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10 Plant and Animal Species Only Found in Baja

The Baja California peninsula is like no place else on earth, a fact reflected in the peninsula’s distinctive and often unique flora and fauna.

Much of the fascinating diversity in Baja California Sur is due to what is called island endemism, a process by which plants and animals develop independently in specific isolated environments. The unique island endemism of the Galapagos, for example, famously helped to inspire Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Coastal islands off Baja California Sur like Magdalena and Espiritu Santo are hotbeds for endemic species, which have necessarily evolved over time in order to survive in their geographically circumscribed environments.

10 Plants and Animals Found Only in Baja

A recognized subspecies of the white-tailed antelope squirrel (pictured above) found in Baja California and the southwestern United States, Ammospermophilus insularis can only be found on Isla Espiritu Santo near Baja Sur’s capital city of La Paz.

But the peninsular mainland – “almost an island” in Bruce Berger’s felicitous phrase – boasts its own collection of strange and wonderful creatures, with many specifically adapted to the central or southern sierras, or to low-lying desert areas. Some are indigenous but not endemic, meaning they can also be found in other regions. Others are sui generis, found only in Baja.

Here are 10 of our “only in Baja” favorites.

Creeping Devil (Stenocereus eruca)

This creepy member of the Cactaceae family is certainly distinctive, not only for its caterpillar like appearance, but its ability to move. Large colonies of the columnar succulents can be found on the central Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, where they invariably seem engaged in some sort of slow-speed migration. The cacti grow at one end while the other end dies, and during the course of this ongoing process travel up to two feet a year on average. As if that weren’t weird enough, Creeping Devils are also able to clone themselves.

Belding’s Yellowthroat (Geothlypis beldingi)

Although habitat loss is an ongoing problem, the estuary and bird sanctuary in San Jose del Cabo remains one of the best places to see this yellow throated warbler named for California naturalist Lyman Belding. It is easily identifiable by its song – deeper and louder than that of the common yellowthroat – as well as its coloring. Males of this species endemic to the Capes Region differ from females by having a black mask across their face. Females have an olive rather than yellow crown.

Black Jackrabbit of Espiritu Santo (Lepus insularis)

Yes, its conservation status is listed as “near threatened,” but that’s largely because of the limited range of this intriguing species. The black jackrabbit lives only on one island, Espiritu Santo north of La Paz, an uninhabited, protected biosphere reserve with a thriving habitat that also includes an endemic antelope squirrel. The black jackrabbit has few if any natural predators, and visitors to the island can occasionally glimpse these famous residents hopping amid native grasses and shrubs.

10 Plants and Animals Found Only in Baja

Named for Janos Xantus, a Hungarian naturalist who spent several years in Cabo San Lucas during the latter half of the 19th century collecting specimens for the Smithsonian Institution, this small colorful hummingbird remains a perennially popular target for birdwatchers in Baja California Sur. Image courtesy of Marlin Harms.

Isla Santa Catalina Rattlesnake (Crotalus catalinensis)

Several varieties of rattlesnake live in Baja, but only one lacks the characteristic feature from which the name is derived:  the so-called rattleless rattlesnake of Santa Catalina Island. Actually there are vestigial bands, just not enough for the telltale sound which warns of its presence. It was once thought that this species evolved in order to silently hunt birds, but it is currently thought to be a specific adaptation to a lack of traditional predators. Its diet is now primarily mouse and lizard based, and probably always was. A positive note for visitors to the Islands of Loreto is that this venomous pit viper is small – about two feet in length – and rarely hides. It can usually be found in arroyos on the western side of the island, occasionally climbing onto low-lying bush branches during the hot summer months.

Baja Blue Rock Lizard (Petrosaurus thalassinus)

There are two subspecies of this beautiful blue iguana: one that lives in the mountain ranges – Sierra de la Laguna and Sierra La Trinidad – in the southernmost part of the Baja California peninsula; and another that inhabits offshore islands near La Paz like Espiritu Santo and Partida. Adults reach nearly a foot and a half in length, and feed on insects, leaves, seeds and smaller lizards. Males become even more colorful during the breeding season, which takes place during spring. Life expectancy is about 20 years.

10Plants and Animals Found Only in Baja

Watch your step on Isla Santa Catalina. A unique local rattlesnake, Crotalus catalinensis, has evolved sans threatening rattle.

Isla Magdalena Spiny Cactus (Echinocereus barthelowanus)

Perhaps best known as a Gray Whale breeding ground, Magdalena Bay is also one of the most phenomenal fishing spots on the planet. Two offshore islands protecting this natural paradise, Magdalena and Margarita, are also home to some of the world’s most interesting species of cactus, several of which are endemic. Echinocereus barthelowanus is among the least known, and looks somewhat like a star cluster shooting off a thousand rays of light. The spines are long, voluminous, piercing and wisely avoided at all times.

Espiritu Santo Antelope Squirrel (Ammospermophilus insularis)

No, this rodent doesn’t have antlers. It’s an adorable subspecies of the common white-tailed antelope squirrel found only on Isla Espiritu Santo. Small, diurnal and prone to burrowing – burrows provide both a home and protection against extreme temperatures – Ammospermophilus insularis varies his diet according to the seasons, largely subsisting on plants, seeds, fruits, insects and small lizards. The squirrels breed during the spring, with a month-long gestation period typically producing litters of 5 to 14 babies.

10 Plants and Animals Found Only in Baja

Dubbed Stenocereus eruca, the latter name in honor of the caterpillar it resembles, this creeping cactus found on Baja California’s central Pacific Coast is capable of “traveling” about two feet per year. Image courtesy of Pamla J. Eisenberg.

Baja Elephant Tree (Pachycormus discolor)

This gray-barked tree with branches as thick as elephant trunks is most commonly found in the central Sierra de la Giganta, although subspecies can be found on Pacific Coast islands like Cedros, Magdalena and Margarita. It matures up to 30 feet in height – impressive when not contrasted with a towering 60’ Cardon cactus – grows seasonal clusters of small leaves, and blooms brilliant pink flowers from late spring until early autumn. It should not be confused with Bursera microphylla, a native but not endemic Baja “Elephant Tree.”

Xantus’s Hummingbird (Basilinna xantusii)

This small 3 to 4 gram hummingbird is an extraordinarily prized sighting for visiting birdwatchers. Named for a Hungarian naturalist named Janos Xantus who spent several years during the latter half of the 19th century recording tide levels and collecting specimens near Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, Basilinna xantusii is endemic to Baja California Sur, but has been known to wander as far north as British Columbia. It feeds on flower nectar and is most commonly seen around breeding habitats in the Capes Region, and on the islands of Cerralvo and San Jose. Genders may be differentiated by throat color:  iridescent green for males, cinnamon for females.

