Category Archives: Mexico Tourism

In Ensenada, Cheap Mexican Charms Await

 

TRAVEL
In Ensenada, Cheap Mexican Charms Await
Jan.14.2015

For as long as I can remember, Ensenada has had a whiff of south-of-the-border excess and spring-break stigma. Less than two hours from San Diego, down the Baja California peninsula, it’s one of the easiest and safest places to experience Mexico on a budget — which makes it easy to think of this small coastal city and cruise line layover as a sort of Mexico for Beginners. But dismissing northwest Baja is a mistake. Beyond the souvenir shops selling sombreros, knockoff artesanía (handicrafts) and tacky T-shirts, there’s a college town, a port town and a budding culinary capital that invite exploration. While Ensenada and the surrounding area can require a bit of patience, its pleasures are worth the time it takes to find them — and all the more so because they can be had so affordably.

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A restaurant at La Bufadora, a powerful blowhole where families pose for photos as the Pacific sprays them with sea mist. Credit Freda Moon

 

I’ve had an affection for Ensenada since childhood, when it was a daylong car ride from my Northern California hometown and my introduction to international travel. In those days, I’ll admit, its beaches looked cleaner and the Pacific Ocean felt warmer. My brother and I would sip virgin piña coladas and spend hours scouring the beach for sand dollars. In college, it remained exotic in my mind — a place Tim, my then-boyfriend (now-husband), and I could go on winter break and feel like adventurous runaways. These days, Ensenada is simply the closest we can get to the Mexico we love without a plane ticket.

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Parental Indiscretion

 

Parental Indiscretion
Like Old Times

BY RACHEL LAING
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Published: 2014.10.23 03:12 PM

The superiority of the American childhood of the ’70s and ’80s to that of today is pretty well chronicled on the Internet, but missing from those nostalgic lists (Atari! Underoos! Riding in the back of a pickup!) are memories exclusive to those of us who spent part of our childhoods in San Diego: Baja adventures.

ILLUSTRATION BY KRISTINA MICOTTI

ILLUSTRATION BY KRISTINA MICOTTI

There were the family day trips—lunch at Calafia, curio shopping, maybe a stop in Tijuana for a photo with a zebra-striped donkey if we had an out-of-town visitor along. As teenagers, my friends and I took the trolley to San Ysidro and walked across the border, treating TJ like an exotic mall. San Diego kids went to Baja to surf and camp and eat fish tacos and drink Coronas. (Let’s not discuss the nightclub shenanigans we partook in once we could pass for 18.)

Baja trips were just part of growing up in San Diego. But by the time my kids were old enough to enjoy their first family trip to Puerto Nuevo for cheap lobster, going to Baja was no longer a simple thing you could do on impulse. I wasn’t scared by the dire warnings about drug cartel violence, which I always thought were overblown. But you now need a passport, and the reports of hellishly long border waits were definitely a deterrent. I couldn’t imagine sitting for hours at the border waving off peddlers of gaudy Last Supper paintings while my kids whined in the back seat.

“Kids went to Baja to surf and camp and eat fish tacos and drink Coronas.”

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Chefs, wine give Baja a new flavor

 

Chefs, wine give Baja a new flavor
Region’s gastro scene is boosting tourism and its image
By Michele Parente6:13 P.M.OCT. 18, 2014Updated12:14 P.M.OCT. 21, 2014

Last Sunday, chef Javier Plascencia was in Buenos Aires promoting Baja cuisine, having just taped an episode of ABC’s “The Taste” in L.A.

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Tijuana‘s new taste: The rustic chic interior of El Taller Baja Med Cocina. — Photo by Michele Parente

On Wednesday, chef Flor Franco was in New York cooking for about 160 editors at Condé Nast, publishers of such titles as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Condé Nast Traveler.

And during the first week in November, chef Miguel Ángel Guerrero will be in Paris, serving up rustic Baja Med cuisine to the French.

