The Transpeninsular Highway is one of North America’s great road trips. Part of the thrill comes from the long spaces separating major towns, the narrow segments of highway that snake along precarious cliffs and the animals and washouts that can block the road. But the biggest draw is the near-constant beauty of the desert, mountain, sea and ocean vistas and their illumination by brilliant blue skies and starry nights. The times here include necessary stops for petrol and army inspections; all cars and buses are searched at military checkpoints stationed between Tijuana and Ensenada (2); north of El Rosario; north of Guerrero Negro; north of San Ignacio; and north of La Paz.

Tijuana to Mexicali 1hr 50min (198km)
Mexicali to San Felipe 2hr 15min (195km)
San Felipe to Ensenada 3hr 10min (245km)
Tijuana to Ensenada 55min (109km)
Ensenada to San Quintín 3hr (190km)
San Quintín to El Rosario 55min (56km)
El Rosario to Cataviña 1hr 50min (123km)
Cataviña to Parador Punta Prieta 1hr (103km)
Parador Punta Prieta to Bahía de los Angeles 45min (69km)
Parador Punta Prieta to Guerrero Negro 1hr 50min (135km)
Guerrero Negro to San Ignacio 1hr 30min (146km)
San Ignacio to Santa Rosalía 45min (72km)
Santa Rosalía to Mulegé 40min (62km)
Mulegé to Loreto 1hr 45min (138km)
Loreto to Ciudad Insurgentes 1hr 20min (141km)
Ciudad Insurgentes to La Paz 2hr 20min (209km)
La Paz to Todos Santos 45min (77km)
Todos Santos to Cabo San Lucas 55min (77km)
Cabo San Lucas to San José del Cabo 25min (32km)

Practicalities

Many Americans and Canadians take their cars to Baja; despite the scary headlines when it comes to drug violence along the US-Mexico border, this is generally easy and safe. If you intend to go on from Baja to mainland Mexico, you need to apply for a Temporary Importation of Vehicle Permit (see
banjercito.com.mx or “Getting there“). Car insurance is not mandatory but is highly recommended. There are many companies along the US-Mexico border that sell Mexican car insurance by the day, week or month (most normal US insurance policies don’t provide coverage for driving in Mexico). Note also that in Tijuana, tinted windows are now banned. Other nationalities can always rent cars on arrival – easy enough in Los Cabos or Tijuana.

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