The way one approaches the trip down the Baja from San Diego says a lot about their sailing preferences. There are certainly those who are more about GETTING THERE, and are quite happy to sail offshore, or join the frolicking fleet of the Baja HaHa to get themselves to Cabo San Lucas and points south in as little time as possible, while still having a blast along the way. Then there are those who want to slow their roll and soak into their freshly discovered cultural and outdoor surroundings. For these sailors, the Pacific Baja coast offers numerous anchorages, villages and adventures. There is no wrong way to get to Mexico, of course. But if you want to take your time, this is the place to start.
Weather year-round is dominated by NW breezes, strongest in the winter months, but variable all year and capable of surprises. Add to this the 1-2 kt SE bound California Current, and you’ve got yourself a sleigh ride headed south (and a wicked beat coming back north). It can be surprisingly chilly along this coast, in particular at night, or when heading northbound even as late as June. The water is cold, and the breeze follows suit. Be prepared.
From Ensenada in the north, your most likely port of entry into Mexico, to Cabo San Lucas in the south, the Baja is a eclectic collection of dusty fishing towns, empty anchorages with beaches that stretch for miles, and surf breaks galore for those who seek them out. Regardless, surf conditions will often dictate how and when you can get ashore, and what anchorages prove comfortable enough for extended stays. The temps will warm as you get further south, and you might find yourself spending a week where you thought it was supposed to be a quick overnight. If your cruising plans are open ended, or one-way (as opposed to those who must return with the boat to the US or Canada seasonally), This might be your only opportunity to see these places. Might as well take your time.
Contrary to popular belief, we’re HUGE fans of printed cruising guides, and consider them essential gear for cruising any coast. Below are the OCG recommended cruising guides for this area. Following the links and purchasing these cruising guides (or anything else) helps fund OCG through a small commission. Thanks!