Braving Baja

Wendy Keebler
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Hotel Serenidad, Muleg (011-52-615-153-0530; www.serenidad. com). Traditional Mexican style, with poolside bar.

Casa Lere, San Ignacio (011-52-615-154-0158). Bright blue colonial adobe guest house near the plaza.

Punta San Francisquito (011-52-664-681-0709). Rustic, remote accommodations at a fishing cove on the Sea of Cortez.

Eat & drink

Rice & Beans, San Ignacio (011-52-115-40283). Lobster and tequila-ol! Hearty and casual, with rally-inspired "decor." If you're lucky, someone will be strumming a guitar on the porch. Here and elsewhere in Baja, try fish tacos, extra fresh and tangy.


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Do bring a good map, such as AAA's.

Don't resist, argue, joke around, or shoot photos at the occasional police checkpoints. These young men are serious-and armed.

Don't forget bottled water, sunscreen, and a spare tire (or two).

Learn more

Baja California State Tourism Secretariat, www.

Hidden Baja, by Richard Harris, Ulysses Press.

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What we drove

Volvo rhymes with polvo, and that means dust. Our XC70 wagon, with its "FOUR-C" active chassis, handled more than that, though. Shifting sand, flying stones, never-ending washboards, mushy salt flats, steep climbs over rocks and water-the Volvo met all challenges gamely, despite looking more like a suburban housewife's getaway vehicle than a real sport-ute.

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