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Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: February Events in Baja

Valentine’s Day and Carnaval (AKA  Carnival, AKAMardi Gras) are big events almost everywhere, not least of all on the Baja California peninsula. The historic Rosarito Beach Hotel is devoting the entire month of February to the former, from romantic amenities and discounted room rates to a masquerade ball with live music and dancing.  As to the latter, two peninsular cities – Ensenada and La Paz – are particularly famed for their Carnaval celebrations. Both will carry on the tradition again this year, with a series of public festivities that reach their crescendo on “Fat Tuesday,” the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite February events in Baja.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

 February Events in BajaSan Jose del CaboArt Walk

When:  Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25

Every Thursday evening between the months of November and June, fine arts galleries in San Jose del Cabo’s historic Distrito del Arte invite guests to sip wine, stroll the downtown neighborhood’s cobblestone streets, and view paintings, sculptures and other pieces from some of Baja’s finest artists.

Cost:  Free admission

 

 February Events in Baja

La PazCarnaval

When:  Feb. 4 – 9

Forget Rio. The world’s best Carnaval celebration takes place in Baja California Sur’s capital city, La Paz. This year’s theme is Las Musas de la Alegria (The Muses of Joy), with five days of pre-Lent festivities – parades, costumes, live music, dancing in the streets – culminating on Fat Tuesday (in French, Mardi Gras), February 9, 2016.

Cost:  Free admission

 

 

 

 

February Events in Baja

Todos SantosOpen Artists Studio Tour

When:  Feb. 6 – 7

This is a once a year opportunity to visit the acclaimed artists of Todos Santos in their studios. Last year’s 2015 Studios Tour featured 34 participating artists, and saw 400 visitors roaming through the coastal pueblo magico, which is located about 45 minutes by car from Cabo San Lucas.

Cost:  200 pesos

 

 

 

 

February Events in Baja

Cabo San Lucas: Circuito Cultural

When:  Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27

The Cultural Circuit takes place every Saturday on the Cabo San Lucas marina boardwalk, with exhibits and activities scheduled throughout the day. Although in large part a showcase for the paintings and sculptures of local artists, the circuit also offers wine and tequila tastings, cultural workshops, live music and folkloric dancing.

Cost:  Free admission

 

 

 

 

February Events in Baja

Rosarito: Valentine’s Day Masquerade Ball at Rosarito Beach Hotel

When:  Feb. 13

Enjoy romance across the border at the historic Rosarito Beach Hotel, which will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a masquerade ball featuring a dinner buffet and live music and dancing. Since its opening in 1925, the landmark lodging has hosted many of the world’s biggest celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth.

Cost:  $39

 February Events in Baja

San Felipe30th SCORE Bud Light San Felipe 250

When:  Feb. 25 – 28

SCORE International’s five race World Desert Champion Series kicks off in 2016 with the San Felipe 250 on Feb. 25 – 28. The rugged off-road loop race starts and finishes in San Felipe, and is open to cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs and UTVs. Racers must have a SCORE membership to register.

Cost:  $1495 – 2390

 

 

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: January Events in Bajas

2016 begins with a bang in Baja California Sur, with some of the state’s signature cultural and outdoor competitions scheduled to take place this month: most notably, the Todos Santos Music Festival and The Lord of the Wind Showdown. The former was founded by former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, and brings some of the finest bands on the contemporary music scene to perform in Baja’s first pueblo magico. The latter is a kiteboarding competition – now the North American championship – held annually in the gorgeous East Cape of community of Los Barriles. Each winter when strong El Norte winds blow down the Sea of Cortez, Los Barriles becomes heaven on earth for windsports enthusiasts.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

 January Events in Baja

Cabo San Lucas:  Cultural Circuit 

When:  Jan. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

The Cultural Circuit takes place every Saturday on the Cabo San Lucas marina boardwalk, with exhibits and activities scheduled throughout the day. Although in large part a showcase for the paintings and sculptures of local artists, the circuit also offers wine and tequila tastings, cultural workshops, live music and folkloric dancing, and of course fine food at some of the city’s signature dining spots.

Cost:  Free admission

 

 

 

January Events in Baja

San Jose del Cabo:  Art Walk

When:  Jan. 7, 14, 21, 28R

Every Thursday evening between the months of November and June, fine arts galleries in San Jose del Cabo’s historic Distrito del Arte invite guests to sip wine, stroll the downtown neighborhood’s cobblestone streets, and view paintings, sculptures and other pieces from some of Baja’s finest artists.

Cost:  Free admission

 

 January Events in Baja

East Cape6th Annual Lord of the Wind Showdown

When:  Jan. 13 – 17

The charming East Cape town of Los Barriles is home to one of the world’s most famous windsports competitions – The Lord of the Wind Showdown – which this year becomes the North American Kitefoil Championship. Kiteboarders compete in categories like slalom and big air, with the overall winner walking away with thousands of dollars in prize money. There are also plenty of affiliated fiestas, like the traditional tamales cook-off.

Cost:  Free for spectators; entry fees range from $25 – 150

 

 

 

January Events in Baja

Todos Santos5th Annual Todos Santos Music Festival

When:  Jan. 14 – 16, 20 – 23

This yearly collaboration between former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, Hotel California, and the Palapa Society of Todos Santos features a series of concerts in the coastalpueblo magico over the course of two weekends. Performers at the 5th annual event will include Buck (performing with Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney as Filthy Friends), Death Cab for Cutie, Autumn Defense (with Wilco members Pat Sansone and John Stirratt), The Jayhawks, Old 97’s, and Drive-By Truckers.

Cost:  Free – $50

 

 

 

January Events in Baja

Todos Santos3rd Annual Todos Santos Writers Workshop

When:  Jan. 24 – 30

The 3rd edition of the peninsula’s premier writers workshop features five days of intensive sessions at historic Casa Dracula, with daily workshops led by Jeanne McCulloch, Gordon Chaplin, Rex Weiner and Jonathan Penner, and seminar speakers such as Christopher Merrill (The Forgotten Language – Writing and Nature),  and Bruce Berger (Collecting the World – An Environmental Writer’s Life).

