The Baja California peninsula is full of various monuments and sculptures representing the region’s rich and varied history and culture. Be sure to check out some of our favorite monuments on your next peninsula road trip.
Monumento Mexico at Glorieta Independencia
Location: Paseo de los Heroes, Tijuana, BC (map link)
Significance: The Mexico Monument, or “La M,” (those two tall, sharp shapes form the letter “M” for Mexico) is the work of sculptor Ángela Gurría. The monument was constructed in 1981 and commemorates the struggle for the Independence of Mexico.
Why We Love It: Commonly referred to by locals as Las Tijeras (or The Scissors), this tall, stylized monument is hard to miss. There are no lack of monuments in Tijuana, with most of them placed at the center of glorietas (traffic circles) along Paseo de Los Héroes in the Zona Río part of town as part of a project initiated in 1976. Other important monuments along the boulevard include a Monument of Abraham Lincoln and a Monument of Cuauhtémoc (the last Aztec emperor during the Spanish conquest). Tijuanenses (residents of Tijuana) will often use the monuments as reference points to help with directions to things nearby.
DBTC Insider Tip: If you want to get out and explore the area on foot, there’s a lot around the monument to explore. Tijuana’s CECUT cultural center, beer mecca Plaza Fiesta, the Plaza Río mall (with a location of the food hall Foodgarden), and Mercado Hidalgo are all nearby.
Plaza Cívica de la Patria
Location: Blvd. Costero (Mexico 1), Ensenada, BC (map link)
Significance: Plaza Cívica de la Patria features large gold heads of three prominent historical figures: Benito Juárez (the first president of Mexico), Padre Miguel Hidalgo (who began the Mexican Revolution), and Venustiano Carranza (the first president after the revolution).
Why We Love It: It’s hard to miss the three giant gold heads and Plaza Cívica is one of Ensenada’s most prominent landmarks and meeting points. Located along the main drive Mexico 1, the plaza is in the heart of the downtown area with lots to walk to around the plaza, including some of Ensenada’s best restaurants and attractions.
DBTC Insider Tip: The plaza and the surrounding area are ripe for exploring on foot. Right next to Plaza Cívica is Parque de la Bandera with the huge Mexican flag. There’s a new water feature, outdoor stage, and lots of vendors, as well as the malecón which walks along the harbor and down to the Mercado de Mariscos fish market.
28 Paralelo “El Águila”
Location: Mexico 1 Km. 128, Guerrero Negro, BCS (map link)
Significance: The giant stylized steel Eagle (representing the eagle of the Mexican flag) statue marks the 28th north parallel, as well as the state line between Baja California (norte) and Baja California Sur. The wings symbolize the two states of Baja, united by the body of the homeland structure. The monument was the winning project of a competition in 1973 by the Ministry of Public Works, and the project covers an area of 9050 square meters, which originally included plans for a gas station, rest area, and a hotel (now the Halfway Inn).
Why We Love It: At 36 meters tall, this is one of the grand landmarks along the central peninsula. In addition to passing through Guerrero Negro, the 28th parallel also passes through Mount Everest—the tallest mountain on Earth—passing just north of its summit.
DBTC Insider Tip: Because this is the state line, you’ll pass through an immigration and agricultural checkpoint where you’ll need to show your passport and FMM tourist permit. Fruits and vegetables are not allowed across state lines, so if you have any produce, it will likely be confiscated. They will charge about US$1.50 to spray the undercarriage of your vehicle for insects. The time jumps ahead one hour as you cross from Baja California Norte into Baja California Sur.
Tropic of Cancer
Location: Km 81.5, East Cape, BCS (map link)
Significance: Between the East Cape towns of Miraflores and Santiago is the Tropic of Cancer (currently latitude 23.26°N). Also called the Northern Tropic, this is the most northerly line of latitude where the sun appears directly overhead at its culmination.
Why We Love It: There’s a lovely new facility here that was built in 2013 and is definitely worth a quick road stop. There are a few sculptures and monuments, a small open-air chapel, and some shops that sell artisan crafts from nearby villages.
DBTC Insider Tip: The sun appears directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer only once a year, on the June solstice (between June 20 and June 22 each year).
Location: La Paz malecón, BCS (map link)
Significance: Relatively new to the malecón, added in 2014 by sculptor Octavio González, this sculpture represents La Paz’s once-famous pearl industry.
Why We Love It: There are lots of statues along the malecón in La Paz, and taking a stroll along the boardwalk to enjoy an art walk alongside the Sea of Cortez is a pastime of residents and visitors.
DBTC Insider Tip: La Paz and its famous pearl industry were the inspiration and setting for John Steinbeck’s 1947 novel, “The Pearl.” Steinbeck also references the region in his famous “The Log from the Sea of Cortez” which chronicles his travels through La Paz and the Sea of Cortez in 1940 while on a six-week boating trip around the Gulf of California collecting and examining specimens with his friend, marine biologist Ed Ricketts.