Isla San Marcos Barefoot Gecko (Coleonyx switaki gypsicolus)

Banded geckos are common to much of the southwestern U.S., Mexico and parts of Central America. One fantastically colored subspecies, however, lives only on a 5.6 mile long island off the Baja Sur coast near Santa Rosalia. That would be the rare Barefoot Gecko of Isla San Marcos, a tiny 3 to 4 inch lizard that feasts on spiders and insects. They feed at night and typically remain hidden during the day, seeking cover under rocks or in deep crevices. They often emit a squeak when threatened, and can distract predators by “dropping” their tail, which subsequently grows back.

 


Baja.com
 is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: September Events in Baja

September is the height of the slow season for most of the Baja California peninsula, but visitors will still find plenty of regional events worth attending, including popular annual festivals that showcase food, comedy, culture and sports.

The autumn edition of the Rosarito to Ensenada 50 Mile Fun Bicycle Ride is perhaps the season’s signature event, although the Cabo Comedy Festival is also highly anticipated, and brings many big-name entertainters to Land’s End nightclubs; and of course celebrations of Mexican Independence Day will take place September 16 in towns and cities throughout the peninsula.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

 

September Events in Baja

Rosarito:  SCORE Rosarito Beach Desert Challenge

When:  September 14 – 18

The third of four annual  SCORE sponsored off-road racing events on the Baja California peninsula – following the San Felipe 250 and the Baja 500, and two months prior to the granddaddy of them all, the legendary Baja 1000 – the SCORE Desert Challenge moves this year to Rosarito Beach for the first time ever. Competitors across multiple car, truck, ATV and motorcycle classes will throttle up for a rugged multi-lap loop race.

Cost:  $645 – 1090

 

September Events in Baja

Mexican Independence Day

When:  September 16

México’s Independence Day is honored annually on September 16th, but reenactments and parades in remembrance of Miguel Hidalgo’s 1810 Grito de Dolores—a call for revolution that culminated 11 years later with México’s independence from Spain—are celebrated on both the 15th and 16th, and numerous other patriotic celebrations, or las fiestas patrias, take place throughout the month.

Visitors interested in viewing traditional Independence Day observances will find a similar schedule of events in towns and cities around the peninsula, from Tijuana to Los Cabos: a gritoreenactment by public officials at 11 p.m. on September 15th,  highlighted  by Hidalgo’s famous rallying cry—which ends with ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!—followed by community celebrations featuring food, drinks, live music and festive firework celebrations. Parades typically take place the next morning, on Independence Day itself.

Cost:  Free admission

 

September Events in Baja

Cabo San LucasCabo Comedy Festival

When:  September 21 – 25

“Where the Land Ends and the Fun Begins” is the slogan of the Cabo Comedy Festival, a five-day event that will feature some of the most talented comedians in the entertainment industry. Shows will be performed in English and Spanish, and will take place at several nightclub venues around Cabo San Lucas.

Cost:  $40 – 100

 

 

 

 

September Events in Baja

Ensenada:  Pesca la Baja

When:  September 23 – 24

The World Series of Baja fishing, with anglers competing over the course of many months for select surface and bottom fish at locations around the peninsula, from San Felipe and San Quintin to Bahia de los Angeles and San Luis Gonzaga. The grand finale takes place in the waters off Ensenada, with qualifiers from previous tournaments fighting to take the home the grand prize – 35,000 pesos plus a 23’ sportfishing boat. Additional prizes are also offered, with special rewards for children.

Cost:  $12 – 33

 

September Events in Baja

EnsenadaRosarito to Ensenada Fun Ride

When:  September 24

Dubbed “The Original Party on Wheels,” the 50 mile fun ride dates back to 1979, when a group of friends pedaled from Rosarito to Ensenada. Now a biannual event, the scenic rides are among the highlights of the regional social calendar, and conclude with a Finish Line Fiesta featuring food, drinks, souvenirs, live music, and massages for participants.

Cost:  $42 – 48

 

 

 

 


Baja.com
 is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: August Events in Baja

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: August Events in Baja

Don’t let the dog days get you down. The month of August brings some of Baja’s biggest events, most notably the Fiestas de la Vendimia, or harvest festival, in Baja California’s wine country. This annual viticultural celebration features wine tastings, dinners and concerts centered around Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe. Rosarito Beach hosts two other signature August bashes: The Baja Blues Fest, an outdoor showcase highlighted by live performances from some of the biggest names on the contemporary blues scene; and Sabor a Baja, a food-friendly competition featuring some of the peninsula’s most celebrated chefs. And the East Cape Offshore, one of three annual fishing tournaments held by Bisbee’s, brings big-game anglers to Baja California Sur in search of prize winning black and blue marlin and other deep-sea denizens.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

 

August Events in Baja

East CapeBisbee’s East Cape Offshore

When:  Aug. 2 – 6

Bisbee’s kicks off its 2016 tournament season with the East Cape Offshore, the first of its three annual fishing tournaments held in Baja California Sur (the others are the Los Cabos Offshore and Black and Blue in Cabo San Lucas; both take place in October, with the latter heralded as the world’s richest fishing tournament). This year’s East Cape Offshore, as always, features cash prizes awarded to the top three qualifying teams in the billfish (black or blue marlin), tuna and dorado categories. The awards celebration will be held Aug. 6 from 7 – 9:30 p.m. on the beach in front of the Hotel Buena Vista.

Cost:  $1500 base entry per team

 

August Events in Baja

RosaritoAntonio Margarito vs. Ramon Alvarez Boxing Match

When:  Aug. 13

Big-time boxing comes to Rosarito as former welterweight champion Antonio “El Tornado de Tijuana” Margarito fights current IBF light middleweight champion Ramon “Inocente” Alvarez. Taglined “This is Going to Be a War,” the 10 round match-up will take place at the Baja Convention Center in Rosarito.

Cost:  $17 – 100

 

August Events in Baja

Cabo San LucasATP 250 Los Cabos Open Tennis Tournament

When:  Aug. 8 – 13

The first ever ATP tennis tournament in Los Cabos boasts 19 of the world’s top 75 ranked players plus over $780,000 in prize money, the latter the most of any 250 series event in the Americas. The men’s professional tournament will be held on hard courts at the Delmar International School, with a stadium capacity for crowds of up to 3,500 people. Players and officials will be hosted at Sheraton’s Hacienda del Mar.

