One Month Baja Mexico Road Trip Itinerary

Balandra Beach La Paz

The Baja peninsula may not look that big but you could spend anywhere from a couple weeks to a a couple years continuously exploring the two states of Baja California and Baja California Sur that make up the peninsula. There is so much to see, but I hope my one month Baja, Mexico road trip itinerary helps you plan an epic and memorable adventure.

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We spent around 2-3 months exploring the peninsula from top to bottom last winter and again this winter. There are endless hidden gems, bays, long bumpy dirt roads, quaint towns, restaurants, and islands to explore. I definitely didn’t see it all. But I think I can highlight some of the best that Baja, Mexico has to offer for someone looking to road trip here.

We drove down in our Sprinter camper van with a small group of others so most of my hotel recommendations are not from personally staying there but either from recommendations, visiting them for meals, seeing them in passing, or from extensively researching reviews, photos, and map locations. It is how I would research if I were to book a hotel to come to an area.

If you need to rent a car, I personally use and find some of the best rates that way.

Bahia Concepcion Baja California Sur campera caravan

You can find my detailed guide on Everything You Need to Know About Driving to Baja, Mexico for more information on driving tips, required documents, etc.

Crossing the Mexican border at Calexico east

One other thing to note. If you drive from north to south in the winter, depending on how long you’ll be there, it’s sometimes colder up north than the south. But by spring time, the north warms up too. It may make sense to make your way south fairly quickly then spend more time in the north after it’s had time to warm up on your way back (depending on your schedule). My itinerary is loosely based on what I’d try to reasonably do if I had one month and wanted to see as much as possible. You definitely can see a lot in a month, but your time in each spot will be shorter. Maybe you’ll budget for more time in some places in one direction or the other like we did.

Day 1: Cross the Border at Mexicali East and Drive to San Felipe

Mexicali Street Performer

Street performer at an intersection in Mexicali

Mexicali East is one of the most popular border crossings. Mexicali East, in particular is smaller and has less traffic and city driving than Mexicali West. I personally wanted to avoid Tijuana for crossing.

My desire was to get away from the border towns as quickly as possible. I’d read of corrupt police pulling people over immediately after crossing the border. I’d also read of scams where someone drives in your blind spot only to smash into you when you change lanes, then assert it was your fault and demand money. Although I didn’t experience these things during our time in Baja, I was very wary of them.

I’d suggest getting out of Mexicali and not stopping but if you need to stop, there are plenty of gas stations along the route. Since you’re not supposed to bring produce and animal products across the border, you may want to stop for groceries at Walmart too. Walmart is also a great place to use your credit card and save your cash for other things.

San Felipe

San Felipe is known for its off-road racing. People come from all over to race in the desert. Naturally, renting an ATV to cruise the dunes is a popular thing to do here. There are plenty of places around town.

San Felipe also has a nice waterfront boardwalk lined with lots of bars and restaurants. There’s a vibrant energy here. It’s definitely worth a stop for food.

San Felipe Malecon  

On our first year in Baja, in 2023, we decided not to drive very far the first day. We only drove about 2.5 hours to a beach we found on iOverlander about 10 miles north of the town of San Felipe. It was a quiet beach, there was no one else around, and it was free. We felt safe because there were a few of us. We only saw one or two vehicles or side-by-sides drive by in the sand.

Coordinates for free beach camping: 31°09’07.4″N 114°53’38.8″W

Caravan at beach near San Felipe

The road to this beach spot was packed sand. Don’t drive too far out on the beaches without getting out and inspecting the sand first. Otherwise you may find your vehicle stuck.

The water here is incredibly calm. We paddle boarded in the afternoon. On day two we went into the town of San Felipe and had lunch at a restaurant.

Paddle boarding San Felipe

On our second visit to Baja, on the way north, we stayed one night at an RV park in San Felipe called Malena and Leos for convenience for 300 pesos. If this feels safer for you on your first night, that makes sense.

Looking for a hotel in the San Felipe area? Check out Stella del Mar for a hotel room on the beach or Hotel Las Palmas. For another RV park, check out Victors.

San Felipe is nice because it’s small, but it’s not where I’d choose to spend much time as it didn’t appeal to me like others towns we visited later. For the sake of a month long itinerary, keep moving.

Another decent spot to stay around 4 hours from the border is this rocky beach. Just be careful of deep sandy spots as well as rattle snakes.

making a fire on a beach in Baja norte

Coordinates for beach camping south of San Felipe and about 4 hours from the border. 30°01’51.4″N 114°34’29.0″W


On our second year visiting Baja, Chris and I drove much farther on our first day. Although it’s not recommended to drive in the dark in Baja (narrow highways, animals on the road, large potholes and big semis), we pushed forward to make it to San Ignacio right after sunset. It made for a long 9 hour day of driving though so I wouldn’t recommend it. We also skipped seeing whales the second time, which I wouldn’t recommend if it’s your first visit! More on that soon.

The town of Guerrero Negro would be a pretty long drive for the first day at around 7 hours if you’re ambitious.
Coordinates for free camping near some sand dunes in Guerrero Negro: 28°02’13.7″N 114°01’57.5″W

Day 2: Ojo de Liebre

Ojo de Liebre near the town of Guerrero Negro is famous for gray whale encounters. I am so glad someone else knew about this so we didn’t miss the experience our first year. It was one of the highlights of my entire time in Baja for sure.

Ojo De Liebre

The drive from San Felipe to Ojo de Libera was a little over 5 hours. It’s probably the most boring section and we’ve experienced pretty awful potholes on the narrow highway here.

You also cross from Pacific Time Zone into Mountain Time Zone as you enter Baja California Sur (until Daylight Savings when they are the same time zone). At this point, you’ve basically made it about halfway down the peninsula already!

Fill up with gas in San Felipe before this stretch. It is 245 miles to Guerrero Negro where you can get gas again, or there is a Pemex (or what used to be a Pemex) about 2 hours past San Felipe where reviews say they take cash only and it’s occasionally closed. After that, you may find a couple of guys selling gas in cans out of the back of a truck. I wouldn’t count on that.

