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About jimpickell

James Pickell, CEO & President
Self-confessed serial entrepreneur. Addicted to challenges. Bores easily. Baja denizen and afficionado.
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Customized Travel Adventures and Tours by Find Yourself in Baja! is already a virtual treasure chest full of stories and information about Baja’s most fascinating places. Now, the new diamond in’s treasure trove is its customized travel adventures and tours program.  Read about each of our tour packages, below!

Travel Adventures and Tours to Help You Find Yourself in Baja!

“We are always hearing our readers say they wish they could actually experience the stories and places that they discover on our website.  Well, now they can,” says’s CEO Jim Pickell. He explains that the company is using its vast network of marketing partners and contacts to assemble unique tour packages that appeal to specific travel tastes.

“From wine tasting in Mexico’s wine country near Ensenada, to whale watching and swimming with the great white sharks, to gastronomy tours and more, we have a full menu of activities and adventures that we can personalize for each individual or group that wants to discover Baja,” he says.  “We do the coordination, planning and arrangements…the traveler just gets to enjoy an amazing experience!” offers travel adventures from wine tasting to whale watching! Photo courtesy of Visit Baja Sur.

So, what kind of tour can customize for you?


Charm, authenticity, relaxation and adventure:  Experience them all when you discover the magic of Baja California Sur. This package offers a 7-day trip through southern Baja, including stays in the resort  city Cabo San Lucas,  “Pueblo Magico” Todos Santos, the state capital La Paz, and concluding in enchanting San Jose del Cabo. Each spot highlights the great adventures, beauty and diversity that exist in Baja California Sur.

Custom Package Includes:

  • Your choice of lodging – with 3-STAR, 4-STAR, and 5-STAR options
  • Rental car for a week
  • Your choice of adventures in Los Cabos, Todos Santos, and La Paz.

From:  $969


kayaking, snorkeling, diving and other Splash! travel adventures...


Experience the azure Baja waters and all that happens in, on and underneath. During this exclusive tour,  enjoy something wet and wild each day you’re in Baja, sharing  time between Los Cabos and Todos Santos. Choose to fish, surf, SUP, kayak, dive, snorkel, or swim with sea lions and whale sharks in Baja’s coastal waters and near the islands that have been protected under UNESCO’s World Heritage program.  When not water-bound,  you will be able to enjoy other offerings of this magical desert area:  Fresh and delicious food and wine, warm people, and abundant sunshine. Offered in 7-night and 3-night packages.

Custom Package Includes:

  • Accommodation in Los Cabos and Todos Santos in 3-STAR, 4-STAR, or 5-STAR lodging
  • Rental car for a week
  • Exciting activities on the water in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and LaPaz including Baja wine tasting.

From $629/$1169 travel adventures and tours can even include camels. Image courtesy Cabo Adventures.

ADRENALINE RUSH Baja Adventure Packages

The rugged Baja desert is a place where adventure seekers like you can fulfill adrenaline dreams! Enjoy endless terrain for ATVs and dune-buggies, or perhaps ride a camel! Fly through the air on a zip-line or  parasail! The natural wonders of the Pacific Ocean provide thrilling sportfishing and big-wave surfing. Snorkelers and divers come face to face with sea creatures of every size, shape and color. Kayak to deserted islands where you’ll meet sea lions and whale sharks. Whatever it is that gets your heart racing, it’s here in Baja, and we have it for you, offered for 7 or 3 nights.

Custom Package Includes:

  • Accommodation in Los Cabos and Todos Santos in 3-STAR, 4-STAR, or 5-STAR lodging
  • Rental car for a week
  • Exciting adventures in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and LaPaz including Baja wine tasting.

From $669/$1269

Stand-up paddle-boarding? What'SUP!



Stand Up Paddle (SUP) board enthusiasts and new-comers alike will enjoy these SUP tour packages. Experience the fastest growing sport in North America in the tranquil waters of the Sea of Cortez. Learn to navigate state of the art equipment and develop a strong paddle technique,  and then glide amidst the pristine beauty and sea life. Feel the excitement as you learn to surf the swells. On shore, enjoy tours to the famous Cabo San Lucas Arch and into the vast eco-system of the nearby Estuary. You’ll also get a choice of snorkeling, whale-watching, camel riding, ATV-ing, zip-lining, surfing, for some afternoon fun on or off the water!