Cost:  $20 – 420

 

August Events in Baja

EnsenadaFiestas de la Vendimia

When:  Aug. 5 – 21

The Fiestas de la Vendimia are a series of annual events celebrating the grape harvest in Baja California’s wine country, Valle de Guadalupe, near Ensenada. This year marks the 26th anniversary of the festival, which showcases banquets, concerts and tastings in Ensenada, Tijuana, and along the Ruta del Vino. The fiestas are organized by Provino, a committee dedicated to promoting the region’s wines, and will once again conclude with the highly anticipated Concurso de Paellas at Viñas de Liceaga.

Cost:  Approximately $40 per event

 

 

August Events in Baja

Rosarito5th Annual Baja Blues Fest

When:  Aug. 19 – 21

A seaside music festival that promotes blues music while helping needy kids and audiences lose their blues will celebrate its fifth year this August at the Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort. Numerous world-class blues artists from both sides of the border will perform at the three-day festival, including Coco Montoya, John Nemeth and the Backwater Blues Band.

Cost:  $10 – 45

 

 

August Events in Baja

Rosarito4th Annual Sabor a Baja

When:  Aug. 31

Twenty of Baja’s best chefs will pair their delicious fare with the region’s best beverages in the oceanfront gardens of the Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort. The fourth annual edition of the all-white-attire event pairs delectable dishes with fine wines and craft beers. It is organized by Chef Bo Bendana of Rosarito’s Mi Casa Supper Club with the intentiom of promoting gastronomy based tourism between the U.S. and Baja.

Cost:  $70 – 85

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

The Top 10 Pro Sports in Baja

A Guide to Major Competitions Around the Peninsula

Thirty or forty years ago, professional competitions in Baja were largely limited to fringe sports like fishing and off-road racing. There was the SCORE Baja 1000, Bisbee’s Black and Blue marlin fishing tournament, and that was about it.

Times have changed, however. Over the past decade, the world’s most popular sport, soccer, has established a major foothold in Tijuana; and residents and visitors in areas across the peninsula have regularly been treated to world-class games, matches and contests in competitive disciplines as diverse as baseball, boxing, cycling, golf, kiteboarding, mixed martial arts, running, surfing and tennis.

This August alone sees boxing champions going toe to toe in Rosarito, an ATP tennis tournament in Cabo San Lucas, and a major fishing competition on Baja California Sur’s beautiful East Cape. And there’s more, much more, looming on the horizon.

With that in mind, here’s a guide to some of the major professional sporting events now being held on the Baja California peninsula.

Baseball

Baseball might not be woven into the national fabric in Mexico in quite the same way it is in the U.S., but the sport has a proud history and some rabid fans, particularly for tradition rich teams like the Tomateros de Culiacan and the Naranjeros de Hermosillo (named for the tomato and orange growers of their respective mainland areas). Those two teams are the powerhouses of the Mexican Pacific League, which runs each year from October through January. Baja is represented in the league by the Aguilas de Mexicali, and the fighting “Eagles” have had their own moments of glory: three league championships and a Caribbean Series championship in 1986. And, since the U.S. and Mexican league seasons run at different times of year, visitors to El Nido (or The Nest), as Mexicali’s nearly 20,000 seat stadium is known, are often able to watch current or future MLB stars: Mike Piazza, John Kruk and Fernando Valenzuela, for example, all played for Mexicali in years past.

For more information, click here.

Top 10 Pro Sports in Baja

Fighting

Baja has always been a hotbed for boxing talent, but rarely has the peninsula hosted the sort of high-profile headline event so common to Las Vegas. That all changes on August 13, when former welterweight champion Antonio “El Tornado de Tijuana” Margarito and current IBF light middleweight champion Ramon “Inocente” Alvarez – older brother of Canelo Alvarez – square off for a 10 round “war” at the convention center in Rosarito (for ticket information, click here).

Mixed martial arts events have been even less common, and with substantially less star power. But that situation is also starting to change thanks to WTC (Welcome to the Cage), an organization founded and headed by Mario Martinez, who also owns Malosos MMA club in La Paz. Baja California Sur’s capital city was the site for the first two WTC events. The third was held earlier this month at outdoor theater of the Pabellon Cultural de la Republica in Cabo San Lucas, with 20 fighters from Baja and beyond battling it out against a Land’s End backdrop. WTC expects to host another event in Los Cabos on Saturday, December 3. Stay tuned for more info.

Top 10 Pro Sports in Baja

Fishing

It should come as no surprise, since fishing drove so much of the early tourism to Baja California, that big-game bill and game fishing tournaments are among the peninsula’s most popular sporting events. These tournaments are significant yearly events in many coastal communities, but Bisbee’s annual tournament in Cabo San Lucas has been the gold standard since 1981.

Billed as the “World’s Richest Fishing Tournament,” Bisbee’s Black and Blue billfishing tournament is legendary for its enormous payouts. The $4.165 million awarded in 2006 is still the largest cash payout in sportfishing history. Today, teams often pay more than 70,000 across the board (including daily jackpots) to compete for the biggest blue, black and striped marlin, as well as sailfish, spearfish, tuna and dorado.

Over the years Bisbee’s has added two more tournaments in Baja  California Sur: the East Cape Offshore, based in Buenavista on the state’s beautiful East Cape, premiered in 2000; and the Los Cabos Offshore, better known among fishermen as “Little Bisbee’s,” has been a staple since 2002.

This year’s Black and Blue is scheduled for October 18 – 22. To register or to find out more, click here.

Golf

Los Cabos is one of the most remarkable golfing regions on earth. Three of its 14 currently operating courses – Querencia, The Dunes at Diamante, and the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol – are ranked among the 100 best in the world by Golf Digest. But unlike Scotland or Northern California, for example, where world-class loops can be found in close proximity, Los Cabos has virtually no history and little tradition. The first course in the area wasn’t built until 1987, and that was the nine hole municipal course in San Jose del Cabo.

Jack Nicklaus kick-started the Cabo golf boom in the early 1990s with gorgeous seaside layouts at Palmilla, El Dorado and Cabo del Sol. But it was a Senior Slam event at Cabo Real in 1996 that put Los Cabos on the international map, when humpback whales were caught by television cameras breaching spectacularly near seaside greens. Since then major champions Greg Norman, Tom Weiskopf and Davis Love III have joined Nicklaus with prestigious area loops, and new layouts are expected soon from Norman, Woods and Fred Couples.

