Tag 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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After The Kids Have Gone: Former Spring Break Destination In Mexico Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper

 

After The Kids Have Gone: Former Spring Break Destination In Mexico Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper
By Rebekah SagerPublished July 18, 2014Fox News Latino

Town Once Known For Spring Breakers Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper

The Rosarito Beach area of Baja California in Mexico, once a thriving spring break locale that was decimated by crime and a collapsing economy, has had to find new, quieter ways to prosper.

Until 2008 or so, Rosarito Beach, about 10 miles south of the United States-Mexico border in Baja California, was a hot spot for kids on spring break looking to drink tequila, eat cheap lobster dinners and party the days and nights away. Then the economy crashed and crime reached epidemic proportions and suddenly the streets went from 24 hour fiesta to ghost town.

Baja Fresh Produce

The Rosarito Beach area of Baja California in Mexico, once a thriving spring break locale that was decimated by crime and a collapsing economy, has had to find new, quieter ways to prosper.

Until recently, that is. Today Rosarito is a thriving place for families, foodies and small businesses.

A visit to the only winery in Rosarito, Claudius, provides a glimpse into the innovation and resilience desperate (and resourceful) business owners in the area have gone through.

Julio Benitez, a native of Segovia, Spain, established the business just four years ago, and only this year is the label releasing its first bottles onto the market. The vinyard caters primarily to aficionados who can take classes at a small wine-making school, and a tasting room and restaurant for enthusiasts who would rather savor it.

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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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A Taste Of Mexico’s Wine Country

 

A Taste Of Mexico’s Wine Country
As seen on Forbes Magazine, Amanda Arnold , Contributor

Just a two-hour drive south of San Diego across the Mexican border lies a peaceful Baja California valley brimming with ripened grapes, delicious wines and gourmet cuisine concocted from the freshest of fresh local ingredients. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors take a peek at Mexico’s lovely—and somewhat little known—Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley), a wine country destination screaming for a late summer getaway of the great outdoors, delicious food and plenty of vino.

Interested in trying a sweet alternative to beer? Venture over to our blog to explore Washington’s cider scene.

A Taste Of Mexico's Wine Country

A Taste Of Mexico’s Wine CountryThe Fiestas de la Vendimia, a celebration of the annual harvest, runs from Aug. 2 through 18 this year, which is why we recommend a late summer visit to the Valle de Guadalupe.

Where To Play
The Fiestas de la Vendimia, a celebration of the annual harvest, runs from Aug. 2 through 18 this year, which is why we recommend a late summer visit to the Valle de Guadalupe. Many of the valley’s wineries participate in the festivities by hosting special events: This year, there’s a wine pairing dinner at oft raved about restaurant Laja with special guest and prominent Mexican chef Daniel Ovadia on Aug. 7; a street party at the Plaza de las Artes in Ensenada on Aug. 8; and a wine pairing dinner at Viñas de Garza on Aug. 15—to name just a few of the happenings.

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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.
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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 »

Canadians Visiting and Living in Mexico Feel Secure; Invite Foreigners to “See For Yourself” Compiled By: Miguel Sedano

Mexico, like all countries, has isolated and unfortunate instances of tourists facing incidents while vacationing and we take every incident seriously. But these isolated incidents have not stopped the more than 22.67 million tourists to come to Mexico last year – out of which 1.6 million happen to be Canadian. And neither have stopped the thousands of Canadians who live and/or work in Mexico and are still enjoying the vibrant economy, modern infrastructure and cultural attractions that the country has to offer.

