Oceans, mountains, valleys, desert, giant cacti, whales, sea lions, tacos and also beaches – acquisition a Baja California road trip down Mexico’s famed Ruta 1 (Route 1) offers you a lot to play with; end a thousand kilometres of coastline to play with, in fact.
You are watching: La to mexico drive
I visited the Baja California peninsula for the very first time a few years earlier but ns only regulated to explore the south. This summer, I reverted to finish the real dream – to take trip from guideline to toe down the Baja California peninsula, driving native Tijuana come Cabo san Lucas.
Your can be fried Baja California Road expedition Itinerary
In under 2 weeks, i made the drive south and what follows is my suggested Baja California road pilgrimage itinerary consisting of the finest places come visit in Baja California, whereby to stay, control tips, useful details like once you need to refuel (there’s a long stretch v no gas station for thousands of kilometres/miles), visas, and the inquiry that will be on countless of her minds – is Baja California safe?
If friend have more that 2 main for her itinerary, I’ve included a couple of extra stops you can make. And if you’re ~ above a tighter deadline, you can want to take into consideration flying between the north and also south, to skip a pair of days’ driving. Whichever way you carry out your Baja roadway trip, it’s going to give you one epic endure that you’ll be recounting for years…probably years to come.
I’ve consisted of a map of my course at the end.
If you’re in La Paz as part of a much longer Mexico trip, you could be interested in mine post about taking the Baja Ferry in between Topolobampo (for Copper Canyon) and also La Paz.
What come see and do in Tijuana
Tijuana has a call that comes before it. Whether her nervous since someone who’s never been has declared it the many dangerous ar on earth (it’s not – and also there space statistics to earlier this up) or girlfriend imagine Tijuana to be akin come the wild west through shootouts come match, you’re walk to have actually your expectation pleasantly (or disappointingly, depending on your viewpoint) shattered.
If you’re coming from the USA, Tijuana is likely to be the starting point for her Baja California roadway trip. Don’t simply skip with – it’s an amazing city pack with points to do.Here are few of my favourites.
Hit the beach at Playas de Tijuana
It took me 2 trips to realise that the finest of Tijuana is s side. About 10 minute by car from the border, you deserve to dip your toes or snack ~ above fish tacos till your heart’s content. Continue to be for the sunset.
Check out the handmade beer scene
Tijuana’s nightlife isn’t just neon cocktails and cheap tequila shots. The city produces part fine craft brews i beg your pardon you can consume in some an extremely funky brewery settings.
Go shopping at Mercado Hidalgo
Tijuana is busting with shopping opportunities but if you’re in search of something much more than Nike, Mecado Hidalgo if focused on neighborhood produce and also goods.
Photo opportunities: significant Arch and the banderas monumental (gigantic mexico flag).
Where to stay in Tijuana
Aqua Rio Hotel –A budget plan hotel in a an excellent location with really friendly management. I’ve stayed here before and would happy recommend it.
Lifestyle Hostel– if you’re ~ above a very low budget, friend can’t beat this hostel for price and location (across the road from the beach). I’ve likewise stayed here.
Tijuana Marriott – if you want a an ext upmarket stay, the Tijuana Marriott is going come be one of your best alternatives in the city.
Tip: check reviews before you book. House is generally safe however some hotels food on the quick turn roughly of tourists and will help themselves to her valuables when you’re out. Rod to hotels that have plenty of positive reviews.
Check the end my connected post: The Ultimate overview to Visiting Tijuana from san Diegowhich consists of what to see and also do, whereby to eat, tours to take and also practical details like how to cross the border from san Diego to Tijuana.
Where ns didn’t obtain to but you can want to
Tecate – a brief drive east of Tijuana, Tecate is the town where they brew among Mexico’s most renowned beers called… Tecate.
Rosarito beach – a 30 minute drive from Tijuana, Rosarito coast is house to a gigantic film studio where ocean scenes indigenous Titanic and Pearl Harbour to be filmed. It looks fun yet if girlfriend have minimal time, I’d press on south where you’re walking to find much more beautiful beaches.
Tips because that driving native Tijuana
Driving from mountain Diego come Cabo mountain Lucas? examine out my connected post: 3 work in mountain Diego – What to See and Do
What come see and also do in Ensenada
Less than 2 hrs south of Tijuana, Ensenada is a an excellent second protect against on her Baja California roadway trip, no least due to the fact that the nearby Valle de Guadalupe has vineyards the can contend with those increase in Napa sink for a snip of the cost and with a portion of the tourism.
Go wine tasting in the Valle de Guadalupe
Wine tasting is height of my favourite points to do in Baja California. In fact, I delighted in it therefore much, I composed a entirety post around it: How to go Wine Tasting in Ensenada.
Ibooked with Baja Wine and Sun tours because, girlfriend know, don’t drink and also drive, kids. I’ve additionally managed to obtain you an exclude, 10% off with this tour compamy. Just use the code bromheads.tv as soon as you email to book. You can uncover out more about Baja Wine and also Sun tours here.
Visit La Bufadora
Who doesn’t love a sea geyser that shoots water into the air? ns confess, i didn’t fairly make it to La Bufadora (I reprimand the wine tasting and also the GPS). To make certain you get there, you can want to book a tour.
Go ziplining over the canyons
Baja California is canyon nation which screams – ‘zipline’.You can publication a ziplining adventure here.
Don’t miss:Two for one beers in Hussong’s – Ensenada’s earliest bar wherein you can listen come mariachi play every night.
Where to remain in Ensenada
Hotel Coral & Marina– as well as being among the ideal hotels in Ensenada, you gain the benefits of a pool and also proximity to the centre.
Hotels Sausalito– a clean and also safe budget plan option (under $50) simply off route 1. Bonus: there’s a fun craft beer brewery, Agua Mala, simply opposite. This is where I stayed.
Tips because that driving indigenous Ensenada come Baja Sur
What to see and also do in Guerrero Negro
Here’s the rub v Guerrero negro – visit throughout peak (whale watching) season and you’re in a prime spot. Visit when the whales aren’t home and also Guerrero black is favor an the end of season coast town, which is exactly how it was when I visited. One of two people way, this is likely to it is in your very first overnight stop because leaving Baja Norte and also you’ll love the place if only for the promise of acquiring out that the car and also resting her head (and back) for a while.
Out that season, most visitors role in because that the night and also are out by the an initial light that day. If you’re there once the whales are around, plainly you’d invest a job doing that.
Whale watching (December come April)
And we’re not talking about any old whales right here – we’re talking about Californian grey whales and, in particular, your (not so little) infant calves. Trying to find a video clip to share with you, ns was horrified at the number of ‘petting grey whales’ videos the I saw – because as responsible visitors we all recognize not to communicate with the wildlife. But then I read this article on nationwide Geographic by a man who’s been photographing whales because that 20 years. Apparently, the whales in this component of Baja are different – castle initiate and court person attention, make this suffer all the an ext special. Next time i take a Baja California road trip, this is going in ~ the optimal of mine list. You deserve to watch a video clip of the whale petting here.
You can discover a choice of whale watching tourism on TripAdvisor.
Rest & Refuel
If you’re visiting Guerrero Negro outside whale watching season, you’ll spend the first 10 minutes reasoning ‘I great it to be whale city hall season’. Once you get over that fact, you’ll just be happy to have actually a rest from the road. Mine room had actually a small patio whereby I appreciated a beer and also read my publication under the mexican sun prior to feasting ~ above food the didn’t come out of a plastic packet.
I opted because that a room just off Ruta 1 to proceed the journey in the morning – Hotel Los Caracoles– i beg your pardon came through a tiny patio and a kind shower. Ns ate in ~ Malarrimo Restaurant, a restaurant simply down the road which had great fish and a nice garden-style courtyard to relax with a glass the wine.
Where ns didn’t acquire to but you could want to
Guerrero black was the first sensible pitstop after ~ leaving Baja Norte and also Loreto next on my list. However, there space a few additional stops in between Guerrero Negro and also Loreto if you have time.
San Ignacio – a small mission town set on a lake, mountain Ignacio provides inland water – a sight you won’t have actually seen for a while.
