Surfsipuedes and the Bajasur Tour

By Meghan Fitzpatrick

 

 

What is Surfsipuedes and the Bajasur Tour? The Bajasur Tour is a surf circuit of Baja California Sur, Mexico. The first tour of its kind, the Bajasur Tour aims to promote the sport and culture of surfing in Mexico. The tour cycle consists of four main events or days. Surfers earn points at each of the events or competition days on the tour, and the surfer with the most points at the end of competition wins.  Surfsipuedes is a Mexican surf company “dedicated to promoting the sport and culture of surfing in Mexico.” In addition to running the Bajasur Tour, Surfsipuedes manufactures and sells custom surf boards and surf apparel. On their website you can find information about surf lessons and surf trips, the surf forecast for Mexico, and an online store where you can purchase their surf boards and surf apparel.

But back to Surfsipuedes and the Bajasur Tour:  There is only one winner in the event. This year, the competition is comprised of four categories – Open Mens, Open Womens, 16 and under, and 30 and over. All of the events are held under the ISA rules and regulations, in accordance to the Mexican Surfing Federation, and all events are open to the public. The first leg of the 2012 tour was held on June 9th, on the Costa Azul Beach. The second leg was on the East Cape of San Jose, at Shipwreck Beach, on September 22nd. Both events were very successful.

Mau Rivero, who founded Surfsipuedes in order to promote the sport and culture of surfing, describes his vision of the Bajasur Tour by saying, “I always envisioned the Bajasur Tour as a great way to promote surfing in the state of Baja California Sur, as well as the different surfing spots that provide great waves. However, the main reason I initiated these contests was to provide the local surf community with a surfing circuit that will allow our kids to improve their surfing skills and help them compete both nationally and internationally.”

 

Surfsipuedes and the Bajasur Tour: October 27 at San Pedrito Beach

The next leg of the Bajasur Tour will take place this Friday, October 27th at San Pedrito Beach in Pescadero. This is a long, wide and flat beach, ideal for such a competition, both for competitors and spectators. The fourth and final leg of the competition will take place on December 22nd at Cerritos Beach. An ideal time of year for the final event on this tour, this event is sure draw crowds so close to Christmas and being

Day of The Dead Trivia, Tips and Travel Ideas

by Carla White

For me, one of the best times of year to travel in Mexico is during the Day of The Dead celebrations that are held throughout the country, Oct. 31-Nov. 2.   It’s not just that kids and families are preoccupied with school and sports activities, making it a lighter and more adult-friendly travel period, it is also that the weather in Mexico during these months is typically mild and welcoming. But the main reason to make the journey is simply to be exposed to the mystical and magical happenings that mark Day of the Dead as a special occasion.  Following are Day of The Dead trivia, tips and travel ideas.

 

Day of The Dead

 

For some, the name ‘Day of The Dead’ conjures up the macabre and spooky.  In reality, it is just the opposite:  a celebration of the life-death-life cycle, and a time to honor departed souls by welcoming them back to earth for a quick visit.

In hamlets all over Mexico, preparations begin days ahead: flower stalls are constructed, literally overflowing with masses of vivid yellow and orange marigolds (the flower of the dead); altars are readied with photos, little pieces of clothing, drinks and favorite foods; ‘pan de muertos’ or ‘bread of the dead’ is baked in shapes of skulls and skeletons, all in preparation for the arrival of the dead ones.  Decorations, including papier mache skeletons, brightly painted sugar skulls and other items are often incorporated into the shrines, and frequently there will be little poems or stories displayed for reading.  Overall, there is a great sense of anticipation – just as if an honored guest were expected to arrive soon.

Nov. 1st is the first night of the celebration, called the Vigil of the Angels.  The ‘angelitos’ are children who have passed on. Their altars are, perhaps, the most poignant, decorated with toys, stuffed animals and candies. Perhaps because this is a time tinged with sorrow, festivities are quieter and subdued. The more elaborate processions and celebrations are held on Nov. 2nd, the night that the adults are invited back.  Cemeteries are awash in candlelight and families surround the grave-sites, sometimes eating small meals, sharing memories and listening to soft music.

Visitors can participate in the processions to the cemeteries but it is advisable to go with a tour guide who can share Day of The Dead rules of etiquette.  For instance, taking photographs can be dicey – and using a flash is an absolute no-no.

Where are a few of the most interesting places to experience Day of The Dead?

 

Day of The Dead in Oaxaca. Photo courtesy of Oaxaca Institute of Culture.

1.,  OaxacaOaxaca  is definitely the most famous Day of The Dead destination.  A spectacular colonial city in Southern Mexico, Oaxaca has several large cemeteries that are the sites of large processions.  A number of churches host either pre- or post-procession fetes.   Most hotels can be helpful in identifying reliable tours to Day of the Dead events, in particular the charming (if somewhat pricey) Camino Real Oaxaca.

2.  Janitzio and Patzcuaro, located near Moreliain central Mexico, are almost as well-known as Oaxaca for Day of The Dead.  Janitzio is a small island in LakePatzcuaro, which – on Nov. 1 — is converged upon by hundreds of little boats, each awash in candle- and torch-light.  Patzcuaro, itself, is a gem of a colonial village with outstanding lodgings and restaurants.

