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These titles have been recommended by Baja California travel and nature enthusiasts as the best books on their subjects of interest. Many are available from our Museum store or

Recommended Books: Baja California

Guidebooks and Maps | Specialized Subjects in Natural History
General Background and Travelogues

Guidebooks and Maps

[Lonely Planet Baja California] Bernhardson, Wayne
Lonely Planet Baja California
Lonely Planet Publications (1998) Paperback - 320 pages
Amazon synopsis: Lonely Planet reveals all of the delights of Baja from the popular border towns of Tijuana and Ensenada to the resorts of Los Cabos and all the off-beat attractions in between. The book includes insider tips on places to stay and eat, how to get around, and all the best places for whale-watching, snorkeling, diving, surfing, and biking. color. 40 maps.
Available from

Book cover for Camping Mexico's Baja
Church, Mike and Terri
Traveler's Guide to Camping Mexico's Baja
Rolling Home Press (2001)
The sun, sand, and clear blue water are the focus of this travel guide to Baja California for RV adventurers. Following more than 1,000 miles along the transpeninsular Highway 1, crucial details about destinations, campgrounds, crossing the border, and recreational opportunities. Available in the Museum store or online from

[Baja Handbook  Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas] Cummings, Joe
Baja Handbook Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas
Moon Publications (1998) Paperback - 380 pages
Amazon synopsis: Includes recommendations on hotels, resorts, and campgrounds, plus restaurant reviews, and extensive details on recreational activities. 69 photos. 50 illustrations. 50 maps.
Available from

Potter, Ginger
Baja Book IV
Baja Source (1995) Paperback
Available from


Specialized Subjects in Natural History

Brown, David E.
Biotic Communities Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico
University of Utah Press (1994) Paperback - 342 pages
Available from

Brown, John W., Herman G. Real, David K. Faulkner
Butterflies of Baja California Faunal Survey, Natural History, Conservation Biology
Lepidoptera Research Foundation Inc. (1992) Paperback
Available from

[The Cave Paintings of Baja California: Discovering the Great Murals of an Unknown People ] Crosby, Harry W.
The Cave Paintings of Baja California: Discovering the Great Murals of an Unknown People
Sunbelt Publications (1998) Library Binding 1st edition
The finest book available on the extraordinary ancient rock art of the peninsula.
Available from

Darack, Ed
Wind * Water * Sun
Poudre Can (1998) Hardcover - 320 pages
In 1996, writer-photographer Ed Darack embarked on an incredible solo journey into one of the earth's most mysterious realms, the Sea of Cortez coastline. Beginning at the Colorado River delta, he rowed into turbulent waters and aimed for the unknown. Two months, 5,000 photographs, and hundreds of journal pages later, the voyage was complete. In his book, Darack conveys the natural history and the feel of the region through riveting photographs and incredible maps.

[Saving the Gray Whale: People, Politics, and Conservation in Baja California] Dedina, Serge
Saving the Gray Whale: People, Politics, and Conservation in Baja California
University of Arizona Press (2000)
Dr. Serge Dedina uses the biology and politics associated with gray whales in Mexican waters to present an unusual case study. He provides an inside look at how decisions affecting gray whale conservation decisions are made in Mexico City and examine how those policies and programs are carried out in the calving grounds of San Ignacio Lagoon and Magdalena Bay, where ecotourism is now an integral part of the local economy.
Available from

Gotshall, Daniel
Sea of Cortez Marine Animals : A Guide to Common Fishes and Invertebrates, Baja California to Panama
Sea Challengers (1998) Hardcover
Available from

Howell, Steven N. G. and Sophie Webb
A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America
Oxford University Press (1995) Paperback
Amazon synopsis: Astonishingly comprehensive, covering the identification, status, and distribution of all 1,070 birds species known from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, and Northern Nicaragua, this definitive guide is beautifully illustrated with 71 color plates and 39 black-and-white drawings, showing 750 species, and including many plumages never before depicted.
Available from

Johnson, Markes E.
Discovering the Geology of Baja California: Six Hikes on the Southern Gulf Coast
A blending of science, creative non-fiction, and a nature guide in one genre, Discovering literally walks the reader through six hikes to clearly illustrate the geographical make-up of Baja California.
Available from

Leatherwood, Stephen, Randall Reaves and Larry Foster (Photographer)
Sierra Club Handbook of Whales and Dolphins
Random House (1983) Paperback - 302 pages
Available from

Roberts, Norman
Baja California Plant Field Guide
Natural History Publishing Company (1989) Paperback
Profusely illustrated with photos, this will satisfy the general traveler with quick identifications of conspicuous plants of the peninsula, and informational tidbits about them.
Available from

 Eye of the Whale, by Dick Russell
Dick Russell
Eye of the Whale
Simon and Schuster (2001)
Uncover the life-changing effect the gray whale has had upon people past and present—from whale watchers to biologists to hunters—who have looked into its eye and come away transformed. Learn about the successful fight to preserve their Baja California habitat from a massive saltworks project, and examine the controversy over renewed hunting of gray whales by Native American tribes.
Available in the Museum store or online from


General Background and Travelogues

[Almost an Island: Travels in Baja California] Berger, Bruce
Almost an Island: Travels in Baja California
University of Arizona Press (1998) Paperback - 240 pages
Available from

Botello, Judy Goldstein
The Other Side: Journeys in Baja California
Sunbelt Publications (September 1998) Paperback - 208 pages
The Other Side: Journeys in Baja California is a tale of two journeys, one outer and one inner. The outer journey explores the length, breadth, and depth of Baja California with its rich history, its vibrant people, and the haunting beauty of its land. The inner journey moves through a tumultuous border world where cultures meet and clash and sometimes merge, and where an encounter with another way of life can illuminate the undiscovered landscape of the soul.
Available from