Ojo de Liebre is where gray whales winter and reproduce in the lagoon. Peak season is January through March. I’d recommend reading some recent reviews or reports of whale activity in the area or calling them before making the long drive down that dirt road to make sure there are whales present.

The lagoon is about 5.6 miles wide, 2.5 miles long, and 16–39 ft in depth. It’s an interesting area with huge saltworks you’ll need to drive through. You feel a little like you’re arriving to a military base in the middle of nowhere. From the highway, it takes almost half an hour on a dusty washboarded dirt road. There’s a gate you have to be let through and the man will write down your license plate number but there is no charge to pass through.

If you’re looking to stay at a hotel, they are limited in the immediate area. A hotel in Guerrero Negro is your closest bet.

Or if you’re like us, and you are camping/van traveling, you can camp right near the lagoon for around $6 US per person without a palapa and $12 US dollars for a palapa per night. You will pay when you arrive at the campground. There is also a little restaurant on site.

Caravan of campers in Ojo de Liebre Baja California

The actual boat trip to see the whales is incredible and lasts about 2 hours. It is around $60 per person and leaves right from the pier by the campground entrance where you arrived. Try to be flexible with your schedule because depending on the weather, some days tours won’t go out if it’s too windy. Ask when you get there about tours the following morning. Morning tours are more likely since it’s calm. It can be chilly so dress in layers. It’s a small boat that fits around 10 people.

Ojo de Liebre grey whale encounter

We thought we’d just see whales from a distance but it was truly extraordinary. They rub against the boat, sometimes making it feel like the boat may tip. Where in the world can you have an encounter so up close and personal?! The whales came to us; there was definitely no chasing them. The drivers were very cautious and turned their engines off a long ways away and the whales just come to the boat. Pure magic.

Ojo de Liebre grey whalesOjo de Liebre whales

Coordinates for Ojo de Liebre: 27°44’56.0″N 114°00’42.0″W

We were lucky with good weather so we just spent one night in Ojo de Liebre. The only other thing to see around Guerrero Negro is the salt pools. Some people even swim in them. I was intrigued by these so we drove about 15 minutes out of town and down a dirt road. We were the only ones here. I didn’t get in the salt pools because I didn’t want to feel all sticky and salty, but we walked around for a few minutes.

Guerrero Negro salt pools from drone

Day 3: San Ignacio

After the whale encounter, continue on to San Ignacio. It’s only around a two hour drive, but San Ignacio is a super cute little town worth a visit. There are a number of campgrounds for similar prices in the area. Our favorite is Paraíso Misional and we’ve stayed there a couple different times now. We paid 200 pesos for the night and they have lovely bathrooms and showers. We’ve also stayed at Camping y Ecotours Los Petates which is on the oasis (pictured below) but a little farther from town.

Coordinates for our favorite paid camping: 27°17’47.5″N 112°53’53.6″W

Camping Petatas San Ignacio

You can walk to the town square if you want to, but it’s also a quick easy drive and parking is very easy around the tiny town square. I highly recommend a quick visit to walk around town, including going in the mission from 1728 and the little coffeeshop kitty corner from it called Mancú, or the restaurant Rancho Grande with outdoor seating.

San Ignacio Mission San Ignacio Mission

If you’re looking for a hotel, the Rancho Espinoza La Casita has good reviews or Ignacio Springs Bed and Breakfast.

Alternatively, you could continue farther to the town of Mulegé or Bahía Concepcíon only a couple hours farther.

Mulegé is a quirky little town along the edges of an oasis. There are clusters of palm trees that contrast with the desert around the town. I hear some people say they love Mulegé and others less so. It has an authentic vibe and the Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé is worth visiting.

Day 4-5: Bahía Concepcíon

One of the most beautiful areas in all of Baja, and possibly my favorite, is Bahía Concepcíon. If you look at it on the map, you can see it’s a protected bay within the Gulf of California. This makes it calm with little to no waves, although wind can still make it choppy.

This is such a beautiful area and all the beaches are stunning. Plan to spend a couple nights here minimum. We ended up staying longer on our way back up when it was a little warmer. Stock up on supplies like water and food before leaving Mulegé if you plan to camp here because the road is a bit steep and winding. It isn’t a road I’d want to drive back and forth to town each day to eat especially with an RV.

Beaches in Bahía Concepcíon

Baja Mexico van life

Playa El Coyote

Bahía Concepcíon has a number of great beaches for camping, although most are 200-300 pesos per night (around $12).

Playa Santispac – This is the first one you come to after coming down the hill heading south from the town of Mulegé. Santispac is large and busy, lined up with campers in the high season. Beautiful though! When the tide is out, it’s super shallow and not quite as pretty. We loved the tacos and piña coladas at the beach restaurant, Armandos! If having a restaurant nearby is important to you, Santispac is a great option. There is a gatekeeper there to take payment as you enter.

Playa Santispac Bahia Concepcion

Playa Santispac

Playa Los Cocos – We stayed one night here on our way north in March and I wish we’d had a week. It was absolutely beautiful. The water was incredibly calm and there are a number of palapas on the beach. There is a bit of highway noise though. As with the others, the cost is 200 pesos per night.

Playa los cocos Bahia Concepcion

Playa Los Cocos

Playa La Escondida – This beach is right around the corner from Los Cocos but it has a different road to it. I paddle boarded from Los Cocos to see it and there were a few people there. The beach didn’t look as nice as Los Cocos but I think it would be potentially fewer people. I only saw it from my paddle board.

Playa El Burro – This cute beach has a beautiful calm bay but there are a lot of structures on it so it doesn’t feel nearly as remote as others and there may be less room overall. I don’t think I’d camp at this beach, but it’s worth a visit just for the Nomadico Coffee and Brunch at the north end of the beach. They had yummy healthy options.

