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Survey Shows Why Travelers are Choosing Mexico for their Retirement.

Let’s face it, most people start thinking of retirement a week or two into their first job. So it stands to reason that a lot of thought goes into people’s retirement plans. Those exploring foreign destinations have always had plenty of options, and a recent poll by Barclays Wealth International found that retirement is the top reason (27.27 percent) among people moving to Mexico. To find out why Mexico has emerged as a prominent retirement destination among expats, you can simply look at the other top reasons in the survey.

Cost of living (24.24 percent)

In the mid 90s inflation and cost of living were significant issues for many Latin American countries. However, the Mexican economy has stabilized and thanks to better economic planning by the authorities, the cost of living and inflation have become more controlled and acceptable. This stability has lead to significant investment from local authorities and international companies.

Travel the world (12.12 percent)

Mexico is like few countries in that it has one of the most complex landscapes in the world. Whether it’s snorkeling the world’s second largest coral reef in Yucatan, visiting the monarch butterflies in the forests of Michoacán, bird watching in the rainforests of Oaxaca, or cruising the sand dunes of Baja California there a countless travel opportunities with Mexico.

Standard of living (9.09 percent)

The fact that this was one of the top reasons given speaks to the economic progress Mexico has made over the last decade. While Mexico’s economy was hit by the global economic downturn in 2008, it is quickly rebounding thanks to foreign investment – up 30% since 2010 – which has lead to the creation of new jobs across the country.

Weather (6.06 percent)

This one should come to no surprise especially after just having talked about Mexico’s wide array of climates and wildlife. It’s no secret tourists have always been attracted by Mexico’s wonderful weather and laid-back culture, so it stands to reason that people retiring in Mexico would be looking for the same experience.

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.

Making Surfing History in San Miguel (Northern Baja) Compiled By: Miguel Sedano.

 

A massive swell rocks the 2nd annual Walter Coloca Jr. Memorial Surf Contest and La Nueva Ola surf conference that took place in Ensenada last weekend.

Olas Mexicanas “My brother Travis and I were competing in the Vans Pier Classic and lost out on Friday, March 30th,” said Mexican-American ripper Dylan Southworth, who lives in Sayulita, north of Puerto Vallarta. “We saw the swell was on the rise and figured we would head down to Ensenada.”
Dylan and Travis were part of an international crew who found themselves surfing a historic swell at San Miguel in Ensenada on Saturday and Sunday as part of the 2012 2nd Annual Walter Coloca Memorial Open Surf Contest organized by United Athletes of the Pacific Ocean (UAPO) and WiLDCOAST.
That wasn’t all that was going on.
“On Friday March 30th, the day before the surf contest we held the first ever forum, La Nueva Ola, on the state of surfing in Baja at CETYS University in Ensenada,” said Alfredo Ramirez of UAPO.
“Scientists, surfers, coastal conservationists, politicians and business owners discussed issues related to coastal access, water quality, the economic value of surf spots and efforts to improve the current situation of the region’s coastline.”
Speakers from Pronatura, Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), WiLDCOAST, Surf Ens, CETYS University, Locales Surf School and UAPO presented their collective efforts to engage youth in the sport of surfing and reestablish a clean and accessible surfing environment.
“Although limited coastal access and poor water quality is currently limiting economic and recreational opportunities for surfing, there is a new wave in Baja California to improve the situation,” said Zach Plopper of WiLDCOAST.
The forum was a good way to launch the Walter Coloca Open over the weekend. More than 60 surfers from Mexico, Venezuela and the U.S. came together to surf in the second year of an event organized by Ramirez.
“The contest is about one ocean, one passion and one family,” he said. “We share the same ocean so it is important to come together and surf together. Waves bring us together across the border. We are all part of a surfing family.”
Saturday was for the junior, school and body board divisions. Venezuelan Derek Gomez ripped his way to both finals in both the age 12-15 and 16-18 divisions. Judges and spectators were amazed by his solid style and explosive surfing.
Equally impressive was Imperial Beach’s Josh Johnson who scored a perfect 10 (the only 10 of the event) in the 12-15 semi-finals with a double barrel ride across the entire cove section of San Miguel. Josh placed second in his division.
Zach Randall, 13, from East Lake Middle School came in third. Second place in the 16-18 division went to Andres Aguirre from Ensenada.
Also making the final were Michael Roccoforte from El Cajon, and Jorge Olvera from Ensenada. Paloma Aguirre of San Diego won the Open Body Board division with Ensenada’s Jose Peralta coming in a close second.
The Open Division of the contest took place on Sunday with an increasing combination of swells. I joined Imperial Beach surfer Sean Fowler and South Mission Beach’s Craig Macias in the rising swell Sunday.
“The swell was the product of a compact, but intense, storm that was located just a few hundred miles off the California coast,” said Kevin Wallis, surf forecaster for Surfline. He said it brought 30-50 knot-plus winds and seas of over 30 feet.
“Because of the storm’s proximity to California, the swell it created rapidly filled in and it was kind of like someone flipped on a light switch, going from small to moderate size surf from a previous swell to very large surf in a matter of 30-60 minutes as the new west swell filled in. Definitely a cool thing to witness.”
When I arrived at San Miguel on Sunday, the surf was in the 3-4’ range. By the time the contest was over the sets were 6-10’.
“This was definitely the latest I can remember seeing a swell of that size and westerly direction, which allowed it to get into many SoCal breaks,” said Wallis.
“Thirty surfers put on an exceptional show of surfing for the spectators and judges,” said Plopper, who helped to sponsor and organize the contest.
Dylan Southworth surfed consistently to the final and took home first place. In a close second was Imperial Beach’s Sean Fowler.
Placing third and fourth were Cheyne Willis from Hawaii and Travis Southworth. In the women’s division big-wave surfer Narra Nunez took the win and Everardo Montoya won the longboard division. Both surfers are from Ensenada.
“The 2012 Walter Caloca contest at San Miguel in Ensenada was one of the best contests. The vibes were great; surf was pumping all weekend, especially with only three other people out,” said Fowler. “Thank you to the locals and all the sponsors for throwing such a great contest.”
“Travis and I we found ourselves in the final with great waves,” said Dylan. “Super stoked to get the title,” said Dylan. “A lot of good competitors entered and everyone was ripping.”
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.

