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Baja California often experiences no annual rainfall at all. At first glance, it seems a desert hinterland, with dunes spilling down to the sea, white-sand beaches, vast cactus fields and scrubby brush. In some parts, it’s a playground for the rich and famous, brimming with plush resorts. In the north, this development gives way to quiet Spanish colonial towns and long-abandoned missions. Off the coast, grey whales calve in the balmy waters near San Carlos and Puerto López Mateos. Sea lions and whale sharks cluster near La Paz and Espíritu Santo, and you might see humpback whales breaching off Los Cabos.

Despite Baja California’s aridity (it’s one of the driest deserts in the northern hemisphere), there are lusher pockets, such as the natural pools and waterfalls around Sierra de la Laguna.

Tres Virgenes Volcano, Baja California
Farther inland, vegetation-rich higher-altitude mountain ranges rise up, a result of tectonic activity when the peninsula (the second largest in the world) broke away from mainland Mexico. If the rain does arrive (usually between July and October), the desert revives in a sudden burst of green.

Driving around, you see immense multi-branching cardon cacti as well as the smaller cholla, and the sweet or sour pitaya cactus. There are a number of endemic birds to look out for, too, including Xantus’s hummingbird, gray thrashers and a warbler, Belding’s yellowthroat.

Baja’s proximity to the USA has given it popularity with American visitors, who traditionally flock to the southern part of the peninsula in the winter months (December to March). As such, you might find that Baja has more of a Western influence than other areas of Mexico.

In the stretch of coast between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas — known as the Baja Corridor — many large, all-inclusive resorts and luxury hotels have sprung up. Despite this development, the area retains personality. You’ll find many independent restaurants serving fresh fish in Todos Santos and San José del Cabo, along with small communities of artists.

Grey whale - Baja, Mexico
Baja California Sur, as it’s known, has become a haunt for surfing, as well as whale watching. Fin, California grey, humpback and even blue whales visit its waters between December and March. Grey whales in particular are frequent visitors to the Pacific coast, where they nurse their young. You can observe them on small-group or private tours. Don’t be surprised if they come up to investigate your boat: they’re sociable creatures.

Baja California Sur is also gaining a reputation for its various adventure and outdoor activities. They include horseback riding and hiking trails around Todos Santos, off-the-beaten-track snorkeling in Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, mountain biking and zip-lining in Los Cabos, and even glamping at Camp Cecil on Espíritu Santo, an island off the Gulf of California.

But, venture to the peninsula’s northern reaches, and you’ll find a very different Mexico. Distances between towns are long, and life slows down. Places to stay are usually rustic and simple. The area’s draws are its desert panoramas, the ghosts of Spanish Jesuit missions, cave paintings and completely unspoiled, remote islets.

Best time to visit Baja California

Plan your trip between January and mid-March for optimum whale sightings. Apart from July and September (when hurricanes are possible), you can enjoy Baja California’s beaches and outdoor activities nearly all year round.

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Places to visit in Baja California

Featuring heavily on our experiences of visiting Baja California, these selected places are destinations that also prove consistently popular with our travellers. Our specialists can help you choose how to include them in your wider trip, based on your preferences.

Suggested itineraries featuring Baja California

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Baja California, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Baja California

Places & hotels on the map

    Places in and around Baja California

    Photos of Baja California

    Accommodation choices for Baja California

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Baja California. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    • Presidential Suite, Hotel Capella Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas

      The Resort at Pedregal

      Opulent

      The The Resort at Pedregal is located on 24 acres of land where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez.

    • Marquis, Baja

      Marquis Los Cabos

      First Class

      One of the "Leading Hotels of the World" Marquis los Cabos is comprised of 210 suites and 28 casitas.

    • Pool, La Esperanza, San Jose del Cabo

      La Esperanza

      Opulent

      This beautiful resort offers 56 suites in wonderful palapa-style buildings overlooking two private coves on the Sea of Cortez.

    • Casa Natalia, San Jose del Cabo

      Casa Natalia

      Medium

      Casa Natalia is a lovely boutique hotel tucked away in a surprising courtyard of mature palm trees creating a peaceful oasis behind a town house.

    • Encanto Inn & Suites, San Jose del Cabo

      El Encanto Inn

      Medium

      The El Encanto Inn and Suites hotel is a small property with just 28 charming rooms and hacienda-style architecture, located in the downtown art district of San Jose del Cabo.

    • Safari Endeavour, Baja California

      Safari Endeavour

      Medium

      This refurbished 84-guest yacht-style boat offers clients casual elegance with a good selection of upscale amenities.

    • Safari Voyager

      Safari Voyager

      Medium

      This newly refurbished 86-guest yacht-style boat with 43 cabins offers clients casual elegance with a good selection of upscale amenities.

    • Posada La Poza,Todos Santos

      Posada la Poza

      Medium

      Posada La Poza is a charming 8 room boutique hotel with great hospitality.

    • Guaycura Boutique Hotel, Todos Santos

      Guaycura

      First Class

      The Guaycura Boutique Hotel is located in the centre of Todos Santos with just 14 bedrooms in a quiet part of town.

    • Todos Santos Inn, Todos Santos

      The Todos Santos Inn

      Medium

      The Todos Santos Inn was built in the mid 19th century, this former home of a sugar baron has been lovingly restored into a charming boutique property set in a quiet location in central Todos Santos.

    • Posada de las Flores,Loreto

      Posada de las Flores

      Medium

      This boutique hotel in Loreto has just 15 rooms and is located right on the main plaza, just 600ft from the sea.

    • Hacienda Suites,Loreto

      Hacienda Suites

      Medium

      The Hacienda Suites hotel is a 43 bedroom property located a 15 minute walk from the historic centre of Loreto.

    • La Mision Hotel,Loreto

      La Mision Hotel

      First Class

      La Mision hotel is Loreto's only 1st class accommodation. It is a modern hotel with 65 rooms located right on the sea-front, 2 blocks from the historic centre.

    • National Geographic Sea Lion/Sea Bird, La Paz

      National Geographic Seabird

      Medium

      Lindblad Expeditions' National Geographic Sea Bird can reach places inaccessible to larger ships due to their small size, yet each comfortably accommodates 62 guests in 31 outside cabins.

    • Costa Baja Resort, La Paz

      Costa Baja Resort and Spa

      First Class

      The Costa Baja hotel is located 10 minutes drive (18km) from the centre of La Paz on a hill over-looking the ocean.

    • Seven Crown Centro, La Paz

      Seven Crown La Paz Centro

      Medium

      This is a comfortable, modern hotel located just two blocks (10min walk) from the Malecon and in the heart of Central La Paz.

    • Standard Room, Hotel Posada de las Flores, La Paz

      Hotel Posada de las Flores

      Medium

      This lovely boutique bed and breakfast has the feel of a colonial Mexican house, with just 8 rooms it is intimate and peaceful.