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BAJA, MEXICO
The Baja of Mexico is a desert peninsula that extends from the U.S. border of California, 900 miles south to the town of Cabo San Lucas. The desert and mountainous landscape of the Baja separates the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez. The Sea of Cortez is packed with over 850 species of fish, whales (grey, orcas), sharks (hammerhead and whale), sea lions, and dolphins. If you are looking for charm, there is no need to look past the capital city of La Paz; enjoy some of the most famous dive spots during the day and a bustling nightlife! Two Hundred and fifty miles off of the southern most tip of the Baja, you will find the Socorro Islands that are reached only by a liveaboard boat ride out of Cabo San Lucas. The Socorro Islands are famous for giant manta rays, as well as schools of sharks (hammerhead, white tips, silver tips, and whale), and have been called the "Mexico Galapagos." Wherever you go in the Baja, be prepared to sit back and bath in the warm sunshine, while sipping on a cool drink, as you look out over the beautiful turquoise waters. The Baja Norte (North) is in the Pacific Standard Time (PST) zone, and the Baja Sur (South) is in the Mountain Standard Time (MST) zone. The national language of the Baja is Spanish, although English is spoken occasionally in the major tourist cities and resorts.

Click here for a map of the Baja

Click here to see descriptions of available accommodations/liveaboards in the Baja

TRAVEL TIPS/INFORMATION

Seasons/ Weather/Climate/Water Conditions
High Season: November to May
Low Season: June to October
Hurricane Season: June to November
Rainy Season: August to September (if any)

The Baja Sur has an annual rainfall of approximately 6 inches, which creates a nearly perfect dry tropical climate. Average air temperatures in the Baja Sur range from the mid 70's in the Winter to the mid 90's in the Summer.

Light and casual clothing is suggested, however some restaurants and nightclubs may impose a dress code, therefore, you may want to call ahead. Temperatures at night tend to cool off, so it is always a good idea to pack a light cover up any time of the year.

Average water temperatures range from 70F to 84F, and water visibility ranging from 60 to 100 ft +.

Transportation
When traveling to Baja Sur, you have two airports in which to arrive:

Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) at San Jose del Cabo. The Los Cabos airport is located eight miles north of San Jose del Cabo and twenty-nine miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas. Non-stop flights are available to Los Cabos from San Diego, Los Angeles, Ontario, San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, and Las Vegas.

La Paz Gen De Leon Airport (LAP) - The La Paz airport is about eight miles from the center of the city. Non-stop flights are available to La Paz from Seattle and Los Angeles, Tijuana, Phoenix, and Tucson.

The following airlines provide service to and from the Baja Sur:
Aero Mexico, Aero California, Alaska, American, America West, Continental, Delta, Mexicana, Northwest and United.

Taxis are available at the airport, as well as some rental car companies.

The following rental car companies are available in Baja Sur area: Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Dollar, and National.

U.S. diver's licenses are valid in the Baja, however U.S. auto insurance is not valid anywhere in Mexico; therefore it is strongly recommended that you purchase Mexican auto insurance when renting a car. The insurance is inexpensive, and can be purchased for a day, week or month; all you need is a copy of your current vehicle registration and a valid driver's license. Having this insurance will help avoid detention in Mexico incase of an automobile accident.

For detailed information on traveling in Mexico, please refer to the publication Tips for Travelers to Mexico, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips_mexico.html.

Entry and Exit Requirements
When entering/exiting Baja Sur, US and Canadian citizens must provide proof of citizenship (i.e. birth certificate (notarized) and a photo id (driver's license) and a return ticket. Visitors from other countries do require passports and a visa, as well as roundtrip tickets.

Beginning December 31, 2005, the United States will require a valid passport or other secure/accepted documents (Border Crossing Card, SENTRI, NEXUS or FAST cards) for re-entry of either U.S. Citizens, or legitimate foreign visitors/nationals. For more information and any updates on these new regulations visit http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html.

Non-Mexican citizens must fill out a tourist card upon entering the country, which costs about $20.00 (U.S.) and can be obtained at any Mexican consulate, Embassies, border crossings, automobile clubs. When flying into the Baja on a stay over seven days this fee is generally included in the cost of the airline ticket. The tourist cards are valid for 90 - 180 days and it is not a working permit.

For further information concerning entry and visa requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of Mexico at 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006, telephone (202) 736-1000, Internet site: http://portal.sre.gob.mx/usa/, or any Mexican consulate in the United States.

Currency/Banks/Taxes
The Baja's local currency is the Peso, with an exchange rate that fluctuates daily. While traveling throughout the Baja you can exchange traveler's checks, or other world currencies at Bancomer federal banks (located in most major cities) or money exchange houses.

For your convenience, there are ATMs located in most tourist areas through the Baja; do note that the ATMs will only dispense pesos. U.S. Dollars can be spent throughout the Baja, however be prepared to receive change in pesos. The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, MasterCard, and Visa.

A non-immigrant tax of US$20 is charged per person, and is usually included in the price of your airline ticket.

Telephone/Cell Phone
Most resorts within Baja Sur's larger cities offer international and national direct dialing from the hotel rooms, utilizing the local telephone company Telnor.

There are public payphones located throughout the Baja, which are capable of making international and national long distance calls, however, a prepaid mexican phone card is required to make a call. The phone cards can be purchased from many small shops with $ 20, $ 50 or $100 Pesos calling time.

If you plan on using your cell phone while traveling, check with your provider to find out if your phone works in the Baja, and whether you have international calling included in your plan.

Electricity
Electrical output in La Paz and Cabo San Lucas is 110 volt, 60 cycles, the same as in the U.S.

Medical Information
There are no required or suggested inoculations needed to enter the Baja. Yellow fever and Malaria are not of issue in the Baja. For more information on traveling abroad, contact the Center for Disease Control in the US. http://www.cdc.gov/.

In the event of a medical emergency, La Paz and Cabo San Lucas have several hospitals and health clinics available in the cities.

For your safety, there is a hyperbaric chamber located at:
Clinica de Especialidades
Av. Lopez Mateos
Cabo San Lucas, BCS
Ph. +52 (624) 143 3666

The drinking water in Mexico is not palatable, therefore, it is suggested that you order bottled water, even when eating at restaurants. It is also recommended to use caution when purchasing food from street vendors.

Shopping in Mexico
Most stores in La Paz and Cabo San Lucas are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., with a lunch break from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Hours will vary from store to store, and some are even open during lunch hours.