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Baja, California in Mexico By Car

The central Baja is one of the least populated and least touristed regions of Mexico, and the hospitality of the rancheros is a point of local pride. If you have problems or questions, just ask someone for help. I have had complete strangers go miles out of their way to ensure my safe arrival at a destination. Invitations to dinner, fiestas, sporting events, and even weddings have come after a simple question led to a conversation. Just don’t forget to smile and use por favor and gracias liberally.

You won’t find resorts in central Baja California, but there are plenty of well-maintained motels where prices range from $15-$25. Fresh produce, abundant seafood, and locally raised meats make for very economical dining. (For even less expensive meals go to taco stands and comida economicas). If you want to splurge, a filet mignon and lobster dinner is under $20 at the fanciest restaurants.

The only real town on the Pacific side of central Baja is Guerrero Negro. The salt-producing lagoons are the winter home for migrating California gray whales, one of Baja’s greatest attractions. Three licensed companies offer roundtrip transportation and boats with guides ($40). Or hitch a ride to Laguna Ojo de Liebre where overnight camping is $3 and whale watching costs $20.

From Guerrero Negro the highway crosses the desert to the Sea of Cortez. About half way across is the oasis town of San Ignacio with its thousands of date palms in the midst of a red volcanic countryside. A completely intact mission survives from the 1600s. Several tour companies in San Ignacio offer trips to view the area’s cave paintings; some sites are over 10,000 years old.

If you have more time on your schedule, follow the highway south. It hugs the coast for over 100 miles, offering some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. Camping is free at most, and some offer inexpensive palapa-style accommodations.

The Baja Book IV by Ginger Potter provides a mile-by-mile commentary for a trip down la carretera. Transportes Aguila is the best bus line, providing several border-to- the-tip buses daily. From the U.S. dial 011-52-66-212668. Contact your nearest consulate or the Secretary of Tourism at 888-775-2417 for information regarding visas or tourist cards.

 
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