Santa Rosalía – a huge bay and also black sand beach, ns would have stopped here but having went to the southern before, ns was concentrated on getting to La Paz.
Mulegé – you’ve gained canyons, beaches, kayaking and – precise – palm fringed shorelines. In fact, several of Baja California’s many iconic coast shots space taken in and around Mulegé. Please visit and tell me exactly how much ns missed out, due to the fact that I feel like I did miss out on something once I skipped past Mulegé. I deserve to only blame car brain for mine decision.
What come see and do in Loreto
I don’t know whether it was the possibility of a couple of nights in the same spot or having finally made it two thirds of the way down the peninsula however I was conquer with delight when I reached Loreto. It could also be the this mission city is just so beautiful the it came to be one that the highlights of mine trip.
Wander the historical streets
Missionaries moved right into Loreto in the 1600s and the over there is a actual sense of background as girlfriend wander approximately the old town.
Stroll along the malecón
By the moment you with Loreto, you’re in Baja Sur proper and en route you’ll have seen the ocean that probably attracted you to this part of the human being in the very first place. Gain it there is no a key of windscreen in prior of her eyes – take it a stroll along the malecón.
Tip: don’t forget to acquire a shot of the Loreto sign by the beach. There’s a sister authorize in La Paz if you desire a matching set.
Where to stay in Loreto
La Mision Loreto– on the sea front and right in the centre, if you’re after historic boutique luxury, La Mision is difficult to beat.
Hotel Plaza Loreto – spacious, affordable rooms in a good spot in the center of Loreto with a cute courtyard for relaxing at night and an attached cafe for coffee in the morning. This is whereby I stayed.
Driving tips from Loretoby the moment you struggle Loreto, the steering becomes plain sailing (if you gain what i mean). Journeys hardly ever take an ext than 4 or five hours, the views are varied and also there space plenty of fuel stops along the way.if you’re noble of driving, you can want to continue on by bus – connections are good, prices reasonable and most bus terminals are situated within the major towns and cities in the south.
What to see and also do in La Paz
Baja California is one of my favourite locations in Mexico (said through the girl who’s checked out nearly half of Mexico’s states). And within Baja California, La Paz is my favourite spot. I first visited a pair of years earlier and on this return pilgrimage to the Baja peninsula, it was the promise the La Paz that helped me press on through the long desert drive.
Swim through the Sea Lions in the Sea of Cortz
Apart from the turquoise waters that the Sea the Cortez, the significant benefit of swimming v the sea lions in La Paz, versus whale watching, is you’re not tied come the seasons. Take it a day-long watercraft trip and also get to discover some the the areas best beaches ~ above Isla Espiritu Santo.
See the sunsets
The sunsets in La Paz space sublime. They collection over the water, appropriate in prior of the malecón i m sorry handily has actually plenty that bars, cafes and restaurants to complete the experience.
Go sculpture spotting
La Paz is dotted with impressive sculptures, usually through a nautical or s theme. Friend don’t should walk really far prior to stumbling throughout a huge peal that is double the size of your mean human.
Tip: There is a lot to see and also do in La Paz therefore I’d recommend continuing to be a few nights here. It’s much much less touristy 보다 Los Cabos so uneven you’re looking to tuck yourself away in a will surrounded by us vacationers, La Paz will be the better place to linger.
Check the end my related post: 10 finest Things to carry out in La Paz Mexico
Where to stay in La Paz
Hyatt Place– a beautiful clues in the marina with a reliable brand the gets good reviews.
La Perla– among the many prominent big hotels the is slap-bang in the centre of La Paz.
Hotel Lorimar– simply a block indigenous the sea, this is a great budget choice for under $50 a night. This is where I stayed.
What to see and also do in Todos Santos
Todos Santos is en course from La Paz come Los Cabos and absent the an extremely famously called hotel, this spot would barely be on the map. Together it is, Hotel California paint, etc the crowds and tourism in the type of tequila bars, restaurants and souvenir shops have actually popped up as a result.
