From epic narratives of exploration and travelogues to comprehensive field guides and engaging novels, these must-read Baja books dive deep into the history, natural environment and wonder of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and Sea of Cortez. If you’re planning a visit to this remarkable and unique part of the world, you’ll surely want to put a few of these books on your reading list.
Essential Baja Books
The Log from the Sea of Cortez | By John Steinbeck
This classic account of John Steinbeck’s specimen-collecting trip to the Sea of Cortez with marine biologist Ed Ricketts, first published in 1941, mixes adventure, science and philosophy. Subtitled “A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research,” this much-loved book captures the wonders of the Gulf of California and the joys of discovery.
Moon Baja: Including Cabo San Lucas | By Jennifer Kramer
This informative book from Moon Travel Guides features detailed maps, strategic itineraries, insider travel tips and activity ideas, as well as background on the culture, history and wildlife of the colorful Baja Peninsula.
Baja Legends: The Historic Characters, Events, and Locations That Put Baja California on the Map | By Greg Niemann
Longtime journalist and regional Baja expert Greg Niemann shares about the history, lore and colorful characters of Baja California in this engaging, easy-to-read reference book. His earlier book, Baja Fever—a personal account of his adventures and love affair with Baja—is also an entertaining read for anyone who loves to travel.
Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles Through Baja California, the Other Mexico | By C.M. Mayo
Author C.M. Mayo is enchanted with the land and people of Baja. She writes about her 1,000-mile adventure from Cabo to Tijuana with insight, warmth and style.
The Whales Know: Travels Along the Baja California Peninsula | By Pina Cacucci
A humorous and humble travelogue by writer and explorer Pina Cacucci. He travels the length of Baja California revisiting sites seen by John Steinbeck, but becomes enamored with all things whale.
Baja Field Guides & Natural History Books
Field Guide to Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast | By Sarah G. Allen, Joe Mortenson, Sophie Webb
An outstanding field guide, providing an in-depth information about more than 45 species of whales, dolphins, seals, and other that reside in, or migrate through, the Pacific Coast from Baja, Mexico to British Columbia, Canada.
Sea of Cortez Marine Mammals | By Daniel W. Gotshall
A handy and colorful field guide to the commonly-seen fish and marine invertebrates that are found from Baja to Panama.
The Forgotten Peninsula: A Naturalist in Baja | By Joseph Wood Krutch
A classic portrait and celebration of the plants, landscapes and history of Baja. Naturalist Ann Zwinger called this book “a delightful narrative of natural history exploration at its best.” It’s a classic.
Oasis of Stone: Visions of Baja California Sur | By Bruce Berger, Photographs by Miguel Angel de la Cueva
The geology, plants, wildlife and human history of Baja brought to life in 180 gorgeous color photographs and marvelously informative essays.
The Desert Islands of Mexico’s Sea of Cortez | By Stewart Aitchison
Author Stewart Aitchison, a biologist, geologist, and naturalist, brings experience—and a large photo library—to this well-illustrated natural history resource covering the Sea of Cortez and its islands.
In this wondrous series of essays that received a National Outdoor Book Award, biologist and Vermilion Sea Institute chairman, Aaron Hirsh, recounts his exploration of the Sea of Cortez, its islands and its inhabitants.
Other Recommended Reading…
In print for more than 30 years and fully updated, this ‘kayaking bible’ covers every known kayaking query, from essentials to advanced hazards. Expert advice is combined with illustrative photos and classic kayaking stories.
The Girl of the Sea of Cortez | By Peter Benchley
A heartwarming, eco-conscious novel about a young woman and her sixth-sense for ocean wildlife. The story’s protagonist, Paloma, discovers a secret ocean animal in a sea full of beauty, danger and adventure.
The Whale: In Search of Giants of the Sea | By Philip Hoare
A deeply engaging meditation on all things whale. Author Philip Hoare saves his special love and attention for the sperm whale—not only via a beautiful literary analysis of Moby Dick, but also by indulging in a childhood fantasy and swimming with whales in the Azores.
Wild Edge: Freedom to Roam the Pacific Coast | By Florian Schulz
Through beautiful photographs, this coffee table book exposes the great Pacific seam of North America—that wondrous stretch of coastline that stretches from the Baja Peninsula to the inlets of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska’s Beaufort Sea.