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

Thinking of Visiting Baja California? Check Out our Advisories Before You Go

BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO – 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.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Basket and plate weaving from the indigenous Kumiai at the Community Museum in Tecate, Baja Calfornia.

 2. 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.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Wine tasting at Adobe Guadalupe, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California.

3.  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.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Carne asada NY strip taco at Tacos Don Esteban, Tijuana, Baja California.

4.  Tijuana has a graffiti problem.

Not really, but the city does boast a lot of thoughtfully rendered street art. Check outPasaje Rodriguez, Avenida Revolución, Playas Tijuana and the parking lot/street art gallery at restaurant Verde y Crema for just a taste.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Street art from local artists El Norteño and Glow in Pasaje Rodriguez, Tijuana, Baja California.

5.  Friendliness is contagious.

Baja Californians are notoriously friendly and typically easy-going. Locals welcome visitors with warmth and are always ready to help you with recommendations and directions to their favorite restaurant or cantina.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Taking a picture of the picture guy in Puerto Nuevo, Baja California, Mexico.

6.  You will develop an aversion to frozen seafood.

Baja California has an abundance of fresh seafood. Fish and shellfish from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez are found everywhere from vendors on the beach to several of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in Baja California.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

The day’s catch on display in Popotla, Baja California, Mexico.

 7.  You may notice an increased tendency to relax.

The sound of rolling waves through an open window at night. A glass of wine in a vineyard on a warm summer afternoon. Baja California has a reputation for relaxation. If not alert, you may experience a siesta. In a hammock.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

The tranquil view from restaurant El Poco Cielo in La Mision, Baja California.

8.  You may be bitten by the Foodie Bug.

Tijuana, Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe have become culinary hotspots on an international scale. You may not be able to resist taking a shot of that perfectly plated dish and posting it to Instagram before devouring it.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Blue corn tostadas with mussels and beans, La Terrasse San Roman, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California.

9.  You will experience spontaneous occurrences of fun.

Baja California provides its tranquillo moments, but the peninsula knows how to have fun too. FACT: There are more festivals than days of the year in Baja California – from the Rosarito Art Fairto the Baja California Culinary Fest.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

The Rosarito Beach Art Festival, Rosarito Beach, Baja California.

10.  You will develop an urge to return.

El Gringo’s señora is fond of saying that a single day in Baja California feels like three. Living in Southern California makes it easy for us to visit south of the border often. And we suggest that you do the same. Just heed these 10 travel warnings and it’s sure to be a great experience.

Your Gringo in Mexico,

Scott 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



About Scott Koenig

W. Scott Koenig has traveled throughout Baja and Mexico since he moved to San Diego during the 90's. He has been called "guerolito" by Purépechan women in Michoacan, and "muchacho" and "amigo" by many friendly, warm and welcoming locals throughout the country. Scott is the owner of Koenig Creative LLC in San Diego and author of the blog, A Gringo In Mexico, Cultural Exploits, Tall Tequila Tales and Trip Reports.

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