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Canadians’ Experiences via a Calgary Herald Article
In a recent Calgary Herald article, several Canadians contributed to it by sharing their personal experiences, including 66-year-old Calgarian Maureen McLeod, who has lived several years in Mexico with her family since 1979. McLeod said, “We feel safe here, but we don’t take foolish chances. We are aware that there have been times when a Canadian has been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that kind of thing also happens in Canada.”
Dustin Wilcox from Ontario also wrote, “I’m a Canadian living in Guadalajara. My experience has been nothing but enjoyable and secure. I can’t recall when I didn’t feel 100% safe in this city.” Canadian Toni St. Clair also wrote, “I lived in Mexico City for a year in 2007 and was never faced with violence.”
Calgarian Brent McAthey also contributed with his experience in the article and wrote, “When I was 15 years old I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with a buddy and his parent. I loved it and have returned every year for the last 29 years, with longer and longer stays each time. I now spend 10 months a year in Mazatlan, own a house, and I am also an entertainer, and have managed to figure out how to make a living here.” McAthey added, “We cannot understand why the media up north has projected such a bad image of such an incredible place. It’s unfair. I have always felt safe here. I have traveled the world with my music, and can honestly say this is one of the safest places I have ever been.”
Canadian Frank Lai also contributed with his experience and said, “Unfortunately, the few violent crimes involving foreigners have been overblown by the media. In our view, they were isolated incidents, and not truly reflective of the fabulous life enjoyed by residents, snowbirds and tourists alike.” Lai added, “We invite you to visit Mazatlan and see for yourself. You will be impressed by a myriad of smiling faces and stunning sceneries that is the ‘Pearl of the Pacific,’ he concluded.
Canadian Reporter from Ottawa: “Crack a cerveza and calm down – Mexico’s safer than you think”
Canadian national columnist for Postmedia News Stephen Maher also shared his safety insights and how much he enjoyed his time in Playa del Carmen located south of Cancun on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. In a recent article he wrote for Canada.com, Maher shared how different and enjoyable Mexico is once you get to visit and put safety in Mexico into perspective.
“Mexico is not a place. It is a bunch of places, and some of them are safer than places in Canada.”
“I had a great time in Yucatan province last week, inland from Playa del Carmen. We rented a car and drove to Chichen Itza, which is stunning, and spent a happy night at a fiesta among the welcoming people of the colonial city of Valladolid [sp], watching proud young people dancing in beautiful, hand-embroidered clothes,” Maher wrote. And when comparing Mexico and Canada’s safety, he stated, “The murder rate in Yucatan is 2 per 100,000. Thunder Bay’s murder rate is 4.2 per 100,000. The expatriates I spoke to in the lovely beachside bars of Tulum, down the coast from Cancun, are more worried about potholes than being murdered. In Canada, we have nine road fatalities per year per 100,000 inhabitants. Compare that number to the number of Canadians murdered in Mexico, and you have to come to the conclusion that crime in Mexico is not worth thinking about very much.”
Maher wraps up his article by saying, “Mexico is amazing. The chances of anything bad happening to you there are small,” he concluded.
Mexico is a modern, G-20 nation, with ancient Mayan ruins, beautiful beaches, stunning natural beauty, and the second largest economy in Latin America. This year, because it is 2012 and the year of the Mayan prophecies, Mexico is receiving tourists from all over the world who want to visit the Mayan sites at Palenque, Tulum, Chichen Itza, and elsewhere. Mexico is also a rich nation blessed with abundant natural resources and has become one of Canada’s leading trade partners. There is so much to explore in Mexico, and we thank the more than 10 million visitors Mexico welcomed at the end of 2011 alone for visiting our country.
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 /  Miguel.sedano@palaciodelmar.com the perfect home is waiting for you.

Mexico safer than headlines indicate

Written By Christine Delsol

Quick – which national capital has the higher murder rate: Mexico City or Washington, D.C.?

If you answered Mexico City, you’d be in good company – after all, Mexico is a war zone, isn’t it? But you would be wrong, on both counts.

Based on FBI crime statistics for 2010 and Mexican government data released early this year, Mexico City’s drug-related-homicide rate per 100,000 population was one-tenth of Washington’s overall homicide rate – 2.2 deaths per 100,000 population compared with 22. (Drug violence accounts for most murders in Mexico, which historically does not have the gun culture that reigns in the United States.)

Mexico safer than headlines indicate

Mexico safer than headlines indicate

And while parts of Mexico can be legitimately likened to a war zone, drug violence afflicts 80 of the country’s 2,400 municipalities (equivalent to counties). Their locations have been well publicized: along the U.S. border in northern Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas states, and south to Sinaloa, Michoacan and parts of San Luis Potosí, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guerrero and Morelos states.

The flip side is that more than 95 percent of Mexico’s municipalities are at least as safe as the average traveler’s hometown. Yucatan state, for example, had 0.1 of a murder for every 100,000 people in 2010 – no U.S. tourist destination comes close to that. Most cities in central Mexico, outside of the scattered drug hot spots, have lower murder rates than Orlando.

It would seem fairly clear – fly, don’t drive, across the border into the safe regions. Yet whenever people say they are going to Mexico, the invariable response is “Aren’t you afraid?”

Media sensationalism accounts for much of the wariness. “Gangland violence in western Mexico” “Journalists under attack in Mexico” and “Mexico mass grave toll climbs” sound as if the entire country were a killing field. The story might name the state, but rarely the town and almost never the neighborhood. And some reporters apparently are confused by the word “municipality” – some of the killings reported as being in Mazatlan, for example, actually happened in a town miles away from the city – akin to attributing East Palo Alto’s slayings to San Francisco.

But the biggest factor may be that travelers looking for a carefree vacation simply find it easier to write the entire country off than to learn what areas to avoid.

The Mexico Tourism Board is working to change that. Efforts so far have concentrated on getting accurate information to travel agents, who funnel the lion’s share of tourism to Mexico’s popular destinations. Independent travelers’ primary source of information is the State Department travel alerts (travel.state.gov), which are finally getting better at pinpointing the trouble spots.

“We are trying to work with U.S. authorities in making these travel alerts specific and not general,” said Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, the tourism board’s chief operating officer. “Unfortunately, they have projected a somewhat distorted image.” 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.


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AARP Interview with President Calderón: Mexico is a Great Place to Live and Enjoy

An exclusive interview with President Felipe Calderón

President Calderón candidly answers questions on on how his country is preparing to welcome U.S. retirees who wish to retire in Mexico, how his administration is preparing for Mexico’s 60+ population and how he is preparing to live his second youth.

Calderón also addresses tourists and retirees’ concerns about the violence in his country.

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