Baja Events – April 2012 – Picks

San Jose del Cabo Historic District

April events are plentiful in Baja, drawing upon the rebirth brought by Spring and celebrated with cuisine and libations.

‘Spring in the Vineyards’ is the first of many traditional events that continue right through to the Fall harvest in the wine region of the Northern Guadalupe Valley.

In the South, Los Cabos has the Cabo Celebrity Invitational where you’ll find Lorena Ochoa and other special guests in golf- and non-golf outings like yacht cruises, cooking classes, lunches and private beach club cocktail parties, as well as several nights of live entertainment.

Other April happenings on the peninsula include both land and sea races, music festivals and cultural fiestas.

Each festival honors and celebrates some aspect of the Baja Life.

Listings for these local festivals can all be found on Here’s a few of our hand-picked faves:

Todos Santos: Baja Reggae Festival (April 6, 2012)

The annual Baja Reggae Festival will take place at Cerritos Beach. This year’s line-up includes Tribal Seeds (from San Diego), DubTonic Kru (from Jamaica–winner of The World Battle of the Bands), Rise N Shine (from Seattle/San Juan Islands), Good Vibrations (from La Paz), K L Reggae (from La Paz), David Raitt and the Baja Boogie Band. Ky-Mani Marley, the second youngest of Bob Marley’s 11 children, will headline the Festival on Saturday night.

Cost: $40.00 – $75.00 USD

Ensenada: 4th Annual Taco and Mexican Food Fair (April 17, 2012)

“Do you have anything here besides Mexican food?” This is the event that would disappoint Dusty Bottoms from The Three Amigos. But for all others an event all about  tacos and great Mexican food is simply heaven. Several local restaurants and taquerias participate in the annual Taco and Mexican Food Fair making this an event for families and food lovers. The event will take place at the Plaza Cívica de la Patria.

Cost: free admission

Ensenada: Shellfish and New Wine Festival (April 20 – 22, 2012)

Simply known as “Las Conchas,” this is one of the biggest events in the region, a fabulous combination of shellfish from the Ensenada coast and wines from the Guadalupe Valley. Several activities take place during the three days of the festival, from visits to mollusk farms to workshops to wine tasting and barbecues. The Hotel Coral and Marina will be hosting the event.

Cost: $18.00 – $30.00 USD

San Jose del Cabo: Cabo Celebrity Invitational (April 26 – 28, 2012)

Dream Homes of Cabo has organized this fundraising event that showcases the best Cabo has to offer while benefiting children’s charities. Golfing is available  along with culinary classes, volleyball tournaments, yacht cruises, massages, kayaking, cocktail parties and so much more. While the celebrity participation may change without notice, here’s a list of the VIPs that are expected: Lorena Ochoa (golf pro), Dennis Haysbert (actor), Brett Cullen (actor), Bill Romanowski (football player), Elena Robles (golf pro), Jeffrey Nordling (actor), Mike Dobbyn (golf pro), Jesse Ventura (politician, wrestling pro, actor), Glenn Pakulak (football pro), Ryan Mariano (volleyball pro), Ed Ratledge (volleyball pro), Dennis Leoni (director, writer, producer).

Cost: Golfer Package $850.00 – Non-golfer Package $450.00 USD

Ensenada: 65th Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race (April 27 – 29, 2012)

The 125 nautical mile long race will start April 27 and end April 29th, 2012. Cruising classes will take off starting at 11am and racing classes at 12 noon. For the first time in the 65 editions of the race, both the departure and arrival will be visible from the shore, making the event more fun for non-participants. The award ceremony will take place on Sunday afternoon at the Hotel Coral and Marina.

Cost: $175.00 – $125.00 USD

Ensenada: Primavera en los Viñedos 2012 – Spring in the Vineyards (April 28, 2012)

Spring in the Guadalupe Valley near Ensenada brings new beginnings, rebirth, regrowth, and some incredible  events. The Bodegas de Barcón Balch’é Winery will host a celebration of this season with the best wines in the region, great food and live music.

