.

After San Ignacio, the next notable site was Volcan Las Tres Virgenes, a series of three dormant stratovolcanoes - El Viejo, El Azufre, and La Virgin. They are part of the Desert Biosphere Reserve of El Vizcaino, an important habitat for endangered species, such as the bighorn sheep, about 500 of which live near the volcano.

According to the guidebooks, the only lodging option in the area is Eco Tour Las Tres Virgenes, which has 5 very rustic cabins (10 rooms) and a restaurant. Before leaving home, I had tried emailing them to see if any of the cabins would be available during the range of time we would be passing through, but despite repeated attempts, I had not heard back, so I wasn’t even sure if they were still in operation.

Herb enjoying his rustic cabin at Las Tres VírgenesHerb enjoying his rustic cabin at Las Tres VírgenesThe views of the volcanoes was supposed to be stunning, so we figured we would take the short drive off of Mexico 1 and see if we could spend the night.

Our Moon Baja guide is very detailed in providing directions, so as directed at kilometer 31 (where there was a Federal Police car hanging out) we turned left onto a paved road and followed it for 3 km, before turning left onto a dirt road lined with white rocks leading to the lodge.

It seemed pretty deserted and at first we thought no one was there. As we were wandering around a woman came out and approached us. She spoke absolutely no English, but we knew enough Spanish to successfully determine that she did have a cabin available for us and that we should give her 20 minutes to clean it. The cost was 350 pesos ($18).

Our gato at Eco Tour Las Tres VírgenesOur gato at Eco Tour Las Tres VírgenesI also quite incompetently tried to find out about dinner options. Stupidly, I asked for a menu, as if I was back in a New Jersey diner. There was no menu. Our entree would be whatever they were cooking that night. I wanted to make sure that whatever they served would not include shellfish, as Herb is highly allergic. I managed to say the Spanish word for shellfish, which is mariscos, while Herb put his hands around his neck and pretended to be choking himself. The woman just stared at him, probably thinking he was loco, and then said, “sopa de pollo,” to which we responded “Si”.

While we were waiting, we tried to make nice with the two perros (dogs) that seemed to own the place. Also while waiting, the Federal Police car drove in, which I have to admit made me a little nervous. Herb joked that they were stopping by to get their donuts. He wasn’t too far off because we later saw them having lunch in the restaurant.

There was also a man dressed in camo gear sitting at a table in the dining room by himself. Right behind him were a series of photos, one of which showed a hunter with a gun and his kill, which happened to be a bighorn sheep. I glanced back and forth from the man at the table to the photo and back to the man again. It was him. He must be one of the hunting guides that take wealthy Americans the Reserve to shoot bighorn sheep. I don’t understand how they allow endangered bighorn sheep to be killed in a Reserve that is supposed to protect them, but I guess at the $10,000 a head that American big game hunters are willing to pay for one of these prize animals, an exception is made. Thankfully, at least the number of sheep allowed to be killed is limited to 6 or so a year.

Our balcony overlooking the volcanoesOur balcony overlooking the volcanoesAs promised, the woman returned and asked us to follow her to our cabin. She did not give us a key, as there was no lock on the door. The cabin was very rustic with a non-functional sink and a draft through the gaps in the wood. However, it was still better than sleeping in the 4Runner and the views of the valley and the volcanoes from our balcony were absolutely stunning.

We spent the final hours of sunlight, sitting on our balcony while watching the sunset over the volcanoes. It was quite lovely.

Not sure about the restaurant’s wine list, we poured ourselves a glass of wine and walked over to the restaurant, assuming it was a BYOB. Cooking dinner in the kitchen were three generations of women - grandma, the woman we had dealt with before, and her daughter.

Morning light on Las Tres VirgenesMorning light on Las Tres VirgenesThe soup as good, but different than I expected in that the chunks of chicken in it were beyond bite-sized yet there was no easy way to break them up. Not wanting to use our choking sign for real, we managed to hack them with our spoons into a swallowable size. It was actually quite good.

There was no check, so I asked grandma, “Cuanto questa?” to which she placed her fingers close together and said “un poco”. However, her daughter cut in with more specifics and said 300 pesos ($15.50), which was almost as much as our cabin cost.

Back at the cabin, I half kiddingly asked Herb to place a chair in front of the unlocked door, so no one could get in. He suggested to me that that was unnecessary, but that chair eventually wound up against the door when the wind started blowing it open during the night.

The next morning we took photos of the volcanoes in the morning light before hitting the road again. Next stop, Mulege.


Herb welcoming Las Tres Virgenes to a new dayHerb welcoming Las Tres Virgenes to a new dayAbout 45 minutes east of San Ignacio along Mexico 1 are the Las Tres Virgenes, a series of three dormant stratovolcanoes - El Viejo, El Azufre, and La Virgin. They are part of the Desert Biosphere Reserve of El Vizcaino, an important habitat for endangered species, such as the bighorn sheep, about 500 of which live near the volcano.

Hiking to the summit of the volcano requires is a 2-day trek, requiring the accompaniment of a local guide. Those that reach the summit are rewarded with views of the Sea of Cortez to one side and the Pacific Ocean to the other.

Despite the endangered status of the bighorn sheep, limited hunting is allowed at certain times of the year. In 2006, six bighorn sheep were allowed to be killed, and American big game hunters paid $60,000 (U.S. dollars) for that privilege.

The only option for lodging in the area is Eco Tour Las Tres Virgenes, managed by a local ejido (a family that holds the land communally). There are 5 very rustic cabins (10 rooms) with stunning views of the expansive valley and volcanoes. There is also a restaurant on site.

To get there, turn off Mexico 1 at kilometer 31 onto a paved road. After 3 km, turn left onto a dirt road lined with white rocks to the lodge.

Eco Tour Las Tres Vírgenes location map in "high definition"

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