A peaceful oasis town of barely 700 inhabitants in an area of otherwise parched desert, San Ignacio makes for an excellent stopover on any peninsular tour. Best known as a jumping off point for whale watching and visits to the nearby cave paintings, what of the town itself?
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The first sight of the Sea of Cortés on a southbound trip along the transpeninsular highway (Mex 1), Santa Rosalia certainly is a unique place. Founded by a French copper mining company in the 1880s, who then left in the 1950s, its architecture is like no other on the Baja California peninsula, and reminders of its French origins dominate the town. Whereas most settlements on the Cortés coast are associated with beautiful beaches and related aquatic activities (San Felipe, Bahia de Los Angeles to the north and Mulege, Loreto, La Paz, etc. to the south) Santa Rosalia has always been an industrial port with little concession to the diver, kayaker or fishing enthusiast. This difference from the norm does, however, make it a fascinating stopover on any transpeninsular tour.

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Tijuana's Revival: Part Three

Much has been written about Tijuana's sleazy reputation (not least on this blog), and it is on Avenida Revolución ("La Revo") and surrounding streets that this reputation was largely built. What then of the reality of the situation, in light of the revival going on elsewhere in the city? We decided to take a look for ourselves...
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Tijuana's Revival: Part Two

The appeal of the Tijuana area extends well beyond its city limits, and by heading south just a short distance along the Mex 1 highway many other places of interest can be found, not least Popotla, a no nonsense fishing village off the beaten track which is attracting attention for its excellent fresh fish and seafood.

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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. 

Despite an arid climate the desert islands in the Sea of Cortés play host to a remarkable biological diversity. Also known as the Gulf of California, this natural barrier between the Baja California peninsula and the Mexican mainland is the home of almost 900 species of fish, 10% of which are endemic. Nearly 700 plant species have been identified on the islands, including 150 types of cacti. 50 endemic reptile species can be found, as well as many birds and mammals unique to the area. For this reason 244 islands, islets and coastal areas in the Cortés were inscribed in 2005 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fortunately most of the major islands lie near the commercial flightpath from Tijuana in the north to La Paz in the south, so on a recent flight I was able to capture some spectacular views of "Mexico's Galapagos".

Declared a Pueblo Mágico by the Mexican government in 2012, Loreto is a pretty, relaxing coastal town of barely 10,000 people, which despite its small size offers plenty for visitors, whether on land or sea. Its main claim to fame however is historical...


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La Paz may share its name with the world's highest capital, but this city's attractions are all at sea level or below...

Most attention on the southern part of the Baja California peninsula goes to Los Cabos, the burgeoning tourist enclave at the peninsula's southern tip, which is becoming a serious challenger to Cancún as Mexico's top resort. For the more discerning traveller, however, La Paz has at least as much to offer, particularly if history, culture and nature are amongst your interests.

 

It started off as a daytrip to Ensenada - an opportunity to try out some of the newer wineries in the Valle de Guadalupe at the start of May. Aurora, Juan Carlos, Norma and myself headed south knowing that the journey would be slower than usual due to the newer road being closed for rebuilding after subsidence the previous December. This meant we'd need to follow the old road south, a road which bends inland near La Misión and offers spectacular mountain scenery in contrast to the coastal road under repair.

 

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. 

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