Custom Package Includes:

  • Your choice of lodging – with 3-STAR, 4-STAR, and 5-STAR options
  • Daily SUP adventures
  • Your choice of adventures in Los Cabos.

From $1169

Golf in paradise, at some of Baja's most exclusive courses.


Play some of the most magnificent golf courses in the world!’s 3-, 5-, and 7-night golf packages make these exclusive and majestic courses affordable and available. Cabo Real is the grand-dad of Los Cabos golf courses. Puerto Los Cabos is like two courses in one, with the front nine designed by Greg Norman and the back nine designed by Jack Nicklaus. And Club Campestre is the newest member of the great Los Cabos golf offerings. If your travel companion is not a golfer, you can still enjoy “guilt-free golf” while he/she enjoys fantastic adventures and activities while you’re on the course.GOLF IN PARADISE Los Cabos Golf Packages

Custom Package Includes:

  • Your choice of lodging – with 3-STAR, 4-STAR, and 5-STAR options
  • Rental car for a week
  • World-class golf and adventures.

From $729/$969/$1269


Provecho! Food and wine make a tasty travel adventure.

PROVECHO! Food and Wine Tour

Baja has become an international food and wine destination. Experience the rich flavors of organic vegetables, extra sweet fruits, and the freshest fish you can imagine. Mexican wines are proudly entering and winning wine competitions worldwide, as well, making for an unbeatable gastronomic experience. Our exclusive food and wine tour allows you to savor your time in Los Cabos and Todos Santos. Participate in cooking classes, and then  enjoy your own creations! Visit the fishing port, as well as organic farms. In between, enjoy a few activities to help you work up an appetite — surfing, SUP-ing, snorkeling, or some more extreme-adrenaline adventures.

Custom Package Includes:

  • Your choice of lodging – with 3-STAR, 4-STAR, and 5-STAR options
  • Rental car for a week
  • Cooking classes, wine tasting and other activities.

From $1069



Wine and food are part of your travel adventure in Mexico's wine country.


Experience Mexico’s wine country of Valle de Guadalupe, near Ensenada. Great wines pair with grat chefs,  creatively preparing innovative high-end cuisine. This makes for an unbeatable gastronomic experience right here in the Baja, just 90 minutes south of the US border. Our exclusive Provecho! Valle de Guadalupe food and wine tour combines unique lodging options with fine dining. Afternoons will be full, experiencing the beauty and diversity of the wine country, visiting vineyards and tasting wines.

3 day/2 night Package Includes:

  • 2-night accommodation in Valle de Guadalupe or Ensenada
  • 1 dinner at gourmet restaurant
  • 2 days of escorted tours in Valle de Guadalupe.

From $469 can arrange private villas and concierge services for your travel adventure.


MY BEACH HOUSE Private Villa Vacations

Did you know that you can rent your own home for a deluxe vacation, often for far less than the price of a hotel? Imagine you, with some friends or family, enjoying the peace and privacy of home, while indulging in a vacation paradise! Somewhat uniquely, Baja is becoming known for private villa vacations, available at all price-points.

You and your party will be accommodated in a private home in the Todos Santos area or in a villa in Los Cabos, with panoramic views and private swimming pools. Some of our deluxe homes are right on the water, with waves at the doorstep. Transportation will be arranged and we can even arrange a caterer or chef to prepare  meals for your utmost indulgence.

For time away from your luxurious accommodations, we’ll coordinate incredible adventures for you. Charter a sailboat or private fishing boat; enjoy a sunset cruise and whale-watching (in season); get your heart pumping with a thrilling dune buggy adventure. Surf, stand-up paddle, snorkel, dive, or simply relax by your pool with a cocktail!

Live like royalty and vacation like a millionaire – affordably – with all the freedom and comfort you deserve. Check out the amazing properties that can be yours at

From $700/week

*There is a surcharge for Premium Activities. All packages are customizable. Prices are based on double-occupancy. Availability is limited.

