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Boasting some of Mexico’s most spectacular mountains and beaches, the Baja California peninsula has become increasingly popular with visitors who are looking beyond the country’s typical tourist hubs. From majestic seas to elegant colonial mission towns, this two-week travel itinerary to the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur takes in some idyllic sights and some unforgettable experiences.
Long regarded as a seedy party mecca, the expansive border city of Tijuana has reinvented itself in the last few years, and was named one of the The New York Times’ top travel destinations for 2017. Make sure to visit the Tijuana Cultural Center, which contains an IMAX cinema and a museum that walks you through the history of the Baja Peninsula from the prehistoric period until the 20th century. For gourmet seafood, dine at the elegant La Querencía, an innovative restaurant in the riverside Zona Río neighborhood.
From Tijuana central bus station, take a coach to the laid-back beach town of Ensenada. In recent years, the town has emerged as a major surfing hub, attracting pros and beginners alike. With its mild year-round weather and relaxing café culture, the area still has plenty to offer those who are not keen to take to the waves. Between the months of December and May, tour boats offer whale watching trips off the coast of Ensenada.
From Ensenada, take a coach to the town of Guadalupe, in the heart of Mexico’s premier wine-growing region. The Adobe Guadalupe inn and winery is located 10 minutes by taxi from the town center. The impressive hotel offers six guest rooms, a swimming pool, and equestrian activities. The vineyard produces a broad selection of wines, from beloved classics such as Merlot to more obscure varieties like Mourvedre. The hotel offers tours of the vineyard and tastings.
From Tijuana, take an internal flight to Los Cabos International Airport. The city of Cabo San Lucas is one of Mexico’s major tourist destinations. Sunbathing is the main pastime here, particularly along the shores of the Playa del Amor and Playa Solmar. The city also offers some of the freshest and most delicious fish the world has to offer. Make sure to try the Pismo clams – juicy smoked clams served with garlic and tomato.
A zip-lining day trip from Cabo San Lucas is the perfect way to enjoy an adrenaline rush while exploring Baja California’s amazing natural wonders. Cabo Adventures, based in Cabo San Lucas, offers the longest and most exciting zip-line route in the country. Adventure lovers will love soaring above the trees in the Boca de la Sierra, a breathtaking UNESCO-protected biosphere.
From Cabo San Lucas, take a coach to the small coastal destination of Todos Santos. The town has become an important arts hub in recent years, with new galleries and studios opening all the time. Founded as a Jesuit mission in the 18th century, the government designated the idyllic town a Pueblo Mágico, or “magical town,” in 2006, marking the location as a cultural landmark.
Just an hour’s coach ride from Todos Santos, La Paz is the capital city of Baja California Sur and the cultural heart of the region. The city has an impressive promenade and excellent restaurants, yet La Paz’s major selling point is its proximity to other incredible nearby attractions. With a range of hotels for every budget, the city is the ideal base for exploring destinations a little further afield.
Spend day 12 at Playa Balandra, a stunning bay that is connected to the Sea of Cortez, waters that were once memorably dubbed, “the world’s aquarium,” by French explorer Jacques Cousteau. Surrounded by pristine white sand dunes, the bay is almost a closed circle, so its waters are exceptionally calm and clear.
On day 13, take a day trip to Isla Espíritu Santo, or Holy Spirit Island, which is undoubtedly one of the most stunning locations on the continent. Designated a World Heritage Bioreserve by UNESCO, the island is a beautiful place to explore and also offers opportunities to watch dolphins and swim with sea lions.