Category Archives: Stories

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!

Follow us on: TWITTER, FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM

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 »

ACA – Obamacare’s Effects on American Expats Living Abroad

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
ACA – Obamacare’s Effects on American Expats Living Abroad
yucalandia.com

Sept. 27, 2013 Update:

This article is for all the Americans traveling or living abroad who have, so far, avoided learning about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With the upcoming Oct. 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014 enrollment period, for ACA – Obamacare, there are bundles of questions that arise affecting US citizens who are outside the USA.
Are US citizens outside the US covered / protected by the ACA?

ACA – Obamacare’s Effects on American Expats Living Abroad

ACA – Obamacare’s Effects on American Expats Living Abroad

Are we exempt?

Is coverage only offered within the US (like Medicare), requiring citizens outside the US to travel for care?
Are expats forced to pay for a US insurance plan, even if they cannot receive care under the plan outside the US?

What fines (a.k.a. “taxes” in US Supreme Court lingo), must be paid for not enrolling in a US health plan?
The full answers will all be revealed in due time, since MOST of the significant parts of Obamacare do not take affect until 2014, and Congress may overturn these provisions before then.

 

 

 

read more »

Talks Of Ownership Laws in Mexico Generate Surge in Real Estate Sales

Changes to foreign ownership laws in Mexico expected to generate a surge in sales
The historical amendment to Mexican Constitutions´ 27th Article, has stirred the interest in   properties along the Baja Riviera, as evidenced by the surge of real-estate activity along the Northern Baja Coast. “We have seen an important increase in the number of inquiries by potential clients since discussion about the reform hit international media outlets”, said Maday Valdenegro, Sales Manager at Santa Barbara in Bajamar.

Manlio Fabio Beltrones - Mexican Federal Senator

Manlio Fabio Beltrones – Mexican Federal Senator

The amendment to article 27 was approved by the Mexican Senate on April 23rd, “but it still needs to be approved by a majority of Congresses of each of the States in Mexico for a reform of the law to be final”, noted   Javier Troncoso, an Attorney at Law based in Los Cabos

The reform would now allow foreigners to acquire real estate within the “Restricted Zone” (100 kilometers wide from the borders and 50 kilometers wide from the coastal shores).

“Historically, once an amendment has passed in the Mexican Senate, the State Congresses have approved it. An amendment to the Law of Foreign Ownership would still be needed”, added Troncoso. read more »

Baja Is Back

 

Hip and delicious. There’s no reason not to get in your car and go.
By Elizabeth Salaam from the San Diego Reader, July 24, 2013

In a December 2011 Vanity Fair article, writer Dana Vachon described Chula Vista as “a sputtering neon error of beauty academies and pawnshops, recently terrorized by a homicidal Tijuana drug gang skilled at dissolving bodies in chemicals.” He also referred to the year 1989 as a time before “Mexicans were festooning highways with one another’s severed heads.” When the article came out, Chula Vistans and their mayor responded with vehement demands that Vanity Fair writers check their facts (there is only one beauty academy, damn it) and come visit this beloved seven-miles-from-the-border town before taking their stories to print.

Hip and delicious. There’s no reason not to get in your car and go.

Hip and delicious. There’s no reason not to get in your car and go.

The same month the article was published, my husband and I bought a house in Chula Vista, and so I understood the embarrassment over the description. At the same time, factual or not, the writer had aptly summarized the images that presented themselves to me whenever I considered a day-trip across the border. While I hardly felt terrorized in Chula Vista, I was clear on the fact that I would not be going to Mexico anytime soon.

And then, this past Easter weekend, less than a year and a half later, I was hit with the realization that half of everyone I know was either currently gallivanting around Mexico or had just returned. Yes, I’d seen articles in the New York Times about the burgeoning art scene in Tijuana, and in the Wall Street Journal and Condé Nast Traveler about the wine country of Valle de Guadalupe. But somehow, as hip and delicious as all that sounded, I’d never relinquished my fear. Here it was, Semana Santa (holy week), and I was home in Eastlake wondering when Mexico had stopped being a scary place to visit and whether I was the last person still hung up on beheadings, while everyone else was living it up in Baja.
read more »

New fusion cuisine flourishes in Baja California

TIJUANA, Mexico — Until recently, Baja California’s culinary contribution to the world amounted to the Caesar salad, a dish hardly associated with Mexican food. Beyond that, this long, thin peninsula was known more for its Chinese food and pizza thanks to the thousands of migrants from all over the world who began to settle the Mexican state south of California in the 19th century.

