MAKE IT HAPPEN
There are six o cial border crossings from the U.S. state of California to Baja. U.S., Mexican mainland and international flights leave from and arrive at La Paz, Loreto, San José del Cabo and Tuana. Ferries from Santa Rosalía and Pichilingue (near La Paz) connect Baja California to the mainland by sea. U.S. citizens traveling by land or sea can enter Mexico and return to the U.S. with a passport card, but if traveling by air will need a passport. All tourists must have a tourist permit, available on arrival.
Public transportation is very limited within Baja California. The best way to access remote areas is to drive; various rental agencies rent vehicles (from about $145 per week). If you’re driving in to Baja, you must have a valid U.S. or Canadian driver’s license. For travel within the Baja California peninsula you do not need to process a temporary importation permit for your vehicle. If you drive to mainland Mexico, however, you will need to apply for a temporary vehicle permit (for more information, see
bajanorte.com). Most towns have Pemex gas stations, but there are long stretches of road without them, so it’s wise to refuel whenever possible. When driving in Baja you’ll encounter various military checkpoints where you may be asked to display your passport and tourist card.
HOW LONG TO STAY
This itinerary could be completed in as little as two weeks; however, a longer trip would allow more time to break up the lengthy stretches of driving required to travel from the top of the peninsula right down to the tip. More time would be needed if you decide to spend a couple of days staying on Espíritu Santo island as well as in La Paz.
WHAT TO BUDGET
Gas throughout Baja California costs around $1 per liter (¼ gallon). Dining out can be done very cheaply, with roadside tacos and burritos available for around $1.50 each. Accommodations – the most expensive and variable factor – range from less than
$30 per night for budget rooms up to more than $550 per night for first-rate hotels and picturesque glamping locations.
WHEN TO GO
Baja California is a year-round destination, though summers are seriously hot. The average daily temperature hovers around 85°F from June to November, but can drop to 70°F in February before reaching highs approaching 100°F in May. Large-scale marine life can be seen at various times throughout the year. The best time to see gray whales in the lagoons is February through April, though the o cial whale-watching season begins in mid-December.
The U.S.Department of State urges U.S. citizens to exercise increased caution when visiting Baja California due to criminal activity in the state. See travel
.state.gov, for more information.
WHO CAN HELP
There are numerous wine tour companies that can assist with trips around the Valle de Guadalupe, including Baja Vino Tours, Baja Wine Tours and Baja Winery Tours.
Baja Diving Adventures can provide scuba equipment for both guided and private tours (from $970 for two tanks; bajadiving adventures.com).
LA GUERRERENSE FOOD TRUCK IN ENSENADA SERVES A GREAT VARIETY OF FISHY TOSTADAS; INGREDIENTS INCLUDE SEA URCHIN AND PISMO CLAM.