Cost:  $750

 

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

Baja Year in Review – 2015

Baja Year in Review - 2015

In this, the first installment of what we hope will become a regular year-end feature, we put a bow on the year in Baja with a review of our favorite stories, headlines and videos in 2015.

We hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane, and wish you and yours the very best during this special time of year.

¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!

Headlines to Remember

Sometimes the headlines tell you pretty much all you need to know. Here are five that made us smile in 2015.

Baja Year in Review - 2015

Valle de Guadalupe Restaurant Makes the World’s Best Breakfast

Locals and SoCal daytrippers weren’t surprised, but just about everyone else was when culinary website FoodieHub made it official: Valle de Guadalupe restaurant La Cocina de Doña Esthela serves the world’s best breakfast. The announcement was made May 31, 2015 at FoodieHub’s third annual awards ceremony, and was the latest sign that Baja California cuisine is becoming increasingly respected around the globe.

Baja California Tourism Hits Highest Level in Eight Years

The last weekend in July saw 260,000 people visit Baja California, spending more than $66 million in the state’s hotels, restaurants, and other businesses.

“’Baja California is living its best tourism moment in eight years,” said tourist minister Oscar Jess Escobedo Carignan at the time, attributing the increased numbers to coordinated efforts between state government and the private sector.

Baja Year in Review - 2015

Photo courtesy of Carolina Bastida Davis.

Seven New Mexican Locations – Two in Baja – Added to List of Protected Areas

The Sierra la Giganta and Sierra de Guadalupe mountain ranges in Baja California Sur were among seven newly protected natural areas in Mexico in 2015, bringing the total number of protected areas in the country to 184.

Two of World’s Top 100 Golf Courses Located in Los Cabos

GOLF Magazine selected Los Cabos layouts Diamante (Dunes) and Cabo del Sol (Ocean) for inclusion in its prestigious “Top 100 Courses in the World” list, as featured in the publication’s October 2015 issue.

“To flip through our 17th biennial rankings is to travel the globe,” wrote Top 100 chairman Joe Passov, noting that the “rankings are determined by a 100-strong international panel whose members include major championship winners, architects, journalists and a cadre of connoisseurs who have played all of the world’s top 100 courses.”

Chosen from a ballot of nearly 500 golf courses worldwide, Diamante Dune shot up 14 spots in the 2015 rankings. It now stands at No. 38. Cabo del Sol’s Ocean Course, a Jack Nicklaus design with an ebb-and-flow layout that delivers players to the sea on both nines, clings to the no. 100 spot.

Baja Year in Review - 2015

Mexican naval ship Uribe now rests beneath the surface…as the centerpiece of the new Rosarito Underwater Park.

Sunken Naval Ship Serves as Centerpiece of Rosarito Underwater Park

On November 21, 2015, a few carefully calibrated charges sent the decommissioned Mexican Navy patrol boat Uribe to her final resting place: in 90’ of water in Bahía El Descanso, two miles off the coast of the famed lobster village of Puerto Nuevo.

The sinking was the culmination of years of hard work – bringing the 220’ ship over from Manzanillo, cleaning and preparing her, and determining her ideal underwater location were all expensive and time consuming propositions – but also the beginning of a far more ambitious project, which is the formation of the 100-acre Rosarito Underwater Park (or Parque Submarino Rosarito).

In addition to a “ship graveyard” and artificial reef formed by the Uribe and three other vessels, the underwater park will also feature shallower sections showcasing, respectively, pyramids and statues that evoke Mexico’s Pre-Hispanic past, and a Titanic tribute with chimneys, propellers and other pieces of wreckage. There will also be an onshore museum.

Our Favorite Stories

Many thanks to our contributors around the Baja California peninsula for another great year of stories. Here are three of our favorites, and judging from the response we got on social media, three of yours as well.

Baja Year in Review - 2015

A Gringo in Mexico’s 10 Travel Warnings for Baja California

Our most popular and commented upon story this year was A Gringo in Mexico blogger and Baja.com contributor Scott Koenig’s list of warnings for potential Baja visitors, which cleverly subverted the type of fearmongering  alarums against Mexican travel so common in the U.S. media.

Here’s a sneek peak… Click on the link below the excerpt to read the full story.

I’m often asked by stateside friends about our family’s experiences traveling in and around Baja California. We drive just south of the border from San Diego 2-3 times a month for weekend stays on the beaches of Rosarito Beach and Ensenada, great food and wine in the Valle de Guadalupe, art and culture in Tijuana and to check out other Baja California destinations and bring the story back to you, our readers. We enjoy sharing tales of our adventures and of course always encourage our amigos and amigas to visit for themselves or join us on a tour.

However, travel is never without its detours and potentially life-changing experiences. To make sure you get the most out of your trip, here are El Gringo’s 10 travel warnings to keep in mind when visiting Baja California…

  1. You will be exposed to new and interesting cultures.

From the indigenous Kumiai to migrant families from all over Mexico, visiting Baja California may expose you to new and interesting people, food and cultures.

  1. You may develop a decreased tolerance for boring wines.

The Valle de Guadalupe supplies 90% of the vino consumed in Mexico. It’s also home to a burgeoning artisanal wine scene that is producing some imaginative and delicious blends.

  1.  Street food.

El Gringo knows that street food in Baja California can be scary – scary good! From adobada (marinated pork) tacos and carne asada tortas in Tijuana to ceviche tostadas in Ensenada, there are many delicious and inexpensive options.

Read more

Baja Year in Review - 2015

10 Things to Do in Tijuana (That Don’t Involve Drinking)

San Diegan Katherine Belarmino knows her drinks. In addition to writing about restaurants and bars in her blog Travel the World, which helps vacationers get the most out of their travel experiences, she also samples beer, wine and cocktails around the globe for Passports & Cocktails. In this profile of Tijuana for Baja.com, however, she concentrates on the cultural aspects of a city too long pigeonholed as a cross-border getaway destination for decadent behavior.