Professional tournaments appeared with some regularity during the 90s boom – including two Senior Slams, three Taylor Made Pro-Ams, and three Las Americas Tournaments – but in recent years the biggest draw has been the Los Cabos Pro-Am, the 9th edition of which is scheduled for January 16 – 20, 2017 at Cabo del Sol’s Ocean and Desert Courses.

For more information, click here.

Kiteboarding

During the winter months, when powerful El Norte winds blow down the Sea of Cortez, small, strategically situated Baja California Sur coastal communities like La Ventana and Los Barriles become capitals of the kiteboarding universe. The latter has been hosting the peninsula’s premier windsports competition, Lord of the Wind Showdown, each January since 2010. The event took an enormous leap forward this year when it was named the North American Kitefoil Championship, and televised on 20 networks in nearly 100 countries. Contestants compete in categories like slalom and big-air, with the winner walking away with thousands of dollars worth of prize money. Affiliated fiestas like reggae concerts and tamales cook-offs are also an annual tradition.

To find out more, click here.

Top 10 Pro Sports in Baja

Off-Road Racing

Baja is more associated with off-road racing than any single region on earth. The sport’s signature event, the legendarily rugged Baja 1000, has drawn both professional drivers as well as celebrated amateurs seeking to test themselves in motorcycles, cars, trucks, ATVs and UTVs over nearly 1000 miles of shock-busting desert terrain. Indy and Daytona 500 winners have competed over the years, as have movie stars like Paul Newman, James Garner and Steve McQueen.

From its inception in 1967 to 1972, the Baja 1000 was run under the NORRA (National Off-Road Racing Association) banner. But after concerns about participation during the OPEC oil crisis in 1973, the race was reorganized under the aegis of SCORE (Southern California Off-Road Enterprises), and has remained under its stewardship ever since. The nearly 1000 mile race is now the climactic event of SCORE’s annual four race series on the peninsula, following the Desert Challenge, the San Felipe 250 and the Baja 500. This year’s Baja 1000 is scheduled for November 16 – 20, and will be a loop race starting and finishing in Ensenada.

For more information, click here.

Top 10 Pro Sports in Baja

Running and Cycling

Running and cycling have long histories in Baja, most notably for the latter in “The Original Party on Wheels,” AKA the twice yearly Rosarito to Ensenada 50 Mile Fun Bicycle Ride. The recent introduction of the Ironman Los Cabos has kicked things up a notch, however, both in terms of commitment and prize money. Hardy participants in this October based event must swim 2.4 miles off Palmilla Beach, bike 112 miles, and finish with a grueling marathon length 26.2 mile run that culminates in front of the historic city hall in San Jose del Cabo. Not only is prize money on the line, but also 40 qualifying slots in the annual Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

To register, click here.

For dedicated runners, meanwhile, the annual Tijuana International Marathon is the peninsular gold standard. It’s held each summer, with the 2016 edition scheduled to take place tomorrow.

For more information about that race, click here.

Top 10 Pro Sports in Baja

Soccer

Soccer is the Mexico’s, and the world’s, most popular sport, and the country’s top league, Liga MX, is considered the strongest in North America. Tijuana’s beloved home team, Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente or more simply Xolos, was promoted to Liga MX in 2011, and shocked the nation by winning the Apertura title in 2012 (Liga MX crowns two champions per season, the Apertura tournament starts during the summer and finishes in December,  while the Clausura kicks off during the winter and concludes in May). Their win over Toluca in the 2012 “liguilla” final, in fact, made them the fastest ever to go from promotion to the title. Capacity crowds of up to 20,000 regularly fill Estadio Caliente to see the Xolos play, and the club’s women’s side, also called the Xolos, is the only Mexican team to play in the U.S. based WPSL (Women’s Premier Soccer League).

To learn more about the Xolos, click here.

Surfing

There are hundreds of great surf breaks in Baja, and the peninsula has been a road trip destination for SoCal wave riders for generations. On the professional level, there are two events currently sanctioned by the WSL (the World Surf League): the Big Wave Tour’s Todos Santos Challenge and the Los Cabos Open of Surf.

The former is one of the most intense surf competitions on the planet. Killers, the break off Todos Santos Island – approximately 12 miles from Ensenada – serves up massive waves: sometimes in excess of 50 feet.  Australian Josh Kerr took top honors in January 2016, earning nearly $19,000 of the $75,000 purse in challenging circumstances. The next event will take place between October and February, depending upon peak wave conditions.

The latter is held each June at the famed Zippers break off Playa Costa Azul in San Jose del Cabo. The LCO started as a 6-star men’s event in 2013, but over the last three years has evolved into a QS6000 series event for women and junior men and women. Bronte Macaulay outlasted Dominic Barona in a thrilling battle this year, as Australian women continue to dominate in Los Cabos. Music concerts are also a big part of the annual festivities – this year’s performers included Pepper, Kinky, Shamans, Tim Lang and Tunnel Vision.

For more info, click here or here.

Top 10 Pro Sports in Baja

Tennis

Unlike golf, which has been a fixture of the Los Cabos sporting scene for several decades, big-time tennis is a recent arrival at Land’s End. In fact, the first professional event in the area doesn’t take place for another two weeks. But it’s a good one: an ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tournament whose 28-player draw includes 13 of the top 50 ranked men in the world. The Los Cabos Open replaces an event formerly held in Bogota, Colombia, and will feature nearly $800,000 in prize money, making it the most lucrative 250 series event in the Americas. The biggest name for American fans is Sam Querrey, who made a big splash earlier this month when he upset world no. 1 Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon. The tournament takes place August 8 – 13.

For ticket information, click here.

 

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: July Events in Baja

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas:  June Events in Baja

July ushers in many of the peninsula’s most beloved events, from the Street Opera Festival in Tijuana to the traditional Feria de la Pitahaya in Miraflores, a small farming community about 45 miles north of San Jose del Cabo. But this July also sees some brand new to-dos, including the first ever MMA (mixed martial arts) event in Cabo San Lucas – scheduled for Saturday, July 2 at the outdoor theater adjoining the Land’s End city’s cultural pavilion – and a long overdue celebration of cerveza in Tecate. The border pueblo magico is famed for its namesake beer, but plenty of craft brewers will also be on hand at the first time fete.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

 

July Events in Baja

 

Rosarito Beach7th Annual Flying Samaritans 4th of July Beach BBQ 

When:  July 3

The Rosarito branch of the Flying Samaritans – a volunteer organization that operates free medical clinics in Baja California – will host their seventh annual 4th of July beach bbq at the historic Rosarito Beach Hotel. The U.S. Independence Day celebration will feature food, fireworks, a raffle, and live music.

