In our quest to help you experience more of our amazing planet, we’re thrilled to introduce one of our newest destinations: Baja California. Here, our Mexico Specialist Sinead explains why Baja California is one of the country’s true gems – an adventure playground of beautiful beaches, hypnotic desert landscapes, mesmerising mountains and abundant marine life.
Mexico may not be one of the first destinations to come to mind when considering a wildlife holiday, but there’s a little-known part of the country which should be top of your list for incredible marine life: Baja California. Sitting between the cool blue and green waters of the Sea of Cortez and the pounding surf of the Pacific Ocean, Baja California is one of the longest peninsulas in the world. Separating Baja from the Mexican mainland, the waters of the Sea of Cortez are incredibly rich in nutrients, making them attractive to a whole host of marine life, including whales, whale sharks, sea lions, turtles, rays and dolphins.
Although a brilliant destination at any time of year, I’d suggest a trip to Baja California between December and March. At this time of year, numerous whale species arrive in these waters, as they make their annual migration south from Alaska. Orcas, humpbacks and both grey and blue whales are all frequently spotted during these months. Many come to calf, so you can expect to see mother whales swimming alongside their offspring. This is also the whale shark season, so visitors can snorkel with these gentle giants in the waters just off the region’s capital, La Paz. Swimming with the world’s largest fish is a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.
No trip to Baja would be complete without a visit to Espirito Santo Island, just 60-minutes by boat from La Paz. The island is home to a large sea lion colony and you can swim alongside these playful creatures, who come close enough to touch. Another highlight for me was a boat trip, where we saw rays jumping out of the water. Soon we were surrounded by tens of rays projecting themselves into the air, only to fall back with a mighty splash!
Baja is also great for beach life and has long attracted sunseekers. If it’s glamour, luxury and fine dining you’re after, Los Cabos at the southern tip of the peninsula will not disappoint (I can personally vouch for the seafood as some of the best and freshest you’ll ever enjoy). This is where the desert meets the tropics and the mountains meet the beach, resulting in some truly spectacular scenery – the perfect backdrop for a relaxing beach retreat. Other beach highlights include Todos Santos on Baja’s southwest coast. This is one of Mexico’s charming Pueblos Mágicos (towns and villages so special they have been deemed magical). Popular with artists and artisans, I’d recommend it as a great option for those looking for an authentically Mexican base.
I’d also recommend Baja to outdoor adventure enthusiasts. The desert landscapes and stunning mountain ranges offer plenty of great hiking, biking and horse riding, as well as bird and wildlife viewing. Take your binoculars and look out for egret, quail, heron, coyote, raccoon, jackrabbit and chipmunk. What’s more, the water-based activities are endless, so there’s plenty of opportunities for snorkelling, diving, kayaking, sailing and paddleboarding.
Overlooking the San Jose del Cabo Marina in the south of the Baja California Peninsula, Hotel El Ganzo is a trendy beachfront retreat with a lively atmosphere. One of the real draws of this unique property is its exceptional art and music scene – the hotel plays host to some of the world’s biggest emerging artists (it even has its own underground recording studio). Aside from this, top-class facilities, including a dramatic infinity pool and rejuvenating spa, provide the perfect place to relax.