No visit to La Paz would be complete without a day's boat trip to the island archipelago which lies to the north of the city, consisting of Islas Espiritu Santo and Partida as well as the isolated rocks known as Los Islotes. This excursion is popular for good reason, as it shows off the best that La Paz can offer. Spectacular scenery ranges from dramatic rock formations to idyllic beaches. Wildlife encounters abound on and offshore in the place Jacques Cousteau dubbed "The World's Aquarium".
The extension southwards of the Mex 5 highway is making the Cortés coast beyond San Felipe far easier to access in conventional vehicles, and hitherto isolated places are now within daily reach. We took a drive down there to see for ourselves how far we could get and return on the same day. We set off in a VW Golf (with a tent, just in case we needed it!) one morning from San Felipe......
Just fifteen kilometres south of San Felipe you can find one of the Baja California peninsula's most interesting yet under visited locations: El Valle de los Gigantes. Its name translates into English as "The Valley of The Giants", which to me sounds like the name of an Irwin Allen produced 1960s sci fi series. This place would indeed make a magnificent location for sci fi, though in this case the giants in question are the centuries old cacti which dominate the landscape. The largest of the cactus species here are the tallest in the world, and can grow to more than 17 metres in height, but the mystery for me is which species are they?