Tag Archives: baja surf

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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Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas, Mexico

 

Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas, Mexico
DESTINATION & TOURISM | BRANDI ANDRES | SEPTEMBER 11, 2014

Just a 40-minute drive south of the California border to Mexico, a few miles beyond Rosarito, is the quiet, guard-gated community of Las Gaviotas.

Beyond the walls of this Northern Baja retreat is a calming escape from the daily grind that inspires a whole new fondness for Mexico. Rows of houses are stacked on a slope above the Pacific and have second-level views of the deep blue. Since the homes are privately owned (there are no resorts or hotels here), the best way to find a vacation rental is through a search online or through a travel agent.

Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas

Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas

Within the community, there’s a private beach where many Southern California surfers can be found from morning to early afternoon paddling out, determinedly, beyond the pounding waves to catch the kind of curls most people would think only exist in places like Hawaii. Although the surges can fluctuate, these waters aren’t for the faint of heart. Less experienced surfers should proceed with caution, and beginners might consider avoiding the waves altogether. The tides are strong and every evening the salty sea crashes against the cliffs that protect a string of homes along the shoreline.

For families with little ones and those who’d rather not mess with sand, there’s a community pool and hot tub that overlook the ocean. On some days a pop-up fish stand sits at the edge of the stone-paved terrace of the pool house where guests can order the freshest catch of the day sashimi-style or in a mouth-watering ceviche, a mixture of seafood cured in lemon or limejuice with salt, spices and in this part of the world tomato, onion, avocado and cilantro.

What’s nearby?

Most who stay in Las Gaviotas bring their own groceries for home-cooked meals, but anyone who loves seafood must visit the “lobster village” of Puerto Nuevo. Only a short drive to the south on Carretera Libre (free road), this small town has shops filled with Mexican art, jewelry and trinkets, plus restaurants that serve up fresh-caught fried lobster piled high on a platter and shared family style with sides of rice and beans.

Siete Mares (Paseo del Mar #2, 646-218-2370) is the place we’d recommend for the food, friendly service and a gorgeous sunset view from the outdoor deck. Villa Ortegas Restaurant seems to get a good crowd, as well. Keep in mind all of the restaurants and shops are cash only.

The city of Rosarito is also close by, just eight miles north of Las Gaviotas, and offers a larger variety of shopping, restaurant options and deep-sea fishing charters.

Across the road from Las Gaviotas is the most helpful White Horse convenience store, which sells snacks, beverages and ice.

When to go?

The weather is similar to Southern California, which means it can be nice year-round. But beach-lovers and sun-tanners would enjoy the summer months best.

How to get there?

The nearest airport is the Tijuana International Airport which has many of the well-known car rental companies, such as Thrifty, Alamo, Budget and Auto Europe.

For a weekend getaway, however, most visitors drive across the border at San Diego. The main stretch of the drive is along the highway, which is also a cash-only toll road. An important consideration, as with driving in any unfamiliar destination, is to follow all traffic rules (speed limit signs note kilometers/hour). An absolute must when crossing the border by car is to purchase Mexican auto insurance prior to entering.

A few road rules to know: drivers must wear seatbelts and it is illegal to use a cell phone while driving. For the safest trip by car, try staying on toll roads or along a main highway as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to stay within the gated community after dark.

When the weekend is over, consider heading back toward California in the morning hours. Wait time at the border can be anywhere from 3-5 hours, otherwise.

Be prepared to show a passport upon returning to the states.

As with traveling to any foreign country, please visit the website of the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.

 

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Read more about the Baja style of living: http://www.bajarealestategroup.net/

Surf and Travel in Baja California. By: Miguel Sedano

 

What you need to know to stay safe and have fun south of the border.

Fun in Baja California

In 2007, violent assaults and robberies experienced by American surfers and off-road enthusiasts in Baja California rocked the avid Baja travel community in Southern California.

That news combined with the very real violence and media coverage of the drug war in Mexico caused many Baja stalwarts to abandon their lifestyle dedicated to surfing, fishing, off-roading, diving, hiking and just plain enjoying one of the world’s most spectacular natural and cultural regions.

Thankfully, the Mexican government finally responded to the surge in incidents in Baja by increasing roadside patrols and strategically combatting and reducing narco violence.

Tourists are slowly returning to Baja again.

According to Mexico’s Tourism Secretary, border tourism increased 9.4 percent this year compared to 2010.

