Until relatively recently, the term “alternative tourism” was practically unknown or, failing that, was given little promotion since traditional tourism was favored by various programs, budgets and projects.
However, the same diversification of the sector has led us to be more specific, to the extent that there is a difference between a tourist and an excursionist. The first is defined as someone who spends at least one night more than 30 miles from his or her place of residence. An example of the second is one who does not stay overnight, such as the people who visit Los Cabos on a cruise. The variations are interesting and increasingly sophisticated.
On this occasion, I would like to explore the alternative tourism part of the wonderful state of Baja California Sur. Although it has become known worldwide for its beaches, sport fishing and golf, these are just the tip of the tourism iceberg. The Baja peninsula has so much that my report will not be able to contain it all.
Due to the geography and infrastructure, Baja California Sur can be traveled by sky, sea or land. The limitations are obvious. However, the challenge is rewarding.
If we begin at Cabo San Lucas and head north, a must photography spot is kilometer zero, “km 0.” It is exactly on Amelia Wilkes Square, located right in the center of the city. Day and night, km 0 is surrounded by bustling, lively places to eat, drink, dance and spend a joyful moment.[two_first] There are two options on the way to La Paz, the short route through Todos Santos and the long route through San Jose del Cabo. Both are full of outdoor activities, such as hiking and observing the native flora and fauna. Of course, the ascent of the Sierra de La Laguna accompanied by an expert guide should be on your list.
The passage through various ranches allows you to delight in the varieties of regional cheeses, dried meats, flour tortillas and sugar cookies, just to mention a few traditional recipes.
At the beginning of the 19th Century, the communities of San Antonio and El Triunfo enjoyed their best years due to the boom in mining, specifically gold and silver. Although the mining industry shut down years ago, these two small towns make it possible to imagine the splendor of that flourishing era. The narrow streets and beautiful adobe construction are vestiges of the boom years.[two_first]
[/two_first][two_second] In El Triunfo, visit “La Ramona,” a famous smoke stack attributed to G. Eiffel. The towering chimney was once part of the mining complex. Today, it’s an ideal setting for taking pictures. There are beautiful villages to discover and enjoy in the area surrounding.
La Sierra de La Laguna is a must adventure to explore for several days, hiking the mountains and finally arrive to the lagoon with spectacular views.
Santiago is also worth mentioning. The town is located between the monument marking the Tropic of Cancer and the community of Las Cuevas. Make sure you stop at the waterfalls of Canyon de la Zorra.[two_first] By either route, when you arrive in La Paz you will have to decide where to continue. The West will take you to Ciudad Constitucion, by the East you will have the option of visiting the islands of the Sea of Cortez. We recommend you take the time to get to explore them.
La Paz is recommended for diving near the islands of Cerralvo, Espiritu Santo and the famous island Partida. To the north, Pichilingue, Balandra and Tecolote are a delight for lovers of natural beauty because of the green and blue colors interwoven with these beaches.
Afterwards you can continue on Highway #1 to discover beautiful bays in the Municipality of Comondu. Or, continue sinuous dirt roads bordering the Sea of Cortez towards San Evaristo where, once again, the photographic route is impressive and excellent for hiking, all-terrain vehicles excursions or horseback riding.
Ciudad Constitucion presents interesting alternatives. One of them is San Carlos, north of Magdalena Bay. In winter, it becomes the perfect place for watching gray whales. The rest of the year, it is a true paradise for deep-sea sport fishing. The natural setting that surrounds Magdalena Bay and Las Almejas Bay is unique. The geographical conditions make it perfect for windsurfing. For lovers of traditional food, this is also one of the best places in the state.[two_first]
Just to the south of Santa Margarita Island, and in front of the Cresciente Island, is the Rehusa channel, a paradise for diving and snorkeling.
To the north of Constitucion City is Insurgentes City and a detour to either continue toward the Vizcaino Valley near La Purisima or head east to reach Loreto.
The Vizcaino Valley is famous for its beaches, Asuncion Bay and, above all, the lagoon and estuary of San Ignacio.
To the east, the road to Loreto is impressive. As you cross the slopes of the Sierra de La Giganta, the mountains form windows with beautiful views of the sea.
Honored on countless occasions by various food festivals, the famous Tatemada clams alone justify a visit to this historic Southcaliforniano port. It is full of entertainment options such as boating, scuba diving, fishing, golf, and a visit to the very first mission, Our Lady of Loreto.
From Loreto, the trip continues north, with spectacular views of the sea extending all the way to Mulege and further demonstrating the diversity that exists in Baja California Sur. On this tour, each meter of beach has its own life. However, special mention should be made of Playa de Santispac and Playa del Requeson. Two perfect places to camp and enjoy the peaceful murmur of the sea.
A 45-minute drive separates Mulege from Santa Rosalia, famous for the Boleo Mine and for brick oven bread. There is a high degree of French influence here. It has even been said that Eiffel’s plans were used in some of the construction. Although there is no tourist infrastructure, the alternative activities here include fishing, diving, snorkeling and sailing, in addition to a tour of this old town.
Santa Rosalia is the starting point to begin a tour of the widest part of the peninsula. Guerrero Negro is the last populated area in the state before entering Baja California. The main activity is centered around the salt mines, the largest in the world.
Protected by the Ojo de Liebre and the Guerrero Negro lagoons, this destination is a sanctuary of the gray whale. In addition, it harbors the curious beach of Malarrimo, where year after year, the tide deposits hundreds of objects of the most diverse nature from distant places, all transported by the currents of the Pacific Ocean.
Careful planning can make your visit to Baja California Sur an authentic gift, an unforgettable vacation and an experience dedicated to alternative tourism, or even better, adventure tourism.