state of Mexico
North America > Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Sur

Baja California Sur (South Lower California) is the southern half of the Baja California peninsula. The state is known for its remote beaches, sport fishing, and breeding waters for whales and other marine mammals.

Cities edit

 
Map of Baja California Sur

  • 1 La Paz — state capital and the city made famous by John Steinbeck's novella, The Pearl, a story about paradise lost, the city still holds some glimpses of the old magic
  • 2 Cabo San Lucas — a bustling resort town and hub for sport fishermen, cruise ships, handicraft vendors, water sport aficionados and nightlife seekers
  • 3 Guerrero Negro — best known for the whale watching, and producing salt
  • 4 Loreto   — a resort town regarded as one of the best places for fishing
  • 5 Los Barriles — a traditional Baja village that hasn't been overtaken by resorts (yet)
  • 6 Mulegé — popular for deep sea fishing, kayaking, cave tours, and bird watching
  • 7 San Carlos - fishing, surfing, sea kayaking, whale watching, and doing absolutely nothing at all
  • 8 San Ignacio — has a beautiful old mission, and is the gateway to the wintertime sanctuary of the Pacific gray whale
  • 9 San José del Cabo — a major tourist destination that is less commercial than Cabo San Lucas, and has retained its charming historic center
  • 10 Santa Rosalía — more of a mining town than a tourist destination, it has a church designed by Gustav Eiffel
  • 11 Todos Santos — famous for Hotel California, it is small and quaint with many artists and galleries; south of Todos Santos is one of Baja's better surfing destinations, Cerritos Beach

Other destinations edit

 
Rock paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco
 
A pelican in El Vizcaino
  • 1 San Javier — a charming little village in the mountains behind Loreto. Most Baja visitors stick to the coast and miss a lot of the charming, very rustic little villages located in the interior backcountry. There's an impressive church, a few places to eat and drink, and a basic hotel. You can drive to San Javier, but the best way to go is to hire a horse or mule for the journey from Loreto.
  • 2 Cabo Pulmo National Park   — home to the oldest of only three coral reefs on the west coast of North America
  • 3 Bahia de Loreto National Park - marine mammal sanctuary with great scuba diving and kayaking
  • 4 Rock Paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco - 11,000 year old cave paintings in a remote mountain range.   UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • 5El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve - Huge protected natural area that includes desert, Pacific coastal areas, and Sea of Cortes coastal areas. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and   UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Understand edit

Baja California is one of the regions with the lowest rainfall in the world, so prehistoric settlement is concentrated in the vicinity of water holes along the coast. Even today, Baja California is sparsely populated, around ten people per square kilometer. Settlement is concentrated in the cities on the coast, of which Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo are among the fastest growing resorts in Mexico.

Climate edit

The west side, facing the Pacific with its cool temperatures, is impressively more pleasant than the east side facing the Gulf of California. Here the water temperature is up to 26 °C and it gets very hot during the day. The east side should therefore not be visited until November.

Get in edit

By plane edit

  • La Paz International Airport (LAP IATA)
  • Loreto International Airport (LTO IATA)
  • Palo Verde Airport (SRL IATA)
  • San Jose del Cabo International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional de Los Cabos) (SJD IATA)

Get around edit

There is minimal public transportation in BCS and it is relatively complicated to use (e.g. Google Maps does not have the routes and schedules). Renting a car or using a car service is relatively convenient.

Rental Cars edit

To rent a car, make a reservation (ideally prepaid) before arrival. After you have your bags, exit the airport building entirely – without talking to the salespeople inside the terminal who will swear they can call your car rental agency for you, but are actually trying to upsell you on tourism packages – and cross the street to the first median where the taxis line up. There you will see a variety of people with car rental agency shirts (Hertz, Avis, etc.). These representatives will have your name on a clipboard and can get you to the car rental agency quickly and at no cost. Once at your car rental agency's building (there is a different building for each company but they are all on the same street) you will have to go through a long check-in process and will be asked to prepay for insurance, gas, tours, etc. You can decline everything except for third party liability insurance which is mandatory in Mexico. Since this is mandatory, it may be worthwhile to book a car that has it included rather than added on after you are already captive to that rental company. Though the company will try to sell other insurance to you, your credit card (e.g. premium cards for U.S. customers) may already include a collision damage waiver or other insurance packages at no cost.

There are a few tolls you may cross in BCS. Google Maps will warn you of them and they can be avoided by selecting the "avoid tolls" option in your navigation settings. Be sure to have some cash with you (e.g. 100 MXN) to pay the toll.

Car services edit

Uber is widely available in Cabo San Lucas and at the airport. For other destinations, it may be preferable to get an airport transfer from your resort or hotel. Book this in advance of your arrival and bring cash for gratuity. U.S. Dollars are widely accepted for gratuity in Mexico.

See edit

Some of the main attractions in this state are the beaches, whale sightings, observations of dolphins, sea lions and other marine species.

The rock paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco are cave paintings and petroglyphs that form a set of pre-Columbian murals representative of the "Great Mural" style that flourished in the center of the Baja California peninsula. The cave paintings have been a World Heritage Site since 1993. The paintings are found in different parts of the Sierra de San Francisco, within the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve.

Do edit

Whale watching is a popular activity. The waters off Baja California are home to several species of great whales including Blue, Fin, Bryde's, Humpback, Orca, Sperm, and many others. This is perhaps the richest area in the world for whale and dolphin diversity.

Diving and snorkeling is excellent because of the fantastic diversity of marine life. The convergence of tropical influences from the south and temperate conditions from the north bring together an amazing array of species. Local dive shops and charters are available.

Kayaking tours of the wilderness islands in the Loreto Marine National Park provide access to prime whale watching and snorkeling.

There are opportunities for surfing on many of the beaches on the Pacific coast, with the appropriate infrastructure such as surf schools and equipment rental.

This region has long been regarded as one of the best places for fishing. Marlin, sailfish, tuna, yellowtail, wahoo, roosterfish, and dorado are abundant in the blue waters surrounding the peninsula.

The Cabo San Lucas Flora and Fauna Protection Area is a protected area that is part of the UNESCO Natural Heritage that belongs to the group of islands and protected natural areas of the Gulf of California. The Arch of Cabo San Lucas and Cerro El Vigía are in this protected area.

Bahía de Loreto National Park is a protected natural area that is located in the Bay of Loreto to the south of the city of Loreto where you can see dolphins, sea lions and manta rays.

Cabo Pulmo National Park is a great place for diving, sport fishing, boating, rowing and kayaking. It is 63 km west of San José del Cabo.

El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve and the lagoons of Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio on the Pacific coast in the north of the state are a retreat for whales. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.

Eat edit

Drink edit

Stay safe edit

Although generally safe, it is probably wise to camp with others or in organized campgrounds.

Go next edit


This region travel guide to Baja California Sur is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!