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Situated just 70 miles south of the US border along the spectacular Pacific coast, Ensenada offers a relaxing alternative to Tijuana, its more boisterous big brother on the border. That's not to say you can't have an action-packed visit though, with a variety of attractions within easy reach.

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Mexico is famous for its muralist tradition. Think of the magnificent murals which sprung up from the 1920s onwards, particularly the work of Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Anyone who’s ever visited Mexico City and seen the Palacio Nacional or Palacio de Bellas Artes amongst others, will know exactly what I mean. However, people have been painting on walls in Mexico since several thousand years before the country came into existence. The Baja California peninsula in particular has some of the finest examples of early rock art in the Americas.

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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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