Cost:  $8 – $15

 

July Events in Baja

Tijuana13th Annual Street Opera Festival

When:  July 9

One of Tijuana’s oldest neighborhoods – Colonia Libertad – is the stage set for the 13th annual Street Opera Festival.  The event has been taking place since 2004 and includes the participation of more than 300 performers and designers, who provide locals and visitors alike up-close encounters with the power and artistry of opera.

Cost:  Free admisison

 

 

 

 

 

July Events in Baja

East Cape12th Annual East Cape Dorado Shootout in Los Barriles

When:  July 16

The rules are simple for the 12th annual East Cape Dorado Shoot Out in Los Barriles: catch the heaviest dorado and your team walks away with brand new, fully loaded Toyota Tacoma 4×4 pickup truck. Top three teams get prizes, and a number of side jackpots are also paid out (last year’s jackpots reached over $80,000 in cash).

Cost:  $500 per team

 

July Events in Baja

TecateInaugural Tecate Beer Fest

When:  July 16

The first ever Tecate Beer Fest will celebrate food and music, but most of all the border city’s most famous product: ice-cold cerveza. Over 30 national and international beers will be available for sipping and sampling at the inaugural event.

Cost:  $9 U.S. in advance; $12 on the day of the event

 

 

 

 

July Events in Baja

East Cape26th Annual Feria de la Pitahaya in Miraflores

When:  July 15 – 17

The small community of Miraflores (in English: Behold the Flowers) is  primarily known for three things:  the extraordinary longevity of its residents,  its superb organically farmed produce, and its annual festival dedicated to the glories of the pitahaya dulce. This fruit from the organ pipe cactus was the most prized foodstuff of the region’s original inhabitants, the Pericues, and the summer harvest remains a treasured tradition. The festivities last an entire weekend, and feature food, drinks, music, arts and crafts, pitahaya gathering contests, the crowning of a festival queen, and of course all sorts of Pitahaya related dishes, preserves and liqueurs.

Cost:  Free admission

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

 

EagleRider Creates a New Baja California Motorcycle Experience Portal

As part of ever continuing efforts to increase convenience and service for customers, EagleRider, the world’s pioneer and innovator of motorcycle experiences, has launched all-new experience portals that capture the essence of iconic American destinations to give riders as close to a firsthand look as possible of what’s in store if you’re thinking of undertaking a journey with EagleRider.

The Baja California Experience Portal is now available for the adventurer’s viewing pleasure. This page is a one-stop shop for anyone who’s ever been interested in touring one of the most highly acclaimed destinations in the World, a North American final frontier. The video magnificently transfers the experience that riders have when they undertake this adventure and no less than 7 Baja tours—both guided and self-drive—are featured on the page so you can take your pick and explore Baja exactly the way you want to while EagleRider takes care of the logistics.

So check out the experience portal here and then go find out for yourself what all the fuss is about Baja California from the saddle of your favorite motorcycle!

Baja California Motorcycle Experience

ABOUT EAGLERIDER

Pioneering the motorcycle rental concept in 1992, EagleRider has since extended its branches to become a motorcycle experience industry giant offering services of all kinds to assist and empower motorcyclists and travelers worldwide. Whether you simply would like to try out the motorcycle of your dreams or go on a great adventure in the self-drive and guided tours offered from any one of our beautifully located 100+ locations across the globe, EagleRider offers the world’s favorite brands including Harley-Davidson®, Indian®, Honda® and BMW® in motorcycles as well as Scooters, Dirt Bikes, and ATV’s. We also provide motorcycle service, parts, and accessories in addition to a vast array of solutions for individuals as well as dealers that are looking to buy and/or sell their bikes.

For more information on rentals and tours, please visit www.EagleRider.com. If you are interested in buying and/or selling a bike, visit www.UsedMotorcycles.net. Our inventory of parts and accessories can be found at Store.EagleRider.com.

 


Baja.com
 is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Nine of Mexico’s 25 Best Restaurants

Destination Dining:  Baja Boasts Nine of Mexico’s 25 Best Restaurants

Although the Baja California peninsula is too often the subject of negative and unfair portrayals in the U.S. and international media, in the last few months it has also been justly lauded for two of its signature attractions. In a recent reader’s poll on the USA Today travel site 10 Best, a whopping six of the top 10 beaches in Mexico were judged to be in Baja California Sur (led by Playa Balandra in La Paz). And lest one thing the state of Baja California has been neglected, it made a spectacular showing in a recent list of the country’s top restaurants released by premier culinary site, The Daily Meal.

While Mexico City, as expected, was home to an enormous percentage of Mexico’s best restaurants – 10 of 25 – the Baja California peninsular boasts a remarkable nine, eight of which are located in the state of Baja California. Six, as a matter of fact, are set either in Ensenada or in the nearby wine country, Valle de Guadalupe, which suggests that it’s not only the region’s best  wines that are world-class, but also their pairing partners. It also suggests that outside of the Distrito Federal, Baja California is now the preferred destination dining spot in all of Mexico.

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Many of Mexico’s Best Restaurants

Deckman’s en El Mogor, one of several world-class restaurants in Baja’s wine country, Valle de Guadalupe.

This sort of praise is not exactly new. The Baja California dining scene – as exemplified by Chef Javier Plascencia of the famed family of Tijuana restaurateurs, and the “Baja Med” fusion movement pioneered by Miguel Angel Guerrero at El Taller – has been garnering international attention and acclaim for several years now, and its evolution and approach have been well documented; most notably, in Baja Taste, an hour long documentary that premiered at the Los Cabos International Film Fest in November 2015.

But there’s no doubt that The Daily Meal list makes an undeniable statement about the quality of food now being served in the peninsula’s best restaurants.

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Many of Mexico’s Best Restaurants

Comfort food at Silvestre, recently rated the 20th best restaurant in Mexico by The Daily Meal. Photo courtesy of Kristin Diaz de Sandi.

Here’s the top 25 list in its entirety, as well as links to the many fine stories our writers have contributed about these benchmark Baja eateries:

25)  Máximo Bistrot, Mexico City

24)  Amaranta, Toluca de Lerdo

23)  Sud 777, Mexico City

22)  Quintonil, Mexico City

21)  Deckman’s en El Mogor, Valle de Guadalupe

Read more on Baja.com…

20)  Silvestre, Valle de Guadalupe

Read more on Baja.com…

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Many of Mexico’s Best Restaurants

Corazon de Tierra is not only one of the finest restaurants in the Valle de Guadalupe , but in all of Mexico.