Historically Tijuana has been a drinking mecca.  Its proximity to Southern California cities like San Diego and Los Angeles and its legal drinking age of 18 meant Tijuana was a popular place for the under 21 crowd to come for drinking and clubbing.  Tourism from the United States to Tijuana dried up for years when stories of crime and drug wars filled the news.  Now Tijuana is a safe place to visit again, and the implementation of a passport requirement means the demographic of the traveler looking for a day trip or weekend trip to Tijuana has shifted.  Tijuana’s streets are no longer overwhelmed with rowdy underage drinkers.  Now they are being strolled by couples and families looking for things to do that celebrate Tijuana’s beauty and culture.

The Tijuana Cultural Center is the most important center for culture in northwest Mexico.  Founded in 1982, the Tijuana Cultural Center portrays the culture of Mexico close to the border.  The center has art galleries, a botanical garden, an aquarium, an IMAX theater, a performance hall, and an outdoor area that is a great place for events, festivals, and outdoor exhibits.  There is constantly something going on at the Tijuana Cultural Center.  The center hosts concerts, theatrical productions, movies, documentaries, and many other events, some of which are free to the public and others which require paid tickets.

During our visit, the Tijuana Cultural Center was featuring a beautiful exhibit of the works of Massimo Listri, a photographer of interior spaces like libraries, churches, and palaces, some of which you may recognize from your own travels.  The Museum of the Californias is a permanent exhibit covering different times in the history of the Baja peninsula including European explorers, missions and missionaries, the Mexican Revolution, and more recent history.  Did you know Tijuana had an airplane factory in the 1920s?  We also visited an exhibit featuring the work of local Baja artists.

Read more

Baja Year in Review - 2015

5 Beautiful Restaurant Views in Baja California Sur

Katherine Belarmino wasn’t our only contributor having fun with numbers this year. Los Cabos correspondent Chris Sands followed up his popular pieces on The 5 Best Songs About Cabo San Lucas and 5 Classic Books About the Baja California Peninsula with this similarly enumerated look at Baja California Sur’s most spectacular restaurant views.

Although the most famous restaurant vantages in Baja California Sur are those that provide majestic views of the granite rock formations at Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, winning combinations of fine food and gorgeous views can be found throughout the peninsula’s southernmost state.

Here are five of our favorites:

Sunset da Mona Lisa, Tourist Corridor, Los Cabos

This is the gold standard. Often ranked as one of the most romantic restaurants in the world, Sunset da Mona Lisa offers Italian specialties and fresh local seafood dishes (from their own fishing boats, no less), a newly minted Taittinger Terrace Champagne and oyster bar, and of course sublime views of the Sea of Cortez, Cabo San Lucas Bay, and Land’s End. Proposals are so common here that wedding coordinators are on standby, ever ready to help plan and stage the ultimate destination wedding. Any meal at Mona Lisa is memorable, but for the maximum experience, synchronize your dinner reservation with the sunset.

Palapa Azul, Playa El Tecolote, La Paz

The beaches of La Paz – the capital city of Baja Sur since it became a state in 1974 – are incredibly beautiful, and also serve as sites for some of the area’s best barefoot dining. Playa El Tecolote is triply blessed, since it’s home to soft sand, the eclectic offerings of Palapa Azul, and incredible views centered around uninhabited offshore island Espiritu Santo. The restaurant is easy to spot, since it’s the only one around housed in a hollowed out boat. Grab a table beachside, order up a bucket of ice cold beer, and sample local specialties like chocolate clams and marlin en escabeche while enjoying the spectacular surroundings.

Read more

Videos We Loved

We didn’t make any of these videos, but we’re happy to share them, since they show off the spectacular natural beauty of our favorite place on earth, as well as the special character of its inhabitants.

Baja Year in Review - 2015

A Taste of Baja

Baja Taste, a one-hour documentary about the vibrant culinary scene in the Baja California peninsula’s northern state, enjoyed its world premiere in the southern one, at the 4th annual Los Cabos International Film Festival. In fact, it was the festival’s concluding film, enjoying an enthusiastic reception at Plaza Mijares in San Jose del Cabo.

The documentary, which was directed by Roberto Najera and produced by Adriana Santos, spotlights many of the chefs who have spearheaded the state’s culinary renaissance, and helped to promote destination food and wine tourism in Tijuana, Ensenada, Rosarito and the Valle de Guadalupe: chefs such as Miguel Angel Guerrero, creator of the influential Baja Med movement; Javier Plascencia, scion of Tijuana’s most famous family of restaurateurs; Diego Hernandez, the man behind wine country standout Corazon de Tierra; and Oso Campos, whose mobile Tacos Kokopelli is at the forefront of Tijuana’s street food scene.

We can’t share the entire film, but you can watch the trailer here.

The Magical World of Espiritu Santo

The Uribe may well be the centerpiece of the most ambitious artificial reef ever created off the Baja California peninsula, but it will not be the first. That honor belongs to the Fang Ming, which along with another vessel confiscated for transporting illegal Chinese immigrants, was sunk near Isla Espiritu Santo – just north of La Paz – in November 1999. The Fang Ming lies approximately 70’ beneath the Sea of Cortez, and is now a thriving habitat for fish, mollusks, sea turtles, and other marine life.

Isla Espiritu Santo itself is breathtakingly beautiful, and a mecca for kayakers and others interested in exploring one of the most magical places on earth. This video captures a bit of that magic.

 

Rush Hour – BJ Baldwin’s Epic Stunt Drive Through Ensenada

BJ Baldwin knows a little bit about driving the peninsula. But the multi-time SCORE Baja 1000 and overall series champion has rarely if ever shown off his skills to greater advantage than in this video sponsored by Monster Energy, in which he takes viewers on an exhilarating tour through Ensenada.