 New fusion cuisine flourishes in Baja California


New fusion cuisine flourishes in Baja California

Now a group of chefs wants to change that, working to create a unique cuisine largely based on fresh seafood caught in the seas flanking Baja and the produce from its fertile valley. The new culinary craze, known as Baja Med, is a fusion of Mexican food with influences from the Mediterranean and Asia.

The movement has resulted in dozens of restaurants that are helping to pull a new kind of tourist to the beleaguered border city – one who enjoys great food and art rather than a brothel and a cheap drunk. People attending conventions in San Diego think of crossing the border for dinner in Tijuana, said Javier Plascencia, the chef of Mision 19, whose quest to put his city on the culinary map was the subject of a New Yorker magazine profile earlier this year.

Baja Med mixes uniquely Mexican ingredients such as chicharron and cotija cheese with lemon grass and olive oil. Signature dishes include tempura fish tacos and deep sea shrimp served with fried marlin, baby farm tomatoes, scallions and a sauce made with local cheeses.

“What Baja Med proposes is for the ingredient to be the main actor in the kitchen,” said Miguel Angel Guerrero, chef of La Querencia, a Tijuana restaurant serving such dishes as beet carpaccio with blue cheese and mint vinaigrette. “Geographically, we are privileged because throughout the year we have a variety of products available. And yet, many generations have passed, and we still don’t have a regional cuisine.”

The port of Ensenada, 40 miles south of Tijuana, is one of the country’s largest for mussels, oysters, clams and shrimp, as well as a hotbed of blue tuna sea farming. Baja California is the fourth largest producing vegetables in Mexico, according to the state government. read more »

New San Ysidro To Tijuana Border Crossing Begins Operations November 1st.

The new San Ysidro to Tijuana Border Crossing (also known as “El Chaparral”) has 22 lanes equipped with the latest technology for fast access to Mexico.

On November 1st, “El Chaparral” will officialy open as the new port of entry to Baja California.

New Sany Ysidro To Tijuana Border Crossing Begins Operations November 1st.

New Sany Ysidro To Tijuana Border Crossing Begins Operations November 1st.

Vehicles headed southbound on I-5 will turn right once they reach the border, onto the modern facilities of the new San Ysidro border crossing. “El Chaparral” features 22 lanes equipped with cutting-edge technology, creating amore convenient crossing into Tijuana and other destinations.

“El Chaparral” also connects to a set of new bridges leading to tourist destinations like Rosarito Beach, Ensenada (it is recommended travelers take the lanes on the right hand side and look fo signs “Playas de Tijuana – Ensenada Cuota”) as well as Downtown, Avenida Revolución, Zona Rio and different ares of Tijuana.

This new crossing conveniently facilitates the movements of residents and visitors.

For more information on these changes visit: www.discoverbajacalifornia.com or dial 078 while in Mexico for toursit assitance.

read more »

Crime In Mexico: Is Baja Safe For Travelers?

by Dave Seminara

Fifteen years ago, my brother who lives near San Diego took me to coastal Baja in Mexico and the experience has stayed with me ever since. We ate fish tacos, went swimming at a sublime, deserted beach and fell asleep on the beach to the sounds of the surf. In December, I’m heading west to visit my brother again, this time with my wife and sons, ages 3 and 5, but when I asked him to take me back to the same places we visited long ago he told me that it wasn’t safe.

Beach in Rosarito

Beach in Rosarito

“No one goes down there any more,” he said. “Those places are all ghost towns.”

And after contacting Budget, the company we’d reserved a car with at its LAX location, and being told that we weren’t allowed to take our rental car down to Mexico, I wondered if perhaps my brother was right.

Crime in Mexico is serious business and anyone who suggests that safety isn’t a legitimate concern is kidding themselves. But I’ve been traveling to different parts of Mexico for years, including recent trips in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and I still believe that there are parts of the country that are safe to visit.
read more »

Mexico’s Wine Country in Valle de Guadalupe

By: KATY MCLAUGHLIN

Head to Valle de Guadalupe for upscale wineries, chic hotels and a south-of-the-border answer to the French Laundry.

WE WERE WATCHING the kids swim in his backyard pool in Los Angeles when my friend Juan Carlos, who grew up in Tijuana, began raving about a life-altering bowl of chicken soup he’d recently eaten.

Mexico's Wine Country in Valle De Guadalupe

Mexico’s Wine Country in Valle De Guadalupe

“It was at the Mexican version of the French Laundry,” he said. “You know—a fancy, farm-to-table place in the middle of Mexican wine country.”

I had no idea, I sheepishly admitted, there was wine country in Mexico, nor anything resembling the French Laundry. But Valle de Guadalupe is a Mediterranean microclimate in Baja California where wine has been produced for more than a century, and it’s in the midst of the kind of winemaking and tourism renaissance that Napa Valley experienced in the 1970s.

