Baja Norte is the Baja that most visitors will ever know. Sadly, a large number of Baja travelers will never make it south of El Rosario, which many claim, is where the true Baja really begins. Nevertheless, the entirety of Baja Norte has innumerable gems from the U.S. border on down towards Baja Sur. Whether it’s camping or surfing the famed surf spots between Ensenada and Tijuana, eating lobster tail in Puerto Nuevo, driving top speed through the barren boulder deserts, or relaxing under a thatched hut palapa before a fishing charter in Bahia de Los Angeles, there’s enough adventure in Baja Norte to warrant coming back time and time again.
Always have Mexican auto insurance when driving in Baja. Without insurance you go to jail if there is an accident, even if it isn’t your fault. Also, it is never a good idea to drive at night. It is required to obtain a tourist card for people who will be traveling south of Ensenada, or who plan on being in Mexico for over 72 hours.
When to Go:
Don’t be fooled…Mexico isn’t always warm. In the winter months, the areas along the Pacific Coast can be downright chilly, and the mountains inland can even receive a fair amount of snow. As you move further south and once the roads turns inland past El Rosario, the temperature tends to warm up to the normal desert temperatures you would expect. Wintertime can also bring heavy rains that turn dirt roads to mudflats, so prepare accordingly.
For surf, summertime is best on the Baja peninsula for warmer water temperatures and large south-southwest swells, though a large number of points from El Rosario north to the border only work on large west-northwest winter swells. The water temperature can be colder off of northern Baja than it is in San Diego, so be sure to bring enough rubber, especially in the winter months.
For fishing check out this Baja fishing calendar that lets you know what is running when and where.
The Vagabond’s Baja Norte Personal Favorites
1. Kayak and camp Bahia de Los Angeles
2. Surf Punta Cabra/Punta San Jose
3. La Bufadora blowhole
4. Surf/Camp La Fonda or Salsipuedes
5. Surf/Camp the sand dunes of El Socorro
6. Drive the Guadelupe Valley from Tecate-Ensenada
7. Quesotacos at Taqueria Paulina, Jesus Maria
8. Surf/Camp “the Wall’ and the “Seven Sisters”
9. Watch the Baja 500 in Santo Tomas
10. Hit the bars of Rosarito, San Felipe, or Ensenada
11. Fall off the map in idyllic Bahia San Luis Gonzaga
Great Baja Links