Baja California Norte and Sur are the northernmost of Mexico’s 31 states. It forms the northern part of the Lower California peninsula of the same name. The peninsula is captivating with breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife. During the whale season (January to March) there are excellent opportunities for whale watching in López Mateos, Guerrero Negro and the Laguna San Ignacio. Isla Espiritu Santo is also the habitat of many other animals such as sea lions, tropical fish and sea birds. There are a variety of activities for all travellers. The region is a golfers paradise as it has some excellent golf courses. The coast is great to explore by kayak or enjoy a scuba diving experience in Cabo Pulmo. Nature lovers and adventurers definitely get their money’s worth. Views of tall cactus mix with sparkling turquoise ocean and green palm oases. A rugged mountain range stretches across the peninsula offering hiking trails and inspiring scenery.
The peninsula was largely spared from the conquests of the rest of Mexico, as there was limited wealth to exploit other than pearls. Some attempts at invasion failed due to the iron will of the indigenous people to defend their territory. From then on, the only arrivals Jesuit missionaries who from 1683 onwards founded mission stations that developed into the first towns of the peninsula. Incidentally, the name of the state is based on the title of a 15th-century novel that depicts a fictional island kingdom called California with abundant gold deposit.
La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur. The Port of Pichilingue connects the peninsula to the mainland. From La Paz, you can go snorkeling or take a boat trip to the nearby island of Isla Espiritu Santo where sea lions and seals play in the turquoise ocean. Los Islotes also has a seal colony of around 200 animals. Whale sharks can be seen in La Paz Bay between October and March. The colonial city is quite calm and tranquil. There is the Museo Regional de Antropologia y Historia which houses interesting pieces of pre-Hispanic history and the Mexican struggle for freedom. The absolute highlights in La Paz are the spectacular sunsets and beautiful white sandy beaches. The Carnival is also worth experiencing and is celebrated in early May. A few kilometers away from La Paz is the small and relatively unknown village of La Ventana where you can scuba dive, snorkel and windsurf. The dazzling underwater world is full of life; there are whale sharks, sea lions, whales, turtles and countless fish.
Loreto was the first town on the peninsula. It has about 250 km of coastline and there are plenty of activities in, on and off the water. The huge National Park Parque Marino Nacional Bahía de Loreto protects the sea from overfishing and is considered the paradise of the peninsula for all water sports and activities. There are many small islands which can be explored on a boat trip. The most beautiful of the islands is “Isla Coronados” where on one side thousands of sea lions play on rugged rocks and turquoiose while on the other side you can relax on the white sandy beach. Loreto is also an ideal starting point for excursions into the beautiful mountainous inland on foot or bicycle. Anyone interested in history should consider a trip to Misión Nuestra Señora de Loreto, one of the best preserved missions on the peninsula. It is also the oldest and is still used today.
The town of Cabo San Lucas is popular for its beautiful coastline and lively party scene, whereas San José del Cabo is sleepy and perfect for relaxation. There are also great snorkeling spots here and lots of water sports are offered. The landmark of Cabo San Lucas is the over 60 meter high rock El Arco at the southern end of the peninsula, Land´s End. At low tide it can be reached by a walk on the beach from the nearby Playa del Amor, at high tide the sandy beach around it sinks into the Pacific. Every year in October, the three-day Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Jackpot Tournament takes place here, the most highly rated deep-sea fishing competition worldwide. On October 18, the city celebrates its patron saint San Lucas with fireworks, lots of dancing and music and of course countless food stalls.