Just chillin’ in Baja.
Whenever I think of Mexico, a few things come to mind. Beautiful beaches, ancient civilizations, the largest bustling city in the world and, of course, the phrase "Don’t Drink The Water!" And that is just on the mainland. Nestled between the United States and Guatemala, Mexico is the gateway to Central America. And even some locals do not know that it is actually considered North America.
But when I think of Baja, impressions are startlingly diverse.
Baja Norte holds the stigma of Tijuana, one of the busiest border crossings in the world, where drug trafficking, pharmacies, immigrant smuggling and police work are entrepreneurial enterprises. In order to find Baja’s identity, you must go south, deeper into the Peninsula, considered the backwards cousin of the giant mainland.
Baja’s reputation redeems itself as it boasts some of the best surfing in the world on the Pacific side. Bronzed, biceped beauties migrate south year after year in search of killer breaks just as the ancient grey whales make their pilgrimage north.
Through deserts, mountains and moonscape barren land, the narrow two-laned Highway 1, otherwise known as the Transpeninsular, the main road through the peninsula, switchbacks through lush green mountains reminiscent of Costa Rica, past mountain villages selling fresh pitajaya (cactus fruit) and dried mango (in season). You’ll glimpse azure shoreline expected of the Mediterranean, surely not of the Sea of Cortez.
By the time you’ve reached the end of the over 1000-mile road you encounter Baja’s sore thumb: the freshly blacktopped, neon, timeshare salesman-infested waters of sunburned Cabo San Lucas, the location of E! Wild On! "reality" shows and overpriced resort hotels. Many a spring breaker has lost nights here due to fiery tequila shots at El Squid Roe, only to find themselves the unfortunate star of Girls Gone Wild videos as seen on T.V.
I swear that was not me… this is my first time in Cabo!
What follows over the next few stories are excerpts and edited entries from my travel diary. It’s an intimate look at my two weeks traveling through sun- and sweat- drenched Baja California Sur.
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