|T he Baja Peninsula is 1000 miles of desert, cactus, hills and valleys. The drive from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas will take you through some of the most beautiful and rugged terrain. Tijuana has a multimillion dollar Cultural Center which is worth visiting.
Leaving Tijuana, the border gateway from the United States, the highway follows the west coast of the Baja and you will pass through Ensenada where the Immigration Department will authorize all your tourist visas and check your documentation. Ensenada is Baja California's leading seaport and offers plenty of sportfishing, fantastic beaches and accommodations. It will be worth your while to explore the city a little before travelling on.
Continuing down the Transpeninsular Highway you will get views of the ocean on one side and the Gulf of California on the other. Depending on the time of year, there will be various vegetation in bloom and just going around the curve in the road can display a totally different landscape.
After El Rosario the highway turns inland passing through Catavina, Laguna Chapala and Punta Prieta and then starts to head west again toward the Pacific Ocean. Eventually you will reach Guerrero Negro, which means Black Warrior, where thousands of visitors come through every year between January and March to observe the gray whales returning to Scammon's Lagoon to calve.
From Guerrero Negro, the highway turns inland again and crosses the peninsula reaching the eastern coast at Santa Rosalia and then follows the coast to Mulege with it's breathtaking view of the Bahia Concepcion. Sportfishing is a popular attraction here as are the white sand beaches and cave paintings. There is a National airport in Mulege.
Next stop on the Transpeninsular is the town of Loreto. Founded in 1697 by the Jesuits, this peaceful little town is rumoured to be a future hot spot for vacationers. There are scheduled daily flights arriving from Los Angeles and a marina just 16km south at Puerto Escondido. Loreto offers excellent sportfishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving in the Sea of Cortez and boasts a large tennis center and a golf course.
Winding in a south western direction, the highway travels inland yet again and turns due south at Ciudad Insurgentes. From there it is a short distance to Ciudad Constitucion in the heart of the agricultural valley of Santo Domingo which produces rich harvests of wheat, cotton, citrus fruits and chickpeas. A short drive away, in San Carlos, whale watchers can see the gray whales from January to March.
Staying inland for approximately 250 km and then gradually making your way towards the Sea of Cortez again, you arrive in La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur and its largest city. It has all the modern ammenities that any large city provides and although tourism is not the major industry in La Paz, many tourists return again and again citing it as their favorite vacation spot.
Travelling southwest your next point of interest is Todos Santos. A quaint and trendy town, it is rumored that it's Hotel California, built in 1928, is the one the Eagles based their popular album on but although there is no evidence of this, the souvenir shops do a great business in t-shirts and posters featuring the hotel. There are wonderful artist shops spread around the town and one can find original paintings, pottery pieces and hand made fashions. This town is a definite "must see" on your list and because it is only 43 miles north of Cabo San Lucas you can do a day trip right from Los Cabos.
The final stretch of the highway takes you along the west coast and past beaches frequented by surfers who set up camp there and use the Pacific Ocean's waves to full advantage. The view of the ocean is breathtaking and if you scan the horizon you will probably be lucky enough to spot some whales.
Finally you will arrive in Los Cabos on the southern most tip of the Baja, which includes Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Cabo San Lucas is a stop off point for many of the cruise ships and is the home of the famous Los Arcos (The Arches) which have been featured in many movies and tourist books. This is definitely a tourist town and you can find first class accommodation and restaurants and nightclubs like The Giggling Marlin and Cabo Wabo. If you like night life, Cabo San Lucas is the place to be. There is a beautiful marina with multiple restaurants, hotels and shops encircling it.
A highway connects Cabo San Lucas with San Jose del Cabo and has been dubbed "The Resort Corridor" because it is dotted with many vacation resorts which cater to just about any pocketbook and it is known that some big name stars frequent some of the more exclusive and well guarded ones.
Arriving in San Jose del Cabo you will notice a much different atmosphere than Cabo San Lucas. San Jose is slower paced and quiet and offers the visitor a chance to unwind and recuperate from their hectic life style at home. There are miles of beautiful, sandy beaches to stroll or relax on and just watch the turquoise blue water break into gentle waves on the shore. The town itself has much history and is filled with unique little shops and excellent restaurants which offer local fare or some of your own North American favorites.
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