Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula is the ideal wilderness getaway, yet it’s still easily accessible to most travelers. The peninsula’s unique ecosystem is filled with white-sand beaches on the east, deserts scattered with giant cactuses in the center, and an endless supply of majestic waves to the west.
There’s so much to see and do in Baja California and Baja California Sur that it can be a bit overwhelming at first.
But don’t worry! We put together this list of the top Baja books, maps, and apps to help you experience the best that Baja has to offer.
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The cell service in Baja, Mexico can be unreliable or non-existent outside of cities, so having a physical map is essential when driving down the Baja Peninsula.
Downloading offline maps on Google Maps is also extremely helpful for navigating the many Baja roads without cell signal. Check out the Baja Apps section for more map apps.
Baja California Road Atlas
This 2021 Baja California Road and Recreation Atlas is the most comprehensive and up-to-date road map of the Baja Peninsula. The 72-page Baja road atlas (11″ x 15.5″) provides detailed maps and recreation guides for both states on the peninsula, Baja California and Baja California Sur.
The landscape maps feature detailed road classifications, GPS grids, points of interest, landmarks, elevation, kilometer markers, and national parks, like Cabo Pulmo, and biosphere reserves.
The recreation guides cover parks, monuments, natural wonders, beaches, historic missions and ruins, boating and fishing access points, and campgrounds and RV parks, including regional maps and listings for Valle de Guadalupe (wine country), La Paz, and Los Cabos.
Baja Adventure Travel Maps
These maps feature detailed road networks, points of interest such as whale watching locations and surfing and diving spots, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and protected areas like national parks, and are waterproof and tear-resistant.
Baja Dive Sites and Fish ID Guide
This Baja and Sea of Cortez Dive Map and Fish ID Guide is printed on a handy waterproof card (5.5″ x 8.5″).
One side features a map of the Baja Peninsula and the Sea of Cortez with dive sites. The other side is a fish identification guide for marine animals you’ll encounter when diving and snorkeling around Baja California, Mexico.
Baja Guidebooks and Field Guides
From the thriving craft brewery and street food scene in Tijuana to the luxurious beach-front resorts in Los Cabos, Baja has something for everyone.
These guidebooks and field guides will help you explore Baja California’s top tourist destinations and experience its natural wonders.
Moon Baja: Tijuana to Los Cabos
Moon Baja is a recently updated (2021) guidebook that covers all the major attractions and destinations along Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. This travel guide includes full-color photographs, detailed maps, itineraries, and recommendations for restaurants and accommodations.
It also provides useful information on Baja’s history and culture, transportation and safety tips, and helpful Spanish phrases (Get your free Mexican Spanish phrases PDF here).
Fodor’s Los Cabos Guidebook
Fodor’s Los Cabos focuses on Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, Todos Santos, La Paz, and Valle de Guadalupe.
It features color photos, itineraries, over 19 detailed maps, recommendations from locals, trip-planning tips, historical and cultural insights, and a Spanish-language primer.
Traveler’s Guide to Camping Mexico’s Baja
Traveler’s Guide to Camping Mexico’s Baja is a directory of popular campgrounds and RV parks throughout the Baja Peninsula, including contact information and detailed descriptions of amenities.
Geared towards RVers, this book also provides useful tips and advice for exploring Baja in an RV and covers the main attractions in Baja.
The Surfer’s Guide to Baja
The Surfer’s Guide to Baja is a must-read for surfers heading to Baja, Mexico. This book features more than 120 surf spots from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas and covers all of Baja’s legendary points, reefs, and beach breaks.
It features surf maps, wave heigh charts, info on when to surf where, travel tips, and accommodation recommendations for surfers.
Baja California Plant Field Guide
Baja California Plant Field Guide covers over 715 different plants found throughout Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, with approximately 32% plants that are endemic to Baja. A must-have for anyone that wants to learn more about Baja’s unique flora.
Off-Trail Adventures in Baja California
Off-Trail Adventures in Baja California is a hiking guide focusing on nine Baja hikes where geography, geology, and ecology meet in unique ways and the stories revealed by observing the natural phenomena surrounded by rocks and fossils.
Baja California Peninsula 101
Baja California Peninsula 101 highlights 101 places, monuments, beaches, foods, and experiences in Baja California and Baja California Sur.
The beautiful full-page photos of Baja’s natural beauty, colorful towns, local handicrafts, and delicious cuisine provide plenty of travel inspiration for visiting Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.
Books About Baja’s History and Culture
Baja is a land steeped in history and legends. A goldmine for history buffs and anyone interested in listening to the local fishermen’s campfire tales of giant sea creatures and pirate’s gold.
There’s also the unique Baja culinary scene and Mexican culture to experience.
Baja Legends provides readers with an insider’s look into Baja’s legendary characters, prominent families, historical events, and famous locations.
Highly recommended for travelers interested in learning more about the local history and unique culture in Baja.
The Log from the Sea of Cortez
The Log from the Sea of Cortez is John Steinbeck’s narrative of his travels along the shores of Baja, Mexico.
Searching for a break from the attention he received after publishing The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck and his biologist friend went on a month-long expedition to collect marine specimens in the Sea of Cortez. This book is the day-by-day account of their Baja experience and a unique blend of science, philosophy, and adventure.
The Forgotten Peninsula
The Forgotten Peninsula: A Naturalist in Baja is a journey into the old days of Baja. This Baja classic was written by a naturalist who explored Baja by 4WD vehicles and planes in the 1950s, before Highway 1 even existed, and covers the flora and fauna and human history of Baja.
The Baja California Cookbook
The Baja California Cookbook takes you into Baja’s unique culinary world. From Baja’s wine country farm-to-table cuisine to its coastal seafood specialities, this book presents 60 authentic Baja recipes guaranteed to bring the spirit of Baja into your kitchen.
The People’s Guide to Mexico
The People’s Guide to Mexico is the classic guide to “living, traveling, and taking things as they come” in Mexico. This book is a traveler’s introduction to Mexico, covering everything from Mexican slang to transportation tips to advice for bartering.
The entertaining travel stories provide a unique insight into Mexican culture and customs.
Mexican Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary
Lonely Planet Mexican Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary is a pocket-sized guide to the Spanish language as spoken in Mexico. This book is perfect for Baja travelers wanting to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture.
It covers all the basics like time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, and grammar rules, but also includes easy-to-find phrases for practical matters (like hotel check-ins), social situations, medical assistance, and ordering at restaurants.
Best Apps for Traveling in Baja
Download the following apps for your visit to Baja:
- Google Translate: Translates audio conversations and texts on photos, like signs and food packaging
- Google Maps and Maps.me: Download offline maps for areas with little to no cell reception
- WhatsApp: Messaging app used by most businesses (restaurants, hotels, and tour guides) and locals in Mexico
- Facebook: Mexican businesses and restaurants commonly use Facebook Pages instead of websites
- Gaia GPS or Avenza Maps: Offline GPS maps for driving and off-roading with downloadable Baja maps
- iOverlander: Offline maps for overlanding and camping, with crowd-sourced campsites, water and propane refills, and more
Visiting Baja soon? Check out all our Baja articles and these:
- 14 Amazing Things To Do in Loreto, Mexico
- The Classic Baja California Road Trip: 10-Day Itinerary
- The Complete Guide to Bahia de los Angeles
- Top 9 Things to Do in San Felipe, Mexico
Do you have any recommendations for Baja books, maps or apps? Let us know in the comments below!