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Javier Plascencia’s popular Finca Altozano in the Valle de Guadalupe.— Photo by Michele Parente

The trio, with about 12 restaurants between them in San Diego, Tijuana, Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe, are Baja’s Emissaries of Eating. While out promoting their own businesses and brands, these globe-trotting gastro ambassadors are at the same time shifting the narrative of a region once known more for kidnappings and cartels than quail and kumamotos.

More than just reputation burnishing, Baja’s food and wine are driving new development around the region as well as an influx of first-time visitors from within Mexico, Europe, Asia and Latin America. It’s also reviving tourism from north of the border, which plummeted in 2008 as the global economy sunk and Tijuana’s death rate skyrocketed.

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New lanes ease wait times at border

 

New lanes ease wait times at border
By Sandra Dibble 6:36 P.M.SEPT. 17, 2014

SAN YSIDRO — Could long lines at the San Ysidro Port of Entry be largely in the past?

Many drivers accustomed to waiting in line for hours instead sailed through the busy border crossing within minutes on Wednesday.

What made it possible was the reopening of seven inspection lanes — and the completion of a key phase in the $741 million reconstruction of the massive port, the busiest on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Long Lines Disappear

Wednesday afternoon the lines at the San Ysidro Port of Entry were incredibly short, sometimes as small as 3-4 cars. Sean M. Haffey U-T San Diego

The expanded capacity in the primary inspection lanes means that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency charged with operating the port of entry, now has at its disposal 25 rebuilt inspection lanes with total of 46 booths. And that’s just the beginning: By January 2018, the port is expected to grow to 34 lanes with 63 booths.

“This is incredible. I can’t believe it. There’s something like 15 cars ahead of me,” said Marco Montano, as he waited early Wednesday afternoon to cross in the general lanes, which are usually the longest. He and a friend were heading from Tijuana to San Diego to purchase a bus part and had been prepared for the usual wait of two to three hours — not 10 minutes.

And so the cars flowed into San Diego from Tijuana: A grandmother returning from a family visit, an unemployed man from Spring Valley coming back from a doctor’s appointment, a construction worker from Lake Elsinore going home after visiting family in Rosarito Beach.

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Disaster Relief from Hurricane Odile Los Cabos and How You Can Help

By  Susie Albin-Najera

The International Community Foundation is raising funds to support immediate disaster relief and rebuilding efforts in Baja California Sur in response to damage caused by Hurricane Odile.

A man stands by a trailer that was swept along with debris, by the flood waters and high winds of Hurricane Odile in Los Cabos, Mexico, Monday, Sept. 15 2014. Hurricane Odile blazed a trail of destruction through Mexico's Baja... - The Associated Press.

A man stands by a trailer that was swept along with debris, by the flood waters and high winds of Hurricane Odile in Los Cabos, Mexico, Monday, Sept. 15 2014. Hurricane Odile blazed a trail of destruction through Mexico’s Baja… – The Associated Press.

September 17, 2014 San Diego, CA. Hurricane Odile made landfall near Cabo San Lucas at 9:45pm (PDT) on Sunday night, September 14, 2014, as a powerful Category 3 hurricane, with estimated winds of 127 mph and torrential rainfall; one of the strongest hurricanes to ever make landfall in Baja California Sur. Odile continued to rake the state of Baja California Sur Monday, as it marched northward with strong winds and heavy rains flooding the southern half of the peninsula. The heavy rains threaten to trigger mudslides and floods.

The storm has already caused widespread damage across the southern half of Baja California Sur, including homes, hotels, hospitals, and roads.   Mexican authorities report that at least 15,000 people in high risk areas suffered damage or total loss of their home due to heavy winds. Currently all airports and ports are closed to civilian traffic. There remain power outages across the region, a lack of clean running water, and phone service is down.   Emergency officials also report that at least 135 people have been treated for varying injuries as a result of the storm, mostly from broken glass and falling objects.