Playa El Coyote – This is a beautiful beach tucked below the highway so it feels a bit sheltered with a big hill behind you, although you do get some highway noise. This is where we chose to camp the first time on our way south as well as back north our second year and I loved it. After you turn off the highway, drive down a bumpy road towards the beach then hang a right. Keep going far right and hug the water along the rock wall until you come to another part of the beach. Someone came around to collect the camping fee in the morning fairly early. There was also someone offering firewood, kayak rentals, and sometimes food and different goods. We were even able to see bioluminescence here!

Bahia de Concepcion Playa El Coyote

Playa El Coyote

Playa El Requeson – One of the best camp spots towards the lower half of the bay, it’s sort of like a bay within a bay with a unique sandbar that forms an island when the tide is high. It’s quite calm but also popular. The cost is 250 pesos (around $15) per night. It’s beachfront camping at its best and this is a great spot to paddle board and the water is very shallow. It’s a really lovely beach but gets crowded.

Playa el RequesonPlaya El Requeson 2 beachesPlaya El Requeson Bahia Concepcion

There are other beaches farther down and around the backside of Bahía Concepcíon, however the road gets worse and many areas require 4×4.

There are not many hotels around Mulegé. A couple are Casa El Pescador and Serenidad. I’d personally prefer to continue on to Bahía Concepíon. There are also a couple glamping style places around Bahía Concepcíon.

Day 6: Loreto

Loreto is a really lovely town only about 1.5 hours south of Bahía Concepcíon. It is one of the towns in Baja with the designation of a Pueblo Mágico, the others being Todos Santos, Santa Rosalia, and Tecate. We didn’t stay in Loreto on our way down the first trip since the weather was chilly but reserved some time for it on the way back up. Our second trip we spent time there both ways and I love it!

Loreto is great because it hasn’t become quite as busy as Todos Santos. The traffic is not horrendous, parking can be pretty easy to find, and it feels Mexican, although there are a lot of expats.

Things to See and Do in Loreto

Mission of Our Lady

In the town center, you’ll find beautiful tree-lined walkways, cobblestone streets, hotels, restaurants, and occasionally live music. This is where the beautiful mission is located.

Loreto Mission of our Lady Baja California

Stroll the Malecón

I love seaside towns with a great waterfront path to walk with a view. This is a nice one along a busy touristy street with lots of restaurants and hotels. There is also ample parking along the waterfront malecón.

Loreto Baja California Malecón

Take a Boat Tour

Very popular around Loreto is visiting the islands of Isla Coronado, Isla Carmen, Isla Danzante, and more. A number of tour operators offer different options and many include snorkeling, lunch, beach time on the islands, etc. You can even just go to the waterfront in the morning and there will be tour operators asking you if you want to go.

Drive to Mission San Francisco Javier

San Javier Mission Loreto Baja

The drive is around an hour each way on a windy road into the mountains, but the road has been paved in the last few years so that’s a major bonus. You’ll also find an incredibly old (300 years) olive tree said to be the oldest in Baja. You can also do it as part of a tour as listed above with Get Your Guide. We really enjoyed this tiny town and had lunch at one of the little restaurants.

Where to Stay in Loreto

For higher end stays, have a look at:

Posada de La Flores

Posada de Las Flores hotel in Loreto

La Mision Loreto

Villas del Santo Niño

Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto

For more mid range stays:

Hotel 1697 Loreto

Rosarito Hotel

Bugambilias Suites Hotel

For more budget friendly stays:

Cabañas Rústicas El Benny by Rotamundos

Coco Cabañas and Casitas Vacation Rentals

SuKasa Bungalows

Loreto also has places for campers like Romania RV Park, or you can check out iOverlander for other options. Street parking is usually plentiful as well.

Where to Eat in Loreto

There are a number of great restaurants in Loreto. A few to keep on your list:

Orlando’s, Canipole, Alma del Sur, Mi Loreto, Pan Que Pan, Jr.’s and George’s, and Tacos Nany.

Pan Que Pan dining table in an old cut VW bug

Day 7 and 8: La Paz

La Paz is around 4-5 hours from Loreto. There are beautiful views to take in at the start of the drive, and then unfortunately a lot of boring desert in the middle of the peninsula. But it can be beautiful too.

La Paz is a tad too large for my liking with a population of around 250,000. The waterfront is nice, albeit touristy. There are shops and restaurants with a beautiful view of the marina plus a few really cute streets in the center of town near the water with great, trendy restaurants. The Museo de Arte de Baja California Sur is in the same area and has great reviews…I admit, I didn’t visit.

La Paz Streets

The streets are an endless grid of 4 way stops interspersed with 2 way stops and it’s rather stressful, especially when your vehicle is your home and you’re terrified of getting hit.

Since we were camping at beaches, we made our way to Playa El Tecolote about half an hour from La Paz to stay the night. There are beautiful beaches in the area around La Paz and you’ll definitely want to spend some time here. There are a couple worthwhile hikes too like Cerro de La Calavera.

Beaches in La Paz

Playa Balandra – This is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Mexico, and maybe all of the world. Its shallow turquoise water is perfect for paddle boarding or kayaking. Balandra Beach has become so popular that they’ve created a timed entry system. There are two entry times at 8 am lasting until noon then 1 pm till 5 pm. People line up in their cars shortly before that and they only let 450 people in. There are no restaurants at this beach but there are a few porta potties.

Balandra Beach La Paz

They are quite serious about kicking people out at noon. Don’t make them come chase you down,

We were able to drive right in on a Saturday around 10 am and Sunday right at opening at 8 am. The parking lot never seemed completely full. However other days I’ve seen a huge line of cars an hour before opening.

Google the tide chart though, because at low tide, the water is way out in the bay and isn’t nearly as pretty as high tide.

You can also hike to the Mirador Balandra for a nice view over Balandra Beach without having to drive into the limited entry parking lot.

Balandra Beach overlook hike

Playa El Tecolote – This beach is only about a 3 minute drive from Balandra Beach. It is quite beautiful and has no daily limitation of visitors. There are a a few restaurants and bars at Tecolote. If there’s any bit of wind, it always seems worse at Tecolote. On a calm day, this beach and water is stunning though. You can watch the pelicans dive in the water for fish. At the time of writing this, you can camp at Tecolote free of charge.

