The skeletal Baja Peninsula, separated from the Mexican mainland by the narrow Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) consists of the bare bones of crinkled mountains sliced through by parched canyons. This pitiless landscape, infused with an ethereal beauty, has always been a challenge to human settlement, from the indian hunters of millennia ago to the Jesuit colonists of the Spanish era. Farmers still scratch a living in miniscule oases and fishermen scour the seas off the bays and cliffs of the craggy coast.
In modern times development has centred on the southern coast which attracts millions of visitors every year lured by the luxury resorts of Cabo. However, away from the fleshpots, you can explore the real Baja, its exquisite, other-worldly interior, its quiet colonial towns, the uninhabited flour-white beaches and aquamarine bays. What better way than in by self-drive car-hire: travel the trans-peninsula Highway 1, completed only in 1973, and discover along it or within easy reach the lesser-known delights of Baja. You’ll find prehistoric cave paintings, abandoned missions and national parks - home to a surprisingly robust wildlife. Stop off at the slow-paced towns San Ignacio and Loreto, both recalling the style and elegance of the Spanish era and from where, January to April, you can view whales and dolphins up close.