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Eco-Tours in Baja California
Concierge.com's insider take:
Four mountain ranges bisect the Baja California Peninsula north to south, ending with the Sierra de la Giganta towering over Los Cabos. The only way to experience it all is by driving the length of the peninsula, taking at least three days each way. Todd Clement, a winner of the legendary Baja 1000 race, leads off-road tours from Ensenada and Los Cabos and a week-long dusty, thrilling ride from San Diego to Los Cabos with Wide Open Baja. Hiking, mountain biking, and Jeep tours to canyons, waterfalls, and natural springs near Los Cabos are available with Baja Wild.
Numerous prehistoric petroglyphs and murals can be found in caves in the Sierra de San Francisco near the early mission settlement of San Ignacio in central Baja. Access is limited to this UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 400 murals; the easiest way to tour the site is with local guides from San Ignacio's Ecoturismo Kuyima. Cave painting tours are also available in Loreto and Mulege.
The Sonoran Desert claims more than 60 percent of Baja's landmass on both sides of the mountains. Mexico's largest protected area covers much of central Baja in the Vizcaíno Biosphere Preserve, including 280 miles of coastline, three gray whale sanctuaries, and a collection of petroglyphs in the mountains. Guerrero Negro, on the line between the two states, is the base for hiking, cave painting, and whale watching tours with local guides from Malarrimo Eco-Tours.
At 10,154 feet, Picacho del Diablo in the northern Sierra de San Pedro Mártir is Baja's highest peak. Part of a 170,000-acre national park, the mountains are home to a National Astronomy Observatory and several endangered condors released by scientists from the San Diego Zoo. Visited by only a few hundred hardy explorers each year, the park is reached via a 50-mile-long unpaved road off the Transpeninsular Highway south of Ensenada. Come here if you're ready to rough it. The only lodge in the region has closed, so your only option is camping out. If you'd prefer to do a day trip, Ecobaja Tours in Tijuana runs trips to the park.
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