Early maps show California as an island, an easy mistake when one considers the length of the Baja peninsula. Today Baja consists of a Mexican state, Baja California Norte, and a territory, Baja California Sur, which is how I divide it also. The transpeninsular highway, built in the early 1970's, runs from the US border all the way to Cabo San Lucas at the southern tip. For much of its length it is the only paved road you will find outside of towns.
I would love to drive the length of Baja again, camp on the beaches at Bahia Concepcion, see the whales at Scammon's Lagoon. But given the level of violent crime on the Mexican side of the border in recent years, I think I will wait a while.
Baja California del Norte
The northernmost part of Baja resembles the physical landscape of Southern California, with chaparral mountains and cities. But starting just south of San Quintin it changes to one of the most remarkable of the world's desert landscapes - the Desierto Central with its giant cactus and bizarre boojums. Spanish missions, petroglyph sites, and remote coastal areas on both sides of the peninsula reward the back road explorer.
Baja California del Sur
From the oasis of San Ignacio in the north to the resorts of Los Cabos at the southern tip, Baja Sur is a photographer's delight. There are spectacular coastlines on both the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), the spendid small city of La Paz, Spanish missions and remote villages.
I have documented much of Baja on two major trips, but many challenges remain - the gray whales in the west coast lagoons, huge pictographs in the central mountains, and some interesting back road towns.