 

Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort Presents The Evolution of the Bikini with Amanda Cerny

The hottest new hotel in Cabo San Lucas is Breathless, a hip, adults-only all-inclusive that boasts a prime location at the juncture of the Land’s End city’s marina and its most popular beach, Playa El Medano.  In this special video for the romance focused resort chain, Vine star Amanda Cerny takes a fun look at the evolution of the ladies swimwear.

 

Thanks again for all your support this year. Happy Holidays!

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

Mariachi Concertgoers Can Get Amazing Hotel Deals, Plus Help The Rosarito Boys and Girls Club

One deluxe lodging package costs less than concert tickets alone

ROSARITO BEACH, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO—Those who attend the  December 12th Mariachi Vargas performance at the Baja California Center will see one of the great concerts in the region’s history, and can also get amazing hotel deals and help the city’s Boys and Girls Club.

Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. is when world famous Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán will perform for the first time with a binational full symphony orchestra in a gala concert at the state-of-the-art Baja California Center, just off the scenic road in northern Rosarito.

Rosarito Boys and Girls Club

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán will perform in Rosarito with a full binational symphony on Dec. 12, 2015.

It will be an amazing performance, which comes with a deluxe dinner option that includes a meet-and-greet with one of the world’s greatest mariachi bands.

Thanks to Marsh Production, the event promoter, and the iconic Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort, fine lodging and a generous $100 per ticket donation to the Boys and Girls Club can be part of the package, along with the glorious and glamorous evening of outstanding music.

Tickets for the event purchased directly through the promoter are $350 (that includes dinner and the meet-and-greet), $100 and $60.

But for every ticket bought with lodging packages at the Rosarito Beach Hotel, individually at the resort shopping center or online at www.BAJACONCERT,com, $100 will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club — and that includes for the $60 tickets.

For the donation to be made, people must mention the word “CLUB” or type it in the promo code “CLUB” if purchasing at the Baja Concert website.

“This is an amazing effort to help the Rosarito Boys and Girls Club with much needed funding,” said organization president Rosy Torres “It will be a great help in providing after school programs for the region’s deserving youth.”

The Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort will offer special lodging and concert packages ranging from $169 to $699 for the performance, which begins at 8 p.m. and will be preceded by VIP events.

The resort’s $169 package includes a one-night stay in an oceanfront room plus two general admission concert tickets, which is only $49 more than purchasing tickets alone.

The $269 package includes lodging in a deluxe one-bedroom condo in the resort’s Pacifico Tower, plus two gold section tickets, which means the deluxe condo option is just $69 more than purchasing tickets alone.

A $699 Gala VIP package includes the deluxe condo stay plus, starting at 5 p.m., a meet and greet with Mariachi Vargas at the Baja California Center followed by a pre-gala four-course gourmet dinner accompanied by fine wines. That is actually $1 less than purchasing the tickets alone.

Rosarito Boys and Girls Club

Concertgoers staying at the historic Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort will also help support the Rosarito Boys and Girls Club.

Those who purchase the VIP package also will receive a commemorative program containing the history of mariachi and Mariachi Vargas’ position within that history, autographed pictures of the group’s members, and Spanish/English lyrics for all of the evening’s concert selections.

These advance concert packages are available by phone 1-866-ROSARITO or in person at the resort. Be sure to mention the word “CLUB” to ensure the donation to the Rosarito Boys and Girls Club

More information on Baja’s largest and best known beachfront resort, plus other specials and events offered there are available at www.rosaritobeachhotel.com.

For more information on the concert, please call (818) 966-3966 or visit www.thebigconcert.com, www.bajaconcerts.com or www.elgranconciertomariachi.com.

“There are certain moments in musical history when we wish we could say ‘I was there’,” stated Ed Marsh, executive producer of the show.

“This musical event will be historical due to its uniqueness, and groundbreaking production values. Who to best perform this epic event if not the greatest Mariachi ensemble of all time: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan!”

“What Edward Marsh is doing is extraordinary, not just the concert itself, but all the fabulous help to our Rosarito underprivileged kids,” said Ms. Torres.

“This is a truly exceptional event at Baja’s state-of-the- art convention center,” said resort owner and former Rosarito Mayor Hugo Torres. “It will be a wonderful evening both for long time fans of great mariachi and those new to the genre. We are pleased to be associated with it.”

The Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort was founded in 1925. The historic property is totally self-contained, yet only a short stroll from the downtown tourist district and a short drive from major Baja attractions like the Puerto Nuevo Lobster Village, Baja Studios (where Titanic was filmed) and the wine country of Valle de Guadalupe.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: December Events in Baja

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: December Events in Baja

December brings the holiday season in Baja, with a wealth of traditional celebrations interspersed with secular events like fundraisers, concerts and culinary festivals.

Rosarito boasts what may be Baja’s musical event of the year, an epic concert pairing the world’s best known mariachi group, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, with a binational symphony orchestra. Los Cabos s hosts its annual food and wine fete, Sabor a Cabo, with offerings from over 50 local restaurants. And two of the peninsula’s landmark lodgings will ring in 2016 with spectacular New Year’s Eve galas.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip. 

 

December Events in Baja

San Jose del CaboSabor a Cabo

When:  Nov. 29 – Dec. 5

Los Cabos’ largest culinary festival returns Nov. 29 – Dec. 5, with a week of food and wine related parties– a country food and wine tasting, a craft beer fest, and a wine and art walk – leading up to the main event: an enormous food and wine fiesta featuring 52 participating restaurants at Club Campestre golf course in San Jose del Cabo. In addition to featuring delicious food from celebrated local and international chefs, the final fête will also showcase musical performances, most notably form 2015 Latin Grammy Winner Lila Downs.

Cost:  $130 – 140

 

December Events in Baja

Cabo San Lucas:  Dressed to the K-9s

When:  Dec. 10

The Los Cabos Humane Society’s Dressed to the K-9s Gala Christmas Party is an annual holiday fundraiser – with a silent auction and raffle – to benefit animals and community services in Los Cabos. This year’s event, to be held in the ballroom and courtyard of the elegant Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf and Spa Resort, will feature “A Christmas in Venice” theme, complete with 18th century style masks and costumes. Branden James, a finalist on America’s Got Talent, will perform everything from Puccini to Andrea Bocelli, and an Italianate dinner buffet will be provided courtesy of Chef Manuel De Luca of De Cortez Grill.

