Baja California is a long, narrow peninsula extending south of San Diego, barely linked to the Mexican mainland by a thin strip of land. Dominated by a spine of mountains, this unique region separates the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California (a.k.a. Sea of Cortez), resulting in one of the most interesting and diverse geographical areas of the world. This arid, rocky finger has long been a playground for surfers from 'Upper California' seeking righthand pointbreak perfection, without the urban crowds that dominate the U.S.A. line-ups. With a subtropical climate and 4800km of relatively untouched beaches and coastline, Baja has been the cause of wars and disputes over the centuries. Long frequented by pirates, Baja California is today a favourite destination for adventurous surfers looking for the treasure chest of waves that adorn the Pacific coast. Recent development plans to build a string of harbours, marinas and tourist resorts not more than a days sail apart, along both coasts of the peninsula have foundered (but not sunk) under a withering environmentalist backlash.