Baja California Desert
Just south of Mexico’s international border, the Sonoran Desert stretches south to meet the Sea of Cortez along the entire coast.
The springs and oases offer relief to those about to cross the arid landscape of cacti and mountains, as they are surrounded by coastal wetlands and an ocean that joins wildlife.
Similar to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, Baja California’s rich biodiversity derives from the isolation of the Gulf islands and remote areas of the peninsula, where evolution has produced unique and endemic species.
Baja California : Where the desert meets the sea
Thousands of kilometers of wild and uninhabited desert, hundreds of white sand virgin beaches, an infinite expanse of crystal-clear waters that is home to a great multitude of marine life.
The Baja California desert spans nearly 50,000 square miles, stretches across the peninsula, and is surrounded by the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean.
As we have mentioned before, contrary to what one might think, the beach and the desert are not the only natural resources on the peninsula: there are also the mountains!
This variety makes Baja California one of the most unique areas in Mexico, with its stunning views of the ocean and multi-colored mountains.
Diving into this landscape is one of the most beautiful experiences you can live.
Being a desert, it is characterized by high temperatures and low humidity, which allows the proliferation of plant species typical of hard and dry soils.
The vegetation of the Baja California desert has small leaves, which often fall off due to drought.
Mezquite, Palo Verde and Palo Blanco are some of the plants and trees found in the desert along the winding roads that you can travel.
Other varieties are also very widespread, such as the following:
- Fan palms
- Mexican blue palm trees.
Creosote and sage bushes dominate the more arid areas, but this desert is also home to many unusual plants, including the boojum tree (Cirios), a variety that grows exclusively in Baja California.
In addition, there are more than 110 species of cacti on the peninsula, many of which are endemic, including the cardon, the largest cactus in the world, which can reach up to 17 meters, and a longevity of around 1,600 years.
When cacti are in bloom, they offer an unexpected and multicolored spectacle, thanks to their large ornate flowers, which have the most vivid colors and the most delicate shades.
Like plants, the animals that inhabit this desert have had to adapt over time to these extreme conditions.
Most of them are light gray to blend in, but also to limit the absorption of strong sunlight.
Evolution and the adaptation process led them to modify part of their behavior, becoming more active in the coldest hours: twilight or the first hours of dawn.
As a result, viewing them will be easier during these times of the day.
In the Baja California desert, you can find a large number of different wild animals:
- Rodents, such as squirrels, mice, rats, and rabbits;
- Roadrunners, famous for their speed and for the cartoon, Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, in which he runs away from the various traps of the friendly and unfortunate protagonist;
- Amphibians and reptiles, such as lizards, rattlesnakes, geckos, and spiny-tailed iguanas, particularly in some areas of the desert;
- Bats, present in large numbers, essential for the pollination of cacti and the agave flower;
- Coyotes, the most widespread mammal in the Baja California peninsula, that run after the poor roadrunner;
- Sheep, also known as desert sheep;
- Gray foxes, lynxes, badgers, deer, mules, and mountain lions (or pumas) are common in the surrounding mountainous areas.
Baja California is also home to around 300 species of birds, some of which live only on this peninsula.
Baja California desert: a desert in name only
As you may have noticed, the Baja California desert is a desert in name only, because it is far from the idea of an inhospitable place for humans, animals and plants.
In fact, like all other ecosystems, it is home to natural beauties and a lot of life and manages to awaken amazement and emotion.
Baja California Travel, aware of the charm of the desert, has designed some routes so that you can reach the most beautiful towns and the most fascinating beaches of the peninsula by traveling through sections of the desert and exploring its mountains, which hide natural and archaeological treasures of great value.
Extreme places and small towns
The territory of this area is very diverse and varied. When visiting it, you can find small villages inhabited by only a few hundred people or with more extreme areas such as the Rancho region, where the rhythm of life continues to be as it was years ago, following only the flow of day and night.
The harsh nature of this territory has challenged everyone who has tried to live or cross it, from the earliest natives to the missionaries of the 1700s. It still does today.
Although everything is explored and just a click away, a trip in Baja California always retains the flavor of a true adventure.
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