Cost:  $135 – 275

 

 

December Events in Baja

RosaritoEl Gran Concierto de Gala del Mariachi

When:  Dec. 12

The world’s most famous mariachi group, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, performs with a binational symphony from the U.S. and Mexico in this much anticipated concert at the Baja California Center, a newly built, state-of-the-art facility overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Playas de Rosario.

Cost:  $60 – 350

 

 

 

 

December Events in Baja

RosaritoNew Year’s Eve Celebration at the Rosarito Beach Hotel

When:  Dec. 31

Each year on Dec. 31, the legendary Rosarito Beach Hotel invites revelers from both sides of the border to ring in the New Year with dinner, drinks and dancing, as well as a spectacular international show in the hotel’s Salon Mexicano ballroom.

Cost:  $49 – 99

 

 

 

 

December Events in Baja

Cabo San LucasNew Year’s Eve White Party at Casa Dorada

When:  Dec. 31

Casa Dorada throws the best New Year’s Eve parties in Los Cabos, with past celebrations ranging from barefoot formals to a carnivalesque bacchanal. This year there’s a white party theme, with color coordinated guests invited to enjoy to an open bar and deluxe buffet from Chef Francisco Aguirre at the resort’s 12 Tribes restaurant, as well as live music from bands and resident DJs, and of course a spectacular fireworks show over Medano Beach at midnight.

Cost:  $85 – 140

 

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about localrestaurants,  hotels  and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

Baja Taste: New Documentary Looks at Baja California’s Culinary Scene

Baja Taste, a one-hour documentary about the vibrant culinary scene in the Baja California peninsula’s northern state, enjoyed its world premiere in the southern one, at the 4th annual Los Cabos International Film Festival. In fact, it was the festival’s concluding film, enjoying an enthusiastic reception at an outdoor screening last Sunday night at Plaza Mijares in San Jose del Cabo.

Baja Taste

The documentary, which was directed by Roberto Najera and produced by Adriana Santos, spotlights many of the chefs who have spearheaded the state’s culinary renaissance, and helped to promote destination food and wine tourism in Tijuana, Ensenada, Rosarito and the Valle de Guadalupe: chefs such as Miguel Angel Guerrero, creator of the influential Baja Med movement; Javier Plascencia, scion of Tijuana’s most famous family of restaurateurs; Diego Hernandez, the man behind wine country standout Corazon de Tierra; and Oso Campos, whose mobile Tacos Kokopelli is at the forefront of Tijuana’s street food scene. .

The trailer for Baja Taste can be seen here.

For information about the film, click here.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about localrestaurants,  hotels  and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

Baja Campers Corner – Season 7 Kicks Off for Baja Amigos RV Caravan Tour

Baja Campers Corner – Season 7 Kicks Off for Baja Amigos RV Caravan Tour

Baja Campers Corner
Small group but big on adventure!

November 10, 2015 –Starting our 7th season and leading our 25th Baja tour how many new experiences could we have?  Well, Day 1 answered those questions. Our first stop is as always the Mexican Immigration Office to process the Tourist Cards. It’s usually a three step process: (1) complete the application, (2) pay at the bank, (3) return to the immigration officer to have the permit registered and stamped. Not today, this was 1 -top shopping at Mexican Immigration Office. Apparently the bank was low on funds, so the entire process was completed in the office and the officers were very friendly with lots of good humor.

Baja Campers Corner

Allan shows off his new hat.

Unfortunately the US Customs on return were not so friendly.  I knew we had some attitude with this particular officer immediately.  I responded to the standard question “Are you bringing anything back into the US” with nothing and the customs officer sternly stated “You are bringing back that Mexican Tourist Visa aren’t you?”  Ya, you got me there for sure.  Then our 2 Scots, Allan & Debbie were pulled out of line by the same Officer and sent to an interrogation room because of alleged Visa issues.   45 minutes later on closer examination and a proper scan of their Passports (something that was not done at the outset) and there was nothing out of order at all. Apparently the customs official was a good talker, but not a good listener. Homeland Security putting tax payers money to work.

Day 1 what could happen?  Well getting thru Tecate was not as simple as usual because of all of the construction, so we had some scouting to do in transit.  Once across the border we waited on the road, engine idling, 4 ways on, not wanting to lose #2 right off the bat. As #3 was about to clear the border they informed us they had just lent a $100 US to a needy injured Boater heading to Baja, short of funds and bleeding profusely (banged head at border entry station). Ok, we then made a right turn, and told them to stop at our location and wait for #4, we proceeded and found a spot to stop.  #4 cleared and we all started our move to pick up Hwy 3. Then we had another call from #3, while waiting for #4 they were approached by a Municipal Policemen who gratuitously extorted $20 US for Jim & Deb and now Allan & Debbie (who pulled in behind them) for parking in a no parking zone. Yes they were technically guilty, but really, they can see these tourists have been in Mexico less than 2 minutes and they can’t just push them along?  I have stopped many times in zones that say no parking, Mulege, Loreto, La Paz and San Jose, and the local Police have just told me to move.  No ticket, no fine, no threat to go to the Police Station.  Tecate Cops have such a unique “Welcome to Mexico”.

Baja Campers Corner.

Papas & Beer is always good.

The good news the rest of Day 1 went smoothly, the new Hwy 3 construction project was complete, eliminating a very windy narrow 10 km section of road.  We did have an impatient Albertan with a travel trailer so eager to head south he passed us and a semi on 3 different corners.  Hope he makes it in one piece.  We arrived at Costco and found parking, always busy on a Sunday.  We saw the same $100 Baja Boater (Colorado plates) heading south as we sat at the light at Costco turning south on Hwy 1. Guess he did not see us?