Visit Hotel California
There is far-reaching dispute online around whether the famously called Hotel California in Todos Santos is the hotel behind the renowned Eagles track of the very same name. The tape deny it and, I believe after legal action, the hotel no longer cases it. However, over there is a far-ranging body the fans who can’t shiver the similarities between the ar of the hotel and also the text of the song:
“On a dark desert highway..” i beg your pardon is whereby you will find Todos Santos.
“Warm smell of colitas, increasing up v the air..” colitas is a word provided in Mexico to describe the tip of the marijuana plant.
“I heard the mission bells…” and also there is, that course, a mission in Todos Santos (Nuestra Señora del Pilar de La Paz).
Regardless that the truth behind the song and also the hotel name, visiting Hotel California is a fun prevent on her Baja California roadway trip. I’d extremely recommend spending at night below because, if nothing else,you’ll obtain a high-end, beautiful decorated hotel through a cute plunge pool.
For the record: the was feasible to check out any time girlfriend like and also you leave, which was a relief because I had a trip to catch.
Tip: over there isn’t a substantial amount to carry out in Todos Santos besides visit the hotel. There room a few nice restaurants and also cafés (I appreciated Todos Pecadosfor dinner and also CAFELIXfor breakfast). So, if you’re driven for time, I’d introduce you simply drive through.
What to see and do in Los Cabos
Let’s start with the name – Los Cabos is the cumulative name that covers both Cabo san Lucas and also San Jose del Cabo. Most human being will be an ext familiar with the former, which is home to large resorts and Americanized restaurants like Señor Frogs, payment is commonly in dollars and it doesn’t take a great deal to forget the you’re south of the USA border.
San Jose del Cabo still has some of this trappings however offers a much much more local experience. The 2 Cabos are associated by a short motorway corridor and also I’d introduce visiting both to to compare the two.
Hit the Beach
You’ve took trip from pointer to toe under the Baja California peninsular – ns think you’ve earned part beach time. Shot Lover’s beach (or the connected Divorce coast if friend prefer). You’ll discover surf in ~ Zippers. Just avoid the main public beaches unless you desire to beat sardines in a tin.
Explore the art galleries in san Jose del Cabo
If you’re sick of the souvenir stands touting t-shirts with ‘One tequila, two tequila, 3 tequila, floor’, invested some time browsing the neighborhood art galleries of mountain Jose del Cabo.
Party prefer it’s spring break
I once ended up, quite by accident, in Cancun during spring break… with my father. Ns know, ns know, not one of my proudest moments. However it gave me sufficient insight to imply that you skip Los Cabos end this famous holiday. However, if you desire to cut loosened and acquire your party on, Cabo mountain Lucas is by much the greatest party town to do it during your Baja California roadway trip.
Where to stay in Los Cabos
Casa Natalia – by far and also away my optimal recommendation because that this road trip. Casa Natalia is boutique deluxe in mountain Jose del Cabo. You can read my full review the this hotel here.
The will at Pedregaland Esperanza – an Auberge will are the two to choose between if you’re looking to throw down some cash because that a high-end resort experience to wash away the wear that the road.
Baja Cactus Hostel is among only 2 hostels in Cabo san Lucas (the various other is Bed & Breakfast 1 Block native the Beach). I stayed at Baja Cactus on my an initial trip to Baja California and also it to be a great budget option as a solo traveller.
Baja California road trip – helpful information
How long do you have to drive indigenous Tijuana to Cabo mountain Lucas?
The journey from Tijuana to Cabo mountain Lucas is 1,625 kilometres and, according to Google maps, takes about 20 hours in total. The course, you’re not going to drive this all in one go. The itinerary over features seven stops and also in theory you can drive one way in 7 days. However, ns wouldn’t introduce it. You’d spend many of her time in the car and the rest of your time decompressing your spine from hrs of driving. That would certainly leave very tiny time to explore the destinations.
I would recommend spending 2 weeks if you’re steering one method and adding another 4 days come a main if you’re act a return expedition by car. There space some fun spots in the north, a couple of decent sites about the centre yet the real highlights room to be uncovered in the southern so I’d suggest concentrating most of her time there.