Carner-Ribalta, J.
Gaspar de Portola: Explorer of California
Sunbelt Publications (1990)
Available from

Crosby, Harry
The King's Highway in Baja California; an adventure into the history and lore of a forgotten region
Out of Print

Crosby, Harry
Last of the Californios
Out of Print

Enea, Sparky
With Steinbeck in the Sea of Cortez
Sand River Press (1991)
Available from

[The Forgotten Peninsula:  A Naturalist in Baja California] Franz, Carl, Lorena Havens, and Steve Rogers (Editors)
People's Guide to Mexico Wherever You Go... There You Are
John Muir Publications (1998) Paperback - 640 pages 25th anniv edition
None of the usual travel stuff about hotels and attractions--rather, a seat-of-the-pants guide to driving, camping, living in Mexico without spending a lot of money; its people and way of life, humorous stories, and survival advice.
Available from

Franz, Carl Franz
People's Guide to Camping in Mexico
Out of Print

Hazard, Ann
Cartwheels In The Sand -- Baja California, Four Women & a Motor Home
Renegade Enterprises (1999) Mass Market Paperback - 288 pages
An exciting tale of four women who travel to Baja California looking for some adventure. Set against a backdrop replete with history and culture, this book is a touching tale of coming to terms with mid-life, a real renaissance journey into the soul
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Janovy, John
Vermilion Sea a Naturalist's Journey in Baja California
Out of Print

Kira, Gene
Unforgettable Sea of Cortez: Baja California's Golden Age 1947-1977 - The Life and Writing of Ray Cannon
Cortez Publishing (1999) Hardcover - 320 pages
In this book, award-winning Baja California author Gene Kira gives readers a glimpse into life of Ray Cannon. Filled with interviews and photographs, the book offers not only a portrait of Sea of Cortez author Ray Cannon but also of Baja's Golden Age. Included are Ray's greatest fish stories and his memoirs of the land he loved.
Available from

[The Forgotten Peninsula:  A Naturalist in Baja California] Krutch, Joseph Wood Krutch and Ann Zwinger
The Forgotten Peninsula: A Naturalist in Baja California
University of Arizona Press (1986) Paperback - 277 pages
An early and eloquent description of the peninsula.
Available from

Mackintosh, Graham
Into a Desert Place
W.W. Norton & Company, (1995) Mackintosh, an Englishman, fell in love with Baja California on a visit and, despite a glaring shortage of both experience and money, determined to walk its entire coast. This book is his account of how he equipped himself, what he saw and learned, and how he survived on this harsh and beautiful journey.
Available from

Book cover for Journey with a Baja Burro
Graham Mackintosh
Journey With a Baja Burro
Sunbelt Publications (2000)
"He was the best of burros; he was the worst of burros!" So begins Graham Mackintosh's latest book describing his experiences walking 1000 miles with a burro from Tecate to Loreto to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Loreto mission--the first permanent mission in the Californias. Available in the Museum store or online from

Niemann, Greg
Baja Fever
Mountain N Air Books (1998) Paperback
From the author: [I]nteresting and fascinating stories and anecdotes gleaned from a lifetime of travels throughout the Mexican peninsula of Baja California. The book covers several generations of my family, including my great-grandfather who was a principal in the Lower (Baja) California Filibuster of 1890.
Available from

Niemann, Greg
Baja Legends: The Historic Characters, Events, and Locations that Put Baja California on the Map
Sunbelt Publications (2002)
Get to know the "founding fathers" of Baja, the padres, pirates, and pioneers who scratched a living from the desert and the sea, plus the world-famous faces and still-famous places that keep this tiny finger of land in the international spotlight.
Available in the Museum store or online from

Redmond, Jennifer, editor
Sea of Cortez Review: The Year's Best Writing Inspired by Baja California
Sunbelt Publications (2000)
Available from

Book cover of We Survived Yesterday
John Reseck
We Survived Yesterday
Griffin Publishing (1994)
Detached from civilization in double kayaks, paddling nine hours a day, and battling raging surf, author John Reseck recounts his 1200-mile voyage from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. Along the way, he discovers how the human mind and spirit can endure, create, and problem solve better than ever imagined. Available in the Museum store or online from

Rice, Larry
Baja to Patagonia
Fulcrum Publishing (1993) Paperback - 217 pages synopsis: Latin America is one of the hottest ecotourism destinations for the '90s. From Chile to Costa Rica, Venezuela to Mexico, these regions have long inspired myth, controversy and speculation. Naturalist/adventure writer Rice now tells of kayaking, canoeing, and backpacking the wilderness areas of Central and South America. Photos. Maps.
Available from

Sobel, Dava
Penguin Book, NY (1995)
Available from

[The Log from the Sea of Cortez] Steinbeck, John
The Log from the Sea of Cortez
Penguin USA (1995)Paperback Reprint edition
What a pleasure to read a travelogue written by a good writer! Steinbeck accompanied marine biologist Ed Ricketts on a six-week collecting excursion to the Sea of Cortez in 1940. The scientific journey, however, provides merely the foundation upon which the author's wry observations of his companions, their endeavors, and the world are set.
Available from

Zwinger, Ann
A Desert Country by the Sea
Lively pencil sketches of plants and animals illustrate this look at the Cape Region of Baja California Sur by naturalist and artist Ann Zwinger.
Out of Print

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