Did you know?After we got settled at the Villarino Campground, Adolfo and Belem are great hosts, then headed off to La Bufadora, also busy on a Sunday, most of the shops were open and the blow hole blowing well.  Definitely a fun event and experience for the gang. The next at the crack of 10:30 AM we set off for Ensenada, the Art Gallery, Former Casino, Fish Market and Historic Downtown.  No cruise ships in port and not a weekend so the gang had this pretty much all to themselves.  Fun was had, so was lunch and to top things off some refreshments and also saw some daredevil bicycle riding on Hwy 1 .  Tomorrow the adventure continues as we are off to Fidel’s and the beach once more.

Baja Campers Corner

This is art in Ensenada.

Situated adjacent to the peaceful southern shore of Ensenada’s Bahia de Todos Santos, the narrow, mostly barren finger of land known as Punta Banda assertively juts out into the Pacific Ocean, helping to form one of northern Baja’s most picturesque bays. At the very tip, the churning waters near the La Bufadora blowhole surge up through the rugged, guano covered outcroppings and, after reaching their apex, dissipate into a cool mist of salty rain.

But, because of its rural locale during times when most transportation was literally provided by horsepower, it only had a permanent population of fewer than 100 residents by the time World War I had ended. The land at the Punta Banda’s outermost point is haphazardly strewn with rocky grottos and coves that were created by volcanic upheavals eons ago; and the clear water that invades their shallows often turns a mesmerizing turquoise color under the bright Baja sun.In spite of a few scattered housing developments the peninsula remains predominantly covered by wild chaparral, cactus and sage. In 1885, Punta Banda was established as the southernmost sector of what was originally referred to as Colonia Carlos Pacheco, a region that was also comprised of San Carlos and Ensenada. It was distinguished by the presence of a natural hot spring that surfaced near the sandy shore, and a few years after that a hotel and spa was built as an attraction to bring in visitors.

Baja Campers Corner

La Bufadora was busy.

During the middle of the 19th century, it has been said that bands of pirates would hide in the secluded coves along the southern shores of the Punta Banda peninsula, and then sail out unexpectedly to take over freighters that were bringing gold and other valuables down the California coast toward their eventual ports of call on the east coast.

In a recent attempt to domesticate yet another portion of this wild land, Tiger Woods proposed the building of a massive golf course and residential complex that would sprawl over most of the primitive acreage north of La Bufadora cove.In the early 1930s, Charles Nordhoff, author of the book, Mutiny on the Bounty, owned a rancho near Punta Banda and hosted many Hollywood celebrities who enjoyed coming down to Baja for hunting and fishing, as well as the scenic beauty of the area. One of them was Clark Gable, who just a few years later won an Oscar for his performance as Fletcher Christian in the popular movie version of the story.

Baja Campers Corner

Looks like you could party here.

But whatever the reason, it is nice to know that a pastoral playground like this is less than a one hour drive south of Ensenada’s downtown business district.But, despite the fact that there were significant concerns and protests raised by environmental entities, it was declining economic conditions north of the border that ultimately spelled doom for the proposed luxury development. Today, Punta Banda draws increasing throngs of new visitors who enjoy basking in the sun, lying in the sand, catching a few fish or getting a gander at the world’s second largest blowhole.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about localrestaurants,  hotels  and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: November Events in Baja

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: November Events in Baja

November sees the return of a number of signature events around the Baja California peninsula, from the legendarily rugged, off-road SCORE Baja 1000 – which starts and finishes in Ensenada – to food and cultural festivals in Tijuana, San Felipe, Todos Santos, San Jose del Cabos and Cabo San Lucas.

San Felipe hosts its annual celebration of shrimp, while boutique resort Rancho Pescadero – located just south of Todos Santos – kicks off another season of guest chef weekends by welcoming Josh Silvers and Renee Erickson, two of the most acclaimed chefs from the West Coast of the U.S.

Los Cabos, meanwhile, adds a bit of red carpet glamor with its fourth annual film festival.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

 

November Events in Baja

San Jose del Cabo:  Art Walk

When:  Nov. 5, 12, 19, 26

Every Thursday evening between the months of November and June, fine arts galleries in San Jose del Cabo’s historic Distrito del Arte invite guests to sip wine, stroll the downtown neighborhood’s cobblestone streets, and view paintings, sculptures and other pieces from some of Baja’s finest artists. The Art Walk takes place from 5 – 9 p.m., and participating galleries often showcase special features such as artists in attendance or the premier of new artworks.

Cost:  Free admission

 

November Events in Baja

San Felipe:  San Felipe Shrimp Festival [Read more…]

Fairs, Festivals and Fiestas: October Events in Baja

October kicks off high tourist season for most of the peninsula, and as such is always one of the busiest months for big events. That’s certainly true in Cabo San Lucas, which welcomes back several signature to-dos after last year’s monster storm, Hurricane Odile, caused numerous venue changes and cancellations.

Sammy Hagar was forced to move his annual birthday bash to Las Vegas in 2014, but returns to the original Cabo Wabo Cantina with an all-star cast of musicians on hand for four sold-out dinner shows (some tickets are still available on a first come, first serve basis). And the Cabo Comedy Festival hopes to build on the momentum generated by their inaugural effort in 2013, bringing some of the biggest names in comedy to the Land’s End city for stand-up performances in two languages.

Two other Los Cabos events have shifted their place on the annual calendar, moving from Spring to Autumn. The Los Cabos Green Fest features outdoor activities on beautiful Chileno Beach, as well as a plethora of contemporary musical talent powered by volunteer manned (or “woman-ed”) pedal bikes. The IRONMAN Triathlon, meanwhile, will once again test the mettle of local fitness fanatics. Although for those who can’t handle 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running, a new 70.3, or half-triathlon has been added.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

October Events in Baja

 

Rosarito Beach:  International Mariachi and Folklorico Festival

When:  Sep. 30 – Oct. 3

This popular traditional music and dance festival returns to the Rosarito Beach Hotel, with workshops for students, social mixers, an international competition, and feature performances from some of the world’s best mariachi bands.

