The 7 Best Places for Stargazing in Baja, Mexico
While Mexico might not be most peoples’ first thought for a place to go stargazing — one part of Mexico in particular actually has some of the best stargazing on Earth.
Located on the country’s west coast, the two Baja California States (Baja California and Baja California Sur) have several options for dark sky viewing. The Baja Peninsula is actually considered one of the top 20 places to research the night-sky, according to NASA thanks to the lack of light pollution and excellent air quality.
Mexico’s Baja Peninsula is home to popular tourism destinations, like Cabo San Lucas, which is one of the best beach towns in Mexico by day. When night falls, you can head just outside this world-famous resort town, and into a stargazer’s paradise.
Many areas in Baja California Sur state are well known for stargazing because this part of Mexico is known for having clear skies year-round. As it has 300-plus days of sunshine per year, Cabo makes for the ideal vacation destination, both during the day and at night.
Besides Cabo, which is located on the southern tip, so much of the long strip of land that makes up the Baja Peninsula in Mexico offers great stargazing. As you’re about to see, once you put a bit of distance between yourself and Baja’s larger cities, the sky lights up with stars!
Ready to discover the seven best places for stargazing in Baja, Mexico? Let’s get to it!
Rancho Cacachilas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
If you’ve never heard of Rancho Cacachilas, you’ll probably want to add it to your list. This eco-tourism resort in Baja California Sur is a fantastic place for stargazing in Baja.
Rancho Cacachilas is located outside El Sargento (which is also on this list); it’s nestled in the heart of the Sierra de las Cacachilas, a mountain range that offers protection from what little light pollution exists in this part of the state. There are several camps throughout the huge property, and each has its own special experience. From tent camping near the coast to the resort buildings where you can stargaze next to the pool, Rancho Cacachilas is both adventurous and luxurious in a rustic way.
In the past, they’ve hosted stargazing events and offer overnight accommodation where you can stargaze on their own. Check out their website for full details.
San Pedro Martir National Park, Baja California, Mexico
Parts of San Pedro Martir National Park & Campground are perfect for stargazing in Baja, because of its high altitude of 9,280-feet (2828.5 m). It is a national park popular with hikers in the northern part of the Baja Peninsula, in the municipality of Ensenada.
San Pedro Matir is located in a very remote part of Mexico, but offers a lot for stargazers. In 1971, the National Astronomical Observatory, built Mexico’s largest optical telescope — the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir Observatory — on the Cerro del la Cúpula mountain pass.
There are actually three telescopes here. The largest one has a diameter of almost seven-feet (2.12 m), and it weighs 40 tons! This observatory is the second most important in all Latin America, after the Atacama Observatory (ALMA) in the Chilean Andes Mountains.
This observatory is open to the general public, though only during the day. Visitors can come any day of the week from 10am-1pm, and 2pm-3pm. Admission is free and included with your park entry fee. (Note: This observatory is closed the last two weeks of December and the first week of January.)
San Pedro Martir National Park has a perfect location for observing the night sky, thanks to its (nearly) year-round clear skies, low humidity levels, basically non-existent light pollution, and of course, high altitude. It is about two hours from the nearest city of Ensenada, Mexico.
For those who want to camp under the stars, San Pedro Martir has both cabins and rustic campgrounds. Included with the admission price, you can do tent camping for free, but the cabins will cost extra. If you’re camping in a tent, know there’s not much beyond fire pits and porta-potties.
La Ventana, Baja California Sur, Mexico
La Ventana, Mexico is a small fishing village that sits on the Sea of Cortez (AKA Gulf of California), just 35 minutes from the popular beach town of La Paz, Mexico. It is popular with kitesurfing, diving, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, and of course, stargazing.
By day, you have gorgeous views of Jacques Cousteau Island, located just across the Bahía de la Ventana (La Ventana Bay). By night, there’s almost no light pollution, so you can see the stars from almost anywhere. When searching for an accommodation, check to see which offer telescopes or outdoor stargazing platforms attached to the property.
La Ventana is a pueblo (small town), with little more than some taco stands on the beach, casual restaurants, local bars and a few convenience stores. There are a few accommodation options, including camping and beachfront bungalows, and everything errs on the slide of rustic.
You can reach it on Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines, via a direct flight from Los Angeles to La Paz International Airport (code: LAP). Another option would be to fly into the more popular San Jose del Cabo International Airport (code: SJD), and make the two-hour drive to La Ventana.
El Sargento, Baja California Sur, Mexico
El Sargento is located next to La Ventana. It has a population of less than 1,100, and is much less built up than La Ventana. However, some say it has better Baja Mexico stargazing than La Ventana.
The trade off is that it will have less options for things to do during the day before admiring the stars at night, fewer accommodations and even less options for places to eat. Though for stargazers, the fact that El Sargento is so rustic makes it better for nighttime viewing.
