“Adventure is the first word that comes to mind when we think of Baja. Almost any trip to ‘The Real Baja’ ends up in some kind of adventure.” – AllAboutBaja
Adventure – a state of mind, an emotionally stirring experience, or an extraordinarily exhilarating sensation that sparks excitement deep within your brain. An adventure for one person may be totally boring to another. For some, it is no adventure unless they’re going 80 MPH + over the bouncy desert or dusty back roads found all over Baja. For others, just driving on Highway 1 in Baja is an adventure, especially if the drive is their first Baja trip. Many people cannot begin to imagine that they would ever be able to pet a giant gray whale, let alone kiss one. For others, finding that perfect shell on a secluded beach at sunset is as much of an adventure as they will ever need. Catching (and releasing) a giant Marlin is an incredible adventure, and so is discovering a 50-pound Grouper in 15 feet of water, very close to shore. Finding that perfect wave on a hot deserted beach, snorkeling among dancing Manta Rays, digging up an old shark tooth, or discovering that small street stand with “the perfect” fish taco. All of this is a part of daily life in Baja!
Whale watching, surfing, diving, or camping on remote beaches under millions of stars, it’s all waiting for you in Baja. Ancient cave paintings and some of the world’s best off-road adventures, unmatched sportfishing, kayaking, diving, and bird watching – all easily a part of your Baja adventure. We will give you a taste of the culinary side of Baja as well, from fine dining to a whole village devoted to eating lobster. The world’s greatest fish tacos, tasty carne asada, and some of the freshest seafood found anywhere – all a part of the Baja feeling. This should give you some insight as to what you will find inside AllAboutBaja.com. We will be providing extensive information on all aspects of traveling to Baja. There is so much to do and see in Baja that this website will be a never-ending project that is constantly being amended and updated.
A few facts about the Baja Peninsula: Baja is the world’s third longest peninsula with a length of 806 miles. The highway that stretches the length of Baja, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas is approximately 1,045 miles long. The two states that, together, account for the entire peninsula, are the two least populated in México, even though Tijuana is Mexico’s fifth largest city. The peninsula is 143 miles wide at its widest point and just over 28 miles wide at its narrowest point, near La Paz, in the state of Baja California Sur. Baja’s coastline is over 2,500 miles long when you take into consideration all of the bays, inlets, islands, and lagoons. There are over 100 islands surrounding Baja, thirty-seven of them in the Sea of Cortez. Baja is separated from the Mexican mainland by 155 miles at the farthest point. A few areas on the peninsula are actually under sea level, while the highest point is over 10,000 feet in elevation. Baja California Sur is actually the least populous state in all of México.
The most valuable treasure of Baja is actually its citizens, the friendly, courteous people with their family roots deeply embedded in Baja. There are enough (way too many) stories about acts of friendship, bravery, roadside help, and exceptional courtesy to fill a very thick book. I, personally, have been overwhelmed many times when I have experienced car trouble (or hurt myself – usually doing something I shouldn’t have been doing) miles from the nearest ranch, town, mechanic, or doctor. Someone will “just show up” literally out of nowhere and offer to help and then follow up in a highly meticulous manner if needed. The friendly nature of the locals and their ingenuity in times of trouble can actually be unnerving, in a very good way. Ask any longtime Baja aficionado about the friendly nature of the locals and you are likely to hear some incredibly fantastic (almost unbelievable) stories of rescue, help, or overly generous friendship in highly remote locations or under treacherous (at least, to you) circumstances.
A number of travelers to Baja claim to possess what has become known as the “Baja Feeling”, describing their travel in Baja as a feeling that just seems to come with the location. The Baja feeling affects people in different ways. To some, the glitzy resorts and pristine beaches at the southern tip of Baja are just too much. For many others, these same resorts and beaches are “to die for” and they visit on a regular basis. Most of the rugged, often hard-to-reach interior of Baja remains much the same as it was 100 years ago. To some, that is the real feeling of Baja and reason enough to travel to this incredibly diverse land. The “tropical island” type ambiance provided by the many beaches and coves along the tranquil shores of the Sea of Cortez is what life is all about for many Baja travelers. No matter the destination, the time of year, or your personal reasons for wanting some of the Baja feeling – you can be sure that there is a place in Baja with your name on it.
Progress is coming to Baja, there is no doubt about that. The border region between Tijuana and Ensenada is where the unbridled development is probably the most noticeable. Other areas are also being rapidly developed, although the current economic downturn has put the brakes on a lot of development, at least temporarily. Roads all over the peninsula are being paved – this will bring tourism to places that are now very difficult to reach. While this may be good for the locals, at least in economic terms, the feeling of this once-tranquil peninsula will be somewhat different in the not-so-distant future. But, Baja seems to have its own special way (see next paragraph) of overpowering and squashing, or at least slowing down, the best thought-out development plans. Progress will come slowly to most of Baja. Look at the Los Cabos area as an example, many people think it is way overbuilt. Well, think about this…If southern Baja was in the United States, just how much more developed do you think the whole area would be? I rest my case! Baja offers its visitors the chance to realize the ultimate in rustic seclusion or the ultimate in extreme luxury. An added bonus is that all of this can happen relatively few miles apart – and – you can actually combine the two if your preferences should happen to change.
Another Baja custom, actually a way of life in Baja, that is prevalent all over the peninsula is the Mañana attitude. Almost everything in Baja just happens to move at a much slower pace than you are probably used to. The reasoning here is that almost anything that can be accomplished today, can just as easily, be accomplished tomorrow. Mañana in Spanish literally means tomorrow and once you get used to it, this is actually a pretty good way of life. It can get frustrating at times, especially for the newly arrived visitor, but it is deeply embedded in the friendly natives of Baja. “Posibly Mañana” (possibly tomorrow) is heard all over Baja. To take this attitude a step further, many locals will tell you that “Posibly Mañana” doesn’t really mean it will actually happen tomorrow….it just means that it’s not going to happen today. You can interpret that one for yourself. The Mañana attitude has the ability to infect anyone, even if they are not originally from Baja. So relax, adjust your inner clock and go with the flow, you will probably get along just fine. You might even realize that these friendly Baja folks have stumbled onto a way of life that is much less stressful than what you have come to accept as normal. A Baja tip for heavy drinkers: Order two drinks the first time, drink the first one, order another when you are just starting on the second, then with any luck the second will get to you by the time you want it.
Almost any trip into what I call “The Real Baja” will end up in some kind of adventure. Let me define our meaning of “The Real Baja”….anywhere south of Maneadero, on the Pacific side, and all of the rest of the two states that make up the Baja peninsula. Calexico and Mexicali should be excluded also, just because the big cities of the border area could be located anywhere in the world and they would seem pretty much the same. This does not mean that Tijuana, Ensenada, Rosarito Beach, Mexicali, or Calexico should be avoided. They are nice places and we will devote space to all of Baja on this site. Remember, Baja is as much a feeling as it is a place and the only larger cities that give off the feeling of being a part of “The Real Baja” are the cities of La Paz and San Jose del Cabo.