Find yourself in Baja!  Find out how, by contacting us at 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 restaurantshotels 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 

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Seeing a Bright Future for Baja

 Seeing a Bright Future for Baja

by Jim Pickell

It is no secret that Baja has experienced a turbulent past few years – particularly Baja California (the northern region).  There was that pesky global economic downturn; an increase in violence related to drug trafficking; a media frenzy that created false perceptions of safety and travel in Baja, and then the resulting slowdown in tourism.

But that was then…

Seeing a bright future for Baja: Tourism is on the rise.

Today’s reality is that Baja tourism is on the rise.  Visitors are flocking once again to our beloved peninsula, drawn by the physical beauty, the charm of its people, the many excursions, diversions and immersions one can experience here as nowhere else that make Baja such a magical destination for so many.  In Baja’s northern state of Baja California and the southern state of Baja California Sur, 2013 looks to be a period of economic growth, fueled in large part by a growth in tourism.

In numbers reported at the end of 2012, tourism experienced a five percent increase over the previous year. Results for hotel occupancy, cruise passenger stops, and border crossings have all improved for the state (with Ensenada being the only port in Mexico to gain in ship docking numbers). The cities of Tijuana and Ensenada both saw the greatest increases in tourism in 2012.  Guided by Ruben Reachi Lugo, Secretary of Tourism in Baja California Sur, Baja’s southern half also reported strong growth in visitors, with La Paz having a banner year with an approximate five percent uptick in tourism traffic and an estimated three million visitors through the international airport at San Jose del Cabo.

And it’s no wonder, with Baja possessing ‘industries’ that are shaping world tastes and gaining universal recognition.  Gastronomy – the wines and foods of Baja – is rapidly becoming a major driver of tourism.  With celebrities and chefs like Anthony Bourdain, Rick Bayless and Chuck Hughes raving about the cuisine of Tijuana, the tacos and spider crabs of Popotla and Rosarito, the cheeses of Ojos Negros, the wines of Ensenada’s Valle de Guadalupe and the high-end restaurants in Baja Sur, it is no wonder that foodies from far and near are converging.


Gastronomy is one reason that Baja's seeing more tourism.

Underscoring these positive trends was the calming of the border region.  An article in the New York Times pointed to the fact that Tijuana is ‘safer than it has been in years’ and refers to a ‘resurgence’ in upscale restaurants, sophisticated night clubs and cultural activities.  That kind of coverage is a welcome change from the negative media that dogged Baja for the last few years.

There are many reasons that Baja’s positive media coverage and overall popularity are surging. One contributing factor might be the establishment of  the Baja Image Committee in 2011, comprised of US expatriates and leaders in Baja California’s tourism sector.  The goal was for Americans and Mexicans to work hand-in-hand in ‘changing the dialog’ about Baja California. has pledged to support that effort, working with the committee.

Under the leadership of Hugo Torres (former mayor of Rosarito and owner of the Rosarito Beach Hotel) and Baja California’s Secretary of Tourism, Juan Tintos Funcke, the committee seeks to proactively engage with the public and media, sharing the good news about Baja — safety, affordability, regional attractions and user-friendliness.

To that end, the Baja Image Committee and the tourism offices of Baja California and Baja California Sur remain focused on communicating with everyone, in any way, they can — through social and traditional media, public forums, Sister Cities programs and Rotary meetings, and so forth. is very proud to be part of this campaign.

As I’ve said before, Baja is my passion – a passion I want to share with anyone and everyone who is willing to discover it!  As 2013 begins, so does Baja’s future and we think it is shaping up to be a very bright one.

Baja is my passion and I want to shout it out to the world.
 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 restaurantshotels 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 


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Best of Baja 2012

Best of Baja 2012

2013 is almost here!  As the surf crests on Baja’s hundreds of miles of open beaches, and as tourism surges in this paradise that encompasses more than 55,300 square miles, rides the wave.  Here are some of Baja’s Best Stories and travel information for 2012!  Here’s to that next  big swell, and here’s our special toast to readers is  presented in pictures:  The Best of Baja is our gift to you.