3.  Baja California is not especially renowned for its Day of The Dead celebrations (Baja Sur more so), although Tecate in northern Baja (check out the Panaderia Mejor Pan, the best bakery in Baja, for its ‘bread of the dead’) and La Paz on the southeast coast of Baja, both have events to mark the celebration. Rosarito and Ensenada both have large cemetaries as well, where processions are held during this period.   Baja offers perhaps some of the most astonishing arts and crafts devoted to the Day of The Dead theme.  From tiny skeletal miniatures to $1000 paintings and life-sized papier mache figures, Day of The Dead takes on many lively faces here.  Some of the top stores include Bazar Casa Ramirez on Ave. Lopez Mateos in Ensenada; Fausto Polanco (high-end furnishings and art) in Rosarito Beach and Ensenada; Alex Curios on Blvd. Popotla in Rosarito and there are many others. Tijuana, which in the past couple of years has become a tourism magnet, is offering graveyard tours, as well…some by Baja.com’s popular blogger Derrik Chinn!

Travel tips:

  1. Learn what travel documentation you need before leaving on your trip. Make sure you have a current passport.
  2. Book ahead.  Among airlines flying to many Mexico Day of The Dead destinations are Aero Mexico and Mexicana.
  3. Make reservations far ahead.  Even two months in advance is often late!
  4. If driving from the U.S., make sure you have valid insurance.  For more info, visit www.bajabound.com and/or wwww.mexpro.com
  5. If you are staying in Baja California for Day of The Dead, visit Baja.com to find out more about hotels.

Buy memory cards — especially HD for video purposes — for your camera.  And send us videos!  

What are the best ways for you to celebrate Day of The Dead?

Day of the Dead Altar

 

Altar:  Create your own altar to celebrate those whom you’ve lost.  An altar can be a niche in a wall or something more elaborate, created by using palm fronds or bamboos shafts shaped into an arch.  Mostly, it is a place where you feel that your dead ones can convene in happy harmony.  Altars must have candles…and often, these can be purchases at special stories and have images, like the Virgin of Guadalupe, on them.  But any candles will help you honor and light the way for a loved one. Photos are a must:  photos of the dead person, of their favorite pets, etc.  And feel free to honor several people in your altar…perhaps by creating different levels in the arched area, with boxes or little tables, etc.  Now comes the fun and perhaps the most poignant part: populating your altar with their favorite foods, or perhaps a ring or necklace that they loved (for me, it is the dental bridge my mom had — a famous family story recalls how our old Basset Hound snatched it out of her napkin –why was it there? — and ran around the house with it!).   Sugar skulls are also popular — little sparkly skeleton heads made of sugar that are both scary and sweet all at once!

Incense and Flowers:  Copal incense is ubiquitous to Day of The Dead remembrances, as are the ever-present marigolds which are the ‘official’ flower of the celebration and provide a sharp scent that is ever reminiscent of the event.  You will find both in abundance during the pre-Day of The Dead period.  Local farms, particularly in Michoacan, but now even here in Baja, produce the marigolds in riots of golden, orange and yellow colors knowing that they will be in high demand.

Tamales and Pan de Muertos:  Tamales seem to be the traditional food to place in the altar of the loved ones — and typically the tamales are the sweeter variety, perhaps showing the sweet homage that is being paid.  Pan de Muertos can be made or purchased at almost any grocery store, and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Interested in visiting Baja for Day of The Dead or other holidays?  Find out where to eat and where to stay at Baja.com!

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 localrestaurantshotels 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.

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Mexico’s President Announces Cancellation of Mega-Development Plans for Cabo Pulmo

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón announced on Friday, June 15, the cancellation of the proposed Cabo Cortes mega-resort at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula.  President Calderón noted that the project developer has not proven scientifically that the massive development would not threaten a nearby marine reserve.

According to President Calderón, there was still not an “absolute certainty” that the development “will not cause irreversible damage” to the environment.  “A few years ago, the company Hansa Baja began steps for the construction of a tourist mega-development called Cabo Cortes,” he said, referring to the Hansa Baja Investments company, which is a unit of Spain’s Hansa Urbana. The development plans called for construction of a marina with 490 boat slips, two golf courses, seven hotels and 5000 residences for workers, all close to the Cabo Pulmo preserve, which was declared a natural protected area by the Mexican government in 1995.

“Because of the ecological significance of Cabo Pulmo (marine reserve), the possibility that the Cabo Cortes tourist development would be built on 3,800 hectares (9,386 acres) adjacent to the national park sparked concerns among the local communities, academics and environmental groups,” he added.

A number of environmental groups (including Baja.com friend Wild Coast and Amigos para la Conservación de Cabo Pulmo), local communities and other organizations had protested the Cabo Cortes project based on the belief that it could potentially threaten Cabo Pulmo on the East Cape of Baja Sur.

Said Calderón, because it is “such an important area for the Gulf of California and the country … we should all be absolutely certain that (the project) will not cause irreversible harm and that absolute certainty simply has not been generated.” He did open the door, however, for investors of the original project to start again, creating a project that would be compatible with and enhance the sustainability of this unique Cabo Pulmo reserve.

The Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park in Baja California Sur has a marine area of 7,111 hectares (17,564 acres) and boasts the best-preserved coral reef in Mexico’s Pacific region. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and three years later was added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.The 20,000-year-old Cabo Pulmo reef, one of the oldest in the American Pacific, is home to 226 of the 875 fish species that inhabit the Gulf of California.

 

The East Cape area of Baja Sur and Cabo Pulmo:  Learn more!

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 local restaurants, 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.

 

 

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