Playa Tecolote view from the van Playa tecolote beach camping Playa tecolote beach restaurant

Facilities are limited, however. Absolutely follow Leave No Trace Principles. Pack out your trash and don’t go to the bathroom all over the beach and leave it. This is an unfortunate and common practice here.

Playa Tecolotito – This amazing beach is just around the corner of Playa El Tecolote to the southwest. You can hike over the hill from Tecolote or you could also paddle from Tecolote. It’s a very nice short hike with a big payoff. The beach is beautiful.

Playa Tecolotito near La Paz

Playa Shiro – This beach is the next one over between Playa Tecolotito and Balandra. You can go around the corner to the right from Balandra Beach via paddle board past the mushroom shaped rock. Or you can hike there from Tecolote as well.

Playa Pichilingue – Not as private as the others and rather small, but it’s easily accessible and has a restaurant. We found it to be a bit crowded.

Playa PichilinguePlaya Pichiligue La Paz

Playa Las Gaviotas – Calm and beautiful, only accessible by water or walking about half an hour over the hill from Playa Pichilingue.

Playa El Tesoro – Pretty and easily accessible right along the highway with a restaurant that takes cash only. Quite small though.

Playa El Caimancito – Closer to La Paz and quieter but more developed with hotels right there.

Playa El Coromuel – Right along the main road, has palapas and a pier to walk out on. Not really my vibe but it’s close to town.

Boat tours are very popular in La Paz. Whale sharks are common here, so this is often a bucket list destination for snorkeling or diving with them. I’ve missed it two years in a row!

Where to Stay in La Paz

There are many affordable hotels in La Paz. Don’t expect 5 star luxury, but for very reasonable you can get nice, comfortable accommodations.

Hotel Catedral La Paz – Very modern with a rooftop pool and views plus a great location.

Amazing Vista Coral Condo – Check this one out if you want to be close to the water. It is right on the malecon and easy to walk all over the best parts of La Paz.

The Mantarraya Outpost – More B&B style with very cute decor.

Puerta Cortes Residences – If you’re wanting to golf and be a little outside of La Paz, this provides the full resort experience but still close to town.

Where to Eat in La Paz

First and foremost, I must mention my favorite pastry and tiramisu in all of Baja, if not anywhere.

MoMo Panadería in the heart of downtown is tiny but special. The single serving tiramisus are truly amazing as are the little lemon meringue pies and the almond croissants.

tiramisu, croissant and lemon pie at Momos panaderia in la paz

Doce Cuarenta is a great coffeeshop and bakery, which you can also find in Todos Santos. The same street and area has a number of other cute cafes.

Gratitude Coffee Makers is a new coffeeshop and they know what they are doing. They are obviously passionate about coffee and ready to share that with you.

Paradiso Bakery has a great vibe. It’s a coffeeshop plus healthy food options and fresh baked goods.

Nómada Fresh or Capuchino Café Bar for vegan options.

Maria California for great traditional Mexican food.

Odayaka Sushi Bar or Kahe Sushi for sushi.

Las Tres Virgeses is a highly reviewed restaurant and supposed to be good for dinner as well as Nim.

Seis Uno Dos is a really nice rooftop bar with good drinks.

Day 9-11: Todos Santos, Pescadero and Cerritos

view of todos santos from el mirador restaurant road

The drive to Todos Santos from La Paz is just over an hour. So technically you could go back and forth between the two quite easily over the next few days if you wanted to. Once you’re to this area, you can get a feel for the places you want to revisit and spend more time.

We instantly fell in love with Todos Santos and the small communities of Pescadero and Cerritos just to the south. Todos Santos is one of the Pueblo Mágicos in Baja and rightfully so. This is a designation given by the government to towns with significant cultural and historic appeal. This area is probably our favorite of our entire Baja, Mexico road trip itinerary.

What to Do in Todos Santos, Pescadero, Cerritos

Todos Santos Church

We spent more than a month each year in this area. Todos Santos truly a beautiful vibrant town. You’ll notice quickly though, it has been gentrified by Americans and Canadians who easily fell in love with the area and began moving here years ago, so expect prices to be higher. Head to more local Mexican restaurants for better prices on food.

Todos Santos colofrul street

Do spend some time in Pescadero and Cerritos. There are tons of little restaurants hidden throughout the villages. You’ll notice a massive amount of construction ongoing in this area. That’s the gentrification I mentioned. There is something so quaint about the dusty dirt roads leading to fancy boho restaurants you’d never expect.

dirt road through Todos Santos

Surfing is very popular at both Cerritos Beach (beginners) and Playa San Pedrito.

Cerritos la misión Baja

Cerritos Beach

Playa San Pedrito Pescadero

Playa San Pedrito Pescadero

While in Todos Santos area, there is a lot to do and see. But if you want to get active, hike Punta Lobos. You can find the Sugar Port Trailhead just next to the parking lot for the Hotel San Cristóbal. It’s not a difficult hike and there are multiple trails to make it longer or shorter if you want. Definitely a great spot for sunset.

Punta Lobos sunset Hike

Playa de las Palmas is a really unique beach near Todos Santos. The road is a little rough but totally doable for a 2WD. Follow Google maps to turn off the highway (there are actually a couple roads that meet up with the highway). From what the reviews say, it’s accessed through private property but the owner allows guests daytime entrance by leaving his gate open then closing it at sunset. I can’t confirm these details. Either way, you walk a magical, palm tree lined trail to the water for about 10 minutes or less. The beach is a really unique beach for this area. It’s flat and wide and the sand is so fine it squeaks!

Where to Stay in the Todos Santos Area:

Villa Santa Cruz: This stunning hotel is located on the beach about 5 miles north of Todos Santos down a long dirt road. It feels secluded but you have everything you need on the property, including my favorite restaurant, The Green Room. It would be perfect for a special occasion.

Villa Santa Cruz Baja

Todos Santos Boutique Hotel: Stunning, elegant, old world style hotel in the heart of downtown Todos Santos. I’d love to stay here. The vibe feels very speakeasy.