Driving one method or both ways
I journey one means and ns was an extremely relieved that i wouldn’t need to ply the same route back. For the an initial four hours, Baja California’s enormous desert landscape and also gigantic cacti (which are few of the greatest in the world) will certainly drop your jaw. Noþeles after that is just repetition and also spending second 20 hrs re-seeing the same sites didn’t win me together a fun way to spend my life.
If you setup ahead, you deserve to usually pick up cheap flights native Cabo or La Paz earlier north (check right here with Skyscanner). If flying right into the USA is also expensive, look in ~ flights come Tijuana and also cross the border by foot.
Most vehicle rental service providers will allow you to collect and also drop off your rental in various locations. This usually adds to the cost yet some of the money will be recouped by not having actually to salary fuel because that a return trip.
Hiring a car
As I’ve already mentioned, that should typically be cheaper and also easier to hire a automobile once you’re in ~ Mexico fairly than bringing the from the USA. Rentalcarswas the cheapest once I did my automobile hire and they have actually offices in many of the major stops in Baja California.
Obviously, if you’re driving your own auto you will should make the return journey so make certain you develop in enough time.
Do you need a 4WD?
I didn’t have actually a four-wheel-drive or off-road vehicle and also was may be to acquire to every location I want to explore.
What around taking the bus?
You could be pleasantly pleased to discover that over there are an extremely decent bus relationships throughout Baja California. In fact, the an initial time i visited, ns travelled around Baja Sur simply by bus. And, if you acquire south and are ailing of driving, getting between Loreto, Todos Santos, La Paz and also Los Cabos is one affordable breeze. I’ve not tried the busses in the North but I imagine it’s equally simple to travel in between Tijuana and Ensenada. What doesn’t look funny is sitting on a bus travelling in between north and also south. However, if you’re travelling solo and on budget, getting roughly by bus is do-able. Just hook up with some neighborhood tours to get to those spots the the buses don’t go.
You can read much more about acquisition the bus within Baja California in my related post around La Paz.
End come end, native Tijuana to Cabo san Lucas through bus, the journey takes about 24 hours and costs around $100, one-way. There room at least two buses every day and also you can find the schedule and prices here.
While Google may predict 20 hours, the real-time will be longer when you include in stops and, inevitably, obtaining stuck behind slow-moving trucks on winding mountain roads. Together an estimate, ns think ns took an extra 5 come 10 hours throughout the entirety drive because that coffee breaks, taco snacks and also sitting behind lorries.
What’s the moment in Baja California
On the topic of time, over there is a one-hour time difference between Baja Norte, which is top top Pacific typical Time and also Baja Sur, i beg your pardon is on hill Standard Time. So, you’ll shed an hour when you leaving the north and also hit the southern (it happens at the north/south border).
Routes and maps
It’s pretty difficult to gain lost in Baja California – obtain on route 1 and stay top top it until you struggle the bottom. And in a human being of Google Maps and Maps.me, you could wonder why I’m discussing maps in ~ all. Well, because cartoonesque maps by got Baja are the cutest maps you’ll probably ever before see. You deserve to pick them up in most stops in Baja California and there are interaction maps virtual here if you’re plan hotel and restaurant stops.
Refuelling follow me the method (gas and also food)
You really need to setup your fuel stops as you happen from north to southern Baja California (more details over under driving tips from Ensenada). Pemex (the well-known gas terminal in Mexico) is otherwise common in both the north and south the Baja.
And it’s not just your automobile that will need refuelling. In and also around the significant towns and cities, there is no end of food options. However, top top that lengthy stretch native Ensenada come Guerrero Negro, there was just one taco stop and also if you don’t like swarming flies with your carne asada, friend should fill a picnic (clearly not the tacos above – they to be divine). Calimax is a popular supermarkets chain with an excellent fresh food and water. OXXO (equivalent come 7-Eleven) will serve her packaged snacks and also coffee needs.
Packing tip:I travel with a Swiss army Knife which includes a have the right to opener, bottle opener, knife (good because that slicing avodado, cheese and tomato) and also a witnessed (perfect for cutting bread).Here’s the one i use.
