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Mexico

Baja California Sur

The long peninsula known simply as Baja (Ba-ha) stretches out between the Pacific Ocean on its west and the Sea of Cortes (Gulf of California) on its east. It is on the migratory path of whales who give birth there, and is an area rich with fish and bird species. The 244 islands and other protected areas of the Sea of Cortez have been declared a World Heritage Site.

The Baja is actually two Mexican states, and the Sur (South) is where most tourists go. The area was slated at a tourism development area in the 1970s by the Mexican government, which completed a paved highway in 1973. In the 1980s an international airport was added. Cabo, or Los Cabos (The Capes), has become one of Mexico’s most popular destinations, served by cruise ships and an international airport.

Cabo San Lucas

At the tip of the peninsula, the city of Cabo San Lucas and its 50,000 citizens play host to more than one million tourists who come each year to enjoy beaches dotted with resorts and hotels, and several golf courses. Shopping malls and new hotels compete with the local artisans and guest houses. Add the usual activities such surfing and windsurfing, dune buggies and late-night discos, and the combination at times has a party atmosphere.

A full service marina sponsors an annual marlin fishing contest. A nearby conservation area, Estero de San Jose del Cabo, is home to 150 species of birds.

San Jose del Cabo

About 35 kilometres from Cabo San Lucas is the regional government centre of San José del Cabo, which was founded in about 1730. It has traditionally been a quieter escape and features more history and culture as well as Mexican government services.

Recently a new master resort community was announced to be built for the La Playita area to the east, facing the Sea of Cortes, so the area will become even more popular.

Further to the northeast traveling up the Sea of Cortes are a series of small towns where the pace is slower, leading eventually to La Paz, the capital of the state of Baja California Sur, about 150 kilometres northeast of San Jose del Cabo.

Going west past Cabo San Lucas about 75 kilometres, is Todos Santos, an area known for its arts community and healthy lifestyles. It is located on the Pacific Ocean and benefits from its ocean breezes. Todos Santos is also growing as it is discovered by more tourists and property developers.