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Great Escape

Begin your Mexican adventure in the winelands of Valle de Guadalupe, before venturing into cowboy country. Next, head to Bahía de los Ángeles to witness ‘the world’s aquarium’, then drive on to explore colonial towns. Finally, take to the azure waters of La Paz, in the south of the peninsula.

BAJA CALIFORNIA

A man paddle boards off the island of Espiritu Santo, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in the Gulf of California in the Mexican state of Baja California
@kevinegperry PHOTOGRAPHS JUSTIN FOULKES @justinfoulkes

Plan your trip

1 In Valle de Guadalupe, taste fne wines and tuck into an abundance of seafood and local produce (p48).

2 Head to San Quintín and the foothills of the Sierra San Pedro Mártir to discover the way of the cowboys (p50).

3 Spot sea lions, whale sharks and manta rays at Bahía de los Ángeles, an isolated bay bordered by mountains (p52).

4 Learn about the history of Baja California through the Jesuit mission churches of San Ignacio and Loreto (p54.)

5 Known for its white-sand beaches, clear warm waters and excellent snorkelling, La Paz makes for a relaxing end to your trip (p56).

MAP ILLUSTRATION: ALEX VERHILLLE. PHOTOGRAPHS: JUSTIN FOULKES, TRINETTE READ/BLEND IMAGES/ALAMY, FRAZER HARRISON/GETTY, OMAR VEGA/LATIN CONTENT/GETTY

HOW TO GET THERE

Aeroméxico has services to both Tijuana and La Paz via Mexico City (from £535; aeromexico.com). You can also fly to either destination with KLM, although it’s more expensive and involves another stop in Amsterdam. British travellers don’t need a visa to visit Mexico, but you will need to fill in a landing form. You’ll then be given a tourist card which you must keep until you leave the country. There is no charge for the tourist card but it costs £13 to replace.

HOW TO GET AROUND

Public transport is very limited within Baja California and the best way to access remote areas is to rent a car (from £105 for a week; europcar.com). There are Pemex petrol stations in most towns, but long stretches of road without them so it’s wise to refuel whenever possible. When driving in Baja you’ll encounter various military checkpoints, where you may be asked to display your passport and tourist card.

HOW LONG TO SPEND

This itinerary could be completed in as little as two weeks, however, a longer trip would allow more time to break up the lengthy stretches of driving required to travel from the top of the peninsula right down to the tip. More time would be needed if you decide to spend a couple of days staying on Espíritu Santo island as well as in La Paz.

WHAT TO BUDGET

Petrol costs are low throughout Baja California (from around 70p per litre), particularly once you’re south of Ensenada. Dining out can be done very cheaply, with roadside tacos and burritos available for around £1 each. Accommodation is the most expensive and variable factor, ranging from £20 per night for budget accommodation up to over £400 per night for first-rate hotels and picturesque glamping locations.

WHEN TO GO

Winter is an excellent time to visit Baja California as it means avoiding the summer heat and provides opportunities to see grey whales, who return to the Sea of Cortez each year to give birth. The whales begin arriving in November, and can usually be spotted until March. The average daily temperature hovers around 30°C from June to November, but can drop to 21°C in February before reaching highs of 37°C in May.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - October 2017
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