Grand Velas Los Cabos Hotel, Baja California Sur, Mexico
While most don’t think of a luxury hotel as one of the best places to see the stars in Baja, they’d be wrong! The Grand Velas Los Cabos offers a unique monthly stargazing experience during the New Moon, called Night Sky.
In addition to gorgeous rooms and amazing views of the Sea of Cortez by day, they also have a 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope at the hotel. You’ll get to use this powerful telescope during the Night Sky experience, led by NASA astronomer Luis Camarena.
Night Sky at Grand Velas Los Cabos includes not only the telescope viewing, but also champagne and gourmet desserts, which guests get to enjoy around a bonfire. It is also unique because you’ll learn about the ancient Mayan calendar and how it relates to the stars in the night sky.
The best time to enjoy this experience is during the summer when about 75% of the constellations are visible! You can also see the Milky Way galaxy, planets Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, and several other nebulae and star clusters.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Baja California Sur, Mexico
As such is a popular tourist town, one of the top three Mexico travel destinations, actually, there are plenty of experiences and tours throughout Cabo San Lucas for stargazers. For a unique experience, head to the Cabo San Lucas Marina to join a boat tour that goes out at night for stargazing.
You’ll not only be away from the light pollution, but also the noise pollution, which makes for an amazing experience. Most boats only go out during the New Moon, when we can’t see the moon in the sky, because this is the best time for stargazing in Cabo and anywhere.
East Cape, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Located near Cabo San Lucas, though it feels like it’s a world away, you’ll be in an area known as Mexico’s East Cape (AKA Cape Region). The East Cape is a 70-mile (113 km) stretch that extends along the Sea of Cortez, from San Jose del Cabo, which has an international airport, to Punta Pescadero.
The area in between these two towns are known to be ideal for stargazers in Baja, Mexico. There are several towns you can choose as a homebase, and you can explore the whole East Cape Region by night. Some of the best towns in the East Cape include Las Palmas, Los Frailes, La Ribera, Cabo Pulmo and Punta Colorada.
Besides stargazing, there are so many things to do on the East Cape. Outdoor enthusiasts will love fishing, kiteboarding, surfing, SUP paddleboarding, ATV tours, and scuba diving and snorkeling. In fact, this area of Mexico on the Sea of Cortez has some of the best diving and snorkeling on Earth — and diver Jacques Cousteau famously called it “the aquarium of the world.”
Final Thoughts: Stargazing in Baja California, Mexico
Now that you know all the best places for seeing the stars in Mexico on the Baja Peninsula, you might be wondering where to go first.
The best way to do stargazing in Baja is to stay in Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo, two popular towns with nice accommodations and great tourism infrastructure, and rent a car for nighttime drives. As one of NASA’s top stargazer spots, you can be almost anywhere an hour or so outside of these cities and still have a great stargazing experience in Mexico.
Baja Sur California State vs Baja California State
The Baja Peninsula has two states, Baja California and Baja California Sur. The “sur” in its name means south in Spanish, so this state is the more southern of the two. Baja Sur definitely has more spots for stargazing in Mexico, as well as nicer beaches, as you can tell from this list.
For those who prefer a more rugged experience, consider camping at San Pedro Martir National Park, home to the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir Astronomical Observatory in Baja California state. Located in the Ensenada Municipality, you’ll find the park about two hours from the beach town of Ensenada and Valle de Guadalupe, known as Mexico’s Napa Valley.
Do you know of any other great places for stargazing in Mexico? Let me know in the comments!
It is never recommended to drive at night in Baja! It is especially foolish to suggest that this is an appropriate activity for people unfamiliar with the area. Safety concerns include large unexpected potholes, large animals in the road (cattle, horses, donkeys), speeding buses and semis and occasional criminal activity. There is also little to no cell service outside of larger towns. Stargazing is a fine activity but get where you’re going during the day.
Driving between Los Cabos and the East Cape at night is a terrible idea for travelers.
Thanks for this extra context, Terri! I appreciate you sharing the advice for folks.
She’s 100% correct, yet you’ve left the article untouched. Not even a warning. Irresponsible.
I didn’t realize I was obligated to change the content – which was written by a fellow writer who lives in Baja – just because you expected me to. The comments are here and visible for all to read.
I have lived in El Sargento for 22 years and visit La Ventana often. While I have dark skies, the light pollution is a growing menace. These are no longer quaint pueblos. There are three-story hotels, numerous restaurants with strings of outdoor lights, traffic jams, and a construction boom of new houses going up. My rooftop used to offer unobstructed views of a dark night sky. Now I have to drive 15 minutes on rough dirt roads to a secret location in the foothills above the town to get away from bright outdoor lights.
Sorry to hear it, Tom. Light pollution is a problem everywhere!