Cost:  $10 – 100

 

 

CCF

 

Cabo San LucasCabo Comedy Festival

When:  Sep. 30 – Oct. 4

Where the Land Ends and the Fun Begins” is the slogan of the Cabo Comedy Festival, a five-day event that will feature some of the most talented comedians in the entertainment industry. Shows will be performed in English and Spanish, and will take place at several venues around Cabo San Lucas, including nightclubs Desperadoes and Baja Junkie.

Cost:  $40 – 100

 

 

 

October Events in Baja

Cabo San Lucas2nd Annual Los Cabos Green Fest

When:  Oct. 9 – Oct. 11

Workshops and conferences on environmental awareness and sustainability issues will be interspersed with outdoor activities, from yoga and eco-trail runs to beach soccer and stand-up paddle boarding. Musical performers include Moenia, DJ Capri, Savoir Adore, Red Wolf, Alex Midi, Marv Ellis, and Sol Seed.

Cost:  Free admission

October Events in Baja

Cabo San LucasSammy Hagar’s Birthday Bashes at Cabo Wabo Cantina

When:  Oct. 7, 9, 11, and 13

Every year, loyal “Redheads” from around the world flock to Cabo San Lucas for Sammy Hagar’s birthday concerts at Cabo Wabo Cantina. This year, an all-star cast of visiting musicians – including Michal Anthony, Jason Bonham, and Vic Johnson – will join the former Van Halen and Montrose frontman onstage.

Cost:  $90

 

October Events in Baja

 

Cabo San LucasLos Cabos Billfish Tournament

When:  Oct. 13 – 17

The Los Cabos Billfish Tournament returns, with visiting anglers looking to reel in the biggest blue, black, and striped marlin, or tuna, dorado, and wahoo. The gala kickoff party and concluding awards banquet will be held at Playa Grande, with boats eligible to leave from either the Cabo San Lucas Marina or Puerto Los Cabos.

Cost:  $5,000 per team

 

 

 

October Events in Baja

 

TijuanaXV Tijuana Tequila Expo

When:  Oct. 14 – 18

Now an annual tradition in Tijuana, this five day expo celebrates the culture of tequila, with live music and dancing, and of course frequent tastings and samplers featuring Mexico’s national beverage.

Cost:  $6

 

 

 

October Events in Baja

Cabo San LucasBisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore Charity Fishing Tournament

When:  Oct. 16 – 18

Cash prizes are awarded to the teams with the three biggest qualifying fish in the game and billfish categories at the laid-back Los Cabos Offshore – AKA Little Bisbee’s – with large amounts of money also donated to worthy local causes.

Cost:  $1,500 per team

 

 

October Events in Baja

Cabo San LucasBisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament

When:  Oct. 20 – 24

Alternately known as “Big Bisbee’s” or “The World’s Richest Fishing Tournament”, million dollar payouts are the norm at this marlin and gamefish competition, held annually in Cabo San Lucas since 1981.

Cost:  $5,000 per team

 

 

October Events in Baja

San Jose del CaboIRONMAN Los Cabos Triathlon and Half-Triathlon

When:  Oct. 25

After two years of events in March, IRONMAN Los Cabos is moving to autumn, and has also added a new 70.3 half-triathlon. The main event still requires 2.4 miles of swimming off Playa Palmilla,a 112 mile bike ride back and forth along the coastal corridor, followed by a full marathon length 26.2  mile run that concludes in front of City Hall in San Jose del Cabo.

Cost:  $675

 

 

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about localrestaurants,  hotels  and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

Reading Baja: 5 Classic Books about the Baja California Peninsula

Books about the Baja California peninsula (and ones that utilize it as a setting) have been appearing regularly for hundreds of years, from landmarks like Francisco Clavijero’s Historia de la Antigua o Baja California to 20th century standards such as The Pearl and Sea of Cortez.

Literary offerings from Steinbeck and others of similar prestige have always been easy to find, but for too long acquiring the important regional works of lesser known authors was a daunting task, requiring wit, wisdom and the patience to scan the shelves of innumerable bookstores.

Luckily, the internet shopping age has brought many of the classics of Baja California literature back to light, and made them readily accessible to a new generation of readers. Here are five favorites – some famous, some relatively obscure – all available through Amazon and other online booksellers.

books about the Baja California peninsulaHistoria de Baja California by Pablo L. Martinez

“The origin of the word California, or rather when and how it was applied as a name to the peninsula, appears to be obscure, speaking from a purely historical point of view. It is not known, of course, whether Fortún Jiménez, the discoverer, or some other person among those who went with him, gave it a name. On the other hand, we have seen that when Cortez went there he called it Santa Cruz and nothing else.”

There is a reason Pablo L. Martinez is honored at the Jardín de los Cabeños Ilustres in San José del Cabo (he was born in nearby Santa Anita), and at the Rotonda de los Sudcalifornianos Ilustres in La Paz. His Historia de Baja California is the most complete and exhaustively researched book every written about “old Baja,” from the language and customs of indigenous tribes to the building of Spanish missions and the political movements of the first half of the 20th century. First published in 1956 (the English edition followed in 1960), this is an essential resource for anyone interested in the history and development of the Baja California peninsula. Unlike other Baja histories, which often rely on legends and lore, Martinez’s magnum opus is based on archival records, first-person accounts, and the documented finds of other noted historians. His companion volume, Guía Familiar de Baja California, 1700 – 1900, is the bible of Baja genealogists, tracing as it does the histories of the peninsula’s pioneer families.

books about the Baja California peninsula

The Journey of the Flame by Antonio de Fierro Blanco

“‘Shut up, Bonehead!’ whispered his mate. ‘They’ll think you locoed by the sun, and souse a bucket of water over your thick skull. It’s Don Juan Obrigon – Juan Colorado. Or perhaps you’ve heard him called Red John.’

