For a taste of the old Mexico head to Baja California

It was only a few years ago that a highway was completed that ran from north to south along the entire peninsula of Baja California.

Before the highway’s completion parts of the 1,200 mile trek from Tijuana to Cabos San Lucas were on dirt roads with nothing but tire tracks to show the way.

Even with the highway, which is just a one-lane road going in both directions, Baja California remains remote and sparsely populated.

The result is a stunning example of a Mexico prior to the tourism boom, where fishing villages still exist and visitors can have miles of golden beaches all to themselves.

A drive down the Baja is fascinating and beautiful at every glance. At times the road will run along the glittering beaches of the Pacific Ocean and then ascend high up into the mountains.

Cities are few and far between. The largest urban areas start at the top of Baja with the notorious Tijuana and end at the southernmost point of the peninsula at the resort town of Cabo San Lucas. Both places have their attractions.

During the prohibition era Tijuana had one of the most active nightlife scenes in the world, with flocks of Californians coming to the city to drink, gamble, and indulge in the original Sin City. Today, the city hasn’t lost its seedy edge and is full of under-age Americans having their first margarita.

Cabo San Lucas is surrounded by some of Mexico’s most beautiful scenery, including the Sierra La Laguna mountain and ocean waters that are so clear they make for some of the best snorkelling in North America.

A number of discount airlines have now begun offering flights to Cabo San Lucas or to San Diego, which is literally a stone’s throw from the border.

Southwest Airlines and JetBlue offer extensive service to and from San Diego while Frontier Airlines offers direct flights between Cabo San Lucas and its hub in Denver.

In Baja however, the best and really only way to get around is by car. Renting a car on the peninsula can be difficult even in an urban area, but this can be easily done in San Diego or a smaller city north of the Mexican border.

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