10 Things You Should Do When in visiting the Baja Islands
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The Baja California Peninsula stretches across the west coast of the state of California and Mexico. Even though the islands are located in two countries, most of the habitat, conservation, and ecological issues are shared by both countries.
The 775-mile island is well known on the planet to house magnificent natural habitats, some of the best diving spot, and produces the exceptional wine. However, the island offers far more than the usual touristy spots, you can also view some of the prehistoric cave paintings, witness the spectacular migratory whales and swim in its pristine waters. Here is a list of the best 10 things to do when you visit the Baja California Peninsula.
First stop - Balandra
Balandra is one of the main attractions for the Baja Islands. Visiting this place is mandatory for those who want swim in the most pristine waters of the island but with a bonus. The area is a natural habitat for manta rays; they will swim safely away from you as you approach them. Also, Balandra is surrounded by magnificent sand dunes which are completely circular in shape. It heads out into the Sea of Cortez and the pristine blue water only reaches about the waist level. This is a perfect location to bring your kids as you can effortlessly guide them to cross one side from the other. The sea is even calmer in the bay compared to other places within the island.
Second destination – Cabo Pulmo National Park
The park is situated 60 miles from the renowned city of Cabo San Lucas, north of Baja California Sur. Naturalist and scuba diving aficionados flock this area because of the beautiful reefs that surround the area. During the 20th century, the place was plagued with overfishing and exploitation. Not until it made into a national park that it has recovered from the ecological damages in the past. Now, the Cabo Pulmo National Park houses the oldest of the three reefs within the coast of North America. The said reefs are about 20,000 years old and boast hundreds of flora and fauna.
Third on the list - El Mogote
El mogote is known as a sanctuary for the majestic whale sharks. During the winter months, these creatures flock the area as part of their migratory habits and serves as a nursery for the young whales. Also, mangroves filled the area and a perfect place for boating or kayaking. Bring your loved ones to witness a romantic sunrise or sunset in El Mogote. El Mogote is located just across the bay from one the flourishing city of La Paz.
Fourth stop – Isla Espiritu Santo
Isla Espiritu Santo is the 12th largest island of Mexico, which means Holy Spirit Island. Many people considered the place to be the most beautiful among other islands in the peninsula. You can spend the day walking in its sandy beaches while enjoying the view full of sea lions and other sea creatures untouched by human hands. You can also explore the waters on board a boat or by kayak and witness the thriving underwater world. It is one of the several islands in the Sea of Cortez that were protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Bioreserves.
Fifth on the list - Laguna de San Ignacio
The recently proclaimed area boasts of sea creatures that visit it every winter seasons. Blue whales, dolphins, turtles and seals make a stop here during their migration to escape the icy cold weather in some places. In the past years, locals who live in the area used to fish and hunts whales as their way of living. They now changed their habits and vowed to protect their local biosphere. The Laguna de San Ignacio remains as the only nursery for the gray whole and is part of the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino.
Sixth stop - La Ventana
Now, if you like a little bit of adrenaline rush, head straight to La Ventana. Don’t let the small fishing village fool you. The place is known for stronger winds and thrill seekers flocks the area for kite surfing, snorkeling, kayaking and diving.
Seventh on the list – Mulege
Mulege is one of the nature’s marvels in the planet. It is situated in the most parched desert in the world, Mulege is an oasis. The place is located at the foot of a river valley and was blessed with abundance of fruits and vegetables. However, there is another side of Mulege, a dark and somehow peculiar past. Mulege serves as a prison but without bars and facilities to keep inmates inside a fortress. Prisoners were allowed to move around the place and even raise families of their own. It was a time when they were few roads that leads out of Mulege. An escape from the town would only means death to those who wants to escape.
Eight stop - Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco
The island is indeed rich with natural marvels, the Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a mountain range in the city of Mulege; it contains art pictographs of the early settlers of Baja California peninsula. Experts believed that the drawings goes back at least a thousand years old, some considered to go over 7,000 years ago. The markings commonly in red but can sometimes contain black inks shows images of tools, animals, humans and their ancient rituals. Also, experts believed that the Cochimi people, the indigenous inhabitants of the islands made the markings. There are about 250 caves in El Vizcaino Bioreserves.
Ninth on the list - Todos Santos
The artist in you will surely appreciate Todos Santos, a small town within the Baja California Sur. Locals dubbed the place as Pueblo Magico or magical town because of its contribution as a cultural landmark in the region. Missionaries founded the place during the early 18th century, since then it became a center of arts and crafts. Many artists started to open their galleries, their exhibition in the area and made their home in Todos Santos. The area also serves as a home to beautiful beaches and flourishing agricultural industry, this makes Todos Santos as one of the most popular places in the region.
Last but definitely not the least - Wine course in the Valle de Guadalupe
Missionaries also have a great influence on Valle de Guadalupe as they also founded the place. Back in the days, Spanish colonialists brought grape vines with them. Surprisingly, the vine flourish and the Spaniards banned the production. Many of the missionaries refused to cut down the vines production this made wine production possible until today. The largest production of Mexican wine is in the municipality of Ensenada. The surrounding places also boast their local made wine and you can taste them in one of the local tours offered in the city.
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