Parks Reserves National Parks

Mexico has established four major parques nacionales (national parks) on the Baja Peninsula. On the plateau and eastern slope of the Sierra de Juárez, the 49-sq-km (19-sq-mile) Parque Nacional Constitución de 1857 (p111) is barely an hour's drive from Ensenada and a great spot for camping and rock climbing. Its shallow Laguna Hanson is a major stopover for migratory birds.

Reaching altitudes above 3000m (10,000ft) in its namesake mountain range, Parque Nacional Sierra San Pedro Mártir (p114) contains Baja's highest point, the Picacho del Diablo (3046m; 10,154ft). Due to the park's remoteness and difficult access, it receives few visitors and has little infrastructure. It's a good destination for backcountry camping and backpacking in the spring.

The 2077-sq-km (799-sq-mile) Parque Marino Nacional Bahía de Loreto (p179) protects the fish, sealife, islands and water around Loreto. The 70-sq-km (27-sq-mile) Parque Marino Nacional Cabo Pulmo (p207) protects the only living coral reef on the west coast of North America.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES

World Heritage sites are selected for their 'outstanding values' to humanity by the UN Educational,

Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). Three are in Baja California:

■ Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaíno - Unesco's title for the gray-whale mating and calving bays of Laguna San Ignacio (p166) and Laguna Ojo de Liebre (p157).

■ Rock art of the Sierra de San Francisco - Deemed 'the most outstanding collection of rock paintings in the world' by Unesco; see p164.

■ Islands & Protected Areas of Sea of Cortez - Baja's newest World Heritage site encompasses the islands, islets and coastal areas within the Sea of Cortez, including Bahía de Los Ángeles (p150), Cabo Pulmo (p207) and Isla Espíritu Santo (p200).

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