New year, new opportunity for Baja experiences. Whether you’re a seasoned Baja explorer or new to traveling the peninsula, these are some of Baja’s best treasures that shouldn’t be missed.
Hug the Gray Whales
Why We Love It: One of the most unique experiences on the peninsula is getting to have an up-close-and-personal experience with the gray whales. It’s unfair to this experience to call it just “whale watching” as the gray whales will actually come right up to the small pangas, giving visitors the chance to pet, hug, and kiss the whales.
Where To Go: There are three spots in Baja along the Pacific side of the peninsula that the whales migrate to each year—Bahía Magdalena, Laguna San Ignacio, Guerrero Negro. Many visitors say that San Ignacio is the best spot to have friendly whale encounters.
When To Go: Late January through early April.
DBTC Insider Tip: You can find out more about gray whale watching on the peninsula in our Gray Whale Guide.
Visit the Cave Paintings
Why We Love It: The peninsula is home to a number of spots to see rock art, ranging from spectacular and remote caves that are best reached by pack animal, to easy 10-minute walks from Highway Mexico 1.
Where To Go: The most impressive cave paintings on the peninsula are in the Sierra de San Francisco. This UNESCO World Heritage Site encompasses some of the best-preserved and most impressive rock art sites in the world. Four hundred sites have been recorded in the region, but most require a multi-day trek on pack animal to reach. If you can’t dedicate multiple days to visiting cave paintings, there are other options. In the Mulegé area there are San Borjitas and La Trinidad. Even easier to visit are the cave paintings in Cataviña just off of Highway Mexico 1, or El Vallecito east of Tecate. Read our article on the Best Cave Paintings in Baja for more information.
When To Go: It depends on which site you’re visiting as many are open year-round but it can be too hot to visit some during the summer. It’s too hot to visit Sierra de San Francisco June through September (spring and fall are considered the best times).
DBTC Insider Tip: If you can’t make it to the sites in person, or you’re looking for some inspiration, check out the incredible interactive website that the state of Baja California Sur created to feature their cave paintings.
Go Craft Beer Tasting
Why We Love It: Baja is home to a number of great craft breweries turning out some solid brews, and the number of craft breweries keeps growing larger every year.
Where To Go: Tijuana has become Baja’s mecca for craft beer, echoing the strong beer scene just over the border in San Diego. Mexicali and Ensenada also have strong craft beer scenes.
When To Go: Tijuana and Ensenada are great to visit year-round. Mexicali can get extremely hot in the summer but the city comes alive at night when the temperatures drop.
DBTC Insider Tip: Check out some of the best and newest Tijuana breweries in the recent San Diego Reader article.
Swim with the Whale Sharks
Why We Love It: These gentle sea giants are actually not whales or sharks, but the world’s largest fish. They can grow up to 12 meters and weigh over 21 tons. They’ve become increasingly present in the waters of Baja in recent years and visitors can kayak and swim with the whale sharks.
Where To Go: The whale sharks visit the Sea of Cortez seasonally with La Paz and Bahía de los Ángeles being the two major spots that visitors go to have whale shark experiences.
When To Go: In Bahía de los Ángeles the whale sharks generally visit from middle of summer to fall. The whale sharks are present in La Paz nearly year round as of recent years, but tours operate from about October to March
DBTC Insider Tip: If you want to kayak out on your own to see the whale sharks, you can do so in Bahía de los Ángeles. Read more in Graham Mackintosh’s article.
Follow the El Camino Real
Why We Love It: The Baja peninsula was home to 27 Spanish missions, and many of the original mission buildings are still intact today, giving visitors a rare historical glimpse into the past.
Where To Go: There are missions in various conditions all along the peninsula. Some of the favorites on the peninsula are Loreto (the first mission in all of Baja or Alta California), San Javier (a beautiful stone mission just outside of Loreto), San Ignacio (right on the town square), Mulegé (with great views of the river), and San Borja (near Bahía de los Ángeles).
When To Go: Anytime is a good time to visit
DBTC Insider Tip: David Kier’s Land of Missions book is a must-have when traveling the peninsula and visiting any of the missions. He tells the history of each mission in Baja and gives GPS coordinates for finding even the most obscure mission sites.