With the seasonality of the peninsula from weather to wildlife, it can sometimes be hard to know the best time to plan a specific trip. We’re breaking down some of our favorite Baja adventures by the best season to experience them.
Explore the Interior of the East Cape: While Los Barriles and spots along the coast of the East Cape are always popular with travelers, the interior of the East Cape is full of natural wonders and cultural attractions. The tiny town of El Triunfo has two new museums (The new MuVaCa and Museo Ruta de Plata) that delve into the culture and history of the region, plus a handful of great eateries in town (and don’t miss strolling around the grounds of the old mining area either). Farther south in Santiago, the beautiful natural pools and waterfall of Cañon de la Zorra (accessed through Rancho Sol de Mayo) are ripe for exploring, as well as nearby hot springs of Santa Rita and El Chorro.
Check out the Art Scene in Todos Santos: For decades, Todos Santos has been a bohemian mecca for artists and the art scene is only getting stronger and more robust. The small colonial town is home to plenty of art galleries, as well as an annual film festival (November), music festival (January), and food/wine festival (November). Even without a festival taking place, the picturesque spot is in its prime in the winter with the perfect weather and local surf spots breaking.
Kayak the Sea of Cortez: Warm turquoise waters and deserted white sand beaches beckon kayakers this time of year to the Sea of Cortez. Kayaking is a great way to explore hidden bays and islands that aren’t otherwise accessible by road. Some of our favorite spots for kayaking are Bahía Concepción with its protected waters, and the greater Loreto area for viewing wildlife and exploring hidden spots.
Pet the Gray Whales: Late winter/early spring is the prime time to have an up close and personal experience with the gray whales in Baja. We love the idea of spending a number of days out on Laguna San Ignacio to get a full experience, or you can take a day trip in Guerrero Negro. Check out our guide to the gray whales if you need more information on where to go and how to visit.
Take a Full Peninsula Road Trip: Spring is our favorite time of year for a full peninsula road trip with great weather throughout the peninsula and seasonal towns and businesses all open. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time (a few weeks minimum) to fully experience all of Baja’s natural wonders, cute towns, and quirky attractions along the way.
Visit the Cave Paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco: One of Baja’s greatest treasures is the impressive cave paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco. April and May are two of the best months to experience the rock art. The 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, and most remain intact and in good condition, attributable to the dry climate and remote location. Visitors will find rock shelters and huge panels decorated with depictions of human figures as well as marine and land wildlife, painted in red, black, white, and yellow. While it’s possible to do day trips to see some of the rock art, in order to get the full experience and view the best sites such as the famous La Pintada, it’s necessary to dedicate 3-4 days to visiting the cave paintings. The best rock art is only reachable by hiking and riding a pack animal while camping in the sierras with an experienced guide.
Go Wine Tasting in Valle de Guadalupe: Even thought the temperatures are hot, summer is considered the prime time for wine tasting in Valle de Guadalupe with the grape harvest taking place and the Fiestas de la Vendimia festival happening (pssst… the 2023 dates were just released as July 29-August 20 so make your hotel reservations now!). If you need a break from the heat, plan to stay just 30 minutes east along the coast in Ensenada where you can enjoy the cooler weather as well as the great seafood and craft beer scene.
Drink and Eat Your way through Tijuana: TJ’s craft beer scene has been growing exponentially in the past number of years with more and more tap rooms opening every year. An afternoon along Avenida Revolución is an easy way to experience at least half a dozen of some of the best breweries the city has to offer. When you get hungry, you can grab a bite along the way at any of Tijuana’s famous taco stands or more refined dining experiences that offer gourmet Baja California cuisine.
Camp in the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir: When most of the peninsula is facing extreme heat, head up high into the mountains to the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir. The San Pedro Mártir National Park is a paradise for hiking, camping, star gazing (it’s home to the National Observatory) and viewing California condors. Learn more in our San Pedro Mártir guide.
Dive Cabo Pulmo: While Baja’s iconic dive destination, Cabo Pulmo, is great year-round, conditions are at their best from October to January. During this time migratory marine mammals are found on the surface, in addition to Cabo Pulmo’s legendary marinelife like bull sharks, mobula rays, and large schools of jackfish.
Swim with the Whale Sharks: Fall is the best time to kayak or swim with the whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez. La Paz and Bahía de los Ángeles are two of the best spots to see these gentle giants. Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish and grow up to lengths of 39 feet and can weigh over 21 tons.
Take a Trip Along Highway 5: A trip along Highway Mexico 5 begins your adventures in the border city of Mexicali. This large but tranquil city is full of great craft breweries and unique Chinese food (along with an underground Chinatown – La Chinesca). Continue down Mexico 5 to San Felipe to eat some fish tacos, and enjoy the Sea of Cortez along the malecón. Don’t forget a stop to see the giant cardón cacti at Valle de los Gigantes on your way down to the picturesque Bahía Gonzaga.