As someone who works and plays in Baja California, I can attest to the increased security and the fact that for the most part, the majority of the peninsula is as safe as ever.

That is especially true in Baja California Sur, which is considered one of the safest states in Mexico.

Last year I took a 2,970-mile round-trip to the East Cape from San Diego with my two teenage sons.

We traveled down some of the peninsula’s most remote coastal dirt roads and encountered friendly locals, lots of smiles, great wave and cold cervezas.

WiLDCOAST, the organization I run, has an office in Ensenada. At any given time our staff can be found in some of the most remote corners of the peninsula or the most trash-infested colonias of Tijuana.

So far we have had no problems at all.

To get an update on the situation south of the border, I checked in with some of Baja’s most knowledgable and experienced travel experts who spend lots of quality time visiting Baja’s nooks and crannies.

Geoff Hill is the Vice President for Business Development for Baja Bound Insurance Services and a longtime Baja surfing and travel vet.

Susie Albin-Najera is the creator and editor of The MEXICO Report, MEXICO Travel Writers and is a Community Manager for the recently formed Mexico Today. She has been published in numerous publications including San Diego Magazine, Latin Style, Vallarta Tribune, Baja Traveler and Baja Breeze.

Angie Mulder is the Program Director for Baja Discovery, an adventure and outdoor outfitter that specializes in natural history tours of Baja California. The company’s destination eco-camp in San Ignacio Lagoon is one of the world’s premier locations for whale watching.

Kimball Taylor is the author of Return by Water: Surf Stories and Adventures, a columnist for ESPN.go.com, and a former Senior Editor of Surfer Magazine. He has co-authored books on both Pipeline and Jeffrey’s Bay. He is a longtime Baja California travel vet with many miles of deep Baja surf trips under his worn out tires.

Patch: From your perspective has the safety/security situation in Baja improved?

Geoff Hill: I really don’t feel that Baja has a safety problem as much as it has a perception problem. Every year I drive an average of 5,000 miles all over the peninsula and always have positive experiences wherever I travel. Be respectful, use common sense and Baja will treat you well. It’s not the scary place the media has made it out to be. I always look forward to being down in Baja. I love the warmth and friendliness of the people that I interact with and the rugged beauty.

Susie Albin-Najera: Baja is an excellent destination for road travel, whether it’s visiting the border territories or heading further south. The real safety issues are just simple road conditions but the toll roads are safe and constantly being improved. I’ve always felt safe driving in Baja, but always encourage people to purchase insurance and take normal road trip precautions.

Angie Mulder: After our nearly three decades of travel in Baja, times have certainly changed, but applying the rules of safe travel has not. Whether exploring the peninsula with guests or pursuing our own adventures, we do not drive alone or at night, and don’t carry a lot of cash or take along expensive electronics. Just use basic common sense. We continue to run our natural history trips without incident.

Kimball Taylor: The safety issue is a tough call. Although instances of shocking violence have decreased in Tijuana and the Rosarito to Ensenada corridor, the discovery of a massive pot farm near El Marmol indicates serious narco activity in Baja.

Patch: If tourists have a problem on the road, what should they do and who should they call?

Hill: To start with, it’s a good idea to carry a Mexican insurance policy that includes roadside assistance and towing. That will give you direct contact to assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. HDI Seguros and ACE Seguros are the two Mexican insurance companies that Baja Bound works with and they both have English-speaking representatives that are ready to assist you. You can also dial 078 anywhere in Baja which is the Tourist Assistance Hotline provided by the Secretary of Tourism.

Albin-Najera: The Green Angels also provide 24/7 free roadside assistance to visitors with mechanical problems. Tijuana, Ensenada & El Hongo toll roads: 01-800-990-3900 Tijuana, Tecate toll roads: 1-800-888-0911

Taylor: By far the most dangerous aspect of travel in Baja is Highway 1 (the trans peninsular highway). Although the highway is being widened and improved in places, it is still just one slender ribbon of asphalt with little to no shoulder and dubious engineering. With the advent of Costco and Home Depot in Cabo San Lucas, commercial traffic and semi-trucks increasingly burden the road. I would advise to keep driving to daylight hours and to refrain from the nighttime blitz drives that were popular in earlier decades.

Patch: What destinations do you recommend visiting in Baja?