19)  Corazón de Tierra, Valle de Guadalupe

Read more on Baja.com…

18)  Rosetta, Mexico City

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Many of Mexico’s Best Restaurants

Flora’s Field Kitchen pioneered the farm-to-table dining movement in Baja California Sur.

17)  Flora’s Field Kitchen, San José del Cabo

Read more on Baja.com…

16)  Los Danzantes, Oaxaca

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Many of Mexico’s Best Restaurants

La Querencia Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero was the driving force behind Baja Med fusion cuisine.

15)  La Querencia, Tijuana

Read more on Baja.com…

14)  Néctar, Mérida

13)  Los Panchos, Mexico City

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Many of Mexico’s Best Restaurants

The view at Finca Altozano, Chef Javier Plascencia’s rustic restaurant in the Valle de Guadalupe.

12)  Finca Altozano, Valle de Guadalupe

Read more on Baja.com…

11)  Pangea, Monterrey

10)  Fonda Margarita, Mexico City

9)  MeroToro, Mexico City

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Many of Mexico’s Best Restaurants

Chef Jair Tellez’s Laja is consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in Baja.

8)  Laja, Ensenada

Read more on Baja.com…

7)  Contramar, Mexico City

6)  neXtia, San Miguel de Allende

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Many of Mexico’s Best Restaurants

Husband and wife team Benito Molina and Solange Muris are responsible for the delicious offerings at Manzanilla in Ensenada.

5)  Manzanilla, Ensenada

Read more on Baja.com…

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Many of Mexico’s Best Restaurants

Tijuana native Javier Plascencia is the most famous chef in Baja, and has founded two its signature restaurants: Mision 19 in Tijuana, and Finca Altozano in Valle de Guadalupe.

4)  Misión 19, Tijuana

Read more on Baja.com…

3)  Moxi, San Miguel de Allende

2)  Biko, Mexico City

Destination Dining: Baja Boasts Many of Mexico’s Best Restaurants

Enrique Olvera is executive chef at two of the best restaurants in Mexico: Pujol in Mexico City, and Manta (pictured above) in Los Cabos.

1)  Pujol, Mexico City

Chef Enrique Olvera’s playful approach to fine dining has proved enormously popular, and has led to other successful ventures, most notably Cosme in the Flatiron District of New York City, and Manta at The Cape Hotel in Los Cabos. The latter opened in 2015, and features a pan-Pacific approach to preparing the region’s abundant local seafood, which it pairs with superb service and breathtaking views of Land’s End. Expect Manta to make an appearance on future lists of this sort.

Read more on Baja.com…

 


Baja.com
 is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas – June Events in Baja

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas – June Events in Baja

The summer event season kicks off with a bang in Baja California, thanks to signature peninsular to-dos in both Ensenada and Los Cabos. The 48th annual Baja 500, precursor to the famed finishing race of SCORE’s annual off-road series – the doubly rugged Baja 1000 – starts and finishes in Ensenada; and in the nearby wine country of Valle de Guadalupe, the Festival del Caballo, Arte y Vino welcomes back visitors for its 14th summer celebration of art, culture, cuisine and the pastoral pleasures of horseback riding.

At the bottom of the peninsula, in Los Cabos, the Stars and Stripes golf and fishing tournament returns for its 20th edition. One of the most successful of the resort area’s charitable endeavors, this annual paean to outdoor life in Cabo has raised millions of dollars for worthy causes, and always features a slate of world-class musical entertainment. Speaking of world-class, the famed Zippers point break at Playa Costa Azul in San Jose del Cabo is once again the site for the World Surf League’s Los Cabos Open of Surf, a pro event for women and junior competitors of both sexes. As with Stars and Stripes, live musical performances provide nightly counterpoint to the daytime sport.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

June Events in Baja

Ensenada:  48th Annual SCORE Baja 500

When:  June 1 – 5

The 2016 edition SCORE Baja 500 is a loop layout starting and finishing in Ensenada, with racers allowed 18 and a half hours to complete the rugged off-road course. The post-race Awards Ceremony will be held the following afternoon in the Cathedral Room of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center.

Cost:  $1,800 – $2,850

 

 

 

 

 

June Events in Baja

Tijuana:  Rock N’ Taco Fest III

When:  June 11

Started by students in the tourism management program at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California campus in Tijuana, this rock n’ roll, beer and tacos focused event will celebrate its 3rd edition this year, with live performances from at least four bands and delicious treats from more than 20 food trucks.

Cost:  Free admission

 

 

 

 

 

June Events in Baja

San Jose del Cabo:  4th Annual Los Cabos Open of Surf

When:  June 7 – 12

Since its inception in 2013, the Los Cabos Open of Surf has taken place at the Zippers point break off Playa Costa Azul in San Jose del Cabo, one of the premier surf spots in Baja California Sur. Ancillary music and food events are expected to accompany the fourth annual WSL competition for pro women and juniors, but have yet to be announced.

Cost:  Free admission

 

June Events in Baja

Los Cabos:  20th Annual Stars and Stripes Tournament

When:  June 23 – 26

This annual fishing and golf tournament has raised over 20 million dollars for youth charities since its founding in 1996. Organizers are hoping to raise 3 million more this year, with over 600 people expected at Hilton Los Cabos for four days of fishing, golf and first-class live entertainment – including musical performances from The Rembrandts, Tommy Tutone, Wally Palmer of The Romantics, Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Skip Martin of Kool & The Gang, and John Cafferty of Tunes.

Cost:  $3,125 – $125,000

 

June Events in Baja

Ensenada:  14th Annual Horse, Art and Wine Festival

When:  June 26

Mexican art, food, folk dancing, fine wine and horses are the main attractions at the Festival del Caballo, Arte y Vino (Horse, Art and Wine Festival), held yearly in the Valle de Guadalupe outside Ensenada. The 14th annual edition is scheduled for Sunday, June 26, 2016 at Vinicola Castillo Ferrer.

Cost:  $20 – $55

 

 

 

 

 


Baja.com
 is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: May Events in Baja

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas:  May Events in Baja

Rosarito is the event capital of Baja California in May, hosting two notable events, and furnishing the starting line for another. The latter, of course, is the spring running of the 50 Mile Rosarito to Ensenada Fun Bicycle Ride, a regional sporting tradition that dates back to 1979, and is known as “the original party on wheels.”

