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BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR

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Deserted landscapes, mountains that give refuge to singular galleries of rock paintings, wild roads linking old Jesuitical missions and endless coasts washed by the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the calmed Sea of Cortes.

These are some of the characteristics of the State of Baja California Sur, the tip of the California Peninsula, which is shared by Mexico and the United States. It is a place with a sea so rich and impressive that mythical explorer Jacques Cousteau renamed it as "the aquarium of the world".

The grey whale arrives in here every year to perform their mating ritual or to give birth to their whale calves. It is a magnificent natural spectacle that summons travellers from all over the world. Fishing, scuba diving, windsurfing and sailing are amongst the alternative activities that can be practiced, which are the perfect complement for a splendid vacation.

Visit the following places when in Baja California Sur:

-Biosphere Reserve of El Vizcaíno: it is the largest protected harea in Latin America with 2546790 hectares. It is a dazzling place due to its variegated and beautiful settings, its extremely rich diversity of flora and fauna, and the samples of rock painting, which add a historical shade to its spectacular nature.
The geography of this Reserve, considered as Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO, is marked by mountains, coasts and lagoons that are the habitat of 400 vegetal species, several of them endemic, and 300 both land and sea animal species, some of them on the brink of extinction.
The grey whale is one of the emblematic species at El Vizcaíno, and this giant mammal arrives in the coasts of Baja California Sur every year to perform their mating ritual and to give birth to their whale calves. The place is known as a Whales' Sanctuary since 1976. Besides, and following their migratory route, thousands of birds rest at El Vizcaíno, where they share the space with endemic species such as pelicans, ducks, seagulls and fisher eagles.
The Reserve, created on November the 30th of 1988, is located 93 kilometres away from Guerrero Negro. You must take Highway One up to the Bay of Asuncion, at the kilometre 75, which leads to the Town of El Vizcaíno, in order to visit it.
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    • The migration of the grey whale: these aquatic mammals travel 9000 kilometres every year to perform their mating rituals and to give birth to their whale calves. Their daring journey, known to be one of the most spectacular migrations in the world, starts in December in the Artic Sea, and ends in April in the waters of the lagoons of Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio, in the Biosphere Reserve of El Vizcaíno, and in the cluster of lagoons of Magdalena Bay.
      The whales give birth after a 12 or 13-month gestation, and around 900 whale calves are born every year in El Vizcaíno. The "small" mammals are protected and instructed by their mothers and other cetaceous which, without having given birth, help the calves on their breathing and submerging processes in the temperate waters of the lagoon.
      Excessive whaling during the mid XX century put these whales on the brink of extinction; however, protection efforts managed to recuperate their decimated population of roughly 1000 specimens at a constant pace. There are currently about 25000 specimens in spite of the increase of human activities in this coastal zone.
      Not just grey whales can be watched in the Reserve, there is also the chance of appreciating blue and humpback whales, cachalot or sperm whales and killer whales as well, although not as frequently as the grey.
    - Rock painting in the Sierra of San Francisco: there are 300 natural galleries with paintings, made with natural pigments in prehistoric times, in a zone of deep canyons and rock elevations on which a soft rug of vegetation grows in the desert.
    The main subject on the representations is hunting, and one can appreciate figures of humans and animals of the region, such as the wild goat, besides birds, fishes and whales on the scenes. The paintings are approximately 10000 years old, and they were outlined by a race of giant men according to the natives when asked by the first Spaniards who came to this area.
    The Sierra of San Francisco is ideal for camping for it offers beautiful views to the visitors' eyes. However, take into account that it is necessary to have the proper permit issued by the Information Unit of San Ignacio, the town closest to the galleries.
    Although most of the caves are open to the public the entire year, the best season to visit them is from October to May, when the zone presents a nice temperate weather.
    In order to visit the place you need to take Highway One from San Ignacio, and then the detour towards the Bay of Asuncion at the kilometre 75, until reaching the Town of El Vizcaíno, where the road bound for the Ranch of San Francisco de la Sierra, inhabited by descendants of the Cochimíes natives, begins. The rock paintings are on the surroundings of the community.
    It is advisable to purchase all the necessary supplies, such as food, water and fuel, before visiting the zone of the rock paintings. You can also hire a specialised guide and rent beasts of burden.

    Sierra of Guadalupe-The great mural of the Sierra of Guadalupe: it is an invaluable heritage of the first inhabitants of Baja California Sur, who recorded giant human figures and a series of zoomorphic drawings on the rocks.
    One of the peculiarities of this pictographic register lies on the images depicting sexual scenes, related to the rituals of initiation and fertility of the zone's ancient inhabitants. The red, black, white and yellow colours stand out on their drawings.
    These images have no parallel in the world, for they are the only rock paintings presenting such characteristics.
    It is located southwest of the Sierra of San Francisco.

    -Museum of San Ignacio: it exhibits artistic reproductions of the abundant rock paintings of Baja California, from both the north and the south. Here you can learn more about these prehistoric manifestations and about the men who recorded their life experiences on the rocks.
    The Museum is opened to the public Mondays through Sundays from 8:00 hours till 18:00 hours.



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