Book Review

A Fabulous Ten Year Baja Adventure. By Richard Castagner 188 pp.

This adventurous tale of a Baja road trip is actually an accounting of the author’s ten years of travel in Baja. He tells us of six road trips,  many adventures, and we are able to explore this long peninsula we know as Baja with him. Reading his story, I relived with some nostalgia, the many trips my husband and I made on Highway I, down through

Baja, and my own turn at driving down that highway, when my husband and I decided to move his bookstore south and to begin the rest of our lives in Loreto.

The author writes colorful stories of his many adventures and it becomes his own personal story, told with a wry sense of humor, an appreciation of Baja’s unique natural sights, and that pride we all feel when, for one reason or another, we plan a second trip down Highway I, then more trips, and we finally decide to move to Baja California.

Richard begins his tale with the border crossing in Tijuana. We then accompany him, driving through small fishing and agricultural villages, and Baja’s beautiful wine country. We follow Highway I, through towns, each with its own unique personality and offerings. He includes hints to help first-time drivers (like filling up at each available gas station because the next one might be farther than imagined, closed or empty), and anecdotes about people and places. 

Reading through his adventures, I was also aware of the many changes happening from one year to the next, and the joy of revisiting favorite places that somehow remain the same. The author describes the personalities of villages and towns along Highway I and gives a bit of the history of each also, which I appreciate.
The final chapters in the book’s last section, center on towns, cities, and sights at the bottom of our peninsula, describing Cabo area resorts and giving detailed descriptions and information on possible hikes,  kiteboarding and windsurfing, snorkeling and golfing. Each activity includes descriptions, addresses, and telephone numbers.
I enjoyed reading and revisiting many places we experienced on our trips back and forth, and my only suggestion might be the inclusion of some black and white photos of places described in this article.

The Baja Peninsula is unique, beautiful, and still has miles of beauty and emptiness for appreciation and adventures. It is becoming more of a destination now, than it was in the years of our first trips down, but has never lost its wonderful sense of space, friendliness, and natural beauty that first impressed us. I hope the Baja will always hold that magical power.

You can purchase this book in local bookstores, El Caballo Blanco bookstore in Loreto, or from the author. It’s a great coffee table book for tourists, for gifts, and also for those of us lucky enough to make our home here in Baja.