Passion and Desire: My Baja Love Affair
by Jim Pickell
“You can talk about true love, say we’re through
And I do my best pretending I don’t love you.
But when they put you down, they’re always surprised,
Cause then I’m back on your side
Back on your side, back on your side,
Baby, I’m back on your side.”
Chris Isaak, ‘Back on Your Side’ from the Baja Sessions CD
Baja is my true love, too, which is why I launched Baja.com in early 2012: To showcase this amazing part of Mexico with a goal of reigniting the flames of passion that so many travelers had for adventure, food, music, culture and all of the sensory aspects that are and will always be synonymous with Baja.
How many times have I heard from or read statements by Baja.com aficionados noting that in years past, they loved coming to Baja for its thundering surf, or its carne asada tacos sold from bustling street stands, or its peaceful valleys and quiet pueblas… And then, around 2008 (coinciding with the global economic downturn and an upswing in drug-related violence in some parts of Mexico and the world), the love-light died.
And yet, abandoned and longing for its lovers from the north, the Baja blue skies still stretched over vast white sand beaches, and the gentle sounds of classical guitar still wafted through the balmy nights; margaritas still flowed and laughing vendors still tried to sell small painted animals and colorful serapes. Up and down this nearly 1000-mile-long peninsula, there was a sense of peaceful acceptance that time would heal the wounds, and that the undeniable magnetism between Baja and its former suitors would reassert itself. That the Baja love affair would go on.
So it has come to pass.
And I would like to believe that Baja.com has been one of the matchmakers in this process! Working with partners like San Diego Red, the Union Tribune San Diego, the La Paz Tourism Board, WiLDCOAST, and others (Baja News, Baja Bound, Baja 123, and more), we are continually striving to highlight all the reasons that tourists, travelers and potential residents should think about engaging with Baja.
Recently, Secretary of Tourism Juan Tintos Funcke reported significant increases in tourism, particularly reflected in hotel occupancy in major tourism destinations – in fact, the best rates in five years for holiday weekends. Cruise ship arrivals are on the rise in some Baja area, with the port of Ensenada this year being the only one on the Mexico Pacific coast that experienced an increase. The sale of fishing permits has gone up almost 10 percent, and film production in Baja has re-engaged, including the recently filming of the movies ‘Little Boy’ and ‘All is Lost’ with actor Robert Redford leading the way.
My personal experience with amazing events like the Baja International Film Festival and SUP Mexico (the Stand Up Paddle Board Championships) has reflected not only a strong surge in interest in Baja…but the very fact that these events have been successfully staged in this part of Mexico signifies a confidence in Baja’s future as both a travel destination and investment opportunity.
But all that aside, I just adore this place. Who wouldn’t? My young son, Byron, has been embraced by the crystalline waters of the Sea of Cortez and seen dolphins and whales. My wife, Ellie, has reveled in the warmth of the Mexican people (perhaps not unlike that of her Italian family) and I…well, I have had the chance to feast my eyes on unparalleled beauty that is unique to Baja. We try to capture these stories and glories in each and every article that we put on Baja.com.
My Baja affair grows more meaningful with each passing month…and in a way, Baja.com is like my love letter to this place and to the Mexico I cherish — a place of tranquil sunrises and turbulent sunsets, of riotous noise and sunbathed afternoons with friends, of harsh desert landscapes and tropical palm-studded lagoons.
If you haven’t returned, come back. If you are here, bask in the Baja glow. And if you have never been to Baja, there is no better time than now to have an encounter that will change your life, as it changed mine.
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. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.