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.

Mexico Canada flags
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.

Baja California Real Estate Property Increasingly Becoming Well known By: Miguel Sedano.

 

Baja Mexico real estate has turned into a popular option as many people purchase additional properties or maybe take advantage of this location as a form of place to go for vacation. All the same real estate buying and selling at this point is budget friendly and even numerous.


Baja Mexico real estate investment keeps growing into amount and also remains to be one of the best settings to own within Mexico. For individuals who dropped by the spot previously, and that are back in to think of it as home, real estate property within Baja, Mexico still is fairly very affordable as well as easy to find, though the continuing surge in number of inhabitants here has resulted in a large number of markdown on accessible homes for sale. Possibilities in property investing over here vary from extremely reasonably priced to deluxe and high priced. In a few sites, the property is among the most pricey in the country.
Baja, Mexico, considerably more technically referred to as Baja California, is one among the 31 states in the country of Mexico. This is around the northern most as well as the westernmost portion of Mexico, along the Baja Peninsula. Having a population of 3.1 million people, the place is large and developing. This rests upon typically the Pacific Ocean, near to the United States, rendering it a fairly easy location to travel to meant for Americans. Nearly 75 % of this state’s inhabitants lives within the capitol city of Mexicali, or Ensenada or simply Tijuana. Each of these zones along with San Felipe, Playas de Rosarito and Tecate are important in the housing market over here.
The most prized of property and assets within Baja Mexico is certainly around the coastline. Many individuals just who purchase over here accomplish this to take advantage of the warm, peaceful Pacific Ocean. Baja, Mexico real estate property meant for auction within this region comes with a wide volume of property and assets opportunities, but a majority are generally solitary family residences, townhomes or even apartments, having studios actually being the most common option for those who’re acquiring from abroad. Moreover, merely beyond the greater urban centers, and then in places such as San Felipe and Tecate, even larger homesteads can be obtained. A number of these pose probably the most valuation promise depending on their particular location.
That searching for Baja, Mexico rentals will find apartments the most commonly obtainable property or home over here, yet getting a family house, can also be attainable. Baja Mexico real estate investment listings give a assortment of opportunities on budgets, with basic comforts actually being the most affordable. Often the far more remote the spot might be, the cheaper the fee. All the same, Baja, Mexico homes that can be purchased keeps to construct and get bigger, with many sites seeing a price tag per square foot of all the way to US $2000 around locations where it also cost $20 per square foot merely 20 yrs earlier. Those purchasing Baja, Mexico real-estate will likely notice their investment grow eventually, though there is absolutely no assuring in which fees can even out.
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.

