Amey, Ralph L. Wines of Baja California: Touring and Tasting Mexico’s Undiscovered Treasures. San Francisco: Wine Appreciation Guild, 2003. A compilation of historical information and winery profiles covering the Valle de Guadalupe and other regions in Northern Baja.
Berger, Bruce. Almost an Island: Travels in Baja California. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998. Berger, a pianist, poet, desert aficionado, and keen observer of human behavior, surveys Baja’s social landscape, with a special focus on La Paz.
Mackintosh, Graham. Into a Desert Place. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1995. One of the most widely read accounts of a gringo discovering Baja for the first time. With no wilderness experience, Graham decides to walk the entire coastline of Baja California.
Mayo, C. M. Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2007. Poignant, contemporary memoir by a fiction writer originally from the United States who is now a Spanish/English translator and editor living in Mexico City.
Miller, Max. Land Where Time Stands Still. Gleed Press, 2007 (paperback). A classic 1940s travelogue that recounts the author’s trip from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas.
Salvadori, Clement. Motorcycle Journeys Through California and Baja, 2nd ed. North Conway, NH: Whitehorse Press, 2007. A well-known motorcycling journalist advises kindred spirits on the best way ride the Baja Peninsula.
Steinbeck, John. The Log from the Sea of Cortez. New York: Penguin USA, Viking, 1951. This classic armchair-travel read tells of Steinbeck’s journey with marine biologist Ed Ricketts from Monterey, California, down the Pacific coast, around the tip of Baja, and up the Sea of Cortez.
History and Culture
Crosby, Harry. Antigua California: Mission and Colony on the Peninsular Frontier, 1697–1768. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994. A well-written academic account of the Jesuit mission era in Baja California, from planning through expulsion.
Niemann, Greg. Baja Legends. San Diego: Sunbelt Publications, 2002. A light read that bring the ghosts of Baja past alive, one town at a time.
Natural History and Field Guides
Case, T. J., and M. L. Cody, eds. A New Island Biogeography in the Sea of Cortez, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. An interesting read if you want to learn more about conservation efforts in the Sea of Cortez.
Edwards, Ernest Preston. The Birds of Mexico and Adjacent Areas. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998. This field guide may come in handy but is not Baja-specific, and birders find it frustrating that birds of the same species are illustrated on different color plates.
Gotshall, Daniel W. Sea of Cortez Marine Animals: A Guide to the Common Fishes and Invertebrates Baja California to Panama. Gig Harbor, WA: Sea Challengers, 1998. A good reference guide for divers, sailors, and snorkelers.
McPeak, Ron. Amphibians and Reptiles of Baja California, Gig Harbor, WA: Sea Challengers, 2000. This is the book to get if you want to identify the many frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes, and lizards of the peninsula. It includes lots of color photos.
Peterson, R. T., and E. L. Chaliff. A Field Guide to Mexican Birds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1999. The closest thing to a Baja-specific bird-watching guide lacks Spanish names for the birds.
Roberts, Norman C. Baja California Plant Field Guide. La Jolla, CA: Natural History Publishing Co., 1989. The must-have field guide to Baja’s desert and sierra flora.
Dedina, Serge. Saving the Gray Whale: People, Politics, and Conservation in Baja California, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2000. The author describes the natural history and life cycles of gray whale, its habitat, and the human ecology of Scammon’s Lagoon and San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California.
Dedina, Serge. Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2011. The author is an environmental activist who lives in Imperial Beach, California, near the Tijuana border, and has played a key role in fighting major industrial development along the California and Baja coastlines.
Nabhan, Gary Paul. Gathering the Desert, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1986. A 200-page guide to the history and uses of 12 Sonoran Desert plants, organized into a collection of scholarly essays.
Peterson, Brenda, and Linda Hogan. Sightings: The Gray Whales’ Mysterious Journey, National Geographic, 2003. A nature writer and a native American poet teamed up to tell the story of the gray whale through the eyes of researchers, fishermen, and coastal communities whose past and future are tied to the endangered mammal.
Russel, Dick. Eye of the Whale: Epic Passage from Baja to Siberia, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. This popular account of threats to the gray whale’s habitat along the Pacific coast centers around the thwarted effort by a Japanese corporation to build a salt plant in the gray-whale breeding ground.
Sports and Recreation
Breeding, Shawn, and Heather Bansmer. Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser’s Guidebook, Kirkland, WA: Blue Latitude Press, 2009. Spiral-bound guide with detailed information for boaters, such as nautical mileage tables and charts.
Eckardt, Dave. The Guide to Baja Sea Kayaking: The Sea of Cortez and Magdalena Bay. Paddle Publishing, 2008. The newest resource for kayakers covers San Felipe to Los Cabos and all the islands in between, plus Bahía Magdalena on the Pacific coast. Includes GPS coordinates and color maps.
Kelly, Neil, and Gene Kira. The Baja Catch: A Fishing, Travel & Remote Camping Manual for Baja California, 3rd ed. Valley Center, CA: Apples and Oranges, 1997. The undisputed bible of Baja fishing has a lot of information on camping as well.
Lehman, Charles. Desert Survival Handbook, rev. ed. Phoenix: Primer Publishers, 1998. Practical information for surviving in the desert—essential for any serious Baja exploration.
Parise, Mike. The Surfer’s Guide to Baja. SurfPress Publishing, 2007. A must-have resource for Baja-bound surfers, the guide includes detailed directions to more than 75 breaks along the peninsula, plus maps and wave height charts.
Williams, Jack. Baja Boater’s Guide, Vols. I and II. Sausalito, CA: H. J. Williams Publications, 2001 (Vol. I, 3rd ed.) and 2003 (Vol. II, 4th ed.). These ambitious guides, one each on the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, contain useful aerial photos and sketch maps of Baja’s continental islands and coastline.
Real Estate and Living Abroad
Luboff, Ken. Living Abroad in Mexico. Berkeley, CA: Avalon Travel, 2005. This resource gives advice and tips for Americans thinking of moving from the United States to Mexico.
Peyton, Dennis John. How to Buy Real Estate in Mexico. San Diego: Law Mexico Publishing, 2006. If you’ve decided you want a place of your own in Baja, read this book first. It will answer many of your questions, saving time and minimizing frustration in the process.
Hazard, Ann. Cooking with Baja Magic Dos. El Cajon, CA: Sunbelt Publications, 2005. A collection of updated recipes drawn from conversations with restaurant owners and other Baja characters, plus the author’s own experience of living in La Bufadora and Buena Vista.
Schneider, Deborah M. Baja! Cooking on the Edge, Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2006. More than 250 colorful pages of recipes, stories, and photos. Learn to make clams in tequila butter or homemade paletas. Well-written anecdotes share the history of Baja foods and the author’s culinary experience in Baja.
Szekely, Deborah, and Schneider, Deborah M. Cooking with the Seasons with Rancho La Puerta, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2008. Try preparing your own spa food using these secret recipes from “The Ranch.”
Smith, Jack. God and Mr. Gomez, Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1997. A lightly told memoir of the author’s adventure in buying land and building a home in Santa Tomás on the Pacific coast of Baja California (Norte).
Reveles, Daniel. Enchiladas, Rice, and Beans: Tales from Tecate, a Baja border town where miracles happen every day in ordinary lives…. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994. These laugh-out-loud novellas poke fun at the cultural differences between ranching families living in Tecate and the gringos from the Other Side. Reveles has written three more collections since the original, equally as entertaining: Salsa and Chips (1997), Tequila, Lemon and Salt (2004), and Guacamole Dip (2007).
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition