When we refer to Los Comondu we are actually talking about two small villages located in an oasis of great beauty about 210 miles northwest of La Paz. Their names are San José de Comondu and San Miguel de Comondu. The villages are nestled at the foot of the Sierra de la Giganta whose slopes facing the Pacific Ocean can be seen in all their splendor from Loreto. The villages were built at the beginning of the 18th century around one of the first Jesuit missions in the Californias, the Mission of San Jose de Comondu. Part of the mission can still be appreciated when one visits the town bearing that name.
A visit to Los Comondu is a unique experience in a green valley that winds through the desert of the central area of Baja California Sur. At the valley bottom is a stream that runs more than 10 miles watering fruit orchards and stretches of local flora. The oasis presents a beautiful contrast to the gorge that can be seen by the traveler.
In addition to the landscape, travelers visiting Los Comondu are immersed in a population that will make them feel as if they have gone back in time to Antigua California. The area was virtually unconquerable until the missionaries arrived to colonize the peninsula with a message of peace. Around the missions were a distinct type of people, isolated, discreet and humble. They were also people whose existence was based on hard work and a disciplined and austere life. It was they who forged the foundations of the Sudcalifornian society.
In these towns, the houses, streets and customs have undergone few changes in the 150 years since Comondu, today San Miguel de Comondu, was the head of the enormous Municipality that bears that name. That is why it is inevitable to feel a kind of time travel towards a past of tranquility and harmony with the special nature of the valley, and to enjoy the silence of the nights and a vaulted night sky full of stars hardly visible in other inhabited places.
Another extraordinary aspect of these towns is that almost all of the residents are descendants of families that have inhabited the Californian peninsula for five or more generations. According to Harry W. Crosby, author of the book “The Last Californios,” they are Californians that keep the customs of times gone by almost intact. The families are very difficult to find, except in old ranches and in small isolated villages. They practice the customs of noble people and bear little resemblance to the ways and customs of cities, which means they have a different rhythm of life, food, and ways of talking and even saying hello.
Practically all the food consumed in these villages has artisanal merit. The dishes are made with high quality, organic ingredients. However, they are not certified as such because no one intends them for commercial purposes.
To get to Comondu from La Paz, it is necessary to travel north on federal highway number 1, “the transpeninsular.” Go through Ciudad Constitucion, in the heart of the Santo Domingo Valley, and continue ahead through Ciudad Insurgentes. Continue straight for approximately 37 miles. You will pass through another town called Ignacio Zaragoza and then arrive at a settlement called Ejido Francisco Villa. Turn right and head towards the Sierra de la Giganta that are already visible.
Twenty minutes later you will enter the Glen of the Comondu, where you will find a crystal-clear stream that comes running from three springs of water that are less than 10 miles away. Keep going and you will enter San Miguel de Comondu. A couple miles further is San José de Comondu.
Signs are distributed all the way, so each village is easy to find.
Travelers to this destination can stay in the hotel “Hacienda de Don Mario,” which has been in operation for six or seven years. Comfortable, modern and picturesque, the hotel is personally attended by the owner, teacher Jackeline Verdugo, a comundeña, of course, who knows, as few do, the attractions of the region. Jackeline is responsible for making sure all guests enjoy their stay. Other people working in the hotel are attentive and will make you feel at home. They are also the best guides.