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Baja California Sur With nearly year-round warm weather, sunny skies, deserts, mountains, beaches, a tranquil sea, and a rollicking ocean, Baja California Sur, the state at the southern half of the Baja Peninsula, surely has something for everyone. The incredible landscapes are matched with an equally wide range of unique destinations within the state, each offering distinct experiences, activities, and personalities. From world-famous Los Cabos, to far off the beaten path places like Mulegé and Comondú, the diversity of Baja California Sur experiences is a well-kept secret that we’re happy to let you in on. Los Cabos Let’s start at the bottom - the bottom of the peninsula, that is! Los Cabos was once a small town frequented by fishermen lured by the big catch that is nearly assured in the waters where the Gulf of California meets the Pacific Ocean. Today, Los Cabos is a glamorous resort destination with accommodations ranging from family-friendly to five-star. Movie stars and moguls mix with golfers, sport fishermen, and spa-goers. Los Cabos in Spanish means “the capes” and indeed Los Cabos is composed of two capes that serve as the bookends to beaches and hotels in between. San Jose del Cabo at one end is the smaller more traditional town with a plaza, boutiques, art galleries, and independent restaurants. Cabo San Lucas, at the other end, is famous for its nightlife and the iconic rock formation off the coast “El Arco” – the arch. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a much-needed vacation, visitors to Los Cabos will find plenty to entertain, explore, and experience. Todos Santos From Los Cabos, it’s only a 90-minute drive up the well-maintained highway to Todos Santos, one of Mexico’s “Magic Towns.” Magic Towns are so-called because of their “magical” qualities, whether that be their astonishing beauty, rich history, or extraordinary legends. And indeed Todos Santos feels magical! It is a charming little town dotted with galleries by acclaimed artists, rustic chic dining from independent chefs, boutiques, and a growing range of hotels. Just this past year, several new properties have opened including Paradero, an-eco conscious luxury hotel, El Perdido, another five-star boutique retreat, and Guaycura Hotel right in town. Located on the Pacific side of the peninsula, Todos Santos is a big surfing destination! La Paz From Todos Santos, visitors can drive across the peninsula to the Gulf of California coast to find themselves in the state capital of La Paz. La Paz. Once practically unknown to tourists, it is now an international destination that thankfully retains its small-town charms where locals and visitors mix easily. Situated on the sparkling turquoise gulf waters, life in La Paz centers on the sea. A beautiful and just renovated Malecon (boardwalk) invites Pacenos (La Paz residents) and guests to stroll. Every morning you’ll find joggers and cyclists out and about, and every evening you’ll see families and tourists enjoying ice cream as the sun sets over the water. There are many reasons to visit La Paz but one of the most compelling is the annual migration of whale sharks and gray whales (among other whale species.) While animal protections are strict, there are still incredible opportunities to have up close encounters with these amazing creatures. Other aqua-adventures include world class SCUBA diving and snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and of course – world famous sportfishing, while the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Isla Espiritu Santo is just a boat ride away and home to one of the largest sea lion colonies in Mexico. La Paz is also home to one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Mexico – Playa Balandra. A collection of white sand beaches and shallow bays, Balandra is protected from development and is blissfully peaceful. But there is fun to be had on land as well as sea. Hiking, mountain biking, sandboarding, and off-road adventures are numerous. When not enjoying the great outdoors, visitors can explore the town with mural tours, a stop in the new Baja California Museum of Art, or indulge in one of the many chef-driven restaurants that celebrate the bounty of the sea and regional cuisine. Day trips and overnight excursions from La Paz include El Triunfo, a small historic mining town in the heart of the peninsula, and La Ventana, which is considered one of the top kitesurfing destinations in the world. Hotel options include the new Baja Club, a boutique upscale hotel right on the Malecon, and the Costa Baja Resort, just a ten-minute drive from the city center. Loreto From La Paz, the Baja explorer may consider a four-hour drive north to Loreto, the original state capital and now a small charming town with a central plaza, historic mission, friendly people, and beautiful views of the gulf. With more cacti than people, Loreto’s sparsely populated city is a nature lover's paradise. Along with six offshore islands in the gulf, Loreto has been designated as a protected national marine park and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Similar to La Paz, Loreto is a prime spot for sportfishing, whale watching, diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. But unlike La Paz, the Loreto Bay is graced by annual winter visits by blue whales – the largest creature to ever live on earth! The sight of a blue whale tale is breathtaking and unforgettable but many other whale species can be found in the area’s lagoons and bays. As the original state capital, Loreto is home to one of the original missions of the historic Mission Trail, Nuestra Señora de Loreto. There are 17 Jesuit and Franciscan Spanish missions in Baja California Sur and exploring them is a fascinating glimpse into history. Even farther afield, the curious and adventurous traveler willing to go just another four hours north will be rewarded with a bucket-list worthy experience exploring the rock art and cave paintings in the areas around Mulegé. Dating up to 7500 years old, these prehistoric sites dot the peninsula. Some are relatively easy to access but most require a guide and some will even require an overnight camping excursion into the mountains led by burrows and trained guides. Loreto’s hotel scene is as hospitable as the town. Boutique properties include Hotel 1697 and La Mision while the luxury resort Villa Del Palmar at Loreto Bay offers a spa, stunning golf course, and more. Today, Loreto and La Paz are easier than ever to get to with non-stop flights on American Airlines from Phoenix and Dallas to both La Paz and Loreto, and from Los Angeles and San Francisco directly to Loreto. Whether you’re looking for the road trip of a lifetime, an active adventure, or a purely relaxing escape, Baja California Sur has got what you’re looking for. Situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California, the state of Baja California Sur encompasses the southern half of the Baja Peninsula. The climate is perfect for fishing, boating, surfing, and diving, making the destination an adventurer and thrill-seeker’s dream. Rich in history, Loreto the first capital of the Californias (Mexico and the U.S.) is considered to be the first settlement in Baja California Sur and the state’s original capital. The state features breathtaking scenery from the windswept ocean beaches on the west to the tranquil, turquoise waters on the east. In between are canyons, desert-scapes, and lush oasis ripe for exploration. Known for its extraordinary marine life, whale watching is one of the area’s most well-known tourist attractions along with sportfishing, kayaking, and bird watching. More information on Baja California Sur is available at Visit Baja Sur. SJ

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