My name is Kristin Holden (@wheretheroadforks__) and welcome to my article on the best things to do in Baja California Sur! I have been living full-time in a van for about two and a half years now. I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana and work as an internal auditor with the Delta Faucet Company.
What inspired me to start traveling solo many years ago was when I first backpacked around the world. This trip ignited a passion within me to travel as much as possible. I quickly realized that if I wanted to travel at the pace I wished, then I would need to embrace the idea of traveling solo.
It all started slowly with a few international trips and eventually I stumbled upon the idea of “Vanlife”. I honestly wasn’t sold at first – I thought it was a cool idea but not for me. The concept grew on me and it got to the point where I sold my home and most of my belongings and moved into a van!
Road Trippin’ to Baja California Sur
Baja California Sur has always been on my bucket list and I knew it was a destination that I would visit one day. I actually didn’t plan on visiting Baja this past Spring, but while I was heading to New Mexico I realized that I was going to be extremely cold for a few weeks. So I decided to call up some friends who were already heading to Baja California Sur and join them.
My friend Stephany (@stephoffthegrid) convinced me to travel with her and her husband. She had done an immense amount of planning and I felt that experiencing Baja with them would be amazing! In the end, it turned out to be a bucket-list trip with so much fun along the way.
The plan was to travel through Baja from the first week of March to mid-May. However, the heat got a bit hot and uncomfortable – so I left Baja during the second week of April. We entered Mexico and visited San Felipe, Bahia de los Angeles, Mulege, Bahia Concepcion and I finished in Loreto.
We had some awesome adventures along the way – from boat trips, to snorkeling, to tasting all of the amazing local cuisine. My friend Stephany planned the entire trip and intends on creating an ebook for purchase for Baja California including their continued adventures in Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos and more. Make sure you follow Stephany for updates!
Why Baja California Peninsula is so Beautiful
The Baja California Peninsula is just as beautiful and magical as one would imagine. The beaches are gorgeous, the food is awesome and the people are even better. What I loved most was the freedom to park on the beach and have a palapa all to yourself to soak up the sun’s rays, beach and ocean.
I was expecting Baja to feel a bit touristy but I was wrong! Rarely did anyone speak English or if they did they only spoke the basics. Nothing felt tailored towards American tourists (which is a positive in my books). The vibe was authentic and it was a great way to experience Mexican culture.
Despite not having traveled much through Mexico, I think the Baja culture is different to other regions of Mexico. Just like you wouldn’t expect Texas and Oregon to have the same culture. Baja California should be on everyone’s bucket list. The beauty is outstanding and the peninsula makes for a wonderful adventure – especially if you are road trippin’ in a van!
My Favorite Place in Baja California Sur
I absolutely loved Bahia Concepcion! Unfortunately, we were there during the Mexico Spring Break, so the beaches were a bit busy. If you plan on visiting the beaches be sure to check for local holidays and plan your travels around them. It’s always lovely to have a beach all to yourself!
The water at Bahia Concepcion was the perfect temperature and it was awesome for snorkeling. Dogs are also welcome to be off their leash as long as they are respectful. At some of these beaches you could even park feet away from the water. I felt so spoiled to have my tiny home by the beach.
Loreto was a close second for me in terms of my favorite places in Baja California Sur. I took a few boat tours while staying in Loreto and they were so special. This town is super cute, it felt incredibly safe and the vegan food options were spectacular. I can’t wait to re-visit both of these destinations!
Top 5 Things To Do in Baja California Sur
1. Take a Catamaran Boat Tour in Loreto
My best experience in Baja California Sur was the catamaran boat tour we did in Loreto. We were sitting on a net at the front of the boat and all of a sudden we came across dolphins! They were swimming right underneath us. This is why I recommend taking a boat tour in Baja – they might be a bit pricier than other activities but they are well worth it.
2. Visit the Best Beaches of Baja California Sur
Bahia Concepcion was my favorite place in Baja California Sur and this area is filled with beautiful beaches just waiting to be enjoyed. Then you have the famous Playa Balandra which is a perfect postcard beach with shallow turquoise waters and gleaming white sand. If you have time, you should also check out the beaches and kayaking spots on Espiritu Santo Island.
3. Join a Responsible Whale Watching Tour
Whale watching in Baja is epic but make sure you do it responsibly. Unfortunately, we learned (after the fact) that the tour we participated in was unethical as we were allowed to touch the whales. While that was amazing, it’s not safe and it encourages the whales to approach the boats which is dangerous. Pick a tour that gets you close but not too close!
4. Try the Delicious Mexican Street Food
Eating in Baja California Sur is a real treat. Don’t be afraid of trying the smaller spots, street food and beach vendors. Some of my favorite food didn’t come from a place with a name! The best orange juice I have ever tasted came from a man who was walking on the beach selling it.
However, my favorite vegan restaurant was in Loreto – Waicura. The owner is always there and it makes for nice conversation and food. Alma del Sur was also a great soul food restaurant in Loreto. To note: if you are vegan you may have difficulty on the peninsula until you get to Baja California Sur.
5. Splurge a Bit and Enjoy a Hotel or Airbnb
There are some stunning properties in Baja California Sur, all of which reflect the beauty of the surrounding landscape. You can browse through Airbnb listings, pick the best hotel in the area or just wait and see when you arrive if something tickles your fancy. A bit of luxury is always nice!
6. Mix and Mingle with the Local Mexicans
Most of our cultural experiences took place on the beach or at restaurants. Because of COVID, we were still being cautious and tried our best to stay away from crowds. I think because of this we missed out on a huge cultural experience. However, all of the interactions we did have were incredible. The Mexican people were very kind and willing to help if we needed it.
Need to Know Before you Go
- Plan ahead! Be open to flexibility but plan your schedule and campgrounds.
- Park at campgrounds or pay for parking with security. Unfortunately, I did have a break-in in San Felipe so I recommend paying for parking.
- If you have dogs, bring enough food for your whole trip! You will have difficulty getting your specific brand.
- You must obtain a tourist visa when you arrive. You can purchase one online but be sure to print the receipt for proof of payment.