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Baja is an 800-mile long mountainous peninsula that lies south of California but it's a slice of Mexican heaven for travelers who are looking for luxurious resorts and private villas, pristine white sandy beaches and a vast array of water sports including diving and game fishing.

First settled in the 16th century, Baja is steeped in history, from the cave paintings of Sierra de San Francisco to the architectural masterpieces of the early Jesuit Missions. Modern Baja is a tourist's delight from the border crossing mayhem of Tijuana to the spa indulgences of Cabo San Lucas, whale watching in La Paz to fishing in Loreto, the cliffs of Rosarito to the cultural heart of Ensenada.

Cheap Caribbean (tel. 800/915-2322; www.cheapcaribbean.com) is currently having a fall sale with a package that includes airfare and accommodations at an all-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas. Prices start at $539 per person based on dual occupancy and this deal includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles (other departure cities are available for additional cost), four-nights in a deluxe garden view room at Presidente Intercontinental Los Cabos, all meals, beverages, non motorized water sports, tips and gratuities. Kids stay and eat free. Airport transfers and taxes are additional. Add $249 from New York, St. Louis or Toronto, or $199 from D.C., Orlando or Milwaukee. Bookings must be completed by October 26, 2005. These prices are valid for travel from now until December 20, 2005.

Pleasant Holidays' (tel. 800/742-9244; www.pleasantholidays.com) current Baja special is a four-night vacation package. The deal includes round-trip airfare on Alaska Airlines from Los Angeles, four-nights at the Costa Real Cabo Resort and airport transfers. Priced from $439 per person based on dual occupancy, this offer is valid for travel on Sundays or Mondays from November 13 to December 18, 2005.

Alaska Air Vacations (tel. 800/468-2248) has a website full of special accommodation deals for the Los Cabos area of the Baja Peninsula.

Book a deluxe room at the Los Cabos Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Holistic Retreat and Spa for five-nights and get the fifth night free when you book by December 5, 2005, for travel between January 2 and April 30, 2006 (blackout dates February 16 to 20 and April 9 to 16, 2006). Book four-nights and get the fourth night free when you book by March 10, 2006, for travel between May 1 and June 30, 2006 (blackout dates May 25 to 29, 2006), or book by June 15, 2006, for travel between July 5 and October 31, 2006 (blackout dates September 1 to 4, 2006).

Book a five-night stay at the Pueblo Bonito Rose, also in Los Cabos and get the fifth night free. Good for travel until December 24, 2005, or book by March 10, 2006, for travel April 30-June 30, 2006. Blackout dates apply. Book seven-nights and get the seventh night free when you book by December 5 for travel between January 2 to April 30, 2006. Valid for Junior Suites only and some blackout dates apply.

Stay at the Solmar Suites in Los Cabos from November 27 to December 21, 2005, and save up to $30 per room per night in a Garden View or Junior Suite only. Book four-nights and get the fourth night free when you stay in any room type. Receive two complimentary dinners with three-night minimum stay, and three complimentary dinners with four-nights or more.

Stay at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort and Spa and enjoy great deals. Book four-nights in a Virreyes Suite and get the fourth night free from January 1 to April 24, 2006. Book three-nights from April 25 to October 11, 2006, and get the 3rd night free. Also with the free night promotion you get a free buffet breakfast for four people and free access to the fitness center.

Book five-nights at the Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos and get the fifth night free. Book by October 31, 2005, for travel until December 15, 2005. If you stay a minimum of three nights from October 16 to December 24, 2005, you get $100 dinner credit at Rosato Restaurant or $100 credit at the spa for treatments and services. Must be booked between October 1 and December 15, 2005.

Once you are in Baja, there are a multitude of activities to keep you busy, or you can just lie on the beach or by the pool and do absolutely nothing -- the choice is yours.

North Star Adventures (tel. +928/773-9917; www.planetcharters.com/vacation/1015) has a special seven-day Kayaking and whale-watching adventure trip in Magdelena Bay that departs from La Paz in February at the height of the whale-watching season. Priced at $1,250per person based ondouble occupancy, the trip includes hotels before and after the trip, all kayaking and camping equipment, tents, van transport, boat charters, safety equipment, kayak instruction, and guides. The package price does not include airfare to La Paz, airport transfers, sleeping bag and pad, snorkeling equipment or staff gratuities. From October to April, North Star runs guided sea kayak adventures, also priced at $1,250 for eight-day trips out of La Paz.

Baja Travel Vacations (tel. 800/221-9283; www.bajatravelvacations.com) is an eco-tourism company that runs several multi-activity tours. Their ultimate five-day "Baja Whale Watching Vacation" starts in San Diego and includes private aircraft transportation to two top whale watching locations (Scammons Lagoon and San Ignacio Lagoon), five separate whale watching excursions, a one-day tour of the Viscaino Biosphere Reserve including the Indian Pictographs site, four-nights Mexican bed and breakfast accommodations, special whale watching education presentation, cultural immersion meal outings, a Spanish language class and a Mexican cooking class.

Each tour has a maximum of 10 participants with two to three staff. Departure dates are February 27, March 6, 13 and 20, 2006. This trip is priced at $1,995 (plus 10% Mexican IVA tax) all-inclusive with round-trip private flights from San Diego, lodging, food and beverages, whale watching, ground transportation, classes and a lifetime of memories.

Baja Wild (tel. +52/624-1425300; www.bajawild.com/en/packages/allbaja.html) has a seven-day "Inn-to-Inn Hiking, Biking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Surfing and Whale Watching Adventure" that allows you to experience the beauty of Baja, snorkel and kayak its turquoise waters, hike its remote desert mountains, tour its picturesque mission villages, cruise for whales and even learn to surf.

Spend three nights at the secluded East Cape village of Cabo Pulmo staying at the Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort on the Sea of Cortez. Enjoy a beach bon fire and a festive welcome-to-Baja dinner, sea kayak and snorkel in the Cabo Pulmo National Park, once described by Jacques Cousteau as the aquarium of the world, scouting for dolphins, manta rays and whales, kayak up to four miles, swim with sea lions, hike or mountain bike among wild figs and palms, explore an ancient petroglyph site, snorkel, wind surf, rock climb, fish or just plain relax. The package includes six-nights accommodations, equipment for included activities, all meals, airport transfer, park fees, professional guides and all taxes and is priced at $1,495 per person based on dual occupancy (airfare is additional). Tour dates for the remainder of this year are November 20-26 and the December 24-30, 2005 trip is $1,595. Four to 14 people required or for two to three participants, a $200 supplement applies. Airfare is additional.

Round-trip flights between Los Angeles and San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos) during the month of December 2005 start as low as $129 flying with Alaska Airlines through Travelocity (www.travelocity.com). Flights from New York range from $306 to around $470 from now until the end of November 2005 on United, American Airlines or Continental. From Chicago, prices range from $300 on United (www.united.com) to $400 on Mexicana (www.mexicana.com) during the fall season.

For further information, visit www.frommers.com/destinations/loscabosandbajacalifornia and www.visitmexico.com.

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