The heat is past, the hurricanes are over, and Baja Sur is rolling out the white sand beaches for all the visitors who are ready to explore. Here are some of our favorite destinations in Baja California Sur that are best visited in winter when everything is open for business and the region really comes to life.
Why We Love It: Calm turquoise waters and white sand beaches await you at this large Sea of Cortez bay that’s comprised of lots of beaches and inlets. Check out the Bahía Concepción guide by Carla King to help you plan your visit. While Playa Santispac is gorgeous, it’s also the most popular beach and draws big crowds. Playa El Burro and Playa Coyote have the most activities and the beaches farther south like Requesón will provide you with more serenity and solitude.
What To Do: There’s no shortage of outdoor activities set against a beautiful backdrop. The focus here is the bay and all of the activities that are centered around it—kayaking, boating, snorkeling, and paddle boarding.
DBTC Insider Tip: Be ready to pay a day use or overnight fee for whichever beach you choose to visit. Accommodations throughout the bay are mostly camping (RV or tent), although there are a few private house rental options. Another choice is to stay about 30 minutes north of the bay at a hotel in Mulegé.
Why We Love It: As one of the most charming towns on the peninsula, Loreto is a destination that truly has something to offer everyone. This designated Pueblo Mágico (magic town) has a plaza lined with cute restaurants and bars, is home to the first Spanish mission in the Californias (Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó), and has plenty of popular shops and eateries to keep you busy.
What to Do: There are plenty of outdoor activities in the area, many that focus on the Sea of Cortez and the nearby Sierra de la Giganta mountains. Take a boat ride out to the surrounding islands, or enjoy a range of outdoor sports like fishing, hiking, golfing, and kayaking. Don’t miss a day trip out to San Javier to see the historic mission and get a taste of the Sierras.
DBTC Insider Tip: While Loreto is a great overnight stay for peninsula road trippers, you’ll want to plan on staying for a number of days to really take advantage of everything Loreto has to offer. If you don’t want to drive down, there are quick flights directly to Loreto from the Tijuana airport (it’s easy to take Cross Border Xpress from San Diego).
Why We Love it: El Triunfo is a tiny colonial town full of big charm. Located just south of La Paz, the old mining town was once the cultural center of Baja Sur and that can be seen today in the beautiful colonial architecture and small museums in town. El Triunfo is super seasonal, with restaurants shutting down for summer and reopening mid-October for the fall/winter/spring season.
What to Do: The old Music Museum is open for visitors as well as a new Museo de Plata museum that chronicles the history of the region. There are a few—but excellent—restaurants in town.
DBTC Insider Tip: Don’t miss a walk through the old mining grounds for a chance to see “La Ramona,” rumored to be designed by Gustav Eiffel (of Paris’ Eiffel Tower).
Why We Love it: Although it’s the largest town on the East Cape, Los Barriles is still a small beach town with plenty of character. The dusty streets lined with taco shops, small produce stands, and tortillerías are filled in winter months with retiree snowbirds on ATVs and kiteboarders in search of El Norte winds.
What to Do: Los Barriles is a popular destination in itself with the beaches, windsurfing/kite boarding, and a good restaurant scene. It’s also a great jumping off point for exploring other small towns of the East Cape (such as Santiago and Miraflores) and the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range that’s home to awesome hiking, waterfalls, and hot springs.
DBTC Insider Tip: If you want to take advantage of all the food and services that Los Barriles has to offer, but are looking for a slightly more remote and relaxing stay, check out the hotels in nearby BuenaVista that are nestled along the gorgeous East Cape beaches.
Why We Love It: This charming colonial town has a vibrant art scene, chic boutique hotels, and great food. Everything comes alive in wintertime with plenty of festivals and events to enjoy.
What To Do: Surfers flock to Todos Santos because of the numerous breaks in the area. There are enough shops and galleries in town to please any art lovers or shoppers. The numerous restaurants and bars in town often feature live music and a fun atmosphere.
DBTC Insider Tip: While the town of Todos Santos itself isn’t directly on the beach, there are a handful of gorgeous spots to stay on the beach just outside of the center of town. We love Villa Santa Cruz for a truly special experience.