Guaycura Boutique Hotel: A simple hotel in downtown Todos Santos with a rooftop pool and access to El Faro Beach Club.

Guaycura Hotel Todos Santos

Paradero: For ultimate luxury and service, you’ll pay for it here. Gorgeous modern desert architecture but not near the ocean or town so you’ll need a car or pay for an expensive transfer. Definitely not an experience for the frugal traveler.

Hotel Casa Tota: Very cute, simple hotel in the heart of downtown Todos Santos.

Hotel Casa Tota Todos Santos

Villa La Mar: If you want something close to Todos Santos but still on the beach, this is a good solution. It has great reviews and value.

Casa Santos: Stunning modern design and outdoor desert pool. Not particularly budget friendly but the reviews are great.

Cerritos Surf Residence: These are nicely appointed apartments with kitchens in the Cerritos area. You’d want a car or e-bike to cruise around the neighborhood and get to the beach.

If you’re traveling in a camper in this area, there are a number of RV parks in the area but very little wild camping. It can be found, but the topic is controversial to residents in the area being fed up with campers invading “their” beaches. So ideally, find a paid campground in this area.

Where to Eat in Todos Santos Area:

Besos de Mezcal: This is a fantastic restaurant somewhat hidden along a dirt road in Pescadero. They have casitas to rent and a pool, and the restaurant is a really classy setting. We went here more than any other restaurant. Their sushi is amazing as is the fish tacos, burgers, and cocktails.

Besos de Mezcal tacos Pescadero

Palmar Pescadero: We found this adorable little place by chance. It’s a beautifully done little outdoor restaurant at a lady’s house along the dirt roads of Pescadero. I highly recommend them for breakfast.

Palmar Pescadero French Toast

The Green Room: for a special occasion (or not), imagine your feet in the sand with the most beautiful ocean view for sunset, craft cocktails, and delicious food with elegant lighting.

The Green Room tables in the sand

Agricole: This is a favorite grocery store among gringos and locals alike and they have the famed “Fresas con cremas” aka strawberry creamies made fresh daily along with lots of other delicious grab and go snacks. Their pastries (try the passionfruit cruffin!) and little cheap burritos are good too. Certainly not your standard Mexican grocery store, and the prices reflect that. But they also have a beautiful outdoor restaurant in a garden setting that is absolutely worth having a meal.

Agricole grocery and restaurant Pescadero BajaAgricole grocery store and restaurant

Siempre Viva: This farm to table restaurant in Pescadero is really beautiful. It is surrounded by their farms, they have an impressive wood-fire pizza oven and the most delicious sourdough pizza. Prices are pretty high.

Siempre Viva restaurant

Los Claros: One of my favorite tacos on earth. Get the coconut shrimp tacos and load up with the taco bar toppings. They are SO good! Not as affordable as they used to be, but still a filling meal for cheaper than most restaurants in the area.

Los Claros coconut shrimp tacos Pescadero

Heirbabuena: This is another amazing farm to table restaurant in a lovely garden setting in Pescadero.

Hierbabuena farm to table restaurant

Barracuda: This is a fun and popular place in Cerritos that has good drinks, tacos, ceviche, among other things.

Barracuda restaurant cerritos baja

Pizzeria Romantica:  Right in town in Todos Santos, they have great wood-fire pizza and a nice atmosphere.

El Mirador: A  unique restaurant up a not so lovely dirt road right outside Todos Santos. Incredible views and classy.

El Mirador Restaurant

Jazamango: There are two of these. One is the full sized fancy restaurant and the other is more of a quaint garden cafe right in town. Both are worth a visit.

coffee at Jazamango Cafe Todos Santos

Cafe Todos Santos: On the most beautiful, colorful street in Todos Santos, this restaurant has such a neat vibe. They have indoor and outdoor seating in a really great atmosphere.

Cafe Todos Santos interior decor

Day 12 and 13: Los Cabos

The term “Los Cabos” refers to the two popular southern towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo at the tip of the peninsula.

Cabo San Lucas Lovers Arch

The drive from Todos Santos to Cabo San Lucas is an easy one and takes about an hour. It’s a relatively pretty drive as well. Cabo San Lucas is my least favorite area of Baja, so we essentially skipped doing anything in town aside from Costco and Walmart for supplies for the van.

I have friends who went out to some bars and clubs at night and had a good time. However drugs and scams are rampant so be cautious and I’d advise to keep your wits about you and against going out alone.

The next city of “Los Cabos” is San Jose del Cabo. I much prefer the vibe here over Cabo San Lucas. It feels more local Mexican, has tons of fantastic restaurants, and is pretty with the mountains in the distance.

What to do in Los Cabos

One thing I would suggest is a boat tour to the arch in Cabo San Lucas. You can go down to the marina and hop on a boat to go out to Lover’s Arch. The view is spectacular and the beach is lovely too.

Where to Eat in Los Cabos

If you can, eat at the farm to table restaurant, El Huerto in Cabo San Lucas. I didn’t make it there but some of my friends did and said it was exceptional. The reviews are fantastic too.

I didn’t spend enough time in San Jose del Cabo to try many restaurants. Some good coffeeshops are Coffee Lab, Antigua Coffee and Bakery, and Los Tamarindos.

Claro Fish Jr. is popular for tacos, similar to Los Claros in Todos Santos, although not as good in my opinion.

Restaurants to try: Chula Vegan Cafe, La Revolucion Comedor, Don Sanchez, and Habanero’s.

You should visit Flora Farms just for the surprisingly beautiful property with shops, a restaurant, and gardens if you have time. It is a bit pricey and too classy for my liking though if I’m being honest. But the contrast is interesting to see.