Cost: Approx. $12.00 USD

Mexicali-San Jose del Cabo: NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally (April 28 – May 2, 2012)

A unique rally that will not  only feature typical race cars, but also vintage cars and motorcycles, and alternative fueled vehicles as well as rally cars, and a limited number of modern desert racecars and classes for pre-runner trucks and buggies. Participating  vehicles will run the length of Baja from Mexicali to San Jose del Cabo on on-road and off-road courses. Don’t miss the “Happiest race on Earth”! On April 28th the bullring in Mexicali will host the vintage category car show, the sign in, the technical/safety inspection and the autograph session. the race will depart from Mexicali on April 29th.

Cost: Free for spectators

The Baja Renaissance

By Jim Pickell, CEO

2012 marks the end of the Mayan calendar for Baja’s indigenous neighbors. This timely transition neatly marks the blossoming a new era for Baja California. The region is undergoing an explosion of creativity and innovation. This is Baja’s Renaissance, being led by a diverse and eclectic group of Baja denizens, collaborating with pilgrims from the international community, many discovering and rediscovering this Mecca. Baja has a renewed lease on life, and there’s a tantalizing possibility that this one will not be fueled by an unsustainable bubble of cruisers and spring-breakers, but rather led by visionaries and philosophers, poets and professionals, artists and scientists, with the only common thread being their efforts to weave the Baja lifestyle into their vision.

Approximately 7.5 million people around the world Google the word “Baja” each month. What are they searching for?  Baja is experiencing a renewed interest in its landscape, artisans, its environment, its lifestyle and how its citizens achieve wellness. It’s touching the entire peninsula. The interest in Baja is reminiscent of the Arabic folktale, “The Man Who Became Rich through a Dream”. The protagonist traveled on a worldwide quest, on the faith of a dream, searching for riches. Imprisoned, broke and penniless, a sympathetic policeman gives him money to return to his home. It was there he discovered a great treasure, one that had always been buried beneath the fountain in his own garden

Look to the city many would perceive to be the least suspecting candidate, Tijuana. The world’s busiest border shapes the views of more visitors than any other region. Artistic murals are now being installed over the graffiti. Much like the flower became a symbol of peace in times of war; could this gateway one day reflect what Baja has to offer? Within Tijuana proper, restaurants the likes of Mision 19 have captured international acclaim as Mexican food is becoming one of the world’s favorites. Right beneath our palettes, Tijuana is becoming to food what Seattle was to grunge music, with rivals in other Baja regions. The city now boasts its first LEED certified building, drawing international attention with its “bridges and skylights, a vast airy central chamber, and an aluminum skin to filter out ultraviolet rays.”  And the Business Innovation and Technology Center launched several months ago, promising a steady stream of thought leaders.

The world is taking note. At the other end of the peninsula, San Jose del Cabo hosting the G20 this summer, a landmark event for Baja. While it may be a political ploy to send the message that the coast is indeed clear. The fact is, it just may work since the coast is clear. But behind any smoke and mirrors, something real is happening and it’s a people’s movement. California, long viewed as forward-looking in protecting the environment, is now finding itself struggling to duplicate the groundbreaking success that Baja California Sur achieved in recovering the sensitive marine zone at the Cabo Pulmo Marine Park. There are efforts in both Tijuana and Los Cabos to develop some of the leading stem cell centers in the world, promising the fountain of youth that many have believed could be found in Baja for decades. Out of necessity, Baja is home to among the most advanced drip irrigation in the world. And among the next generation, many “entrepreneurs by necessity”, there are new concepts surfacing in marine biology, LEED certified development, organic farming, experiential travel, voluntourism, nomadic schools, agrotourism, medical tourism, and yes, even novel ways of making us love fresh roasted Mexican grown, organic coffee.

