Given that the region is rich with history, it’s little wonder that mesmerizing museums, art galleries, and cultural centers tell the story of the region’s past. But it also boasts staggering sceneries and natural wonders, from eco-reserves and beaches to sea-cave blowholes and dunes. So, get inspired by our selection of six things to do in Baja, California.
Enjoy beach walks in Tijuana, La Paz, or Cabo San Lucas
Since the border city of Tijuana is coastal, one of the best things to do in Tijuana includes long beach walks. All sand and sea, Playa de Tijuana stretches four-and-a-half kilometers from Puente La Joya to the US/Mexico beach border.
Gather your thoughts as you walk along the North-Pacific coast, listening to waves crashing ashore.
Just as soul-soothing as strolling along Tijuana’s westernmost side is discovering the other best beaches in Baja California.
Further south on this fascinating peninsula on the Gulf of California, also called the Sea of Cortez, you’ll find La Paz. It’s the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.
Ranking second in Trip Advisor’s category of the best things to do in La Paz is Balandra Beach. Reminiscent of Australia’s Whitsundays due to the turquoise sea and mountainous backdrop, Balandra’s shallow waters are heavenly to dip your toes in. Bask in the salty scent as you can walk across the bay and daydream.
It’s only a 15-minute drive from the city center and two hours from Cabo San Lucas.
Cabo San Lucas
As for where to go in Mexico, Lover’s Beach on the southern tip of the peninsula is also a must-do. It’s where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean become one. Just around the corner of this gold-sand beach is Cabo San Lucas’ fabled arch, a 60-meter, caramel-colored rock formation jutting out of emerald waters, a perfect spot to laze around all day.
Read our other post for more details on what to do in Cabo.
Visit Tijuana’s Parque Morelos
A wildlife sanctuary and ecological reserve in one, Morelos Park is popular with families, and rightly so. Riding a land train through Tijuana’s Zoológico del Parque Morelos in the east of the city, you’ll see peacocks, ostriches, turtles, and tigers.
Should the sun beat down mercilessly, you can cool down on hair-raising slides in the aquatic area or jump in a swimming pool. Don’t mind oozing buckets of sweat? Nopal and other Mexican cacti beauties await you in the desert garden.
Indeed one of the best places to visit in Baja, California, Morelos Park’s peace is only interrupted by the ducks quacking and barking around the artificial lake. You can also find kiosks and enjoy sizzling barbecues in the green spaces.
Experience the force of Ensenada’s La Bufadora sea-cave blowhole
One of North America’s most remarkable spectacles of nature, La Bufadora, or the blowhole, is the world’s second-largest marine geyser, topped only by Hawaii’s Makapuu Point in Oahu. A geological site of intrigue, La Bufadora spouts seawater well over 30 meters in the air in deafening thunders. Legend has it the geyser was a trapped whale that blew water to alert its pod before turning to stone.
However it came into being, ocean waves cause this blowhole phenomenon today. They push air and water through a narrow crack in the rock into a partially submerged sea cavern, creating enormous pressure, launching the water several stories skywards through the only exit. Obviously, you will get wet, but that’s part of the fun and one of the things to do in Ensenada that’ll keep you cool in the heat of the day.
La Bufadora is well signposted, and it’s free, apart from the parking that’ll set you back $3 to $5.
To get to this natural feature, close to the best beaches in Ensenada, you’ll have to drive 30 to 45 minutes to the tip of the Punta Banda peninsula. Driving south along All Saints Bay (Bahia de Todos Santos Baja California), you’ll be rewarded with imposing views of the mountain range in the south.
Watch sea lions at Espiritu Santo Island off the coast of La Paz
Touring the mid-size port city of La Paz, Baja California, you’d not be forgiven for skipping the nearby island of Espiritu Santo. It’s a sanctuary for one-of-a-kind wildlife thanks to UNESCO, which proclaimed Espiritu Santo a biosphere reserve in 1995, thereby saving it from development.
The volcanic island is home to the round-tailed ground squirrel, tropical marine birds like the blue-footed booby, a ring-tailed cat, colonies of sea lions, and more. Whether you listen to the loud barking of these large seals or join them for a swim is up to you. Bear in mind, though, that even pups may brush against you—they’re nowhere near as timid as they look.
Sandboard the El Mogote dunes near La Paz
Had your fill of the sea and up for something on dry land?
A 20-minute drive from the marina in La Paz, the small sand barrier peninsula of El Mogote offers some of the best Baja California travel spots for intrepid nature lovers.
Sandwiched between vast, cacti-covered expanses and the Sea of Cortez, the steep Dunas del Mogote, or Mogote’s dunes, make for excellent sandboarding due to their soft sand. Taking a tumble won’t hurt. You can ride the board barefoot with your feet Velco-strapped in, provided the sand isn’t too hot, or sit down or even lie on your belly or back.
Sliding down the Mogote dunes on fine, cushion-like sands, you’ll get that tickling sensation of pure excitement. Unlike snowboarding, sandboarding is possible year-round. And with the backdrop of both the ocean and desert, El Mogote’s views are to die for, particularly at dusk when cacti beauties become solid dark shapes in the fading pink light.
Baja California resort towns have a lower crime rate than many American cities. Still, from the frontier town of Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas, it’s essential to pay attention to your surroundings and be alert as you would in any city.
Unlike snowboarding, sandboarding is possible year-round. And with the backdrop of both the ocean and desert, El Mogote’s views are to die for, particularly at dusk when cacti beauties become solid dark shapes in the fading pink light.