Parts of southern Baja look like pages of a Dr Seuss illustration: no plant more than the funky boojum tree (cirio), which looks like a giant inverted parsnip with some yellow fluff at the top. You can’t help but smile. Cardón cacti, ocotillo, cholla and other desert marvels thrive in areas that sometimes don’t receive any rain for a decade. Crumbling missions, leafy date palms, coconuts and mangrove swamps are all items to look for as you meander southward.
Remember that mountain time (used in Baja California Sur state) is an hour ahead of Baja California’s (Norte) Pacific time.
The 25,000-sq-km Reserva de la Biosfera El Vizcaíno is one of Latin America’s largest single protected areas. It sprawls from the Península Vizcaíno across to the Sea of Cortez and includes the major gray-whale calving areas of Laguna San Ignacio and Laguna Ojo de Liebre, and the Sierra de San Francisco with its stunning pre- Hispanic rock art – more than 60 sites, many of which only archaeologists can view.
The southernmost part of the peninsula contains La Paz, small seaside towns and villages, and the popular resorts of San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, aka ‘Los Cabos.’ After the quiet isolation of the north, Los Cabos will either be a jarring shock or a welcome relief.