Visiting Baja California

Parent Q&A

  • We are planning a weeklong trip to Mexico around Christmastime and especially want to see whales and other marine life in Baja. We would like to stay away from touristy areas and big resorts and are more interested in eco-friendly resorts/lodging/tours - but I'm having a hard time discerning which "ecotourism" sites are truly eco-friendly, with a small footprint and legitimately sustainable practices. We will be with two teenage children and are ok roughing it a bit as long as we have a comfortable place to sleep and eat and can spend lots of time in/near the sea watching whales. We would probably fly down and wouldn't have a car there so somewhere accessible or with transportation from the airport would be ideal.

    I want to suggest reviewing the department of state travel site:    I've travelled alone from Mexico City D.F. to Acapulco by bus many years ago, and my cousin surfed in Baja until he got held up several years ago.   Some Mexican American friends no longer travel to visit relatives in Mexico.  I know that is not your question, but in case it is relevant information to you, I wanted to offer this information, in terms of going off the beaten path.

    I’m the original poster. Thank you for this reply. I should add, we want to be somewhere safe, and off the beaten track in terms of away from big touristy resorts. But we have never been to Mexico and don’t speak Spanish so not too far off the beaten track and somewhere with basic conveniences and facilities readily available. Thanks.

    We truck camped at Laguna San Ignacio at Antonio's Ecotours ( in Feb 2019.  I believe they had composting toilets and such.  We didn't use the cabanas since we had our own lodging but the meals were nice and communal-- I'm not sure what they are doing for covid.  It's definitely rustic, not touristy and you'd need to rent a car to get there, but it was absolutely beautiful.  The whale watching was incredible and the entire area is an eco preserve.  We will definitely go back someday! 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Place to stay near Rosarita?

Nov 2003

Can anyone recommend a place to stay in or near Rosarita, Baja California over Xmas? Looking for something clean, inexpensive, near the beach, suitable for a family of four. Thanks!

It's been a while, but I think the Rosarito Beach Hotel might be what you're looking for. Look at Tenga Diversion (Have Fun!) Monica

Baby-friendly beach places in northern Baja

August 2002

We are thinking about driving to northern Baja for a low-key week-long vacation before or after Thanksgiving with a very active 18 month toddler (21 months, then). Any suggestions of baby-friendly beach places to stay would be very much appreciated. We don't need nightlife or fancy, although a refrigerator or kitchenette would be great. Any other Baja advice (driving time is a major factor) would also be greatfully received. The web site info on baja is weighted South and camping. Anyone with advice for some used-to-be-more- adventurous parents? Thanks, Ann

Check Tons of all sorts of Baja north info. We stayed at the Best Western El Cid in Ensenada, on Lopez Mateos, which is the main strip, and had a kitchenette in our single room, and a balcony, for maybe $35/night. There isn't beach within walking distance, but you can drive down to the point, which is pretty nice. Ensenada's a little bit more than an hour's drive from the border, and there's not a whole lot between towns. We stopped at several beaches along the way, but I don't know the names of any, and be warned: there doesn't appear to be any sort of litter collection service there, and there's trash *everywhere* except the tourist spots, so watch what the kids are playing with.

Also: we got a bunch of money changed at the border, but ended up changing it back because everywhere we went takes American, and actually you get a slightly better price paying in dollars.

More of my bookmarks from research last summer: [official town site, lots of good stuff] [lots of pictures] [exchange rates] Gwen

It's been many years, but my family has vacationed in both Ensenada and San Felipe. Based on my memories, I recommend San Felipe as the huge tidal flats would be a wonderful place for a toddler to run around. Unfortunately I can't help with places to stay as we camped. If you can drive a bit farther, consider Bahia de los Angeles too. There are (or were) a couple of hotels in the town, but being off the main highway it's generally uncrowded and un-touristy and everyone we encountered there was a pleasure to meet. Holly

(I did this trip without a baby about 4 years ago.) I found Ensenada to be very touristy (evenings filled with college-aged drinkers and mornings filled with cruise passengers docking for the day.) This disappointment led to a drive across Baja to San Felipe. The highway was pretty deserted and had more potholes than road. We were stopped at one checkpoint by bored-looking soldiers with automatic weapons who searched our car for drugs and guns. San Felipe was a pretty typical beach town, filled mostly with Mexican families. We camped on the beach and watched the stars at night. Cindy

Things to do in Baja with toddlers

November 2001

We're thinking of going to Baja with our kids (ages 1.5 and 3) over the winter holidays. I know Mexico quite well, but I've never been to Baja. Any suggestions or recommendations about where to go and what to do? The image in my (uninformed) mind right now is a sleepy fishing village with a few hotels, some yummy fish restaurants and a nice beach where the kids can swim, but maybe there are other activities that I haven't considered. Whalewatching? Kayaking? Hiking? Cultural activities? Museums? I don't really know what there is to see and do. I'd be happy to hear any thoughts that anyone has to offer. Thanks in advance. Judith. Judith

We went to Baja over the Christmas holidays, camping in the back of our pickup truck, about 8 years ago. We enjoyed ourselves immensely but didn't do anything organized or spend money on anything but campgrounds and groceries, so I can't make many recommendations. I'm writing just to warn you about a couple of avoidable pitfalls that might other wise dim your enjoyment: (1) the Sea of Cortez is full of stingrays. Do not wade in it or let your kids do so. My husband was instantly, and badly, stung by a stingray, and the resulting infection and allergic reaction had him completely disabled for several weeks. Our neighbor, travelling separately, had the same experience in the same week, and says that this hazard is not posted because it would discourage tourism. (2) It can get surprisingly cold at night, and there can be a very strong, unrelenting, cold wind during the day. No problem at all if you are prepared.

