Baja California is the 29th state of Mexico and is a huge tourist destination for many Americans. Baja California is located directly under California in the United States and is the third largest peninsula in the world. Being located directly under California with six different border crossing points, many Americans travel to Baja California on the regular for its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and thriving culture. In fact, the Baja lifestyle has become extremely popular in the United States especially amongst the younger generations and surf communities. A quick check on Instagram will show thousands of pictures of beautiful beaches, surfers, beach yoga, off-roading, and delicious fish tacos. Many Americans have even made the move to Baja California and there is quite a mix of Americans and natives throughout the state.
The Baja lifestyle is very similar to Oahu’s North Shore culture. Locals are laid back and have much respect for the beautiful nature around them. The ocean on the Gold Coast is thriving with marine life and as a result the food is heavily based around seafood. The climate is generally warm year round and mostly sunny. Unlike the North Shore though, Baja California is surrounded by a desert. Many locals enjoy mountain biking through desert trails and various off-roading expenditures. In addition, to spending time surfing, diving, fishing, and other various water activities.
Due to the plentiful marine life along the Gold Coast, diving and fishing have become big business in Baja California. Olive ridley and leatherback turtles nest on the state’s beaches every year. Common marine life include great white sharks, gray whales, sea otters, Guadalupe fur seals, harbor seals, northern elephant seals, and bottlenose dolphins. An annual summer diving festival is held every year in Los Cabos. In addition to numerous big sport fishing tournaments year round.
As many Americans live in Baja California, it is not uncommon to see American companies such as Walmart or Applebees. This gives the Baja area a much different feel than other parts of Mexico. However, Baja California is still rich in indigenous culture. For example, it is common to see many families decorate graves of loved ones with brightly colored flowers and candy in honor of Mexico’s Day of the Dead. In San Jose del Cabos, they celebrate the town’s patron saint with the Festival of San Jose on March 8th to March 19th. During the festival, locals and visitors alike sample traditional foods, play games, and dance in a carnival-like environment.
Baja California also offers lots of local art and music festivals weekly. Many people spend their days at the beach or at an art festival and their evenings at the local dance clubs. On October 12th, Todos Santos hosts the festival of Nuestra Senora de Pilar, in celebration of the town’s founding. Labeled as the “culture capital” of Baja California, the festival boasts lots of local food, drink, music and art. Todos Santos is also home to a famous annual film festival, founded in 2004, that focuses on independent films based in Latino culture.
There is much to love about Baja California’s culture and lifestyle, but as with many things, it is always best to experience Baja California firsthand to truly learn and understand its unique culture. If you are deciding on where next to visit or vacation at, consider the beautiful Gold Coast. If not for the culture and experience, but for the amazing food and famous fish tacos.