Escape to Cataviña
North of the Valle de los Cirios you will find the small town of Cataviña, an oasis nestled in the shrubland, with blue palms stretching upwards. From the town, a dirt track leads to the ruins of the Misión de Santa María de los Ángeles, the last religious company founded by the Jesuits in the state. To see the ruins, you must go accompanied with a guide, on a 4×4 vehicle. You can even stay and camp for the night, giving you time to also visit another oasis such as La Escuadra, where you can swim.
The Transpeninsular Highway 1 leads to the Cataviña rock paintings. It is very easy to reach, just on the side of the road. The golden desert here is filled with cardon and cirio cacti. A path leads up between rocks to the headland, where there is a tiny cave. To get inside, you’ll have to crouch down, but once inside, you will be greeted by a constellation of drawings in red, black, yellow and white.
The roads from Cataviña also lead to the Misión de San Francisco de Borja Ádac church. To get there, you need to take a 4×4 trip, ideally with a guide. The church is covered with a continuous vault and its decoration is extremely subtle, just barely hinted at: a sparse baptismal font and simple crucifix on the high walls. The choir pews, with their spiral staircase, welcome those who enter this devotional space. Further along is the presbytery, where the chapel and the sacristy are located, like bodyguards flanking their charge.
On the way to the mission, you will find the Montevideo rock paintings. Hidden away, there are many images painted onto the many cavities of a huge wall of rock. To see the paintings up close, you must climb up between the rocks, allowing you to discover geometric figures, lines, skeletons and flowers.
The Cataviña desert’s landscape offers infinite cacti, plains and rocky slopes. The perfect place to rock climb or mountain bike. It’s important to take supplies, suitable equipment and avoid the hottest months of the year.
Cataviñá, B.C., MéxicoSee map