Baja California Mexico Travel Tips

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In this page you will find practical information to plan a scuba diving trip to Baja California Mexico:

Baja California Mexico Photos

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Diving the east and west coast of Mexico is oceans apart. Literally, the east coast gives us diving in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico extensions of the Atlantic ocean. The west coast gives us the Pacific ocean and its extension the Gulf of California/Sea of Cortez.

Diving the Pacific coast brings a very diverse selection of dive destinations. We can dive around the Baja Peninsula which stretches 1250 kilometres/775 miles from near the US-Mexico to Cabo San Lucas at its southernmost tip. The west side of the Baja Peninsula is the Pacific Ocean. Off this coast is Guadalupe Island, what many consider the best Great White Shark cage diving in the world.

The east side of the Baja Peninsula is the Gulf of California also known as the Sea of Cortez. There are a number of destinations in the Gulf of California both on the peninsula and the mainland that attract scuba divers. While diving in each of these locations are outstanding, they each offer something different.

Further down the mainland coast are a number of tourism destinations such as Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, Puerto Escondido, and Huatulco collectively called the Mexican Rivera. While these areas also offer scuba diving, the Baja attracts most of the divers.

Where to stay?

scuba dive baja cabo san lucas

Cabo Peligan Beach by Nan Palmero

You’ll find a whole lot of accommodation options all along the Baja California coast. Indeed, from luxurious Club-Meds to smaller resorts, and not forgetting many timeshares or AirBnb, you’ll find something to match your budget.

There are a number of different outstanding dive destinations within Mexico’s Pacific coast and the Sea of Cortez. Ensenada on the northern portion of the peninsula on the pacific coast, La Paz in the southern portion on the Gulf of California / Sea of Cortez side and Cabo San Lucas where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet are three of the leading dive destinations in the Baja California.

However, you should also consider the liveaboard opportunities. The Socorro Islands near the southern tip of the Baja California and the Guadalupe Island off the coast of Ensenada offer outstanding liveaboard adventures.

Activities and excursions in Baja California Mexico

cabo horseback riding baja scuba

Riding horseback down the beach in Cabo San Lucas with Lands End in the background. photograph by Kirt Edblom

Water activities and the beaches are the biggest draw for tourist. In addition to the scuba diving, sports fishing is very popular. Land base activities include treks into the jungle and horseback riding. There are many items of interest that date back to the early Spanish era.

The bigger towns along the coast are also known for their nightlife.

Best time to visit Baja California Mexico

The Baja California is an outstanding four-seasons destination, with beach-perfect temperatures all year. The busiest season is definitely around Christmas and New Year as there are major vacation destination all along the coast. On the other hand, the summer months are way less crowded and the prices at their lowest. Also, hurricanes are much rarer on the Pacific coast than in the Caribbean area, so not much to worry about.

Regarding scuba diving related conditions, check our Baja California Diving Review.

Health and Safety

Crime, especially drug related activities, is a problem in much of Mexico. Many nations have issued travel advisories warning their citizens of the dangers and encouraging them not to visit Mexico. While travel advisories are not to be taken lightly, you should also examine if the advisories concern the areas you are planning on going. Generally the tourist areas are outside of the areas of most concern.

Health facilities vary depending on the location you are at. The destinations that draw tourist have adequate medical facilities. While the smaller locations may just have a local hospital, larger destinations will have extensive facilities. In many locations around Mexico, Medical tourism is flourishing. World class care is available at a fraction of the cost of care in the United States and other developed nations.

If you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to Baja California Mexico, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance for scuba diving, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this diving insurance as they offer worldwide coverage and focus on providing scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.

Where is Baja California Mexico located in the world?

Mexico is located in North America, south of the United States and north of the Central American countries of Belize and Guatemala. The countries east coast is on the Caribbean Sea and the gulf of Mexico. The west coast faces the Pacific Ocean.

Mexico regions map

How to get to Baja California Mexico?

Given the vast distance along the Baja Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean coast and the different destinations, there are a number of methods to arrive at your chosen destination.

If you are headed towards the southern Baja then the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) is your destination. Los Cabos is the sixth-busiest airport in Mexico. The airport serves San José del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, and the Los Cabos area. Visitors going to La Paz will be best served flying into this airport. From the airport to La Paz is a two hour drive or three hour bus ride. Many hotels and resorts will provide airport pick ups.

Ensenada, located on the pacific Ocean in the northern portion of the Baja is a well known scuba diving destination and the starting point for most trips to Guadalupe Island. Known as the Cinderella of the Pacific, it is located just 70 miles south of the international border with the United States and is a 90 minute drive from San Diego. On the Mexican side of the border is Tijuana.

Tijuana International Airport (IATA: TIJ, ICAO: MMTJ), sometimes referred to as General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport, in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, is Mexico’s second northernmost airport after Mexicali International Airport which serves destinations on the northern Sea of Cortez destinations.

Did you know? // The Tijuana International Airport is the only airport in the world that has entrances in two different countries. The Cross Border Xpress terminal has parking on the United States side for passengers departing the airport. Individuals can purchase a Cross Border Xpress ticket and with their boarding pass enter Mexico directly into the airport. Arriving passengers headed to the United States can exit by way of US immigration.

Also, many travelers to the Tijuana and Ensenada areas will fly into San Diego International Airport (SAN). A bus from the airport takes to directly to the Tijuana bus terminal where you clear immigration into Mexico and can transfer to a bus to Ensenada or where ever your destination would be.

Do I need a visa for Baja California Mexico?

Nationals of 65 countries and jurisdictions shown on the map holding normal passports do not require a visa to enter Mexico as tourists, visitors in transit or business visitors. Tourists and business visitors can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days. Visitors in transit can stay for up to 30 days.

However, if you are traveling by way of the United states or Canada you must follow their visa requirements as well. Tourist will be required to obtain a tourist card upon arrival.  The tourist card, is officially FMM, or forma migratoria multiple.

Visa Map

Getting Around

Once you get to your holiday destination you will find that it’s quite easy to roam around. Many destinations are compact enough that walking will be your primary means of getting around. Taxi and bus services are generally available when you do not feel like walking or the distance is to far. Rental cars are available in most locations but many find that they are not necessary.

Diving in the Mexican Riviera is vastly different then diving the Mayan Riviera. While there is diving for all skill levels, There are more challenges on the Pacific side for those looking for advanced diving.

Scuba diving

You will find all information about sea life, best time to visit, top dive spots, etc. in our review: Baja California Mexico Diving

Diving Reviews for this region

Yucatán, Mexico

Mexico’s Yucatán offers outstanding reef diving, wall dives, drift dives and the largest underwater art museum in the world.

Yucatán, Mexico Diving Review

Mexico

Mexico offers divers choices, Great liveaboards and large marine life encounters in the west, great reefs and cenotes in the east

Mexico Diving Review

Baja California, Mexico

The Baja offers outstanding diving and is one of the best shark diving destinations for liveaboards.

Baja California, Mexico Diving Review

Liveaboard Reviews in Baja California & Mexico

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MV Sea Escape

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