Flora Farms San Jose del Cabo Baja flora farms restaurant san jose del cabo

Where to Stay in San Jose del Cabo:

For more luxurious beachfront accommodations, consider:

Le Blanc Spa Resort

One&Only Palmilla

Cabo Surf Hotel

For moderately priced, close to the ocean but not beachfront accommodations, check out:

Casa Costa Azul

Viceroy Los Cabos

Marisol Hotel Boutique

Six Two Four Urban Beach Hotel

For more budget friendly, in the heart of downtown San Jose del Cabo, compare:

Drift San Jose del Cabo

Hotel Casa Natalia 

Lumina at Cardinal San José del Cabo 

Desert Heart Hostel

For paid camping check out Rancho El Clandestino and for free camping a lot of people stay at Playa el Tule between Cabo and San Jose del Cabo.

Day 14 and 15: East Cape

East cape sandy beaches

The East Cape is an almost completely undeveloped area around the southeastern tip of Cabo that should not be missed. From San Jose del Cabo, it takes around half an hour to get to the start of it. Make sure you download offline maps before leaving because you will have no service out here. A 4×4 is not necessary but it will make the experience better in that you can drive down onto the beach farther and drive down certain sandy beach roads to camp where others can’t.

What do you do out there on the East Cape, you might ask? Well for us in the van, it is the perfect place to get away. We park and camp on the beach, cook all our meals, watch whales jump all day, make friends with donkeys and dogs, exercise, get work done, and just relax.

East Cape Baja campingBaja east cape sunset

For many people though, they go surfing and this is the main draw of the East Cape for them.

Sunset surfing nine palms 2

Google maps seem to be accurate this year, 2024 as opposed to last year. You follow the Camino Cabo Este Road out of San Jose del Cabo. You could put Zai Sushi into Google maps as your destination, which is somewhere in the middle of the East Cape. At one point at an intersection sign says “Zai” with an arrow to continue straight. That is the way you should continue going. Zai is a great sushi restaurant at La Fortuna on the East Cape that you cannot miss!

Soon after the sign for Zai at the intersection, the road will turn to dirt washboard and you just keep going right along the ocean. Eventually you’ll come to La Fortuna, a tiny village of like 2 restaurants, glamping tents, and a few houses. A number of people will be camping here and surfing each day. This is also where Zai Sushi is. Reservations are recommended via their WhatsApp.

Another great camping option is called Nine Palms, which is a large beach another 15-30 minutes past La Fortuna. There is ample room and it’s popular for surfing.

donkey on the East Cape of baja

Take your pick of beaches to camp. IOverlander is a great reference to read reports of deep sand, etc. There is occasionally someone who will come by and empty large garbage cans. But I wouldn’t count on this. Make sure to dispose of waste properly and always leave no trace.

Places to Stay on the East Cape

If you don’t have a camper and tenting it on the beach is not your thing (don’t blame you), there are a few really lovely places to stay in the area.

The White Lodge – A short distance from Nine Palms, the White Lodge is a stunning hotel with ocean views and a lovely restaurant. You can eat here without being a guest as well.

White Lodge entry room East Cape of Baja

Vida Soul – This unique and modern hotel is closer to Cabo Pulmo National Park and has a restaurant you can visit as a non-guest as well.

Vida Soul restaurant and hotel east cape of baja mexico

Villa Del Faro – This absolutely beautiful 4 star hotel is the closest to Cabo Pulmo and has a beautiful traditional Mexican theme. It is small with only 7 rooms but very secluded and private.

Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos: The only 5 star luxury on the East Cape, which is actually in La Ribera.

Day 16: Cabo Pulmo

If you continue on Camino Cabo Este Road for another hour or so northeast of Nine Palms, you’ll come to Cabo Pulmo National Park. Here, the water is a bit calmer, there is a ton of sea life, snorkeling, diving, and paddling. There are lots of beaches in the area to explore as well as tour companies to take you out.

beach in Cabo Pulmo east cape baja

You can find a number of more modest hotels, bungalows, and room rentals in this area, as it’s slightly more developed and populated.

Bungalows Cabo Pulmo – Right next to the beach and has good reviews.

Cabo Pulmo Rentals – A number of adorable and affordable cottages.

Day 17: Santiago and Sol de Mayo

The main reason many people visit the mountainous area around Santiago is for the Rancho Ecologico Sol De Mayo waterfall and the Santa Rita Aguas Termales (hot springs).

Rancho sol de mayo waterfall baja california

The drive from Cabo Pulmo to Santiago is about an hour north. The pavement starts again shortly after Cabo Pulmo. You’ll go through the little town of La Ribera which is kind of cute. Alternatively, if you don’t go to the East Cape or Cabo Pulmo, you can drive north from San Jose del Cabo to get to Santiago too.

The hot springs and the waterfall are both about 30 minutes out of Santiago but in different areas. We actually didn’t go to the hot springs either year because the warmth just didn’t appeal to us on a hot day like a nice refreshing waterfall. But I hear the hot springs are very nice and worth it.

Rancho Ecologico Sol De Mayo

The road here is washboarded dirt and sand but ok for a 2WD. Our first year, we missed our turn here from Santiago and Google rerouted us on another road farther south that goes by a “Parque Ecologico Santiago” as well as a mission. The road quickly turned to a sand 4×4 only road so we had to back out quite a ways. Don’t go that way. Take the road that goes by the Mirador de Santiago, a lovely view over the big green oasis in town.

Santiago Mirador

Follow the signs for Rancho Ecologico Sol de Mayo. It is well marked. There are a few cattle guard crossings but they are fine. The road does get narrow with deep sand on the sides so be prepared to stop and wait for oncoming traffic when it’s safe to do so and be patient.

The entrance fee is 200 pesos or around $12 per person, which is an increase from last year. There are cabins you can rent there as well as a restaurant and bathroom. Read reviews at Rancho Ecologico. You can also pay 300 pesos per person per night to camp which includes your entrance fee.

Sol de Mayo Entrance

The walk from the entrance to the falls is a bit steep downhill with large steps and rocks, so decent footwear is advised. We wore flip flops and it wasn’t terrible, but I don’t recommend it. Just be careful. The walk is less than 10 minutes.

Sol de Mayo hike

The water is chilly but refreshing. I did hear reports of black water snakes, which I read are harmless but just be aware.