1. In Baja, One Turtle Saved

In Baja, One Turtle Saved













2. A Hidden Tequila Cave in Rosarito Beach

A Hidden Tequila Cave in Rosarito Beach














3. At One with Nature in Ensenada’s Wine Valley: Endémico

At One with Nature in Ensenada’s Wine Valley: Endémico














4. Baja Norte’s Captivating Coast on the Sea of Cortez

Baja Norte’s Captivating Coast on the Sea of Cortez














5. The New Tastes of Baja: Culinary Trends in Baja Norte

The New Tastes of Baja: Culinary Trends in Baja Norte














6. Camping at Espiritu Santo Island and Isla Partida

Camping at Espiritu Santo Island and Isla Partida













7.  Five Great Things to Do in Mexicali

What are the top things to do when you visit this bustling metropolis? Find Out



8. The Arts in Loreto: Lizette Inzunza is Doing What She Loves

The Arts in Loreto: Lizette Inzunza is Doing What She Loves














9. Kayak Fishing in San Quintin

Kayak Fishing in San Quintin













10. Gray Whales in Guerrero Negro: Now is the Time to Plan Your Trip

Gray Whales in Guerrero Negro: Now is the Time to Plan Your Trip














11. Pitaya: Legacy of a Lost Baja Culture

Pitaya: Legacy of a Lost Baja Culture














12. Taking the Plunge: Diving Adventures in Cabo San Lucas

Scuba diving in Cabo San Lucas with Cabo Adventures

Scuba diving in Cabo San Lucas with Cabo Adventures














13. Camels in Cabo? A Little Bit of Egypt Comes to Baja!

Camels in Cabo? A Little Bit of Egypt Comes to Baja!














14. Five Great Baja Escapes

Five Great Baja Escapes



15. Up on the Hill: A View of Magical Punta Banda

Up on the Hill: A View of Magical Punta Banda














16.  The Rich Equine History of Central Baja Continues through Local Races

The Rich Equine History of Central Baja Continues through Local Races
















18. Cabo Pulmo: The Jewel of Mexico

Cabo Pulmo: The Jewel of Mexico












19. Taking the Tijuana Taco Tour

Taking the Tijuana Taco Tour by Derrik Chinn









 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 restaurantshotels 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






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My Baja Love Affair

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


A Baja love affair.

Baja is my true love, too, which is why I launched 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 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 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.


The new Baja love affair is reflected in an increase of cruise ship traffic to Ensenada. Photo by Edgar Lima.

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

My Baja affair grows more meaningful with each passing month…and in a way, 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.

Catching Bait at Sunrise


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. 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 restaurantshotels 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



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Top June Events

By: Eleonora Ferri

What a great time for Baja Events in June! The choice of Cabo for the G20 summit this June reminds us that Baja is not only a place where couples find romance, families relax, fisherman find plenty, foodies are satisfied, wine lovers quench their thirst, nature lovers find paradise and revelers, well, revel. Baja also offers an ideal  setting to inspire the representatives of the world’s major economies to think out of the box as they tackle the most pressing financial and economic issues facing the world’s population. Mexico holds the presidency of the G20 this year and certainly had many beautiful venues to choose from. Selecting Los Cabos to host many of  the world’s most powerful leaders was a vote of confidence by Mexico and the G20, both in the region’s recently upgraded infrastructure, as well as its reputation for being safe.

Even for the non- delegates among us, June will offers many ways to enjoy Baja There are hundreds of local events for everyone that can be found on The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

Tecate: 2nd Paella Fun Fest
When: June 8
A feast for the lovers of this Valencian specialty with a great variety of paellas available for tasting. The event is not only about paella, attendees will have the opportunity to savor and buy regional wines and sangria while enjoying art exhibits and local music.
Cost: Approx $15

San Jose del Cabo: Bajasur Tour
When: June 9
Bajasur tour is Baja California Sur´s first and only surfing circuit consisting of four surf contest throughout the state. The surfing contests are held at some of the best surfing beaches during their prime surfing season. Enjoy a day at the beach full of activities, including free surf lessons for kids, music, food and drinks.
Cost: $18 for participants, free for spectators

