Lopez Mateos, BCS
Hurricane Jimena Crisis Report Site

The Community
Page updated: 2009-10-03 20:50 MDT

Puerto López Adolfo Mateos is a fishing community of some 2500 inhabitants, located at the north end of Magdalena Bay, on the Pacific coast of central Baja California Sur; some older maps label it as "Matancitas."

Primarily a fishing town, it is also known as one of the best spots in the world to observe the annual gray whale migration; during several winter months when the whales are there for calving, a primary occupation is accommodating tourists who come to observe this amazing phenomenon, providing them with food, housing and small craft tours out in the bay to visit the whales. A basic hotel, several restaurants and boat operators provide tourist services.

The rest of the year the town makes its often frugal living mainly by fishing (fin fish including sardines and tuna, clams, shrimp, lobster and abalone) and working at the Maréden cannery, which packs marine products for national and international markets.

The town is located about 60km from Ciudad Constitución, the inland regional hub to the east, and some 200km from La Paz, the state capital. Topographically, it is an area of low coastlands, mangroves and dunes.

There's a pier to handle small-to medium size fishing and tourist boats, a concrete launch ramp with paved access, a Pemex station (regular gas only). The cannery maintains a general aviation runway-- packed earth and conch shell and reportedly one of the best in Baja-- which is available to private aircraft for a modest landing fee. This has facilitated the Flying Samaritans project, which brings in outside volunteer medical personal once a month to staff the clinic, providing exceptional opportunities for medical service for a small rural community.

A couple of small grocery stores and other little markets provide supplies. Churches of several denominations are available. Local schools provide public education through high school, with university-level facilities in Constitución or La Paz. There's a small city hall/police station. Two television repeaters provide limited coverage. Several taco stands-- of course with off-the-boat-fresh seafood year round!

In addition to whale watching, its remote location and natural habitat attract nature-loving adventurers for kayaking, bird watching or simple exploring of a unique environment. It frequently serves as home away from home for students from regional and international university groups pursuing field studies in biology, ecosystems and climatic studies.