Baja is a lifestyle brand but it’s so much more. Baja living is the caveman diet of life. And this is what attracts these creative forces. At its core it’s about simplicity and authenticity, reminding travelers why they travel in the first place. People who can think out of the box have learned what Baja has to offer beyond the all-inclusive resorts and beneath the sandy surface and that’s the draw. Baja has long been the benefactor of the worldwide brain drain of creativity, an exodus of artists that have left their homes for Baja. Charles Stewart of Todos Santos (may he rest in peace) was one of the founding fathers of this movement in 1985. Now Baja California is becoming a gastronomical geo-center for foodies and wine connoisseurs around the world. Anthony Bourdain recently referred to Baja as “the new Tuscany” at a recent speaking engagement. Almost 90% of Mexican wine, many vintages and varietals winning awards around the world, come from the Guadalupe Valley and surrounding region, an area still untainted by the commercialism found in other wine regions. In Los Cabos, artwalks and organic markets are now common place, with the once little known Flora Farms becoming an epicenter. “[T]here’s some awesome shit going on down there right now. They got tired of waiting for the Americans to come back and just started making really great, really creative food. . . . Something amazing’s happening” said Anthony.

 Ultimately a big component to the direction this takes comes down to tourism. Contrary to assumptions one may draw from US headlines, Mexico was recently ranked the 10th most traveled country in the world. It’s also the second most rapidly growing country in Latin America, even while weaning off its GDP’s dependence on oil. And as impressive as Mexico’s rise through the ranks, Baja is one of its fastest growing regions in Mexico, whether defined by tourism or industrialization. Did you know Ensenada  boasts the highest preponderance of advanced academic degrees… in all of Latin America? Historically Baja California has been more integrated with the United States than just about any region in Central America. And while there’s no dispute that travel from the US has declined in recent years, the rest of the world is largely ignoring the US media. Travel from Canada grew over 50% in the last five years. More rapid growth is being experienced from Asia. And visitors love what they are discovering and the more adventurous stay.

Not only do Baja Californians make incredibly kind hosts, Baja has a plethora to offer, both natural and manmade. Baja California is home to a World Heritage site, the Gulf of California, which contains 39% of the world’s species of marine mammals and a third of the world’s marine cetacean. Baja is home of the Picacho del Diablo, a 10,154 foot mountain that’s a challenging climb; the oldest cave painting ever discovered on this continent; Catavina national park that rivals any in the world. There’s a plethora of wildlife, pristine natural wonders, one-third of the world’s whale species, endless sunshine and warm and mesmerizing, crystal clear waters, making Baja one of the best locations for sea kayaking, scuba diving and whale watching in the world.

Baja has a chain of missions that could keep any archaeologist occupied for a lifetime. The 1000 mile drive from the northern- to its southern-most tips, done right, is arguably the best road trip on the planet. From the Vendimia wine harvest in the Guadalupe Valley, to the Baja 1000, to the Todos Santos Film Festival, Baja has among the most unique and interesting ways to spend your time in the world, whether measured with a barometer of culture, gastronomy, history or merely a scale of pure bliss.  It’s exhausting just trying to describe what you can do and see in Baja. And yes, you can do absolutely nothing and literally witness the hands on your watch stop moving as we all have experienced, the double edged sword of time which takes on a different meaning in Baja.

While there are those lamenting about the continuing “crisis,” there’s an undeniable flurry of innovation at work within the region.  The most novel are worrying about “becoming too big,” as they struggle with not only how growth affect s their own goals, but also the region as a whole. In the foreground, Baja has quietly become increasingly prominent on the world stage, as a symbol of what the future might hold for us all, in ways that could not have been predicted even a decade ago. It’s Baja’s time.

About is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel advice to Baja California, Mexico, supported by a full service travel agency. The site offers travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps, and articles about day trips, surfing, snorkeling, diving, fishing, kayaking, art galleries, whale watching, eco-tours, shopping, attractions, local events and news. Travelers can book directly online or utilize’s state-of-the-art contact center, which provides bilingual customer support, expert information and sales 7 days a week, 365 days a year. To access the information and receive newsletters and invitations to special events, register at You can call us at 855-BAJA-411 or email us at represents a team of local bloggers, regional travel experts, photographers, artists, Baja aficionados and marketing and technology gurus. The only common thread among the group, as each member of our team will tell you, we are all fanatics about Baja.

