A recently released big-screen high budget documentary about Baja OCEAN OASIS gave the world a spectacular perspective of this unique land when it hit the San Diego Natural History Museum's new theater back in 2001. It is now getting exposure in IMAX theatres all of the country.

      Over 5 million years ago the Baja peninsula was gradually torn from the mainland by the geological forces that continually change the Earth's surface. Today Baja continues to move slowly northwest, along with the state of California, as a part of the Pacific Oceanic Plate. The rift created from this movement, the Sea of Cortez, is one of the youngest and richest seas on the planet.

      The political history of Baja, although not as dramatic as the geographic evolution of the peninsula, is just as interesting. When the United States offered Mexico $25 million for upper California and lower (Baja) California, Mexico decided to pass on the deal. As a result the Mexican-American war started on May 11, 1846. After 2 years of fighting, much of it located in Mulege and La Paz, a peace treaty was drafted in 1848. The U.S. now offered $15 million for the Californias. In a classic counter-offer proposal Mexico agreed to let the U.S. have upper California and New Mexico if it could keep Baja. The U.S. agreed (thank God!) and even threw in some land east of present day Mexicali so Mexico would have a connecting land-bridge to the Baja peninsula. Baja was then forgotten about by almost everyone for over 100 years.

      While 'northern' California experienced rapid growth which started with the 1849 gold rush, Mexico's Baja California sat hidden below the border waiting to be discovered. Statehood finally came to Baja California (northern Baja) in 1952 and finally to Baja California Sur (southern Baja) in 1974. It has only been during the last two decades that the true treasures of this forgotten peninsula have been discovered and appreciated by the general populace. Baja California, once thought of as a barren wasteland (sound like Alaska?) is now coming of age.

      Baja's role as an inconspicuous hideaway is quietly merging with its new image as an upscale destination. Although Baja will continue to offer those wonderfully funky off-the-pavement destinations, the upscale destinations are increasing in number at an impressive clip. A recent edition of Conde Nast's Traveler Magazine has included several Baja destinations in it's "Top 100" list. Baja garnered 3 of the top 10 resorts in Latin America, including Cabo's Las Ventanas al Paraiso as the #1 resort. Also Tecate's Rancho La Puerta has been given the honor of the #4 spa in the world! Baja's future will likely include a delicious mix of new upscale resorts cohabiting with the existing line-up of Baja's sleepy destinations.

      It is ironic that Baja, one of the most desolate and unpopulated regions on the planet, shares a common border with southern California, one of the most developed and highly populated areas in North America. Stretching over 800 miles south from the California border to the tip at Cabo San Lucas, the Baja Peninsula is one of the longest peninsulas in the world. It can be a 24 hour drive in a Chevy Suburban or a 2 hour flight in a Boeing 737. Either way Baja offers scenery that must be seen to be believed.

      The Pacific Ocean runs along the peninsula's entire west coast, while the azure Sea of Cortez hugs the east coast. Tall mountains provide a sturdy spine for Baja running from northwest to southeast along its entire length. The balance of the interior consists of plains, valleys, hills, dry lake beds, extinct volcanoes, pine forests, islands and a potpourri of other types of geography. Much of Baja's flora and fauna is unique to this secret land and adds to Baja's allure.

      If Baja offers anything, she offers options. And plenty of them! Drive down or fly down? Low budget or top cabin? Cool climate or tropical sun? City action or country beauty? Lazy getaway or active adventure? Inland road trip or coastal cruise? As you can see our good friend Senora Baja is very accommodating. Which leaves you with plenty of fun choices to make!

      As we progress into the new millennium and 2004 Baja has become very 'user friendly'. English is spoken in most tourist areas and U.S. dollars are usually accepted as payment for goods and services. The food is delicious and even the water is safe to drink. The weather is usually sunny and warm and the people of Baja are also warm and gracious. Those who visit Baja usually return often and they love to share the experience with friends. Hence Baja's growth over the last 5 years has been almost as phenomenal as that of the World Wide Web! Well, almost.

      As spectacular as Baja is as a destination, it is the people you meet in Baja that are the hidden treasures of this unique land. Some of the best Baja memories are made from time spent with new friends met during a Baja getaway.

      There is still plenty of solitude to be found in Baja, and plenty of adventure. Whatever you are looking for in Baja you are likely to find it, including yourself.

      For a spectacular look at this awesome piece of nature check out the BAJA PENINSULA FROM SPACE!




      Back to Top of Page     Back to Baja Expo     Back to Mexico Expo