Playa Buenaventura

After winding away from the coast for several kilometers, the Transpeninsular hits the water again at Playa Buenaventura, a small beach at Km 94.5 that's taken up by the bay's cushiest accommodation options. Resort Hotel San Buenaventura ( 153-0408, 155-5616 r US 69-99) is an attractive stone building with about a dozen small but comfy rooms, each with its own shaded patio. It's well worth dropping a little extra for the oceanfront room if you can. Four kayaks are available for guests to use at...

Multiculturalism

Baja's population consists largely of mestizos, individuals of mixed indigenous and European heritage, mostly immigrants or descendants of immigrants from mainland Mexico. But you'll also notice the peninsula has its share of fair-skinned, light-haired Mexicans. This is due partially to Baja's proximity to the USA, but also to the number of English and other European immigrants who came to the region in the late 1800s (see p29). Baja's 1500 or so remaining indigenous people, often known by the...

Sport

Two sports that are classically Mexican - bullfighting and soccer - are as prevalent in Baja as they are on the mainland. Tijuana's Plaza de Toros Monumental (p81) is one of the world's most important bullrings, attracting matadors from Spain and throughout Latin America. There's also an important bullring in Mexicali (p136). As in Latin America, soccer in Mexico is of utmost importance. The Mexican national soccer team is known as El Tricolor or simply 'El Tri'. The team qualified for the 2006...

History Of Baja Surfing

For surfers, Baja California has long been considered a land of adventure, opportunity, and at times, high drama. The first incursions into areas south of Tijuana began in the late 1940s. By 1963 Endless Summer star Mike Hynson, along with Huntington Beach's Bill Fury, ventured 120km (75 miles) south of Ensenada. Two years later the Windansea Surf Club made the first voyage out to Isla de Todos Santos (p109) to tackle the giant surf. For thorough coverage of surfing in Baja California, pick...

Sierra de San Francisco

Part of the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve and a designated World Cultural Heritage Site, the Sierra de San Francisco is home to the most spectacular manifestations of Baja California's unique cultural heritage pre-Hispanic rock art. To date, researchers have located about 500 pre-Columbian rock-art sites in an area of roughly 11,200 sq km (4300 sq miles) in this mountainous region north of San Ignacio. The gateway to the Sierra is the village of San Francisco de la Sierra. San Francisco's...

El Arco Pozo Alemn Misin Santa Gertrudis

About 27km (17 miles) south of Guerrero Negro, a 42km (26-mile) gravel road leads eastward to El Arco, a 19th-century gold-mining town that now serves as a supply center for surrounding ranchos. The area's real highlight, however, is the nearby ghost town of Pozo Alem n, a few miles east on a sometimes rugged dirt road. Its ruins include caves, several residences, the smelter, a blacksmith's shop, a still-functioning windmill and water system, and a company store with items still on the...

Puerto San Carlos

Sometimes windy and dusty, other times shrouded in fog, Puerto San Carlos has a faraway coastal feel and is home to superb whale-watching. Although cetacean spotting is a staple of the tourist economy, San Carlos's deepwater port - the major outlet for much of the produce grown on the Llano de Magdalena - is the town's real breadwinner. Unlike Puerto L pez Mateos, San Carlos has a very good selection of lodgings. Nearby beaches are fine for camping, clamming and fishing. All Puerto San Carlos'...

Around Loreto

South of Loreto, the Transpeninsular snakes through endless stands of card n cacti and mesquite trees against a backdrop of jagged peaks and rocky uplifts with spectacular views over the Sea of Cortez. Four miles south of Loreto, the Transpeninsular passes the Loreto Bay development at Nopol . After 26km 16 miles it passes Puerto Escondido. Engulfed on nearly all sides by hills, this dramatically sheltered bay was to be the sight of a massive Fonatur development with moorings for 300 yachts,...

Puerto Lpez Mateos

Protected by the barrier island of Isla Magdalena, Puerto L pez Mateos is one of Baja's best whale-watching sites. The bay is narrow here, so you don't have to travel as far by boat to see the whales. Boca de Soledad, only a short distance north of the port, boasts the highest density of whales anywhere along the peninsula. It's also a great place for sea kayaking compared with Puerto San Carlos to the south, there are plenty of spots to launch along the shore, the bay is more sheltered and...