The International Community Foundation (ICF) is actively working to assess needs of local communities in those areas most directly affected by the hurricane, and will work to mobilize needed resources for immediate disaster relief and rebuilding efforts. ICF will partner with on- the-ground disaster relief organizations, including our long-time partner, the Mexican Red Cross, and our grantees throughout the region. Charitable donations in support of relief efforts can be made to the Baja California Disaster Relief Fund at ICF.

How to help Contributions by mail: Checks payable to the International Community Foundation, with Baja California Disaster Relief Fund in the memo line, can be sent to: Baja California Disaster Relief Fund c/o International Community Foundation 2505 N Avenue   National City, CA 91950 Online contributions to the Baja

California Disaster Relief Fund at the International Community Foundation may be made at:

http://icf-xchange.org/donateonline/?webkey=bajadisasterrelief

18 thousand tourists flown away from Cabo in just three days in remarkable “air bridge” operation

The aftermath of Odile left 26,000 tourists stranded in Baja California, away from their homes, and with no communication means. But in a remarkable operation, the Mexican Government, the military and the private sector coordinated an “air bridge” that would move 18,000 tourist out of the affected region in three days.

By Thursday, Mexico’s Transportation Ministry declared that 18,000 people had already been flown out on more than 120 flights.

By Thursday, Mexico’s Transportation Ministry declared that 18,000 people had already been flown out on more than 120 flights.

Americans, Europeans, and others  were flown to major cities such as Guadalajara, Toluca, Mexico City and Los Mochas.  American passengers arriving at Tijuana were swiftly taken to San Diego.

Odile hit Baja California on Sunday, causing major damage to the International  San Jose Los Cabos Airport. By Tuesday, tens of military and commercial airplanes were flying out of the runway to lead tourists to safety.  Aeroméxico, Volaris and other Mexican airlines, were quick to react to the emergency,   establishing hotlines,   offering free trips to those in need and honoring fares for clients who had previously purchased their tickets.

By Thursday, Mexico’s Transportation Ministry declared that 18,000 people had already been flown out on more than 120 flights. “Rescue efforts will continue until every tourist is taken out of the region”, pledged the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Though the situation is not easy, and Mexico is still  faced with many challenges, the efforts to tend to the Tourist sector must be acknowledged.

We at the Baja Real Estate Group wish to make our best effort to aid the local Baja California population. Tens of thousands Mexican nationals that live and work in Cabo are without basic electricity and water, and in desperate need of basic products, shelter  and food.

These are several ways you can join us in helping our brothers in Baja California:

Financial aid
https://bisbeesconservationfund.org/Donate/CaboRelief

Items needed

  • Canned food/goods of any kind
  • Bottled water
  • Diapers
  • Bleach
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Buckets
  • Brooms
  • Towels / blankets

These are being collected at:

Rosarito DIF
The Lighthouse Sports Bar & Restaurant (KM 58 Carretera  Tijuana-Ensenada Libre)

Ship or deliver from 8 am-5pm to:
Mexicana Logistics US HQ
7734 Formula Place
San Diego, CA 92121

MEXICO DONATIONS
Ship or deliver from 8am-5pm to:
Mexicana Logistics Mex HQ
Calzada de las Americas #951
Col. Compuertas. Mexicali, BC 21218
(Cruzando la calle del Colegio de las Americas)

http://www.race-dezert.com/forum/threads/baja-strong-off-roaders-hurricane-relief.119455/

 

The New Tijuana: Craft Beer, Gastronomy & Art

In this week’s episode we cross the border and move past the myths about Tijuana, Mexico to explore the cultural revival that’s turning Tijuana from a border town into a rising travel destination.

Muchas gracias to Let’s Go Clandestino Tours, Verde y Crema Restaurant, The Beer Box, Border Psycho Brewery, Baja Craft Beers, & Tacos Kokopelli.

And also to our good friend Drew McGill for help filming!