 At we’re always looking for meaningful way to harness and accelerate this creative energy that surrounds us in Baja. Consistent with our commitment to the region, we have created several programs to stimulate and support change agents within Baja. The first is called the “Baja Ambassadors”, a group of unique and diverse individuals who are positioned to shape the next decade of Baja. Among this group are people like Tim Means who worked with the World Heritage Foundation to repurchase the now protected Espiritu Islands; Luis Palacios, a young, energetic, Harvard-educated, marketing director for Baja California Sur’s Board of Tourism; Serge Dedina, the Executive Director of Wildcoast, sponsor of what was called the “best ocean campaign in human history” widely credited with saving the grey whale; and Andrea Tomba, an offroad racer and guide who symbolizes and embraces the Baja lifestyle. On another front we are collaborating with the Board of Tourism on a program we call “Baja Scribes”. This is designed to encourage top writers to visit Baja to create original content about Baja and help educate the world. Finally we are working with many non-profit organizations in accordance with our own commitment, including by giving a significant portion of our revenues to local charities and are committed to becoming a carbon neutral company by purchasing carbon credits. Our mission is to have a large impact with a light footprint and to continue to fuel the Baja Renaissance in any way we can. If you have an interest in these programs, please contact us. 

Baja Events for 2012 – Favorites

The vibe on the ground seems to be “Baja is Back!” Of course Baja aficionados know Baja never went anywhere. However, there’s admittedly a growing resurgence of interest in the region. And as reported by, the quickest growing segments are not the cruisers, 5-star resort dwellers or spring breakers, it’s those seeking a travel and life experience. And fortunately, as anyone that knows Baja can attest, the Baja peninsula is one of the world’s most pristine and untapped realms for exploration and personal discovery. Whether it’s food, music, culture, nature or adventure you’re seeking, Baja has a lion’s share.

In addition to our laundry list here of the best annual Events in the region, on we’ve assembled hundreds of the top Events in Baja. We struggled here to come up with a sampling of top 14 of our favorites, just to get your mouth watering.  It was no easy task!

As these events often turn on forces of nature, the dates and times frequently change. Accordingly, please be sure to confirm the schedule before you travel. Feel free to email, local Baja experts, if you need any help in planning your travel.


Todos Santos: 1st Annual Todos Santos Music Festival

Last event took place January 5th through January 21st, 2012.

This was a charitable three-week long event at The Hotel California, featuring world renown Peter Buck of REM, Steve Wynn, Robyn Hitchcock, and Scott McCaughey. Concerts took place four nights a week and special guests, such as Chuck Prophet, Kevn Kinney, and the group The Elected made surprise appearances.

COST: This was a free event with a few seats sold for $5 each.

For More Info: Todos Santos Music Festival


East Cape: 2nd Annual Lord of the Wind Showdown (Los Barriles)

Last event took place January 12th through January 16th, 2012.

With a $20,000 USD prize offered to the winner, some of the best windsport enthusiasts in the world attended this event, putting on a spectacular show. Over 800 people attended and enjoyed music and beach parties for the entire event.

COST: the event is free for spectators, registration to participate was US$90 – US$115.

For More Info: Lord of the Winds Showdown



Ensenada: The Peligroso at Todos Santos Island (January or February)

Last event 2011.

The competition only takes place when the waves are 30 feet or larger. While the event did not take place in 2012, typically surfers from all corners of  the world come together to take part in this unique, “paddle-in” surfing competition.

COST: the event is free for spectator.

For More Info: Todos Santos Island Big Wave World Tour


Mulege: Pig Races (February 12th, 2012)

No event roster would be complete without this one-of-a-kind event! Only in Baja! What more can we say? No, it does not end with a barbecue!

COST: The event is free for spectators.

For More Info: Mulege Pig Races




Todos Santos: Film Festival (February 28-March 3, 2012)

The 9th edition of the Todos Santos film festival takes place both in Todos Santos and La Paz from February 23rd through March 3rd. The most talented and innovative Latin American independent movie makers will present over 20 movies, documentaries and shorts from Mexico, Spain Cuba, Chile and Argentina during the first 5 days of the festival.