You can also continue the hike past the waterfall. The trail becomes harder to follow but just cross the creek and proceed on the other side for a while. You’ll eventually come to a natural waterslide which is an absolute blast to go down! I did, however, get tons of little tiny worms on my body after going down the slide like 5 times. Yuck.

Racho Sol del Mayo Waterslide

If you don’t want to camp here at the ranch, you could stay the night in Santiago or drive another half hour to the cute little town of La Ribera or Los Barriles, or even an extra hour or more all the way to La Ventana.

Checkout Hotel Don Julio in Santiago or Hacienda De Palmas in La Ribera if you don’t want to stay at the Rancho Sol de Mayo property.

sol de mayo waterfall

Day 18 and 19: El Triunfo, Los Barriles, and La Ventana

Los Barriles, La Ventana, and El Sargento are small cute fishing towns known for kitesurfing and windsurfing. They all have a number of American and Canadian expats living there. You’ll drive by both towns so you should definitely check them out. I personally really like staying in La Ventana and only drove through Los Barriles. But there are some lovely beaches in Los Barriles. The drive between Los Barriles and La Ventana is a fairly windy and steep mountain road with – you guessed it – no shoulders. It takes about an hour and a half to get there.

Between the two is an adorable little town called El Triunfo, although it is a tiny detour maybe 10 minutes each way. An old mining town that used to be quite large, the population is now under 500. But for a town so small, they have an impressive array of museums and restaurants. I recommend a stop for breakfast or lunch at Cafe El Triunfo or El Minero and a visit to a museum.

El Triunfo streetEl Triunfo Church

There’s not much time needed for El Triunfo, but you could certainly spend the day there if you have the time. Otherwise, after lunch continue to La Ventana.

La Ventana and El Sargento are basically the same. El Sargento is on the north of La Ventana Bay and La Ventana is on the southern part of La Ventana Bay. There is no noticeable line between the two towns. It seemed to me, people just refer to both as La Ventana in general.

La Ventana windy beach

La Ventana has a number of kitesurfing operations and that is what it is famous for, although Los Barriles has kitesurfing as well. If it is not kitesurfing season, La Ventana really shuts down and gets quiet.

Aside from kitesurfing, La Ventana has a lot of really cool cacti to check out via bike trails. You can also visit the lighthouse which has a really nice beach (when it’s not windy).

La Ventana cacti at sunriseLa ventana lighthouse

Where to Stay in Los Barriles or La Ventana

Los Barriles:

Los Barriles Hotel 

Hotel Playa Del Sol

Punta Pescadero Paradise Hotel and Villas 

There are also a number of guesthouses and rentals you can find on Airbnb.

La Ventana and El Sargento

Baja Joe’s Hotel


Nomada Hotel

Beachfront Lots

Kitesurfing in La Ventana

What to Eat in La Ventana

Don’t miss Pólvora for coffee and yummy things like pastries or avocado toast.

Polvora restaurant la ventana

Polvora, La Ventana

Polvora restaurant French Toast La Ventana

Polvora French Toast

There are a number of really well reviewed restaurants for a town so small; I was surprised! They are tucked all over. Mariscos El Cone is great for Mexican food and seafood. Nothing fancy, just good Mexican food. For tacos we enjoyed Las Cazuelas de Joe’s and Baja Bites. For something a little fancy on the beach, check out La Tuna.

La Tuna La Ventana

La Tuna

quesadillas at Mariscos La Ventana

Mariscos El Cone

For dinner, Marlin Azul looks nice but we didn’t get a chance to try it. We missed this too but for breakfast, Nomada Organics El Sargento. Want fresh baked goods? My friends loved La Panaderia Mextli’s Gluten Lab.

Day 20 and 21: Back to La Paz

This is a very short drive north of only about 45 minutes. As I mentioned before, La Paz is a little large for my liking BUT I grew to see its charm on our second visit heading home both times. We stayed for about 3-4 days each time and I realized how many great restaurants there are. You, of course, are welcome to make your own itinerary back north based on what areas you want to revisit or spend more time so I won’t go over La Paz again.

La Paz Malecon

Day 22: Loreto

We talked about some of the places to stay and top things to do in Loreto already. The drive between La Paz and Loreto is around 4-4.5 hours. If you didn’t care to revisit La Paz, you could go back to Loreto instead in about 5 hours from La Ventana. If you missed some things on the way down, now is a good time to spend a couple days in Loreto.

We filled up on gas in Loreto and made one stop for lunch in the middle of nowhere at the most random roadside restaurant out of what I’m pretty sure was a lady’s house. It was called Restaurant Los Pinos and has quite good reviews. Not only was our two pulled pork burritos delicious, I think the whole meal was around $5. Not to mention she had the two cutest dogs on the planet there.

Unlike Todos Santos, Loreto doesn’t initially jump out at you as overly magical and charming. But if you take some time to walk around the central square and see the mission with the gorgeous sunset glow on it, it’ll become evident. In fact, Loreto grew on me almost more than anywhere in Baja.

Loreto tree arch

Day 23-26: Bahía Concepcíon

The stunning drive to Bahia Conceptión from Loreto is one of my favorites in all of Baja. The view you get of the bay coming down the mountains is quite lovely. So although you may have stayed here on the way down, there are so many unique and incredible beaches, maybe you’d like to try a different one.

The drive from Loreto to the start of the bay is only a little over an hour. If you don’t want to camp in the Bahia Concepción, you could go a little further to the quaint town of Mulegé and stay at a hotel or RV park or even farther to San Ignacio, where we stopped for a night on our itinerary coming south and on the way back.

Bahia Concepcion playa los cocos out the backdoor of the van

We’ve already talked about the main beaches of Bahía Concepcíon but on our way home we stayed at Playa El Requeson and Playa Los Cocos. Make sure you budget enough cash left over after your trip for how long you plan to camp here. Remember you’ll need cash to pay.

Bahia Concepcion playa el requesón from the van

Day 27: Bahia Concepción to Bahía de los Ángeles or Guerrero Negro

The jaunt to Bahía de los Ángeles is around 6 hours. Everyone’s tolerance for long days of driving is different. But Bahía de los Ángeles is almost an hour detour off the highway each way. I expected to go there on our way home the second trip but we spent a little too much time in other places and ran out of time. However I’m told it’s absolutely gorgeous. My friend Jason was kind enough to share these beautiful photos with me.


