Imagine a narrow, sparsely populated desert island almost a thousand miles in length, cut off from the rest of the world until the mid-1970s. Now connect the north end of this island to California with a highway and the south end to Mexico with a few small vehicle/passenger ferries. This, along with a mere handful of towns, thousands of miles of beaches and seemingly endless deserts, is Baja California.

Until it was opened to overland tourism by the Transpeninsular Highway, Baja was a vast, exclusive reserve for well-heeled American sportsmen and off-road driving buffs. Fly-in resorts catered to celebrity anglers, the wealthy and fanatical fishermen. Baja is now open to the rest of us. A four lane toll road runs between the border and Ensenada, and the highway’s two lane stretches are wider and better maintained than in years past.  Judging from the numbers of tourists who visit the peninsula every year, Baja is clearly living up to its reputation as an outdoor paradise.

(The above passage is an excerpt from The People’s Guide to Mexico by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens)