Spring it a great time to get out and explore the Baja peninsula! The flowers are in bloom, the whales are in the Baja waters, and the temperatures are pleasant. Here are a few road trip suggestions for getting out to explore this season.
Why We Love It: It’s not too late to visit the gray whales this year! The gray whales had a late start to the season and will likely stay in the warm waters of Baja until about the middle of April this year. If you still haven’t kissed a baby gray whale in the wild, you’re missing out on one of the top experiences that the peninsula has to offer.
Itinerary: If you’re short on time, you can head to Guerrero Negro to see the whales. Those with more time can head farther south to Bahía Magdalena, or our favorite, Laguna San Ignacio. For more detailed information and recommendations, see our Gray Whale Guide. Spend your first night in Santa Rosalía or Cataviña on your way to your final destination.
How Long You’ll Need: You’ll need at least 4-5 days to head to Guerrero Negro and a trip to Bahía Magdalena or San Ignacio you should budget a week or more to truly enjoy the experience.
DBTC Insider Tip: While you can visit the whales with a day trip out on the water, we love the experience of going to Laguna San Ignacio and staying a few nights out on the lagoon to hear the whales at night and to get a truly immersive experience.
Why We Love It: There’s so much more to the tip of the peninsula than just Cabo. Waterfalls, world-class diving, hot springs, and quaint colonial towns await those willing to get off the beaten path. Spring is a great time to get out and explore it all before the weather starts heating up.
Itinerary: Start in Los Cabos, and take Highway Mexico 1 up to the East Cape to check out the Santa Rita hot springs or Cañon de la Zorra waterfall and pools just outside of the small town of Santiago. You can stay the night in or around Los Barriles or Buena Vista. Divers will want to take a side trek to Cabo Pulmo to explore one of the three coral reefs in North America. From the East Cape, continue north on Highway 1 to check out the small mining town of El Triunfo. Then catch Highway 19 over to the West Cape and spending a few nights in the magical colonial town of Todos Santos. Highway 19 will lead you right back to Los Cabos.
How Long You’ll Need: While the loop can be driven in a day, this trip is most thoroughly enjoyed when you can take it slow to enjoy all of the attractions along the way and to stay a few days on both East and West Cape. Four to five days will give you enough time to do so.
DBTC Insider Tip: If you’re going to fly into the Los Cabos area and rent a car, we recommend renting through Cactus Rent a Car as they will quote you for the full price of your rental with no extra surprise charges when you show up.
Northern Baja Culinary Trail
Why We Love It: This region is full of delicious culinary delights that any foodie will devour. From street food to fine dining and craft beer and boutique wine to wash it all down, this region is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys gastronomy.
Itinerary: Cross the San Ysidro border to Tijuana to check out some craft breweries and some of the best street tacos in the world. Then head south along the coast to Ensenada to fill up on seafood and more craft beer. Spend a few days in the Valle de Guadalupe enjoying incredible wines and campestre dining. Head home through Tecate, stopping for a meal and baked goods before crossing the border to head home.
How Long You’ll Need: Three to four days will give you enough time to enjoy this route and sample the highlights. Serious foodies may want to spend more time to really enjoy what the region has to offer.
DBTC Insider Tip: If you’re short on time but want to get a sampling of what this region has to offer, take a curated day trip with Baja Test Kitchen. They offer craft beer + taco tours in Tijuana, wine + gourmet food tours of Valle de Guadalupe, and food tours of Ensenada.
Upper Sea of Cortez
Why We Love It: From the city of Mexicali to the sleepy shores of Bahía Gonzaga, the upper Sea of Cortez is a diverse region ripe for exploring. With Highway Mexico 5 now complete, you can easily tag this section of the peninsula onto a full peninsula road trip coming or going.
Itinerary: Cross the border at Mexicali where you can explore La Chinesca, Mexico’s largest Chinatown before having some Chinese food for dinner and checking out some of the craft breweries in town. The next day, head down Highway Mexico 5 to San Felipe. Spend a few days relaxing around the sleepy fishing village and exploring the surrounding attractions such as Gonzaga Bay and Valle de los Gigantes. Head back up to Mexicali to cross the border to head home.
How Long You’ll Need: A long weekend or more.
DBTC Insider Tip: Many Baja travelers tend to speed through border towns, but Mexicali is a destination with a lot to offer. As the capital of the state of Baja California, Mexicali is a business town, so hotel prices drop over the weekends meaning you can stay at the nice hotels for affordable rates.
Why We Love It: Spring is a lovely time to enjoy the beautiful shores of Bahía Concepción. The white sand and turquoise waters attract snowbirds, RVers, campers, and anyone looking to get away from it all.
Itinerary: From the border, a good halfway point for spending the night on your way down and back is Cataviña. Don’t forget to give yourself enough time to check out the nearby cave paintings there, just off the highway. When you get down to Bahía Concepción, you can camp along the bay or stay at a hotel in nearby Mulegé. Check out Carla King’s Guide to Bahía Concepción for the ultimate information on the various beaches along the bay and where you should go to do what.
How Long You’ll Need: At least a week. It will take you two days to drive down and another to drive back up. You want at least three days to relax a bit and enjoy the beautiful bay. The longer you’ve got to spend, the better.
DBTC Insider Tip: If you have some extra time, the cave paintings of La Trinidad and San Borjitas are just outside of Mulegé. You can hire a guide in town to take you on a full day trip to these impressive sites.