The kick-off edition of the biannual bicycle race begins at the Rosarito Beach Hotel, an historic lodging that will also play host to the peninsula’s best Mother’s Day celebration. On Saturday night, May 7, mamas will be treated to drinks, dinner and a floorshow in the hotel’s Salon Mexicano ballroom that pays tribute to legendary Mexican singers. Rosarito Art Fest also returns in May, showcasing local art, culture and cuisine at an all-new location.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

 

May Events in Baja

La Paz:  481st Anniversary Foundation Festival

When:  May 3 – 6

La Paz celebrates its birthday on May 3rd, honoring the day in 1535 that Hernan Cortes first sighted what would eventually become the largest city in Baja California Sur. This year’s multi-day Festival de Fundacion (Foundation Festival) again serves as a showcase for local art, culture and cuisine, with concerts and activities – including a traditional reenactment of the first landing of the Spaniards .

Cost:  Free admission

 

 

 

 

May Events in Baja

EnsenadaRosarito to Ensenada 50 Mile Fun Bicycle Ride

When:  May 7

Dubbed “The Original Party on Wheels,” the 50 mile fun ride dates back to 1979, when a group of friends pedaled from Rosarito to Ensenada. Now a biannual event, the scenic rides are among the highlights of the regional social calendar, and conclude with a Finish Line Fiesta featuring food, drinks, souvenirs, live music, and massages for participants.

Cost:  $42

 

 

 

 

 

May Events in Baja

RosaritoRosarito Beach Hotel Celebrates Mother’s Day with Super Stars Tribute Singers

When:  May 7

The historic Rosarito Beach Hotel celebrates local and visiting Moms with a Mexican buffet dinner, raffles, and a fun-filled live show featuring impersonators of famous singers like Jenny Rivera, Juan Gabriel, Amanda Miguel, and Vicente Fernandez.

Cost:  $29

 

 

 

 

 

May Events in Baja

Cabo San LucasSurf Retreat at The Cape: A Thompson Hotel

When:  May 19 – 22

Open less than a year – it premiered in June 2015 – this hip, boutique hotel overlooking Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas is already making a name for itself as a home for high-profile events. In April, International Chef of the Year Enrique Olvera brought his NYC restaurant Cosme to The Cape. Now, in May, surf legends Rob Machado and Tim Curran are hosting a retreat based around the lodging’s legendary surf beach, Playa Monumentos.

Cost:  $2,921 – 5,920

 

May Events in Baja

Rosarito:  7th Annual Rosarito Art Fest

When:  May 28 – 29

The biggest art fair in Baja California returns for its seventh year with an all-new location, and the same winning mix of regional art, performance art, live music, and traditional Mexican cuisine.

Cost:  Free admission

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

 

Baja California Sur by the Numbers

Baja California Sur by the Numbers: Counting Down Some of the Signature Figures Associated with the Peninsula’s Southernmost State

Baja California Sur by the Numbers

There is no adequate way to express, in either words or numbers, the incredible natural beauty and immense diversity of marine life found around the Islands of Loreto, the electric blue color of the shallow waters off Balandra Beach near La Paz, the majesty of gray whales nursing their calves in the coves of Bahia Magdalena, the particular quality of light that continues to draw artists to Todos Santos, or the feeling of fighting a 500 lb. blue marlin off Cabo San Lucas. But suffice it to say, if you’ve never visited the state with the most coastline in all of Mexico – Baja California Sur – there are a large number of reasons to do so.

40,041 – Population of Baja California Sur in 1900

During the last 115 years, the population of Baja California Sur – until 1974 it was known only as El Territorio Sur de Baja California – has grown by leaps and bounds. At last count, in 2015, the state was home to over 700,000 residents. Fly-in fishing resorts started popping up just after World War II, and helped drive interest in the region’s incredible natural beauty and abundant big-game sportfishing.  The biggest single jump was between 1970 and 1980 – the transpeninsular highway was finished during this decade – when the population increased by over 68%, from about 128,000 people to 215,000. The numbers have been rising steadily ever since.

10,000 – Estimated number of whales that migrate to Baja California Sur each year

The coasts of Baja California Sur were a frequent stomping grounds for whalers  during the 19th century, but since the giant cetaceans became protected in Mexican waters, the shallow coves and inlets where they like to breed have often become tourist attractions for whale watchers. This is particularly true at Magdalena Bay on the Pacific side, the foremost breeding grounds for gray whales. Grays and humbacks make the longest mammalian migrations – humpbacks travel farther on an annual basis, but a gray whale made the single longest migration, a 14,000 mile round-trip from Sakhalin, Russia to Cabo San Lucas. Blue and fin whales, like humpbacks, breed in the Sea of Cortez.

7,500 – Estimated age in years of the first primitive rock and cave paintings in Baja California Sur

The Great Mural Region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in parts of Baja California and Baja California Sur that features rock and cave paintings of human and animal figures – including fish, snakes, turtles, rabbits and deer. The primarily red and black pictographs are attributed to an ancient people; so say the Cochimis, anyway, the tribal group that later inhabited the central portion of the Baja California peninsula. Although dates of these primitive rock and cave paintings are often disputed, recent carbon dating suggests they may extend back as far as 7,500 years.

Baja California Sur by the Numbers

Primitive rock and cave paintings in Baja California Sur may have originated as many as 7,500 years ago. Photo courtesy of Ashley Curtin.

7,090 – Height in feet of El Picacho in the Sierra de La Laguna

Mountains descend into desert, and the desert falls into the sea…to the East in the Sea of Cortez, and to the West in the Pacific Ocean. All of this majesty is visible…and more…from El Picacho (not to be confused with Picacho del Diablo in the north), the highest peak (7,090) in the Sierra de la Laguna, the mountain range that runs like a spine up the center of Baja California Sur.

1974 – Year Baja California Sur became a state

The Baja California peninsula has been primitive and isolated for much of its existence. In fact, the major indigeous groups were among the most primitive anywhere in North America when they were first encountered by the Spaniards during the 16th century:  the men went naked, they built no permanent structures, and they practised no agriculture. The peninsula was further decimated when former Jesuit missions were picked virtually bare to help found Franciscan missions in Alta California. Fittingly then, given its hardscrabble history, Baja California Sur was the last of Mexico’s 31 states, achieving statehood just over 40 years ago, on October 8, 1974.