Powerful Spiritual Healer in Mexico By Susan A Mahalick. Compiled By: Miguel Sedano

 

I went to see someone called El Maestro, or Constantino, this past week in the wine valley close to my home in Baja.

Mexican Spiritual Healer

 

People think very highly of this spiritual healer. Much publicity went out to let everyone know locally about his arrival. He had been here one day in January, but I could not go at that time. I figured it would be an all day affair, which indeed it was. Constantino came back for another three days in February due to popular demand. It was his calling, he was called to come back. Some people go to see him every chance they get. Some of my friends are volunteers as they believe in him so much. One friend told of people who could now see, or get up and walk after years of being in a wheelchair. One of the volunteers follows him all around the world as she was one of his major successes. She had been in a wheelchair for fourteen years. She had tried many treatments to no avail until seeing El Maestro.

One of the volunteers is my friend Jo Ann who relates these stories to me via email:

“A friend of Janet’s went to see the Maestro. She recently had a 10 hour operation to remove a tumor at the top of her spine. The doctors could not remove it all and recommended chemotherapy. After seeing the Maestro she experienced pain on her left side and went to the emergency room. They performed an MRI and the tumor is gone.

Or the one about Judie. She was one of the Friday wine group and makes jewelry. She’s been a bunch of times now. She had tintinnitus, ringing of the ears… gone. She took her 90 some year old husband in a wheelchair and he no longer has pain in his legs and is walking…. don’t know what else. Took Margo and the pain in her shoulder (it was dislocated) is gone and she was walking. (Margo has suffered horribly for years from fibromyaligia. She has fear of falling. She can’t wait to go back again. The stories go on.)

A sister of her close friend, Coleen, named Barbara who was legally blind can now thread a needle.”

I talked one of my close friends into going, even though I had a ride from someone in La Mision where I live. The van would have been a bit too full with my friend. Rocky had three different friends of his try to convince him this might be a good idea. As he is an open minded and curious sort, this appealed to him. Most people have medical or emotional issues with which they would like some assistance. So off we went at ten thirty in the morning on a Wednesday to go see a spiritual healer at La Casa Viejas in the wine valley.

It was a pleasant enough day for a trip and we made it to the event in about a half hour or so. The healer was supposed to arrive between twelve and one, but many people got there early to get into the first group. We were seated by arrival for the most part. Given slips of paper to fill out with our concerns and basic information like where we lived and our contact numbers and email addresses.

It was a well organized event with just the right amount of volunteers. Taken into the first room in a group of thirty seven people, we were treated to some testimonials by prior participants. We also got to hear about the beliefs of El Maestro such as a simple diet, no alcohol and no drugs of any kind. No eating of any meat was emphasized. He only owns two sets of clothes, simple white pants and a shirt, with a long poncho of soft beige material over his clothes. It was a somewhat chilly day in the shade. He stays with people so he does not have to own anything other than the clothing. I saw a rather simple gold ring on one hand. His hair was tied back with headbands that were embroidered in dark colors. I could not tell how long his hair might have been, but I would guess it to be of medium length and black. He wore a white scarf tied around his mouth and head to help prevent the passing of germs to complete his look.

We were sent into a nearby palapa that could seat two circles of thirty seven people. We were instructed to be patient and center ourselves around peaceful thoughts. Some talking went on before the arrival of the healer. When he appeared all went very silent. We were told he was going to come see us one by one. We were instructed to all rise and hold hands. Told to look into his eyes when he stood in front of us, but not to touch him. Our chairs were still behind us when we all arose in greeting. A spotter would stand behind each chair as he approached so we could not fall. I could not wait to be touched with his quite powerful presence of healing. I feel that his personal being is a channel to a higher power. El Maestro would look into your eyes and then most often touch the center of your chest with a somewhat forceful motion with one finger. This is to open the heart. Most people fell into their seats from the contact. If your ailment pertained to walking, then you were instructed to walk around the circle after being touched. One man came in on crutches and walked around the circle very stiffly without them. Everyone paid him the most respectful attention.