Bahia de los ángeles at sunset

Bahía de los Ángeles (Photo by Jason Zabriskie)

a camper van at Bahia de los angeles at sunset

Bahía de los Ángeles (Photo by Jason Zabriskie)

The detour for this bay is right before Highway 1 splits into Highway 1 and 5. It is a dirt road for much of it but you can make it without 4 wheel drive. There is a 100 peso charge for camping since someone comes around to pick up trash occasionally.

But first, another quick stop you may want to make is to Santa Rosalia, the newest Pueblo Mágico in Baja. This town is on your way about an hour north of Bahia Concepción and is definitely worth a visit if you didn’t already stop on your way down.

It is a decent sized town with a few gas stations and grocery stores. The majority of the town isn’t visible from the highway, so definitely venture into the downtown to see the quaint streets and restaurants. Santa Rosalia has a French history so the feel to the town is different. El Boleo is a popular French Bakery with a bunch of donuts and pastries and buns. We enjoyed lunch at MaSabor and then a crepe afterwards at Mas Cafe.

Santa Rosalia streets

If a detour to Bahía de los Ángelas isn’t feasible, you can stop in Guerrero Negro again at 3.5 hours from Bahía Concepcíon or you can go farther to San Felipe but that’s an 8.5 hour long drive.

Day 28: Bahía de los Ángeles to San Felipe

The drive to San Felipe from Bahía de los Ángeles is around 4 hours. San Felipe is actually a pretty neat town. I didn’t spend much time there on our first trip or on our way down this year, but on the way back we checked it out more thoroughly. It’s authentic and not touristy which I appreciate. We stayed one night, went to dinner on the malecon, and stayed at an RV park in town.

Day 29-30: Valle de Guadalupe

If you come from San Felipe, this is around 3.5 hours. If you decide to skip San Felipe entirely, Bahía de los Ángeles to Valle de Guadalupe is a 7 hour long drive.

The Valle de Guadalupe, aka the Napa of Baja, is one of the most beautiful regions in all of Baja. We went the first year but didn’t have time this year unfortunately.

Valle de Guadalupe La Cetto winery

The drive crossing the peninsula on Highway 3 is absolutely beautiful. Google maps says there are tolls but there were not when we went. You could also take Highway 1 from Guerrero Negro to the West coast of Baja instead of Highway 5 which hugs the Sea of Cortez. Google maps say this route is almost an hour longer and I’m not familiar with it in order to recommend somewhere to stay along the way. But people certainly follow this route.

The only problem with taking Highway 3 west from San Felipe was the road was atrocious. It’s all paved and winds through beautiful green mountains, but there were potholes all over for like 2 hours straight. It could do some serious damage to your vehicle. There was not a ton of traffic, but enough that people were passing each other and weaving into the other lane to avoid hitting potholes. It made for a stressful couple hours. Road conditions change frequently though, so it’s worth doing some research to determine how bad the road is.

Despite that, the drive was gorgeous. When you’re used to seeing dry desert over the entire peninsula, it was quite startling to see rolling green hills, blooming wildflower carpets, green grass waving in the breeze, and fertile red earth. It reminded me so much of spring and summer back home in Washington, it just about made me cry.

Highway 3 skirts around Ensenada which was nice to avoid the big city, but you can still get glimpses of it. I expected Ensenada to be flat and dry for some reason, but it was stunning. It reminded me of places we’d seen in Colombia and Northern Spain.

Our destination for this day was CETTO Winery outside of the small town of Guadalupe. The wine region is quite beautiful and very green in March, which can be a pretty dry brown time of year for the rest of Baja. We were welcomed to the CETTO Winery and asked if we were camping since we are in a van and they simply pointed to the back lot in the midst of the vineyard where we could park anywhere. It was beautiful and so peaceful! We went in and bought a bottle of wine to support them in appreciation for allowing us to camp free of charge.

parking our van to camp at CETTO winery in Valle de Guadalupe wineryLa Cetto winery in Valle de Guadalupe Baja

Unfortunately we didn’t get a lot of time to explore the wine country. The weather was cold and a bit rainy and we decided to make our move for the border instead. But there are so many beautiful restaurants and wineries to explore.

If you’re looking for a hotel in the Valle de Guadalupe (and there are tons of stunning ones), checkout these:

Hotel Los Amantes Valle de Guadalupe

Mexico en la Piel

Finca el Mirador

Casa Mayoral B&B Pet friendly

Day 30: Cross the Tecate Border

The drive to Tecate from Guadalupe is little more than an hour. Follow your GPS straight through the town until you see signs directing you for border crossing. You’ll eventually come to “The Wall” in front of you where you’ll hang a left and follow the line of cars along the border wall, which is fascinating in itself. We had to wait a while in line last year but that was because there was another border closed so more was diverted to Tecate. Otherwise the town was easily navigable and border crossing went very smoothly.

Tecate is actually also a Pueblo Magicó! We didn’t spend any time there, but I’d like to someday.

If you opt to not visit the Valle de Guadalupe like us this year, Mexicali East is considered easier than Mexicali West. The lanes can get confusing though, so you want to make sure you don’t get in the leftmost lane which is specifically for Sentri holders. You want the far right lane (unless you have Sentri or Ready lane eligible travel cards). We found it easiest to come from the east side of the border to turn directly into the far right lane.

Baja Mexico Road Trip Itinerary

I hope this post helps guide you to plan an amazing Baja, Mexico road trip itinerary. 30 days is honestly less than I’d want to thoroughly see everything, but it’s also way more than a lot of people will be able to do, so I understand that. I felt like 30 days for a Baja itinerary would be a happy medium to see a lot with ample time to do so. If 30 days isn’t feasible for you, consider saving this for someday when it might be. Happy road tripping!

Don’t forget to also read:

Everything you need to know to road trip baja mexico

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