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VAGABROTHERS: We’re Marko and Alex Ayling, brothers, backpackers, and bloggers on a mission to explore the world through its people.  Winners of the global travel-video competition “The Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List” which paid us to travel the world for six months, checking off our travel bucket list and documenting the adventure on YouTube. read more »

Housing inventory not much of an issue in northern Baja California, broker Kathy Katz says

 

Housing inventory not much of an issue in northern Baja California, broker Kathy Katz says

By GLENN GRANT, Special to The Daily Transcript
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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Sales have doubled each of the past three years at Baja Real Estate Group in Rosarito Beach and Ensenada, says broker/co-owner Kathy Katz. Courtesy photo

Low housing inventory is a challenge for most San Diego County real estate firms. But it’s a different story just south of the border.

“We have great inventory in northern Baja California,” said Kathy Katz, broker and co-owner with husband Max Katz at Baja Real Estate Group in Rosarito Beach and Ensenada. “There’s been a lot of developer-financed new construction the past few years, but because we got hit by the economy along with everybody else, we have new standing inventory.”

Americans by birth, the Katzes have lived and worked in northern Baja for more than 20 years. They have a second home in Chula Vista but raised their children in Rosarito Beach, where they’re active in community affairs and among other Americans who live in the coastal city.

“I was doing vacation rentals in Rosarito, then met up with a developer and started re-launching his condos,” Kathy Katz said. “I was always in sales, so I guess this was my calling.”

The firm has clients in the United States, Baja and the Mexican interior, and prides itself on educating them about property ownership along the border. A client-relations staff member was recently hired to funnel prospective buyers to agents and help them make informed decisions.

The firm’s eight agents also help clear up prospective buyers’ apprehensions and beliefs about Mexican laws regarding foreign ownership, such as the 99-year land lease.

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The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

 

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico
January 15, 2014

Below is an unbiased look at the best places in Mexico to retire – with real pros and cons – to help you make an informed decision as to which best meets your needs, interests and ambitions.

So writes “Johnny Punish” (www.JohnnyPunish.com) in edited excerpts from his article written originally as an exclusive for www.munKNEE.com (Your Key to Making Money!) and under the title The Top 10 Places to Live and Retire in Mexico and the reasons why. Note: this paragraph must be included in any re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

Punish goes on to say:

In the process of putting together this comprehensive report I have consulted with highly experienced ex-pats who have lived and/or live in the places that I rate here so, without further wait, here’s the top 10 places to live and retire in Mexico and the reasons why:

1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco
2. Ensenada, Baja California
3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
4. Guadalajara, Jalisco
5. Merida, Yucatan
6. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
7. Mazatlan, Sinaloa
8. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
9. La Paz, Baja California
10. San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas

1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco (Winner)

According to Kristina Morgan of Focus on Mexico, “Of all the places in Mexico I have been, none can quite compare with Lake Chapala. There’s something about this place that just seems…magical and, as corny as it sounds, that’s the word I hear people use to describe Lake Chapala time and again. Lake Chapala gets into your heart and becomes home. It’s like stepping back 50-70 years here regarding the simpler lifestyle, culture and values. When I’m here I feel like I can be me, like I can breathe a little more freely and be the person I want to be and this is a sentiment expressed by most everyone who has ever been here or lives here”.

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10 Best Wine Travel Destinations 2014

 

Valle de Guadalupe/Baja California, Mexico
—Michael Shachner

Valle de Guadalupe/Baja California, Mexico

What’s that, they make wine in Mexico? Indeed, they do—have for centuries—and not just sacramental wine and plonk. In the northern reaches of Baja California, along Route 3 in the Guadalupe Valley, the quality of wine has risen over the past two decades. Wineries here have teamed up with chefs and hoteliers to create Baja’s very own Ruta del Vino (wine route). Less than two hours from San Diego, the Valle de Guadalupe, anchored by the city of Ensenada, has moved past its Tequila-and-Tecate roots to ones based on the grape. Head south of the border for a wine-and-travel experience you won’t forget. —Michael Shachner

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