The mention of the southern Baja Peninsula in Mexico brings images of desert cacti, the nightlife of Cabo San Lucas, and of course the stunning oceans on either side of the peninsula.

But did you ever imagine visiting an inland oasis with wetlands, vegetation and waterfalls? Don’t chalk that up to a desert mirage. This reality can be found nestled between the city of San Jose Del Cabo, site of the area’s international airport, and the East Cape region that includes Los Barriles on the Sea of Cortes.

The small town of Santiago is an oasis in the desert, and outside of Santiago is the hidden gem of “Rancho Ecologico Sol de Mayo,” known to English-speaking visitors as Sol de Mayo Ecological Ranch. An excursion to this natural wonder will be the highlight of your trip to the Los Cabos area.

Don’t bother renting a car to get there. A true adventure awaits with an ATV trip starting on the East Cape. Whether your vacation starts in San Jose Del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas or another southern Baja location, find your way to Los Barilles to start your adventure.

From Los Barilles, a tour is easily arranged with a local and reputable ATV company like QuadGirl ATV/UTV Rentals. You’ll start by heading south on the stunning beach that spans the East Cape. Your guide will take you through the back roads of Buena Vista and Rancho Leonero until you reach the Santiago arroyo.

Visit an Oasis In The Desert On A Unique ATV Adventure (1)

Your ATV journey continues up the arroyo until you reach the caves, or “las cuevas.” This exciting trip will take you across small streams, beside ponds of fish, and through the natural beauty of the arroyo including wild horses that live there.

Next up is the small town of Santiago, which has an overlook platform with a view over the town. This is where the “mirage” appears, as the area is peppered with small lakes, wetlands, and vegetation that seem out of place in the surrounding desert. You won’t see any of this driving a car on the highway.

After a break to enjoy the scenery, get back on your ATV, side-by-side or UTV and follow your guide into the Sol de Mayo Ecological Ranch, where you’ll find the waterfall, down in what’s known as El Cañón de la Zorra or Fox Canyon.

Hike down to see ponds where you can swim, and dunk right into the 5-meter/16.5-foot waterfall. The views on the hike down are spectacular, with steps built into the rocks to guide your way. The water is cool and refreshing, so you can swim, enjoy nature, and relish in the quiet seclusion.

If you’ve booked your tour with QuadGirl, you’ll stop on the way back for lunch in Santiago, and then head back to Los Barriles on another exciting ATV trip.

When you’re back on the East Cape, keep your ATV, side-by-side or UTV. This is a much better way to explore the area than a rental car. An off-road vehicle allows you to explore the white, sandy beaches and desert vistas of the area. In fact, it’s how most people get around.

Visit an Oasis In The Desert On A Unique ATV Adventure (2)


Take your ATV back to the beach and stop for a snorkel or a swim in the beautiful clear water of the Sea of Cortes, or sit and watch the kite-boarders. Head through town to one of the local cantinas or restaurants, or drive to the local pickleball facility, one of the new tourist attractions in the area.

QuadGirl ATV/UTV Rentals has off-road machines that suit the vacation plans of all sizes of groups, and allow you to fully enjoy all the Cape has to offer. And that’s no mirage.