Baja’s Central Desert
In an age of satellite TV, mobile phones, and wireless Internet, one part of Baja California continues to offer true desert solitude. This is the central peninsula, which lies between El Rosario in the north and La Paz in the south.
With an average population density of just one inhabitant per 10,000 square kilometers, cirio cacti outnumber people here by a very wide margin.
New government-sponsored ecotourism projects promise to protect this diverse and fragile ecosystem. Informative signs now lead travelers along historic trails, while training and education programs are helping local residents become knowledgeable guides and preserve their homes and natural resources rather than exploit them.
Compared to the northern and southern tips of the peninsula, Central Baja has experienced relatively little external influence to date. However, that most certainly will change as commercial development and technological progress continue their forward march.
Already, power lines have been installed throughout the entire area, putting once isolated towns on the grid. Phones and even Internet access are now widely available, and newly paved roads connect many outlying areas to the Transpeninsular Highway.
For the adventure traveler who wants to experience a taste of the frontier, now is the time to visit.
In the vicinity of the Valle de los Cirios, the Velicatá Mission is the only church built by Franciscan missionaries in Baja.
On the Gulf coast, Bahía de los Angeles offers a protected channel for water activities such as snorkeling/scuba diving, sportfishing, windsurfing/kiteboarding, and kayaking—and a chance to view the majestic whale shark during its summer migration.
High in the Sierra San Borja are a Spanish mission settlement and a series of prehistoric cave paintings.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition