Top 5 Places for a Long Holiday Weekend in Baja
By Ashley Curtin
It’s a new year, which brings a new opportunity to travel and what better destination than Mexico. With warm tropical temperatures, pristine beaches, historic landmarks and cultural entertainment filling the area, various Baja destinations make for the perfect long holiday weekend get-away. A short distance from California, these featured destinations in Mexico offer travelers tips, insights and recommendations to help plan your trip’s itinerary.
A quick drive south from the U.S. Mexico border in San Diego, Calif., Tijuana is a great shopping and entertainment destination for travelers to escape and immerse themselves into Mexican culture for the weekend. Fine leather products, cigars, handmade crafts and other souvenirs can be found in markets throughout Tijuana, however, Mercado El Popo, located downtown, is the most colorful of them all. Traditional Mexican fare, spices and produce will have you walking away with numerous bags. To continue shopping, stroll down Avenida Revolucion, a street filled with souvenir shops and restaurants alike. Tijuana is also bustling with traditional Mexican entertainment and historically cultural activities. For entertainment, attend a Lucha Libre spectacle, which takes place at Auditorio Municipal Fausto Gutierrez Moreno every Friday night. Masked men dramatically throw each other around a boxing ring performing free-form wrestling. Another entertaining experience is to watch a greyhound race at Agua Caliente Race Track. Tijuana supports local artists and musicians with various art galleries and music venues spotting the town. For a very unique experience, El Lugar del Nopal, or cultural cafe, is a cozy enchanting place to experience art and listen to live music performances Wednesday through Saturday nights. The café also provides travelers a delicious authentic food experience.
Just 10 miles from Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe is Baja’s wine country. Situated 13 miles from the coast at 1,300 feet, this town boasts dozens of wineries, mostly accessible by country dirt roads, with tasting rooms open to the public. The various vineyards situated in the valley of Valle de Guadalupe grow a variety of tasty red grapes to make distinct Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah to hearty white grapes for the production of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Blanc de Blanc. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Valle de Guadalupe accounts for 90 percent of Mexico’s wine supply. Depending on preference, boutique and small hotels can be found right outside the wine country closer to Ensenada, while large five-star resorts with oceanfront views just a short ride from Valle de Guadalupe line the coast. The cuisine ranges from delicious steaks to plenty of lobster and seafood along the coast.
Surrounded by the Sea of Cortez, Loreto is a tranquil warm beach destination filled with world famous sports fishing. The Parque Nacional Bahia de Loreto, a park located within the marina is a great place to sign up for all water sports imaginable. Though there is a charge to enter the park, the staff’s attentiveness to travelers’ needs is worth it. Some of the activities include sailing, kayaking and diving excursions. But Loreto also offers many land activities such as golfing on world-renowned golf courses or hiking and mountain biking in the mountains surrounding the town. And while high in the mountains, touring Mision Nuestra Senora de Loreto, a restored mission, provides magical sights both inside and outside. The history and culture of Loreto, and its role as the first capital to the Californias, is evident from the inscription at the entrance of the mission; Cabeza y Madre de las Misiones de Baja y Alta California (Head and Mother of the Missions of Upper and Lower California). To learn more about traveling to Loreto, visit Baja.com.
Knows as a “desert oasis,” Todos Santos is situated between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz and is a favorable destination among travelers for its year round tropical climate. Todos Santos sits on top of a mesa at the Tropic of Cancer. It is surrounded by the Sierra de la Laguna Mountain Range and has beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Known for its ancient mango orchards and palms, the area is very popular among artists. World-renowned galleries fill the area and one not to miss is Stewart Gallery, an artist’s colony. Named after Charles Stewart, the creator of Todos Santos’ art scene, the gallery compiles different forms of art for everyone’s taste. Another gallery to get lost in is Galeria de Todos Santos, which is filled with unique boutique shops in and among a range of artwork. Todos Santos is also known for its fresh, authentic dining experience. Restaurants cooking up traditional Mexican dishes to organic cuisine made from local fresh food; there is a place for everyone to eat. Tequila’s Sunrise, an acclaimed feature in “Hotel California,” serves the freshest seafood, prime steaks and a tequila bar serving all the premium tequilas.
A quieter retreat from its sister town and party destination of Cabo San Lucas sits San Jose del Cabo. Surrounded by white sand beaches and bright green vegetation, the year round warm temperatures make it a popular place to escape for some rest and relaxation. Walk the entire coastline of San Jose del Cabo via Paseo del Estero, a pedestrian trail that is lined with palm trees and the sights of crashing waves. Follow it all the way to Plaza Mijares, a small historic square and the sights of a small mission church, a few stores and authentic Mexican restaurants. Hiking is an acclaimed activity in San Jose del Cabo. Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de la Laguna is a large uninhibited remote area with rugged trails, sometimes unmarked, for the experienced hiker. The reserve is also loaded with animals and plants only found in San Jose del Cabo and protected by Unesco. Beach-goers will love the fine white sandy beaches and turquoise water that line the coast. Playa Santa Maria is a clean beach to catch the sun’s rays. It also provides snorkelers great sights under the water. After a day at the beach, Fruitlandia, a specialty market, is the place to fill up on traditional Mexican sweets such as milk fudge and candied cactus.
Beaches, adventurous activities, cultural exhibits and authentic cuisine make Baja the perfect destination for just about every traveler. For the people looking to relax while discovering all that Mexico has to offer, book a trip to one of the featured destinations and experience it all for yourself.
Want to find out about tours, events and more throughout Baja? Visit Baja.com!
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