A decade ago, the area was mostly known in the wine scene for being home to L.A. Cetto, a huge maker of mid-market wines—the Mexican version of E. & J. Gallo. Today Valle de Guadalupe boasts scores of artisanal wineries; the region’s wine has improved and become trendy enough to be served in fashionable Mexico City restaurants. Top chefs are opening eateries in the area, and several stylish boutique hotels have been built in the past few years.

It sounded irresistible, so a few months later, I found myself caravanning, with Juan Carlos, his wife and my husband in one car, another couple of friends in theirs, across the Mexican border and south on the Tijuana-Ensenada Cuota toward Valle de Guadalupe, a 3½-hour ride from L.A.

We ditched our plan to drive directly to the valley when Juan Carlos pointed out Bar Villa Ortega, his favorite spot in Puerto Nuevo, for Pacific lobster, placemat-size flour tortillas and micheladas—pressed lemon over ice with beer in a salt-rimmed glass. We sat on a spacious covered patio built on a bluff, making us feel like we were eating on the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

We arrived in the valley with our bellies full of lobster and ears full of mariachi music. Flanked by low sierras, a carpet of glimmering green vines heavy with fruit stretched over the valley, interrupted by the occasional winery. These varied in style from sleek, modern structures to rustic haciendas. If it hadn’t been for the dirt roads and the lack of a chic town square, I would have thought I was in Sonoma. read more »

Mexico Real Estate Snapshot For The Baja Real Estate Group – By Max Katz

Hi I am Max Katz Broker and Owner of the Baja Real Estate Group.

I want to share with you what we are experiencing in the Rosarito, Ensenada Corridor. These first six months of 2012, sales have doubled. Homes, that are well priced, sometimes are seeing multiple offers and selling close to list price. Much of the activity we are seeing is not only due to price, but a credit to our seasoned agents. Our marketing and sales training are paying off.

As sales double so has our market reach from Canada to Mexico City. Our buyers range from retires looking for a better lifestyle to the second home buyer looking for a beach front getaway.

I am very proud of our online marketing team, they have done an outstanding job. Adding features that make it very easy for buyers to become well informed. They have given our sellers incredible marketing exposure; through open house videos posted YouTube, social media and one of their newest marketing tools the 360º Virtual tours.

Referrals also remain a big part of who we are at the Baja Real Estate Group, We want to thank our friends, family and neighbors for always thinking of us when thinking of Mexico Real Estate.

Please take the time to read our newsletters, they are always filled with great information for both Buyers and Sellers. If you are not on our mailing list. Please sign up at News@bajaREgroup.com. If you are interest in Buying or selling your home in Mexico. please contact one of our agents at Sales@bajaREgroup.com.

We will make it as easy as possible.

Once again thank you, our customer, for helping make the start of 2012 a success!

Max Katz
Broker/Owner
Baja Real Estate Group
(619) 200-7408
http://www.bajarealestategroup.net

Actor Robert Redford says adios to Baja California

Robert Redford left Baja California last weekend, as quietly as when he first arrived in June to film J.C. Chandor’s “All is Lost” at Baja Studios south of Rosarito Beach.

A few days before returning to the United States, the 75-year-old actor shared some thoughts during a brief meeting with a small group of local Baja California reporters.

Redford told them about his fondness for Mexican culture, his need for privacy, and the pleasure he had taken in working on the film with Chandor.

“The reason I did this film was that he had created a vision that’s fresh and new but was also very bold, and I thought that this was a good thing for me to do at this time in my life,” Redford said.

In the movie, Redford is the lone actor, playing a man fighting for survival at sea.

A video released Friday by the Baja California Tourism Secretariat shows the actor relaxed, frequently joking and laughing while speaking with the reporters.

Redford told them of growing up in Los Angeles, in a neighborhood where most of his neighbors were Mexican. “I’ve always loved enchiladas,” he said, then quipped, “my favorite food is tequila.”

He said “more people should know” about areas of Mexico that are safe, and accused U.S. media of overplaying the violence. “It’s unfortunate since there are so many areas of Mexico that are safe to visit, that more people should know this,” Redford said.

Asked whether he felt safe in Baja California, the actor laughed as he answered, “Yes, but can you print this after I leave?”

The terms of the July 17 news conference were carefully negotiated with Baja California officials, and those in attendance agreed to withhold publication until after Redford had left.

No members of the U.S. media nor Mexican national correspondents were invited. At Redford’s side as he spoke were Chandor, Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, tourism secretary Juan Tintos and Kurt Honold, president of Baja Studios.

Browse for Rosarito Real Estate, Baja Real Estate and Mexico Real Estate