We had a lot of fun, and can't wait to go again. We will never forget the festivities in the town square for New Year's Eve. I think we were in Bahia de Los Angeles, and the party was outdoors in the center of town. Kids, grandparents, everyone was there and dancing (admirably well!). I guess caution #3 is in order here: *Do* go to the party! On the stroke of midnight, the menfolk blasted away at the surrounding hills with handguns, and the only place the bullets couldn't land was in the town square they were fired from. sreilly

There is a great place called Cabo Pulmo in southern Baja on the sea of cortez. Very kid friendly and small. They have a web site. We totally loved it. Note from Myriam: Web Site is here: Kelly

We have JUST returned from Baja last night, my partner and our 16 month old son and I, that is. We stayed for 9 days in a town called Todos Santos, which seems to fit your description pretty well. We flew to San Jose del Cabo and drove up (1.5 hours-ish) from there. Todos Santos was recently featured on the cover of the Sunday Chron's travel section. It is a small sleepy town with an expatriate community and a focus on arts. The surrounding countryside is vast and beautiful -- green cactus desert, blossoms galore. The town is near the beach, but not ON it. Lovely beaches 5 mins. drive away. This is the Pacific side, so the surf can be rough, but our boy greatly enjoyed playing in natural wading pools created by estuaries and along the edge in shallow water. We stayed in a very kid friendly cottage on the grounds of the home of an expatriate family with a 6 year old girl, about $45/night, with small kitchen, portacrib and high chair. The Garden Casita, run by Howard & Janice Ekman, they have a web site, and publish the town's newsy English language monthly, El Calendario. The cottage is very comfortable, with a lovely garden too, and includes housekeeping service every 2-3 days. There are lots of good eating choices in the town, and no major resorts whatsoever, therefore no snorkeling facilities, etc. HOWEVER, Cabo and LaPaz -- and the easy to swin in Sea of Cortes -- are within an hour's drive. Susanlubeck

I love Baja!!! In my opinion the best way, although extremely time-consuming, to see Baja is to go by RV and camp at some of the beautiful and peaceful coves around Bahia Concepcion (one of the most strikingly beautiful beaches in the world! in my humble opinion). There are also a couple of small, rustic hotels: see Hotel Serendidad ( Welcome to the Hotel Serenidad ) & Hotel San Buenaventura. Further south, Loreto is a wonderful, smallish fishing village. Three years ago, we stayed in a B there called Las Trojes (Las Trojes Bed and Breakfast... ) which was on the beach and within (somewhat) walking distance to the main plaza. It was very quiet but had no kitchenettes which might be difficult with kids--although it included breakfast in its small cafe on the beach. There are many other hotels in Loreto to choose from and the main plaza has a beautiful mission to visit. The problem we found with Loreto was that the beaches were not very good. However, we took a boat out to an island nearby where the beach was pristine and beautiful and did the majority of our kayaking there. Last year we rented a house (townhome) in San Jose Del Cabo. It was a bit more quaint and charming than it's consumer-driven and chaotic sister city Cabo San Lucas. There are some lovely beaches in between the two cities, in particular Bahia Chileno & Bahia Santa Maria. Depending on how old your children are, we find that kayaking and snorkeling are the best activities in Baja. Best of luck and feel free to email me directly if you have any further questions. Liz

Family driving down to Baja for the New Year's holiday


Greetings. We are thinking about piling the family into our van and heading to Baja California for the New Year's holiday. We are fairly adventurous and camp often, but have never been south of the border. We'd really appreciate any advice on where to go, where to avoid, where to stay, concerns about illness or other safety issues, and any other experiences that might enhance our experience or spare us from something avoidable. Our kids are 4 and 6.

Baja is mine and my husband's favorite place in the world and now that we have a little girl we cannot wait to share it with her. You are so lucky to be able to share it with your family. Our favorite places are all along the Sea of Cortez side of the peninsula. Loreto is a wonderful larger town with lots of shopping (if you are in to that sort of thing) and great seafood. It is a fishing village. Mainly, the stretch of land between Loreto and Mulege is the most beautiful to us. In particular, nothing can compare to Bahia Concepcion. There are dozens of coves that you can just pull into and camp right next to the clear, aquamarine waters. In particular there is Buenaventura and El Requeson, our favorites. Both safe and gorgeous. I've included a website for Mulege....Enjoy!! Click Here: Mulege & Bahia Concepcion - Baja California Sur By the way, there has only been one negative word spoken to me about Baja and it was regarding the town/area of El Rosario on the Pacific side of the peninsula. A family I met had been mugged along the highway there...BUT they even agree that it was a very, very rare and freak occurrence.

Baja with kids in a car - it works. Evey Memorial Day weekend we drive to San Felipe and camp out on the beach in the center of town with about ten other families with kids. I am not really excited about the beach in the center of town, but everyone else likes the proximity to fish tacos and margaritas and the kids love all the excitement of fireworks and music. Be sure to camp near a public bathroom. We prefer the beaches to the campsites because the campsites are too crowded. The problem with the beaches is the noise and the lights. They never end - either one. But the ocean is wonderful and the kids have a great time. We usually drive to LA leaving Berkeley at night and arrive in LA before the morning rush hour. We spend the day in LA at a friend's house and sleep. Then we leave the following night for San Felipe arriving in the early morning hours on Friday. We always get insurance as soon as we cross the border. Mexico just passed a new regulation for brining foreign cares across the border more than 15 miles. You have to give a large but refundable deposit. Check it out in last week''s papers. The drive back is the most difficult. We drive strainght for 15h hours during the day through the desert, getting back Monday night. We always buy water. The stores have everything.