COST: about US$12/ticket per screening

For More Info: Todos Santos Film Festival



Ensenada: 65th Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race (April 27th – 29th, 2012)

 Any sailor who knows his salt, has heard stories about the long trail of beer this race used to leave behind. This is a social experience and there’s always opportunity to hop aboard a yacht in Newport Beach, especially  if you are an experienced crew member and want to stick your thumb out.
COST: Entry fee goes from US$125 to US$225.

For More Info: Newport to Ensenada Sailing Race


Mexicali: NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally (April 28th, 2012)

For those not up to the Baja 1000, this offers everyone in the family a way to strap together an engine with some shoes laces and bubble gum and share in the family fun of a drive down the peninsula, sharing the community experience with a bunch of Baja lovers.  The winner is the participant that has the most fun!

COST: Free for spectators, participant registration goes from US$1600 to US$1967, plus a US$75 membership fee per person. US$100 late registration fee.
 For More Info: NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally



San Diego, USA: The Baja Bash: Baja is Back (June 2nd, 2012)

Wildcoast, the international conservation team responsible for groundbreaking environmental projects and campaigns in Baja California, is behind this innovative and dynamic event that celebrates the beauty of Baja California. Surf legends, community leaders, environmental pioneers will gather at the the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier in San Diego on June 2nd to share ideas and experiences about the Baja they love.  We’ll see you there!

For More Info: Baja Bash in San Diego



Tijuana: Tijuana Beer Fest (July)

The Beer Fest features over 100 different types of beer and feature great music during these two days dedicated to the art of brewing (and tasting).

COST: entry tickets go for approximately US$8

For More Info: Tijuana Beer Fest





Ensenada: Wine Festival – Fiestas de la Vendimia

From the Latin word for wine, Vinum, and Demere meaning ‘to take’ or ‘take away’, the Vendimia is time for celebration. The two century long wine tradition of the Guadalupe Valley is the focus. For nearly three weeks every August wine aficionados have the opportunity to attend wine tastings, savor gourmet meals, attend workshops and concerts. Last year’s activities included an opera concert in a local vineyard with  an Italian dinner and wine tasting, a cheese party with artisan bread, house wine and live music.

COST: the price varies for each event during the Vendimia, ranging from US$100 to over US$1,000.



Cabo San Lucas: Pimp N’  Ho Party (October)

The last event took place October 22nd, 2011

The Cabo Pimp N’ Ho Ball is one of the most unique events in the area, and regularly draws huge crowds. The ten year anniversary drew over 1500 people, with every one of them sporting their best duds for the craziest night of the year in Cabo San Lucas.

COST: tickets start at US$20 in July and increase by US$20 every month, up to $100 the night of the event.
For More Info: Pimp N’ Ho Party

Cabo San Lucas: Bisbee’s Black & Blue Fishing Tournament (October 23th – 27th, 2012)

The Bisbee’s Black and Blue is one of the highest paying fishing tournaments in Mexico, with a grand prize of over $1,000,000. With two back-to-back events in Cabo, the Los Cabos Offshore and the Black and Blue, the Bisbee is also one of the most active and popular of the fishing tournaments.

COST: registration starts at US$63,100 per boat.

For More Info: Bisbee’s Back & Blue Fishing Tournament



San Felipe: San Felipe Shrimp Festival (November)

Every year in November, the Shrimp Festival in San Felipe is celebrated with an abundance of succulent shrimp recipes, traditional tequila and regionally produced wine tasting  and folkloric dances. The event includes a competition that will reward the chef of the best shrimp dish.
COST: admission is free, US$5 and US$10 tickets are for sale for shrimp and drink tasting.



Ensenada: Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 (November)

The Baja 1000 is one of the most famous rally races in the world, covering 1000 miles of the most rugged, unforgiving terrain that the world has to offer. Over 200,000 people are drawn to this event each year, hoping to catch a glimpse. Over 300 cars, trucks, motorcycles, and ATVs attempt to dominate the 1,000 mile mountainous course in hopes of “beating the Baja”.  This is an event that needs to be experienced to be understood, and spectators are encouraged to make their way out to view this popular race. In 2011 this was a loop starting and finishing in Ensenada.

COST: entry fee starts at US$3,000.
For More Info: Tecate Score Baja 1000