1943 – Year Teatro-Cine General Manuel Marquez de Leon opened in Todos Santos

This vintage theater across from the plaza principal in Todos Santos – the peninsula’s southernmost Pueblo Magico – is named for a military hero who helped thwart an attempted U.S. annexation of Baja during the Mexican-American War, and opened when WWII was still raging in Europe. Not only is the theater now an immaculately restored local landmark, it’s the primary cinematic venue used during the town’s annual film festival.

1734 – Martyrdom of Jesuit missionaries starts the Rebellion of the Pericues

The beginning of the end of the Jesuit period in California occurred when two missionaries – Lorenzo Carranco in Santiago, and Nicolas Tamaral in San Jose del Cabo – were killed by rebellious Pericues, the first inhabitants of the southernmost part of the peninsula. The Pericues were probably not indigenous, the theory held by some contemporary archaeologists is that they came from Melanesia on rafts sometime over 10,000 years ago, but they were the most belligerent of the native populations during the Spanish colonial period. The killings of Carranco and Tamaral led to the so-called Rebellion of the Pericues, which lasted from 1734 – 1737. The Pericues were culturally extinct by the end of that century.

1697 – Year of the first permanent settlement in California

Baja was the first California, and from its first permanent settlement in 1697 until 1777 the capital of the Californias was at Loreto in modern day Baja California Sur. The mission at Loreto was the beachhead for 70 years of Jesuit efforts on the peninsula, the project ending only when they were expelled due to court intrigues in 1768. Counting San Bruno, the first true mission founded during the ill-fated 1683 expedition led by Admiral Isidro de Atondo y Antillón , the Jesuits built 18 missions in total. Although Franciscans and Dominicans followed in their footsteps, they did so with decidedly less power and potential converts, thanks to decimated indigenous populations.

1535 – Year Hernan Cortes landed in La Paz

May 3, 2016 marks the 481th anniversary of the birth of Baja Sur’s capital city, an event celebrated annually during the Fiestas de Fundacion in La Paz with an reenactment of the coming of Hernan Cortes and the Spaniards in 1535. The multi day foundation festival also serves as a showcase for local art, culture and cuisine, with activities and concerts centered around the malecon and Plaza Constitucion (also known as Jardin Velasco), the central plaza located across from the old church.

Baja California Sur by the Numbers

Anniversary festivities in Baja Sur’s capital city of La Paz include a reenactment of the coming of the Spaniards in 1535. Photo courtesy of Fiestas de Fundacion de La Paz.

1213 – Weight in pounds of the largest blue marlin caught off Cabo San Lucas

In 2011, angler Richard Biehl of Traverse City, Michigan, and the crew of the 31’ fishing boat Go Deep spent 28 hours fighting – and landing – an enormous blue marlin estimated at 1,213 pounds (the fish was so large it was impossible to fit on the scale, and was weighed with a formula that measured length and girth). Although no official records are kept, it is thought by many to be the largest blue marlin ever caught off Cabo San Lucas, besting an 1,111 pounder reeled in during the 1980s.

875 – Number of fish species in the Sea of Cortez

Famously dubbed “The World’s Aquarium” by the late, great Jacques Cousteau, the Sea of Cortez (AKA the Gulf of Califorina, and, during the Spanish colonial period, the Vermilion Sea) is home to an astonishing amoung of marine diversity:  at last count, over 875 species of fish, 3,000 types of invertebrates, 170 species of sea birds, and 32 different aquatic mammals. Sanctuaries off Cabo Pulmo and in the Loreto Bay National Marine Park shelter the greatest density of underwater life

320 – Average number of days of sunshine per year in Los Cabos

This number is often trotted out by local tourism promoters, to the point where it seems rain and cold weather are unknown entities in cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. They’re known; they’re just damned uncommon. January evenings sometimes drop as low as the 50s Fahrenheit, but daytime temperatures hover above 70 – beach weather – even on the coldest days of the year. The storm season is largely confined to August and September, when weather and water temperatures are at their highest.

18 – 24 – Tyical Winter wind speeds in knots at Los Barriles and La Ventana

Each year, from November to March, powerful El Norte winds blow down the Sea of Cortez, creating world-class windsurfing and kiteboarding conditions off East Cape towns like Los Barriles and La Ventana. Resorts like Captain Kirk’s in La Ventana cater to seasonal big-air riders, but to catch a glimpse of windsports royalty, visit Los Barriles in January, when the charming coastal community hosts the ultimate kiteboarding competition: the Lord of the Wind Showdown, AKA the IKA North American Kitefoil Championship.

14 – Number of golf courses in Los Cabos

Putting an accurate number on golf courses is tricky, since new projects are constantly in the pipeline. But as of this moment, there are 14 operating: nearly all of them first-class, and all built since the late 1980s. Legendary champion Jack Nicklaus has designed almost half of them (six in all), including the breathtaking Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, one of three Los Cabos courses currently rated among the 100 best in the world. Other notable design names include Greg Norman, Tiger Woods and Davis Love III.

8 – Fingers of hard coral reef at Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park

Windsports aren’t the only attraction on the rugged and beautiful East Cape. The national marine sanctuary and UNESCO world heritage site at Cabo Pulmo not only boasts the highest concentration of fish in the Sea of Cortez, but one of the oldest and largest living reefs in North America, with eight fingers of hard coral. Translation: spectacular snorkeling and diving. Spend your nights at an eco-bungalow on the beach, and your days in an undersea fantasia.

Baja California Sur by the Numbers

Playa El Medano is the largest and most popular beach in Los Cabos. Photo courtesy of Medano Beach Cabo.

2 – Length in miles of Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas

You don’t have to be a Spring Breaker to appreciate Playa El Medano. The two mile stretch of golden sand is the center of the social scene in Cabo San Lucas, and is ringed by many of the city’s best restaurants and resorts. Baja Cantina Beach Club and The Office on the Beach each showcase weekly Fiestas Mexicanas with fireworks and folkloric dancing, while Mango Deck is patrolled by a Pancho Villa look-alike named Big Johnson, who carries tequila bottles in holsters, and shot glasses in crisscrossed bandoliers. Safe swimming is available in the placid bay, and high-flying activities options like flyboarding and parasailing are also offered.

1 – Highway that runs the length of the peninsula

Completed in 1973, the Carretara Transpeninsular, or Highway 1, runs the length of the Baja California peninsula, covering over 1000 miles from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. Looking for road trip adventures in Baja Sur? Stay on Highway 1. You’ll wind your way through many of the state’s most popular destinations – from Guerrero Negro, Mulege and Loreto to La Paz and San Jose del Cabo – before finally finishing at kilometer marker 1, near Land’s End and the southernmost point of the peninsula.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about localrestaurants,  hotels  and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.