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Crossing into the Tropic of Cancer

Entering the 23.5 degree of latitude

By Maria

Tropic of Cancer

The Tropic of Cancer’s begins at 23.5 degrees latitude, which cuts across Baja just south of Todos Santos. We cross into the tropics driving south on the 1 south toward San Jose del Cabo, not long after leaving the small town of Santiago.

Until about five years ago, there was just a sign marking the crossing into the tropics. Now there is a rest area with an open-sided chapel. The murals inside it are so gorgeous they hush all conversation when seen. There is also a massive painted globe illustrating the Tropic of Cancer’s path through “You Are Here,” and of course, a gift shop.

The sun is now directly overhead at noon on the solstices, and day and night are equal in length. The world’s tropics get hotter, I read, than it does on the equator itself.

Hammocks in the shade, ocean swims, cold beverages and fresh fruit take on new levels of gratification here. I sometimes wonder if the carefree attitude of “no bad days” is made easier by the consistent march of daylight hours crowned by epic sunsets, and not just by the heat, which seems to eliminate any need to rush, if not slow time itself.

Tropic of Cancer Baja

In late December, temperatures today are in the low 70s; overcast and breezy, but when the sun shines through, it is not messing around. At last, we have driven far enough to find summer in December.

A few weeks later, walking by a resort near the beach in El Pescadero, I will see a woman lounging by the pool, the ocean visible from her chair, reading Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. The book takes place in France, so his title reference is abstract, but it is nevertheless a sort of meta moment.


“I am living at the Villa Borghese. There is not a crumb of dirt anywhere, nor a chair misplaced. We are all alone here and we are dead.” - First passage of Tropic of Cancer