I've been intrigued with Baja California (Lower California in English) for many decades now. It seemed so exotic, so rugged. So in mid-February I finally got to experience it. And once past the many towns south of Tijuana, "the Baja" is, indeed, very rugged for much of the way to the very southern tip of the peninsula, at Cabo San Lucas (which I spent little time in, as I do not relish resorts or resort towns). My friend and I rented a car in Tijuana and drove the surprisingly good roads all the way. Even more surprising was the 80 kilometers per hour speed limit, or about 47 MPH--especially since for much of the way we would see another car only after five to ten minutes.
We then flew from La Paz to Los Mochis, across the Gulf of California, where we took a taxi to the colonial town of El Fuerte. The next day we took the famous Copper Canyon train across the Sierra Madre Mountains, which ends in the city of Chihuahua. Copper Canyon rivals the Grand Canyon in size, being almost as deep at around 6000 feet. However, in my opinion it is not as pretty as the Grand Canyon. But it certainly is worth the price of a train ticket.
I know several people who will not visit anywhere in Mexico other than resort areas. But they never get to see the real Mexico. I find the "real Mexico" quite safe, far cheaper than resorts, and much more interesting. But, then, different strokes for different folks, I guess.