Some people cried, though not very many. I was one of those who did. I get emotional at these kind of things, even getting teary eyed in church some times. He looked into my eyes with his intense green ones. He asked me what my concerns were, and they got translated into Spanish. I wanted assistance with some uterine fibroid tumors which I have had for about ten years. Conventional medicine would have me get a hysterectomy. I also have a small lesion on the left hand side of my nose. It has been going away slowly for about four months now. He spent a good amount of time with me, even putting his hands on the front of my lower belly and chanting. I was asked by the volunteer if there was anything else and I replied that yes, I am without an income at the moment which causes a lot of stress.

We were told the healing is not always instant, that it can be a process that is now ongoing as we have encountered such a powerful healing force in the spiritual presence of Constantino. A white box was passed around the circles before we left for donations to help El Maestro with his traveling expenses and favorite charities. No suggested amount. Then we were each given a sheet of paper with simple instructions to detox our bodies for the next fifteen days. Mostly vegetables and fruit. No caffeine, alcohol, salt, sugar or refined pastas or white rice. No drugs of any kind. The kind of diet that not very many people can handle as it is so restrictive. No meat as it is aggressively procured. He lives this way all the time himself and recommends that everyone take up his principles for a less aggressive and healthier world. He is most probably correct, but the only people I know of who can follow this regime live in monasteries or spend a week at a spa to get cleansed. My point here being that when you see other people eat what they want it is much more difficult to stay on such a regime without a very strong will.

As for myself, thus far the lesion on my nose is almost completely gone. I am attributing this to the power of El Maestro as the rapidity of the healing has increased. I am going to continue to believe the fibroids are gone until I can get an ultrasound for verification. As for the lack of income, that was taken care of quite nicely the next day.

What can I say but that I am truly a believer in Constantino, El Maestro, the powerful spiritual healer. The man who has the mysterious reputation of being from nowhere.

Susan Mahalick has lived in Baja for the last nine years. She recommends that newcomers can use the FRAO (Foreign Relations Assistance Office) for many of their issues and information. She has also written a book about “Living Resourcefully, Yet Well” available in eformat on Amazon about tips on living well and within a budget.

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.

Efficient border crossings topic of forum. By: Miguel Sedano

Enhanced driver’s license, pre-inspection of U.S.-bound trucks discussed.

A wide range of initiatives aimed at speeding up the passage of goods and people across the California-Mexico border were featured Wednesday at the Institute of the Americas on the University of California San Diego campus.
Among the proposals: increased segmentation of northbound traffic, a pre-inspection program in Mexico for U.S.-bound trucks, and enhanced California drivers licenses that would allow for faster processing of passenger vehicles.
The discussion was led by Institute president Charles Shapiro and two members of the Smart Border Coalition, co-chairman Malin Burnham and director James Clark. The 20-member coalition, started in 2008, is made up of business leaders from Tijuana and San Diego who are pushing for more efficient border crossings.
Burnham and Clark applauded existing programs such as the Sentri and Ready Lane that speed up border crossings for pre-screened passengers and those with approved U.S. travel documents. They expressed concern about the reconstruction of the San Ysidro border, a $577-million project that has been approved but not completely funded by Congress.
Without funding in the 2013 budget, “we’re going to have the biggest mess in the world,” said Clark, who is director of the Mexico Business Center of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
If a proposed cross-border air terminal gets approved and built, ticketed U.S. passengers will have their own pedestrian border crossing leading from Otay Mesa to Tijuana’s A.L. Rodriguez International Airport, where they can board flights for Shanghai, Tokyo and destinations across Mexico.
Clark said the Tijuana airport could also soon be receiving cargo flights from Europe. A German carrier is looking to establish service to and from Tijuana, he said.
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.

12/20/2011 San Ysidro “Ready Lane” will start operating. By: Miguel Sedano.

 

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is set to open a new Ready Lane at the San Ysidro port of entry for persons crossing the border with RFID-embedded travel documents.
Radio Frequency Identification Technology
The new Ready Lane at San Ysidro will operate 24 hours a day, granting access to travelers with valid documentation such as the U.S. Passport Card, SENTRI card, the new Legal Permanent Resident “green card” and the new Border Crossing Card.

