Oldest Mission on the Baja in San Javier

With a second day with a rental car we decided to explore the oldest mission on the Baja, Mission San Javier. This is quite a drive from Puerto Escondido with a twisty, and at times washed out road. I would rank the drive as a 6 out of 10 with some rock dodging and hole avoidance required at time.

Around the half way point we came to a watering hole with many palm and orange trees, a farm house, and across the street a small church. It seemed like an odd location, but our guess was it was a stopping point back in the days of horses to San Javier. Inside was a brightly decorated space with room for maybe 20 parishioners.

Further up the road, a few more washed out sections, we spotted a sign, “Honk, Honk and Wait” for organic produce. A few days later we met the couple who operate this farm. They are Americans whose land was once Mayan holy land. They are joining the Mayans for in preparing for a large gathering in a few years when the calendar ends.

Across the street is a goat farm where Queso de Chivas is sold. No one was home when we stopped on the way back but we did enjoy watching the goats.

Reaching San Javier, we parked the car and explored the town opposite of the mission. A couple schools with friendly kids who happily greeted us. We took in a bit of sport, in the form of a modified dodge ball game. Quickly hitting the end of town we wandered back towards the mission.

A small table was setup near the mission where huge pea pods and sweet rolls could be bought. After sampling the pea pods, we picked up a bag.

The mission itself is impressive considering the stone work and the immense undertaking of constructing in such are remote location with very limited building materials.

“Cobblestone road leading to the San Javier mission. Way up in the Sierra del Gigantes mountain range, there is a natural spring here that makes this desert oasis lush even when the surrounding area is parched and dry. The water made the building of the mission possible. The structure took 30 years to complete, finishing in 1637. The stone for the building was all hauled in by mule and donkey from 15 kilometers away, a daunting task over this formidably steep and dry land.

After giving it a thorough inspection we retired to the restaurant in town for a tasty meal of puerco enchiladas with verde salsa and pollo tostadas. Figuring we had seen it all we made our way back down to Puerto Escondido.

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