Tag Archives: baja tourism

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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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.
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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 »

The Expendebales Enjoy Puerto Nuevo Style Lobster in Rosarito Beach

American channel TMZ aired the visit that Silvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren made to Rosarito Beach, in Baja California Mexico where they enjoyed a Puerto Nuevo style lobster.


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

Tourism to Mexico jumps nearly 20%

By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times

In a surprising turnabout, international tourism to Mexico  showed a sharp increase this summer — a sign that tourists may be putting aside worries about the economy and fears of drug-related violence, analysts say.

The increase in international tourism to Mexico may signal that worries about the economy and drug-related violence are easing. (Jose Dominguez, AFP/Getty Images / March 21, 2010)

The increase in international tourism to Mexico may signal that worries about the economy and drug-related violence are easing. (Jose Dominguez, AFP/Getty Images / March 21, 2010)

Foreign visitors arriving by air to Mexico jumped to 7.1 million in the first eight months of the year — up nearly 20% from the same period in 2009 — with most visitors coming from the U.S. and Canada, according to Mexican tourism officials.

The biggest rise came in July, when tourist numbers grew 27.5% over the same month last year.

The increase came in spite of a rash of drug-related violence and kidnappings, primarily along the border, and the August bankruptcy of Mexicana Airlines, the nation’s largest air carrier.

The growth in tourism has been focused primarily in Mexican beach resort towns that have not experienced much of the violence.

In the first eight months of 2010, 7.1 million foreign travelers flew to Mexico, up 19.2% from the same period last year. Of those visitors, 4.33 million were from the U.S., 1.3 million from Canada and 200,513 from Spain, according to Mexican tourism officials.

The latest numbers are a significant increase from 2009, when international tourism to Mexico dropped dramatically after the outbreak of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu. But compared with 2008, international travel to Mexico is up only 6%.

Still, analysts say, the latest jump in visitors suggests that U.S. travelers feel more confident about spending on travel again and see Mexico as a good bargain for vacations.

“Memories of last year have started to fade,” said Anthony Concil, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Assn., a trade group for the world’s airlines.

The sharp increase in visitors to Mexico is also significant because Concil and other analysts have predicted only modest growth in travel worldwide. International air travel, for example, was up 6% in August compared with a year earlier, according to the International Air Transport Assn.

Hawaii has also seen tourism begin to rebound lately, but not enough to overcome the steep drop-off it suffered in 2009. In August, total arrivals by air to Hawaii were up about 11% from the same month last year, marking the ninth consecutive month of growth.

Mexican tourism officials attribute Mexico’s tourist increase to a marketing campaign that kicked off in July, with the tagline “Mexico, the place you thought you knew.”

“We have had all of these challenges, but we are in the right track,” said Alfonso Sumano, regional director for the Mexico Tourism Board for the Americas.

Local travel agents say the growth in tourists’ interest in Mexico comes from a pent-up demand to travel.

“I think there’s a perception is that it’s a good deal,” said Carol McConnell, founder of Around the Globe Travel in Huntington Beach. “But it’s mostly about being where the water and the weather is really nice.”

Jack E. Richards, president of Pleasant Holidays, a Westlake Village travel agency that specializes in vacations to Mexico, agrees. “The all-inclusive resorts offer exceptional value for the vacation dollar, which is still important to American travelers as they emerge from the economic recession,” he said.

While reports of drug-related killings and kidnappings continue along the border, most international tourists are staying clear of that area, visiting beach resort towns instead, Sumano said.

The number of visitors to Cancun, the easternmost coastal city, jumped nearly 31% in August compared with a year earlier; tourism to Los Cabos, on the southern tip of Baja California, increased 30%, according to Mexico tourism officials.

Southern California travel agents say U.S. tourists don’t seem too concerned about drug violence because they know to stay far from the border. “As long as you stay in the resort areas, you’ll have no problem,” McConnell said.

And several Mexican and U.S. airlines have stepped in to fill in the void left by Mexicana Airlines, Sumano said.

“We would like to spread the word,” he said. “The resorts are ready for the visitors.”

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