Tag Archives: vacations in mexico

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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An oasis of music and wine in Baja

 

 

An oasis of music and wine in Baja
Steve Lopez
Recent Columns
October 12, 2013, 12:05 p.m.

In the hills high above Ensenada, on the road to Ojos Negros, a dust-covered, mustachioed cowboy named Don Heriberto Aguilar has found the perfect life.

A trip to Aguilar’s rancho was not on my itinerary in Mexico. I was there to research a story, which will be coming soon, on more than three decades of good deeds performed in Baja California by the owners of Benning Violins in Studio City.

But Tito Quiroz, a musician who started Ensenada’s Academia Benning (which he named for his longtime mentors), was determined to give me and Times photographer Michael Robinson Chavez a look at a Mexico few visitors see. If we were interested, he said, he would take us to a party at a winery in the hills.

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Rosarito Beach Hotel Enjoying Second Consecutive Record-Breaking Summer

Rosarito Beach Hotel Enjoying Second Consecutive Record-Breaking Summer
By Ron Raposa

ROSARITO BEACH, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO—Following its busiest summer ever in 2012, the Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort is enjoying an even busier season this year, with overall season-to-season occupancy up 20 percent.

Rosarito Beach Hotel Enjoying Second Consecutive Record-Breaking Summer

Rosarito Beach Hotel Enjoying Second Consecutive Record-Breaking Summer

Year-to-year occupancy was up 25 percent on both major holiday weekends, Memorial Day and July 4th. For the summer overall, occupancy is up 20 percent, including a 20 percent increase in U.S. visitors, who accounted for 88 percent of hotel guests on Memorial Day weekend.

The two strong summer seasons, the busiest time of the year in the seaside resort city, follow several years of low occupancy brought on in part by concerns about violence involving organized crime groups in Mexico.

“Rosarito and Baja are safe and welcoming for our visitors and residents, perhaps more so than ever,” said hotel owner and former Mayor Hugo Torres. “Work done by state tourism and the Baja Image Committee has helped greatly in making more people aware of that.”
“While the number of visitors from Mexico never declined, we’re now seeing our U.S. friends return because of the improved safety perception,” said Mr. Torres, who also is chairmen of the Baja Image Committee, a public and private partnership.
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Mexico Tops List of Favorite Boomer Top 5 Vacation Spots

               Mexico Tops List of Favorite Boomer Top 5 Vacation Spots
By Megan Ray on August 8, 2013

Many older adults use retirement to visit certain countries they may not have had the chance to explore while they were working. While there are no bad choices when it comes to traveling during senior living, a recent survey from WatchBoom revealed the most popular destinations among baby boomers.

Mexico Tops List of Favorite Boomer Top 5 Vacation Spots

Mexico Tops List of Favorite Boomer Top 5 Vacation Spots

Mexico came in as the top spot, as it earned more than 1,100 votes from the surveyed boomers. Its popularity among the older population should not come as much of a surprise, according to The Huffington Post. For starters, it’s teeming with activity and is famous for having beautiful weather. It’s also affordable and easy to get to. A little further south, Costa Rica landed at the No. 4 spot

“Costa Rica doesn’t have the preponderance of all-inclusives, [but] it’s still a fantastic destination because of all the natural beauty,” Nina Meyer of the American Society of Travel Agents, told the news source. “The dollar value is still very good, [and it has] easy access.

Tropical destinations weren’t the only places to make the cut. Canada came in at No. 5, while Spain landed at No. 3, thanks in large part to how easy it is to get around while still speaking English.

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Look for homes for sale in Baja.

 

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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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.

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.

Rosarito Metered Parking “Pay And Display” By: Miguel Sedano.

Parking meters were installed in the downtown Rosarito (BLvd Juarez) and are already in use;  Here how it works:

Pay and Display means you buy a ticket from the machines located in main street and to avoid a fine you must display your ticket on the dashboard.

How do I use a SmartMeter?
To use a SmartMeter, just walk to the nearest pay station and make a payment. SmartMeters are usually in the middle of every block on both sides, so you shouldn’t have to walk far. The instructions are clearly marked on the machine. To print your receipt, press the green button. The pay station will print out a receipt showing the amount paid, the date, and the expiration time.  To avoid a fine you must display your ticket on the dashboard.

When do I have to pay?
In the Downtown District, parking meters operate 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday, unless otherwise posted.

What if I don’t use up my time?
While your receipt is still valid, you can move your car to another SmartMeter space. There are no refunds for unused time.

SmartMeters Accepts Mexican Pesos Coins and 25 Cents US Coins, The Parking meters DON’T GIVE CHANGE. 25 Cents are good for 15 minutes.

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.

New Otay Border Crossing Option “Ready Lane” By: Miguel Sedano

Ready Lane

 

Otay Mesa, Calif. — Beginning Monday, May 2, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will open a new Ready Lane at the Otay Mesa port of entry for travelers who have a travel document enabled with Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, technology.
The Ready Lane is a lane for vehicle traffic that only accepts RFID-enabled cards. The new Ready Lane at the Otay Mesa border crossing will be open Monday through Friday from 4 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. In order to use this dedicated lane, all adult passengers in the vehicle over the age of 16 must present an approved travel card. The U.S. Passport Card, SENTRI card, the new Legal Permanent Resident “green card” and the new Border Crossing Card are all RFID-enabled documents.
For example, the Ready Lane can be used by a group of travelers in one vehicle who may have different kinds of RFID-enabled travel documents, such as if the driver is a member of the SENTRI trusted traveler program, and the passengers all have other kinds of RFID-enabled documents, such as a U.S. Passport Card or a new Border Crossing Card. While only vehicles with all SENTRI members can use the dedicated SENTRI lane, a group with any mixture of RFID-enabled travel cards can use the Ready Lane.
Travelers using the Ready Lane should follow these three simple steps as they approach a U.S. land port of entry with their RFID-enabled travel card:
•    Stop at the beginning of the lane and make sure each passenger has their card out.
•    When it is your turn, drive slowly through the lane and hold all cards up on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
•    Stop at the officer’s booth.

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.