Cabo San Lucas may steal the spotlight when it comes to vacation destinations on the Baja Peninsula, but if you want to escape the crowds and enjoy unspoiled landscapes and the more authentic side, you have plenty of other destinations to choose from.
Great places to visit in Baja besides Cabo
Besides Cabo, other great vacation cites on the Baja Peninsula include:
- La Paz
- La Ventana
- Todos Santos
- El Triunfo
- San Ignacio
For a full breakdown of what makes each of these 7 Baja destinations worth visiting, keep on reading.
La Paz is a cosmopolitan city located two hours north of Cabo along the Sea of Cortez.
It exudes a fabulous mix of Old-World charm and laid-back chicness with a provincial Mexican town atmosphere.
It’s also surprisingly international, with French, Portuguese, and Italian, as likely to be heard as Spanish or English, with lively squares and streets tucked between old laurel trees, coconut, and date palms.
One of the highlights is the Malecon, a three-mile-long stretch of waterfront promenade that continues to expand.
On one side is the Sea of Cortez with its clear turquoise water filled with colorful fish, countless pelicans searching for ad meal, and sculptures created by local artists that make for Instagrammable photo-ops.
On the other, there are funky shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants, many of which serve dishes focused on fresh seafood.
While you’ll find small beaches right in town, just 20 minutes away is what’s often referred to as Mexico’s most beautiful beach, Balandra.
It edges the Bay of Balandra, with calm and transparent cerulean waters, most of which reach just above waist level.
The sands are powdery soft and whiter than white while the iconic mushroom rock formation stands as an immediately recognizable symbol of nearby La Paz.
Just 40 minutes from La Paz, La Ventana is a picturesque fishing village famous for its powerful winter winds that draw kite surfers from across the globe.
During much of the rest of the year, the intense blue waters are popular for snorkeling, diving, and kayaking, while fishing is popular in every season.
There are many gorgeous beaches, but one of the most stunning is Punta Arena, a remote strip of white sands that’s rarely visited, accessed via a dirt road.
At the end is a pretty lighthouse that overlooks the point.
This is an outstanding spot to leap in, snorkel, or dive among all sorts of tropical fish.
Watch for dolphins and flying Mobula rays, often seen leaping as high as six feet from the water’s surface around sunset.
Back in town, you’ll find plenty of small resorts, inns, and other accommodations along with authentic Mexican fare.
Todos Santos was once one of the most underrated destinations in Mexico.
While word has gotten out, it’s still a must-visit just an hour north of Cabo with a beach that stretches for miles and only a handful of people ever there.
In the wintertime, gray whales can be seen just offshore while humpbacks breach in the distance.
It’s a place for watching baby sea turtle releases too.
While the surf is too strong for swimming, experienced surfers love it, and everyone can enjoy peaceful strolls or quiet contemplation.
The colonial town itself, nestled among palm trees and ancient mango orchards, has become a focal point for the arts, with many renowned artists opening up galleries here.
You’ll find lots of unique boutiques and even a world-class foodie scene in this desert oasis.
Of course, what many people remember most is that it’s home to Hotel California which sits at its heart.
On any given day you’ll see visitors snapping photos in front of the building, celebrated for its association with The Eagles’ legendary song, although it opened back in 1950.
In the 1990s, a rumor was started that the band once owned it.
Although that isn’t true and the song wasn’t written about it, there’s no doubt there are many coincidences between the two.
As you walk the streets, listen for the mission bells.
The Mission Church of Pilar bells often sound as if they’re coming from inside the famous hotel, they’re so close.
Nearby, you’ll see the colorful Todos Santos sign, popular for photos.
Home to a population of only a few hundred, El Triunfo was once a booming silver mining town.
Today, it offers lots of charms for photographers and those who are interested in history.
It hosts two museums, the Museo de la Musician, which displays instruments, including pianos, that were shipped here during the town’s peak.
The other, Museo de Plata, is the place to go to learn more about its intriguing past.
Simply wandering around is enjoyable here, with the highlight a sunny yellow Mission-style church.
Nearby there are enticing venues lined along cobbled streets for enjoying wine, craft bear, and artisanal cheeses.
Located at the foot of a river valley, Mulege is an oasis among the arid desert with the main attraction the nature that surrounds it.
The sleepy village, however, is filled with narrow alleyways that house taquerias, crumbling colonial architecture, and the occasional craft shop.
Visitors can enjoy stunning river views from the well-preserved 18th-century mission and nearby, some of the most breathtaking beaches and hikes into Cañon La Trinidad.
The cave paintings near Mulege in the San Francisco Mountains make for an unforgettable adventure as the most impressive rock art pictographs in Baja.
The UNESCO-listed site dates back over a thousand years, with some paintings over 7,000 years old.
The drawings depict animals, tools, humans, and their rituals, believed to have been created by the indigenous Cochimi people.
Bahia Concepcion, just south of Mulege, stretches for a little over 20 miles and offers some of Baja’s most dramatic scenery.
Pristine white beaches frame a bay in an array of brilliant greens and blues while offering the chance to snorkel among manta rays, sea turtles, pufferfish, eels, angelfish, and even whales.
Loreto is a small mountain town in the Sierra de la Giganta along the Sea of Cortez.
One of the oldest settlements on the peninsula, it offers an authentic Mexican feel with a rich heritage and colorful traditions.
Visitors also enjoy easy access to secluded bays, uninhabited islands, and postcard-perfect beaches, with kayaking, sailing, swimming, and snorkeling all popular here.
You’ll find many cozy nooks for soaking up the sun as well.
The town itself offers colonial splendor along its winding streets with some fabulous local eateries serving exceptional dishes.
Many chefs grow their own ingredients, particularly herbs for seasoning, while relying on locals for fruits, vegetables, seafood, and meats.
Chocolate Clams is the signature dish, something you might only find right here.
Located in the central part of the peninsula, San Ignacio is a small, scenic town, home to San Ignacio Mission which was founded by the Jesuits in 1728.
It contains a baroque-style altar with seven religious oil paintings, while Rio San Ignacio, one of only two real rivers in Baja California Sur, flows through, providing activities like swimming and kayaking.
What most visit San Ignacio for is its lagoon.
Laguna de San Ignacio (San Ignacio Lagoon) is part of the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino and one of the world’s only nurseries for gray whales.
For centuries it’s been used by the animals for mating and birthing.
Today, many of the whales seek out human contact, with mothers even bringing their calves up to visitors in the small boats called pangas.
They’re so close you can reach out to pet them.
The activity is strictly regulated by the government to ensure the whales are not negatively affected while they’re here from around mid-January through March.
The few locals living around the lagoon no longer make their living from fishing and hunting, but instead, are dedicated to protecting the local biosphere.