“‘Or The Flame,’ suggested an aged Indian politely. ‘When I handled a bowstring, he once destroyed the warriors of a wild tribe by fire, which sprang from the earth at his command. They perished in flame while he rode on, not even looking back to see whether any survived to chase him.’”

Looking for “The Great Baja Novel?” Written under the rather florid pen name Antonio de Fierro Blanco, this picaresque tale is actually the work of wealthy American businessman Walter Nordhoff, who fell in love with Baja California while managing an enormous ranch his father owned on the peninsula. Although he is perhaps best known as a father himself – of Charles Nordhoff, who co-authored The Bounty Trilogy (including Mutiny on the Bounty) with James Norman Hall – Walter was a brilliant writer in his own right, as evidenced by The Journey of the Flame. The hero of the novel is an extraordinarily vital red-headed centenarian named Don Juan Obrigon, who recounts an adventure from his boyhood, when he accompanied the Spanish viceroy to California on an epic journey by burro from San José del Cabo to San Francisco. This incredible journey, which takes place in the year 1810, includes stops at many of the peninsula’s most notable towns, with each layover an occasion for Nordhoff to showcase his vast knowledge of the language and local customs of 19th century Baja Califonia residents. First published in 1933, this book is justly considered a masterpiece of California literature, and it has inspired generations of readers to set off on their own Baja adventures.

books about the Baja California peninsula

Explorations in Lower California by J. Ross Browne and Spencer Murray

“At Cape St. Lucas we were told that San Jose was the great place for mules; at San Jose, it was Triunfo that offered the peculiar advantages; at Triunfo, La Paz was the chief market; at La Paz we were recommended to defer our purchases till our arrival at Todos Santos; and here we found but few mules, and none in good condition.”

Ross Browne’s peripatetic career included a stint as a confidential agent (read: spy) for the U.S. Treasury Department, and it has been speculated that the purpose of his 1866 trip to Baja California wasn’t merely to evaluate an option on a land grant for the Lower California Company of New York, but to evaluate the suitability of the peninsula for annexation by the United States. México would have had something to say about that, of course, but considering that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo – in which the U.S. was ceded all or parts of present day California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado for cash considerations – was signed only 18 years earlier, it wasn’t exactly a far-fetched idea. Browne’s account of his travels in Lower California includes occasionally poetic, and often dryly humorous descriptions of life and the political climate in places like Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo, Todos Santos and La Paz. But his blunt opinions make it clear what he really thinks of the region’s long-term outlook. The best edition of this historical account includes commentary from Spencer Murray a century later, in 1966. Murray was an early promoter of Baja California, and his books Cruising the Sea of Cortez and Power-Boating the West Coast of Mexico helped popularize the peninsula as a tourist destination.

books about the Baja California peninsula

Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research by John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts

“The real picture of how it had been there and how we had been there was in our minds, bright with sun and wet with sea water and blue or burned, and the whole crusted over with exploring thought. Here was no service to science, no naming of animals, but rather – we simply liked it. We liked it very much. The brown Indians and the gardens of the sea, and the beer and the work, they were all one thing and we were that one thing too.”

The Log from the Sea of Cortez is probably the best known book ever written about Baja California, although it actually only an abridged version of an earlier work – Sea of Cortez. The Log keeps Steinbeck’s narrative observations, but jettisons most of the notes on specimen collecting and marine biology that were the prime motivators of the six-week expedition undertaken by Steinbeck and his friend Ed Ricketts – the inspiration for the character Doc in Cannery Row – aboard the Western Flyer in 1940. Literature lovers will want to read the original, while casual readers can content themselves with Steinbeck’s musings on boats, beer and Baja as it was just before the U.S. and Mexican entry into World War II. Equal parts travelogue, scientific journal and philosophical treatise, Sea of Cortez offers keen insights into the sea itself – “ferocious with life” in Steinbeck’s memorable phrase – as well as light-hearted ruminations on such things as the faithlessness of the Hansen Sea-Cow outboard motor, the beauty and maddening elusiveness of Sally Lightfoot crabs, and the sad state of Cabo San Lucas following a devastating storm (the latter sure to evoke a sense of retroactive déjà vu in those who experienced the wrath of Hurricane Odile in 2014).

books about the Baja California peninsula

The Unforgettable Sea of Cortez: Baja California’s Golden Age 1947 – 1977, The Life and Writings of Ray Cannon by Gene S. Kira

“Many of the early entrepreneurs of the modern age were airplane pilots of the World War II era who established fly-in fishing resorts on the shores of the Sea of Cortez. The very first pioneers of this group included Abelardo L. ‘Rod’ Rodriguez of Rancho Las Cruces, Ed Tabor of the Flying Sportsmen Lodge, Herb Tansey of Rancho Buena Vista, and Luis Cóppola Bonillas of the Hotel Los Arcos in La Paz. Whether by coincidence or by historical imperative, all four of these former pilots opened their businesses within a few months of each other between 1950 and 1952.”

Despite its surfeit of subtitles – the book might more concisely be called A Celebration of Ray Cannon – this lovingly crafted biography will have special appeal for those who traveled to Baja before the days of paved roads and luxury resorts. Few did more to promote and popularize Baja California in the 1950s and 60s than Cannon, a former Hollywood actor and director whose second act as a columnist for the Western Outdoor News and best-selling author of The Sea of Cortez helped usher in the peninsula’s golden age of tourism. Cannon was a lifelong fisherman – his other notable book was How to Fish the Pacific Coast – and his tales of extraordinary catches south of the border were hugely influential in the success of some of the early fly-in fishing resorts. Kira, himself an accomplished writer on Baja subjects, stitches together a colorful narrative, interspersed with passages from some of Cannon’s old columns, and accompanied by a treasure trove of old photographs that were donated by Cannon’s wife Carla Laemmle. Although Cannon’s own The Sea of Cortez is more properly considered a classic Baja California book, Kira’s historical perspective on Cannon and the peninsula’s development as a whole make this volume a better introduction to one of the region’s most fascinating eras.

 

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about localrestaurants,  hotels  and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.