Related post: The just Packing perform You Will ever before Need (with printable checklist)
Driving tips because that Baja California Don’t confuse her Rosario, Rosarito(s) and Rosalia
If you had to read that title twice, you’ll have actually an idea just how easy it is to end up in the wrong town in Baja California. No something you want to do as soon as you have actually over 1000 kilometres of roadway to traverse.
Going from phibìc to south you have:
Rosarito –close come Tijuana – the place with the movie studio stated above.
El Rosario – nearly 400km (6hr 30) drive south of Tijuanaand the last chance to refuel before heading south to Guerrero Negro. It’s a tempting overnight protect against to carve up the lengthy distance between Baja Norte and also Baja Sur…except there is nothing there because that tourists. I think I saw one taco shack in the rearview mirror.
Rosarito, close to Santa Rosaliíta – also en path to Guerrero Negro, also nothing come be watched here.
Santa Rosalía, end on the eastern of the peninsula. Ns didn’t do it ~ above this trip yet I believe it’s a beautiful stop in between Guerrero Negro and also Loreto.
Far it is in it because that me to give you a great on roadway safety. Yet I do want you to come back to mine blog and you must be lively to perform that so… gift alert is most likely going come be your biggest difficulty when the see starts to feeling samey, just as you’re tackling bend after bend with no coffee stop in sight. Share up with energy drinks if girlfriend think you’ll need them, gain some (offline) playlists stored on your phone and also take a rest if you need to.
I wouldn’t introduce driving throughout the dark. And also having to attend to sheer drops and unlit roads, carjackings have actually taken location on Ruta 1 and also we all understand that criminals work ideal at night as soon as there room no various other cars around.
I travelled throughout July and also August and was may be to publication rooms as small as a day ahead. If there is a specific hotel you desire to visit, I’d introduce planning points a bit more ahead. However, the advantage of booking last-minute/as you go is thatyou have the right to see exactly how you feel when you get to every spot. Carry out you desire to rest? do you want to explore? do you want to push on?
Mobile signal along the route
Largely, you’ll have actually mobile signal in the north and the south however during that central stretch wherein fuel train station disappearso does her mobile connection.
Do you require a visa?
Want to find out about Mexican visas? see my connected post: Visiting Tijuana from mountain Diego – The ultimate Guide
How much does that cost?
I took a basic car (but obtained an upgrade!) and also generally stayed in budget plan hotels v one splurge at Hotel California. I drank to my heart’s content however I’m not much of a shopper. Versus that background, here’s what i spent:
$475 – vehicle hire
$130 – Fuel (including a few toll fees at roughly $2 every time)
$485 – Accommodation
$425 – day to day expenses (food, activities etc.)
Is Baja California safe?
I’ve written about Mexico and safety an ext than once. You have the right to read my an ext detailed short articles here, here and here. I’m going out on a limb when I say this however I have actually no concerns recommending a Baja California roadway trip. I’ve done it twice and also had no problems or problems either time. That course, shit deserve to happen yet you’d have to be in the wrong location at the wrong time, which can take place in any part of the world, not just Mexico.
See more: Tacrolimus Cream Over The Counter, Tacrolimus: Topical Ointment (0
Map of my Baja California road trip itinerary
And that’s my guide to acquisition a Baja California roadway trip. Got any questions? allow me know in the comments below and I’ll perform my finest to answer them.
My various other Mexico Blog Posts
20 Fun things To perform In Tijuana Mexico
11 finest Things To do in La Paz Mexico
Swimming through Sea Lions in Mexico – Isla Espiritu Santo Tour
Guide to Swimming through Whale Sharks in Mexico
How To walk Wine Tasting in Ensenada
Taking the Baja Ferry from Topolobampo come La Paz in Mexico
Visiting Tijuana from mountain Diego – The ultimate Guide
Things To perform In The Copper Canyon – whereby To Visit
The Copper Canyon take trip Guide: Planning her Trip
Best things to carry out in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Is Mexico Safe? From someone Who’s Been
How come Drink Tequila favor a Mexican
Quick and Easy guacamole Recipe: native Mexico
Blog posts and packing lists for planning her trip
The just Packing list You’ll ever Need(with printable checklist)