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Baja Peninsula

Photo by Mexico Tourism Board

Baja Peninsula

If the Baja Peninsula was a novel, a good title would be, A Tale of Two States. Baja Sur is the southern part of the 750-mile peninsula, and Baja California, often referred to as Baja Norte, occupies the northerly half. These two halves couldn’t be more different.


Baja Sur

Baja Sur contains the tourism powerhouse, Los Cabos, which occupies the southern tip of the peninsula. Los Cabos is made up of the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, separated by a 20-mile tourism corridor. Visitors to Los Cabos will find championship golf courses, luxurious beachfront resorts, sophisticated spas, world-class marinas and a thriving nightlife scene. Further up the coast lie several coastal destinations with each having a charm of their own: bohemian Todos Santos, historic La Paz, and expatriate-friendly Loreto.

I sometimes think of Los Cabos as Mexico Lite. It’s a good choice for those who might feel intimidated by a full immersion in Mexican culture, since the destination has one foot firmly planted in American standards. Los Cabos, La Paz and Loreto are serviced by direct flights from the US, making them convenient for quick getaways, especially from Los Angeles. The fact that Los Cabos is on a peninsula separated from Mexico’s mainland and far from the border also contributes to a feeling of security and safety, since most of Mexico’s crime problems are in the border towns or pockets of trouble on the mainland.


Baja California

The northern half of the peninsula, Baja California, butts up against the southern border of California. Here you’ll find the border cities of Tijuana, Tecate and Mexicali. Back in 2008, Tijuana and environs was the site of intense drug cartel violence and only the most intrepid American travelers would venture south. That has since changed, and self-drive travelers from California are starting to return, drawn especially by the hip restaurant scene centered on Baja Med Cuisine.

Tijuana is still a gritty city, and a major drop off point for Mexicans deported from the US. This lends Tijuana a desperate air and even though the cartel presence is much reduced, travelers should keep their wits about them.

Most visitors quickly head south from Tijuana along the coast, bound for the seaside towns of Playas de Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, Ensenada and the very happening Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s inland wine region that is inspiring comparisons to Napa Valley. These comparisons are at the moment overblown, but the Valle de Guadalupe has a singular charm all its own, with an ever new assortment of hip restaurants, wineries and boutique hotels.

On the inner side of Baja California lie the seaside towns of Puerto Penasco and San Felipe, which look out on the Gulf of Mexico. These are popular destinations for US tourists driving down for extended stays in condos and villas, with the main activity being sportfishing.

While most tourists fly into Los Cabos; and most travelers drive into visit Baja California, the most intrepid tourists take in both worlds, via a multi-day, road trip that traverses the entire Baja Peninsula, from TJ to Cabo, through a starkly beautiful desert landscape, with the sea on their right and the mountains on their left.


What it Costs

Abstract Pricing at a Glance

Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity,
seasonality and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices
that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning
purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of
interest.

Price ranges are quoted in $US.

See & Do
N/A
=> Not applicable
Free
$
=> Tickets less than $10 per person
$$
=> Tickets $20 per person
$$$
=> Tickets $25 per person

Sleep
$
=> Rooms less than $75 for a double
$$
=> Rooms $75-150 for a double
$$$
=> Rooms $200 for a double

Eat
$
=> $10 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$$
=> $25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$$$
=> $50 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)

Shop
N/A
=> Not applicable

Tours
$
=> Tickets less than $75 per person
$$
=> Tickets $75-125 per person
$$$ =>
Tickets $125 per person