Welcome to Central Coast
California's central coast comprises some of the most
spectacular shoreline including the Monterey Peninsula and the Big
Sur coast, with gnarled trees, cliffs, rugged shores and bays.
The Pacific Coast Highway (also called Highway 1) stretches
along most of California's coastline and from San Francisco it
passes the small bayside city of Santa Cruz with its famous Beach
Boardwalk to the Monterey Peninsula. Called the 'Jewel of the
Central Coast', Monterey's beauty has been immortalised by artists,
writers and photographers, appearing in books like John Steinbeck's
'Cannery Row' and the black and white photographs of Ansel Adams.
Its diverse cultural heritage is evident in its Spanish
architecture and lively harbour and wharf district.
Monterey marks the northern edge of the wild and undeveloped Big
Sur coast with Highway 1 crawling along the edge of the rocky
cliffs that hang precipitously over the crashing surf below. Big
Sur refers to the entire 90-mile (145km) stretch of wilderness
between Monterey and San Simeon. The often nerve-racking drive,
especially when blanketed in thick fog, takes visitors along one of
the most dramatic and exhilarating coastlines on earth, hemmed
between the mountains of the Santa Lucia Range and the Pacific
Ocean. The area provides a peaceful respite from the frantic energy
of the cities, with little more to do than enjoy the mountains,
cliff-top views and occasionally accessible beach coves.
The highway curves into the wealthy American Riviera town of
Santa Barbara, an attractive coastal town with golden beaches,
red-tile roofs and outdoor cafes.
Information & Facts
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.