Hill: Some of my favorite memories are surfing at Scorpion Bay back in the early nineties when it was still relatively undeveloped. Tucked up in a pine forest at an elevation of almost 10,000 feet is the San Pedro Martir Observatory. They have three giant telescopes at the facility and tours are available every day starting at 10 am. The views are incredible, and on the right day you can actually see the Sea of Cortez to the east and Pacific Ocean to the west. I recommend this trip in the warmer months. It can snow on the mountain during the winter. Erendira is a sleepy little farming and fishing village about four hours south of the border that has fun surf, nice spots to camp on the water, good fishing and is a beautiful area to relax and unwind.

Albin-Najera: Baja is a mecca of eco-adventure, marine life, dessert and natural beauty. There are so many ways to enjoy the Baja region. I’ve visited all of the regions in northern Baja and each area offers something special. I recommend visiting all of the areas, either on your own with a road map or via guided tour. You can have great experiences all around Baja. For example, some of the activities available are surfing, scuba diving, whale watching, fishing, cave exploration, off road riding, beaches, biking, art galleries, culinary festivals, brewery tours, world class golfing and wine tasting. I recommend the Discover Baja California website to get an idea of all of the options. Even just driving along the coastline from Tijuana to Ensenada offers stunning ocean views.

Mulder: Our favorite Baja destinations include the rugged and beautiful desert in Cataviña and San Ignacio. In San Ignacio must sees are the Mission and cave painting museum, followed by dinner at Rene’s. And of course San Ignacio Lagoon, where we spend most of our time. The whales, people, flora and wildlife make it a very special place that keeps us coming back year after year.

Taylor: I recommend a visit to San Ignacio. The town and mission represent both the romance and reality of Baja. With the famous San Ignacio Lagoon and its gray whales nearby, the oasis is also a way station to San Juanico for those heading south and Punta Abreojos for those heading north.

Patch: What are your favorite places to dine?

Geoff Hill: I am a sucker for carne asada tacos. My favorite stands are Los Traileros in El Sauzal (just north of Ensenada) and Tacos El Yaqui in Rosarito. Tapanco in Rosarito is a great option for a steak dinner, and Rey Sol in Ensenada has a unique French-Mexican fusion that is amazing. If you have never been to the wine country just north of Ensenada you are really missing out! Most people have no idea that there are over 50 wineries producing some unbelievable wines that are just now starting to gain notoriety worldwide. The region is also producing some fantastic artisanal cheeses, jams and olive oil. Most of the wineries offer tours and wine tastings for about five dollars.

Albin-Najera: Tijuana has garnered a lot of positive media attention among foodies and food editors as the new gastronomic hot spot. I could be just as happy eating at a no-name food stall in Tijuana as in a fancy restaurant. As a chilaquiles connoisseur, I am partial to La Casa de Mole in Tijuana, and lobster, Puerto Nuevo style. There are many new upscale restaurants in Tijuana though, that I’m eager to visit.

Angie: Outside of San Ignacio, we stop for chicken tacos at Quichules, the best beans ever.

Taylor: My favorite places to eat are the roadside taco stands in Ensenada, or just around the campfire.

*La Fonda,  Las Gaviotas and Club Marena K38 still some of the best surfing spots in Baja.

If you are thinking in moving to Mexico, don’t think more act today.  We Can Help.  Call today 858-433-0561 or email Miguel Sedano  info@rentinginmexico.com the perfect home is waiting for you.

WFO! Full Report for SQ Trip with K&M 7.25 and 7.26

By Chad Baron

Full Report for SQ Trip with K&M 7.25 and 7.26

Full Report for SQ Trip with K&M 7.25 and 7.26

I woke up super-amped at 5:30 AM Friday, with visions of the south swell pumping along the coast and pelagics gathering offshore under floating kelps. I had a bear of a work week, having been in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then working long hours on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. I was ready to get this baja adventure started!

Having already packed the night before, I effortlessly headed across the 10 to pick up Scott Hall, who was, likewise, packed and ready to go (except for his nine-foot jig stick which proved to be a pain in the butt by sticking out the shotgun window the whole trip! OK, so it wasn’t that bad and at least he got plenty of serious bendos with it, but next time eight foot rods are the max!)

We quickly loaded his gear into my Avalanche, knowing that we’d reorganize when we picked up Reid in San Diego. The goal was to sneak into North County before the morning commute got nasty and we managed to do just that. Along the way we were treated first to Trestles showing us a taste of the south swell and then Oceanside truly announcing the swell’s energy level in the form of exploding white wash larger than the waves’ faces. read more »