In no particular order this is what you need to see in Baja. It may take a while to do it right, but when it’s done you can say you’ve done Baja!
Baja California Norte
- Whale Watching – Baja is famous for both the Grey Whale migration and Whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez. Each has it’s own season. If you are thinking of going to Baja this is a must see. Several places offer tours, but you can save and do your own tour. During the summer months hire a local Panga in the town of Bahia de Los Angeles and get up close with the elusive Whale Sharks. Don’t worry, unlike sharks on TV these giant mammoths are actually big puppies in disguise. During the Winter check out the Pacific coast for the migration of the Grey Whale. The best place to see them is in the Bahia Sebastian Vizcaino Whale Sanctuary (Scammon’s Lagoon) just west of the town of Guerrero Negro mid-way down the peninsula.
2. Parque Nacional Constitución de 1857 – A short drive from Ensenada the Parque Nacional Constitución de 1857 is like moving from south to north. The elevation changes quickly and so does the wildlife. Camp beside the lake and you’re in Alpine country. There’s a small tienda at the entrance. That’s it. Nothing but Alpine wilderness for miles. Bring your cross-country skis in the winter. .
3. Hussong’s Cantina – A must visit and a step back in time. A bar that built a town! Legend has it that John Hussong, a German immigrant, opened the bar in 1892 after the discovery of gold in the area to serve the local ranchers and prospectors. In 1941 the Bartender here created the first Margarita! People loved it, Due to the popularity of the Cantina and trading center the town of Ensenada grew. Not bad for a Cantina and the beloved Margarita. .
4. Guadalupe Canyon Oasis Hot Springs – Just 50 miles from the California border crossing, Guadalupe Canyon Oasis Hot Springs and Nature Reserve has often been described as a paradise or utopia, owing to its surreal and heavenly environment. Neither words or photographs alone, however, can describe the inspiring beauty of this secluded oasis.
5. Valle de Guadalupe Wine Region – Just a few hours south of San Diego is Mexico’s up-and-coming wine and foodie destination, Valle de Guadalupe. The region is home to hundreds of wineries, stunning boutique hotels and delicious food. Valle de Guadalupe produces 90% of all wine that comes from Mexico
6. Sierra de San Pedro Martir National Park – The National Park sits outside of the small pueblo of San Vicente and is home to the 10,000 ft High Devil’s Peak (Picacho del Diablo), with an observatory at its summit you can tour. It boasts more than 170,000 acres of pine grove and is home to the endanged California Condor which can be seen flying above most days.
7. Bull Fights in Tijuana – If you’ve ever experienced a bull fight you’ll understand why the old timers say “There are only two real sports on earth, Bull fighting and Bull riding, everything else is just a game”. It’s a full immersion cultural event that won’t be forgotten.
8. Bahia de Los Angeles – A small fishing pueblo on the Sea of Cortez. The bay is home to Whale Sharks in the summer and has 16 outlying Midriff islands that each have unique flora and fauna. Just driving into the town from HWY 1 is an experience in nature and vistas.
9. Coco’s Corner – Legend has it that Coco pushed himself one legged backwards in a wheelchair from Tijuana to this remote outpost where he started the legendary Coco’s Corner. About 22 miles south of Gonzaga Bay. Once you get here and meet Coco you’ll realize anything is possible.
10. Gonzaga Bay/San Felipe area – Gonzaga Bay is without a doubt one of the most beautiful bays in all of Baja. A must see now that the road is better. On the way check out San Felipe and the coves of Punta Final just south of the bay.
Baja California Sur
- Guerrero Negro/Scammon’s Lagoon – Gray whale watching during the colder months in the Bahia Sebastian Vizcaino Whale Sanctuary. Camp next to the water and be lulled to sleep to the sounds of Gray whales surfacing for air. There is nothing like it. There are 3 place to see Gray whales in Baja Sur. This one, San Ignacio and Magdalena Bay are the other two. All good, but this one is the easiest to get to.
2. Mulege Area – A palm tree covered desert oasis town that sits on the Rio de Santa Rosalia. Be sure to check out the old Mission and cave paintings nearby. The Prison that is now a museum is also a great tour. Just outside of town are the Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 . Bahia Conception starts just south of town and has beautiful white sand beaches. All in all, Mulege and the surrounding area is relaxing and has a laid back vibe to it.
3. Santa Rosalia – A charming seaside town with a French history and architecture. Check out the old church designed by Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel tower fame and be sure to get a hot dog from the vendor out front. Best in Baja! Also, see the museum and get some of the best ice cream here as well. Many good bakeries too.
4. Scorpion Bay – Along with Seven Sisters in Baja California Norte is the premier surf spot in Baja. But, it isn’t all about surfing. The ride in is primitive and full of natural beauty. Camp on the beach and watch some of the most fantastic sunsets. Eclectic is an understatement.
5. San Ignacio – A Date palm oasis in the middle of the desert. The old pueblo here may be the nicest in Baja. The church is a must see. You can also catch Gray Whale watching outside of town.
6. Todos Santos – Where desert meets the Sierra Laguna mountain range that is located on the Pacific coast about 45 miles north of Cabo San Lucas. This quaint village with cobblestone streets is an oasis of palms and fruit trees. Beautiful beaches beckon just 15 minutes away.
7. Hot Springs – Around the town of Santiago there are several hot springs for the adventurous traveler. Off the beaten path and illusive the Santa Rita, El Chorro, San Jorge hot springs and if you drive to the beach hot spring of El Sargento are a must visit if you are in the area.
8. Magdalena Bay – Wildlife viewing at it’s finest. At over 131 miles long there is plenty to see. Remote, desolate and still wild. If you like to view whales, fish or bird watch this is a great place to be. Get a boat and tour the barrier islands and the surrounding mangroves. a must see!
9. Playa Blandra/La Paz – Hit the beach or in this case several of the most beautiful beaches in all of Mexico. A Kayak or Paddle board does this right. It’s a short distance from La Paz. While you’re there hit the famous 3 mile promenade in La Paz known as the “Malecon“. Be sure to dine at the Tailhunter Restaurant once there.
10. Cabo Pulmo National Park & Cabo San Lucas– If you’ve ever dreamed of swimming through a tropical aquarium this is the place to do it. Wildlife galore! Home to the oldest and one of the only three coral reefs on the west coast of North America it’s thought to be at least 20,000 yrs old. And, of course the infamous Cabo San Lucas since you’re in the area. Check out our favorite watering hole in Cabo, The Fenway Bar Cabo.