RFID-enabled cards together with the new Ready Lane will allow officers to screen travelers faster; the Ready Lane supports the ability to capture an entire group of travelers, in one vehicle, who may have different types of RFID-enabled travel documents.

The planned Ready Lane at San Ysidro follows the successful opening of a Ready Lane at the Otay Mesa port of entry, which also reduced wait times and eased traffic flows.

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.

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.

San Ysidro “Stacked Booths” will speed up border crossing. By: Miguel Sedano

San Ysidro Border 2011

Even though demolition at the San Ysidro Port of Entry will be closing as many as five re-entry lanes at a time in the next few months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Thursday that traffic may actually flow faster through the busiest border crossing in the Western Hemisphere.
Traffic will be “channeled” into fewer lanes, the pace shouldn’t slacken because Customs will be opening additional inspection booths at each gateway to process two vehicles at a time. The so-called “stacked booths” are being used at other border crossings according to officials and have proven efficient.
San Ysidro is undergoing a massive, three-phase, $577-million reconstruction which requires the contractors to tear down existing structures that sit directly over the top of the 24 lanes of wall-to-wall, bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Since June, the Colorado-based Hansel Phelps Construction Co. has been “surgically” dismantling the sprawling administration complex above the traffic. Central to the process is a towering yellow crane that dominates the border landscape.
Starting at the end of August through Thanksgiving, the project enters a particularly tricky phase as remaining shell of the building must come down. To accomplish this, processing booth areas will be closed off as each section is torn down, affecting up to five lanes.
When it comes to figuring out which lanes are functional, Customs and Border Protection will try to remove the guess work for border travelers. A traffic engineer in Tijuana has been contracted to design a strategy for channeling vehicles to the “stacked booth” gateways.
By the end of August, Customs will have operating 10 gateways with “stacked booths” to process two vehicles simultaneously.
When completed, the reconfiguration and expansion of San Ysidro will have 62 northbound inspection booths, expanded processing facilities, a dedicated bus lane and express lanes for the “trusted traveler” programs – SENTRI and Ready Lane vehicles.
This first phase is fully funded and is on track to be completed by the summer of 2014, officials say.
The second phase, which includes the construction of the new administration building and pedestrian route and Phase 3, the realignment and expansion of I-5 south with expanded capacity and a transit center on the Mexican side of the border are as yet unfunded.

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.

San Ysidro “The world’s busiest border crossing” is going to get a bit narrower By: Miguel Sedano

Crossing through the San Ysidro Port of Entry from Mexico is a slog during the best of times for more than 17 million vehicles a year, but the trip promises to become even more challenging, starting Monday June 20th 2011 as a number of lanes are taken out of action for 30 hours at a time into July.

Click two times to Enlarge San Ysidro 2014

Click two times to Enlarge.

The first set of closures — four lanes on the east side of the port of entry — begin Monday at 8 p.m. and will last until 5:30 p.m.Tuesday. Workers will be stringing auxiliary power and data lines to entry booths in preparation for the dismantling of the building over the booths.
The entire border crossing is undergoing a three-phase, $517-million expansion and renovation which is expected to be completed in 2014. When completed, northbound vehicle inspection lanes will increase from 24 to 34. Southbound lanes will increase from six to as many as 12.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has provided a tentative schedule of lane closings. Each set of lanes will close at 10 p.m. and reopen about 30 hours later at 4 a.m. The schedule is subject to construction progress:
•    June 22-24: two lanes from the west side
•    June 24-26: three lanes from the west side
•    June 26-28: three lanes from the west side
•    June 28-30: three lanes from the west side
•    June 30-July 2: three lanes from the west side
•    July 5-7: three lanes near the middle/west
•    July 7-9: three lanes near the middle/west
Border crossers can call (619)-690-8999 for the latest information on which lanes are being closed and length of wait times at San Ysidro. Crossers hoping to use the nearby Otay Mesa Port of Entry can call (619) 671-8999 for the same sort of information.

Click two times to Enlarge

Click two times to Enlarge

 

Mexico is also developing a new southbound crossing known as El Chaparral, at a cost of more than $50 million.
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.