The Mexican state of Baja California has been called many things, including “paradise”, “beautiful” and “Home” by visitor and locals alike. But what is the story of Mexico’s 29th state?
Baja’s official name is “Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California” and it became a state on January 16, 1952 (22 years before Baja California Sur). It is located directly beneath California in the U.S., and is Mexico’s furthest point to the west as well as the north. The total land area of Baja California is 70,113 km2 (27,071 sq mi, only 3.57% of Mexico), but Baja packs a lot into its space: many people who visit Baja fall in love with its variety. From it’s smooth, tropical-resort-esque beaches, to cactus and ocotillo-riddled deserts, to amazing mountain scenery (including a beautiful wine region!), Baja has a lot to offer.
Major cities in Baja are Mexicali (capital of the state), Tijuana (on the border, across from San Diego), and Ensenada, which contain more than 75% of the 3,165,776 population of Baja California (as of the June 2009 estimate), as well as the cities of San Felipe (on the Sea of Cortez), Tecate (on the border and gateway to wine country), and Rosarito (on the Pacific.) Many other unique smaller towns dot the Baja Peninsula as well, each with its own character.
Weather varies around Baja, with the Pacific side being definitely cooler than the more sheltered eastern, Sea of Cortez coast of Baja. The mountains also have fairly cool temperatures, even in summer, due to their elevation, and snow will even dust the ground during winter.
Baja California Sur
Baja California Sur came into being on October 8, 1974. It has the least population of any State in Mexico (637,026 as of 2010). The land area of BCS comes to 73,475 km2 (28,369 sq mi), slightly bigger than Baja California to the north. Its biggest city is its capital, La Paz, located near the bottom of the state on the Sea of Cortez side. Of course, BC Sur is very well known for being home to Los Cabos: Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, major draws for tourists looking for a tropical getaway vacation. However, Baja California holds much more than just Los Cabos. In BC Sur, you can find the Cabo Pulmo coral reef, migrating whales, a historical church designed by the man who built the Eiffel Tower, archaeological cave paintings and burial grounds, pristine desert and more.