Baja

Baja

Baja California is a Mexican Peninsula south of California.  It is made up of two distinct Mexican States, Baja North, and Baja South.

Officially, the capital of Baja North is Mexicali, but the most recognized cities by tourists are TijuanaRosarito, San Felipe, and Ensenada.

Baja California North and South
Baja California North and South

Important Facts and History

With over 3 million residents, Baja is the fourteenth most populated state in Mexico.  Of which, Tijuana, claims more than a third of those residents with 1,600,000 people.

In 1853 William Walker with 45 men captured La Paz and declared himself President of “Lower California”.  Ultimately, Mexico forced him to retreat a few months later.  Then, in 1930 the peninsula is divided into North and South Baja.  Then, in 1952 Baja becomes the 28th State of Mexico.  And finally, in 1973 after the Federal Highway 1 completed Baja South becomes the 31st Mexican State in 1974.

Geography and Environment

Baja extends over 27,000 square miles of Mexico.  Although it is ranked twelfth in terms of size, it is incredibly diverse with regions of mountains, forests, desert, and coast. The hills include The Sierra de San Pedro Martir, the Sierra de Juarez, and the Sierra de San Luis of Mexico.  The state of Baja also has jurisdiction over various islands like the Coronado Islands.  The desert region around Mexicali has some of the hottest temperatures recorded in the country.  However, the coastal areas are famous for their comfortable climate.

flora and fauna desert
Baja desert

Flora and Fauna

The plant life of Baja varies with the landscape.  In Baja, you’ll find Cacti and drought-tolerant shrubs and grasses, with pine trees in the mountains. On land, the wildlife includes animals such as antelope, cougars, coyotes, bobcats, eagles, bats, and various snakes.  The waters around the Baja are home to multiple varieties of sharks, whale, crustaceans, and sport fish.

Baja Surf near K-38
Baja Surf near K-38

History of Baja

Historians believe the first settlers to Baja arrived roughly eleven thousand years ago.  The Cochimi, Kiliwa, Cocopa, and Quechan settled the area.  Hunting, gathering, marine activities like fishing and small-scale agriculture established the way of life until the Spanish arrived in 1539.

Then, in 1637, the Jesuits founded their mission at Loreto.  This area remained desolate and hardly visited.

Baja Wine Tasting
Baja Wine Tasting

Major Cities

The state of Baja California is known for many charming small villages.  In contrast, are the large towns of  Tijuana, Mexicali, Ensenada, Tecate, and Rosarito.  These towns offer many historical and cultural attractions but are also known for their entertainment venues, restaurants, and fun.

Tourism in Baja

While there are many populated parts of Baja like Tijuana, there are also remote sections that add to the charm.  In contrast, aside from the beach activities along the coast of the state, there are also eco-tourism opportunities.   For example, whale watching, environmental tours, and rock climbing adventures name a few.  In addition, visitors find luxury hotels as well as affordable travel lodges.  Baja California is a popular tourist destination.

Mision Loreto

Things to Do in Baja California

Sports Fishing

  • Baja is famous for its sport fishing.  For example, marlin, red snapper, dorado, wahoo, sailfish, and yellowfin tuna are just a few of the sports fish that thrive in the waters around the Baja.
  • San Felipe sits adjacent to the Sea of Cortez.  This beautiful beach city is famous for its camping, sports fishing, restaurants, hotels, and thrilling vacation experience!
  • The Todos Santos Islands draw surfers from around the world.  The waves that hit are said to be the biggest anywhere in North America.

Touring

  • The Valle de Guadalupe is in Ensenada and known for its boutique wines and vineyard tours.   In short, tourists flock to the local wineries and boutique hotels where wine tastings and delicious foods are hallmarks of vineyard tours.
  • Mexicali Chinatown is where  Chinese settled in the capital to create a section of the city famous for its quaint shops and tasty restaurants.
  • Rancho La Puerta: is in the mountains of Tecate and is rated one of the best spas in the world.
  • The San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago National Park is on the Sea of Cortez.  Above all, it helps to protect the delicate marine life and ecosystems of the region.  Additionally, visitors like to see killer whales, sperm whales, swordfish, dolphins, and more!

Things to See in Baja California

  • The Coronado Islands are desolate and mostly deserted.  As a result, snorkelers, scuba divers and eco-tourists flock here each year.
  • The Rock Painting of Sierra de San Francisco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The rock shelters and paintings date to prehistoric times.
  • Near the City of Tecate, El Vallecito archeological site dates to 8000 B.C.
  • Parque Nacional Constitucion:  is in the Sierra de Juarez range near the city of Ensenada. This beautiful woodland area is known for its pine trees and wildlife.