Baja California Journals

The Whole Damn Peninsula

Best of IgoUgo

A travel journal to Baja California by El Gallo

Quote: The Baja is funny (peculiar, not Jaja), there are points of beauty and interest separeated by miles of nothing.

The Whole Damn Peninsula

Overview

Quote:
There are four basic regions: the border towns (see journals on Tijuana, San Felipe, Ensenada, etc.), Stinking Desert National Monument, the Midriff towns (San Ignacio, Santa Rosalia, Mulege, Loreto) and the Capes (Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, Todos Santos, and we'll throw in La Paz). All have lodging and sustenance,all have their points.Quick Tips: Take it in steps: From Tijuana, go to Ensenada for a night, then to Guerrero Negro, then time it to hit San Ignacio early--if there is no lodging, head on down to the Midriff cities--Mulege and Loreto have lodging and nice beaches around them. The big spot is La Paz--a lovely place with plenty of cheap lodging, beaches nearby, eco-touris...Read More

The Vizcaino Desert

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Okay, they don't really call it Stinking Desert National Monument (nor do I). But it's quite a desert. No huge sand dunes--they can't afford sand here. Perhaps worse, if you were on foot, is that much of it is comprised of cardon forest (what we'd call Saguero cactus) or of just piles of rock. There isn't even any dirt--just big piles of rock with weird little trees that grow nowhere else on earth. I defy anyone not to remember Dr. Seuss landscapes. This desolation can be incredibly beautiful. After rains (not bloody often) it turns green like a chia pet and sprouts wildflowers. At night there are more stars here than anywhere, hanging silent in the night. Just pull off the...Read More

The Midriff Towns

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Santa Rosalia is your first stop on the Mar de Cortez side, and a ferry port to Guaymas on the mainland. This is old French mining town: a photographer's dream. It looks like a cowboy movie set in places, a French colonial set in others (complete with cast iron church designed by Gustav Eiffel of tower fame), and in others a bizarre assemblage of rusting old mining equipment. A good shooter could get a book out of this place. There are seafood restaurants on the waterfront (but not much of a beach) and cheap lodgings in the odd little frame buildings up the gulch that is Sta. Rosalia. A popular one is Hotel Olivera, around $10 a night. For motorists, there is a n...Read More

The Capes

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Story/Tip

Quote:
La Paz is a great little town and a real haven for the carless. (Those with vehicles can access the miles of beautiful, isolated beaches out of town). Please see my La Paz journal for more details. (See how I'm using this to blatently pimp out my other journals--at least it doesn't blink). South of La Paz, the highway makes a loop around the tip of the Baja, called 'The Capes' (Spanish, 'Los Cabos') although a look at a map might suggest uncircumcised nicknames. What the bus companies call the 'long route' to Cabo runs down the Sea of Cortez side and is by far the most interesting, especially if you're in a camper. It goes through El Triunfo (a silver mining ghost town), canyons with waterfal...Read More

BAJA LINX

Story/Tip

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Websites and Forums Baja Web A great site with weather maps, legal info--anything you can imagine. It contains all the following pages, but you can click straight to them if you are interested in only certain destinations. AboutTijuana.Com Ensenada.net Mulege.Com Rosarito.Com ...Read More

Getting There in the First Place

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Story/Tip

Quote:
You can get there by car, ferry, aircraft, or bus: we'll discuss them in that order. If you have a car, you can just drive right in. If you will go south of Ensenada or stay more than three dayas, get a tourist permit for everybody, but in Baja alone you DO NOT have to go through the $5000-bond-posted-with-the-Army-Bank-National-Credit-Card boogie-woogie necessary in the rest of Mexico. This may affect your travel plans. Why go through that to visit Mazatlan or Copper Canyon, when you can drive down Baja and take a ferry over? Speaking of which, if you're coming from mainland Mexico, you can take a nice ferry trip across. These overnight trips on big ocean-liner looking ferrie...Read More

The Border Towns

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Border towns have a bad reputation. There's a reason for that. Places like Tijuana and Mexicali and San Felipe get a lot of visitors, but it's a very flash/trash kind of tacky token tourism. Tijuana is about as raffish as a city can get and anybody can still go there--it makes Las Vegas look like the Holy See. A very good strategy for dealing with the border is just to skip it--blast through and get down to the Midriff or at least Ensenada as fast as you can. If you want to hang out and check out TJ, you're on your own. See my Tijuana Journal. Ditto: San Felipe. Mexicali is not a very common entry to Baja, unless one is coming from Phoenix or heading for San Felipe. I would recommend dri...Read More

About the Writer

El Gallo

El Gallo
Monkey Junction, Afghanistan