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Baja California is one of those rare four-season destinations, offering a different slant on fun in the sun for every month of the year. Prices are highest at Christmas and New Years, lower in the spring, and hit rock-bottom in the summer, the time for killer deals and comparatively empty beaches. Although hurricanes here are rare compared to the Caribbean, September does host a big blow now and then, so figure that into your plans. Air and water temperatures make a big difference in the kind of active vacations Baja was made for, so think about how you want to spend your time before you book. Winter waters are cold for diving and snorkeling, but cooler winter temperatures are just right for hiking and boating. Summer heat makes swimming a joy, but you'll bake by the pool.

If you're planning to surf, it bears mentioning that the surf switches sides with the seasons, so the waves break on the eastern side of the peninsula in the spring and summer (Mar-Oct) and on the west in the fall and winter (Nov-Mar). The most popular summer breaks start at San José's Playa Acapulquito and extend up the East Cape, while the hot spot for winter waves is Cerritos Beach, south of Todos Santos.

These days, there's hardly a time when you'll find Los Cabos and Baja overrun, but it's worth keeping a few major festivals in mind. Christmas and New Years are ultra-high season, when hotels and beaches fill up. March is fiesta time, with La Paz's Carnaval and San José del Cabo's Fiesta Patronal. The week leading up to Easter is the time when Mexicans from all over the country head to the beach; partying can be raucous and beaches packed. Mexican Independence Day, September 16, is a party throughout the country, and a fun time to visit cities like La Paz and Tijuana, where celebrations tend to be better-funded.

Weather

Baja may look like a desert, but there's more climatic variation than you might think. The north has a dry Mediterranean climate, with rain and cool nights in winter, and hot, dry summers. The east coast along the Sea of Cortez is much warmer than the Pacific coast summer and winter, and in late winter and early spring can be fantastically windy. The west (Pacific) coast is cool and breezy in winter and warm and breezy in summer, on average 5°C (10°F) cooler than the Sea of Cortez side. The same goes for water temperatures: In winter, it's too cold in the Pacific for anyone but the sea lions, but the Sea of Cortez is usually warmer, with winter averages of 22°C (71°F) and summer of 28°C (82°F).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.