San Felipe: Fiesta de la Almeja – Clam Festival
When: June 17
The Sea of Cortez is home to several types of clams, among them the popular chocolate clam that take its name from the caramel color of its large shell. You will find these and much more at the Clam Festival in San Felipe this summer. Stands and booths along the Malecon (the seafront boulevard), will offer a taste of the delicious mollusks and local wines will be available for tasting and sale.
Cost: free

San Jose del Cabo: G20

When June 18-19

This year the summit’s meetings will be held at the new Convention Center in San Jose del Cabo to discuss economic and financial issues such as the reform of international financial institutions, financial supervision and regulation, and the international monetary system. The 20 members will also touch upon non-financial issues but ones that, nonetheless, have an impact on international financial instability such as energy, development, job creation, food security and corruption.

Ensenada: 16th Annual RECORD Off-Road Series Ensenada-San Felipe 250
When: June 22-24
Cars, motorcycles and ATVs can compete in the Ensenada – San Felipe 250, an adrenaline filled race running from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Cortez across beautiful Baja California.
Cost: free for spectators

Rosarito: Mexico International Volleyball
When: June 23-24
Previously known as the “Estero Beach”, this volleyball tournament can host up to a few thousand amateur and professional players and is one of the largest beach volleyball tournaments in the world.
Cost: $15-$50 for participants

Cabo San Lucas: Annual Stars & Stripes Fishing and Golf Tournament
When: June 28 – July 1
This is the “feel-good” Cabo event of the year that from 1996 to today has helped raise over 11 million dollars. The proceeds benefit children in the US and Mexico. The 4-day long event includes  a fishing tournament, golfing and music.
Cost: all inclusive package deals available for $2,375/person

Cabo San Lucas: 3rd Annual Cabo Marine Show
When: July 5-7
The Cabo Marine Show is back for its third year in the spectacular Cabo San Lucas Marina, in the heart of downtown Cabo. Yacht brokers and representatives from the nautical industry, luxury marinas, hotels and resorts, and many local vendors will converge on a new location at IGY Marina Cabo San Lucas for this three-day annual event.
Cost: free to the public

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Are You Addicted to Baja?

Baja Addiction

Baja Addiction Causes Sufferer to See the World through Rose Colored Lenses

If your friends and family joke that you’re addicted to Baja, they may be right. Researchers in Norway have identified seven signs that you may be addicted. They’ve used those signs to develop a test to help you figure out if your suffer from a Baja addiction.

The test, called the Baja Addiction Scale, is based on seven basic criteria, where all items are scored on the following scale: (1) Very rarely (2) Rarely (3) Sometimes (4) Often and (5) Very often. The signs are:

(i) You spend a lot of time thinking about Baja or a planned trip to Baja.

(ii) You feel an urge to visit Baja more and more.

(iii) You spend time in Baja to forget about problems in “the real world”.

(iv) You have tried to cut down on your time in Baja without success.

(v) You become restless, confused, disoriented or troubled if you are prohibited from visiting Baja.

(vi) You enjoy Baja so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies or hurts physically.

(vii) You can no longer relate to people that don’t share your addiction.

If you are, indeed, addicted, you’re not alone, researchers say. “The love for Baja has continued to increase rapidly. We are dealing with a subdivision of Baja addiction connected to traveler’s dilemma,” said Eyeluv B. Aha, who conducted the study. The traveler’s dilemma is the limbo state one experiences due to his/her love for travel when they recognize there’s nothing like sleeping in his/her own bed.

Aha heads the research project “Baja Addiction” at the University of La Paz where she has spent the last 46 years studying the illness. The results of her research have just been published in the journal Psychological Reports, under the difficult to find subsection – “Afflictions with No Solutions.

Aha said she sees some clear patterns in Baja addiction. “It occurs across all age groups but we have found that people who have a sense of adventure, love the outdoors and enjoy pleasant weather are more susceptible to the illness than those with lower scores on those traits,” she said.  People who like being inside all day tend to be less at risk from Baja addiction. They visit Baja but rarely leave their rooms. “Women are more at risk of developing Baja addiction, probably due to the social nature of Baja,” Aha said. Aha said the research also shows that Baja addiction was related to extroversion. People with high scores on the new scale further tend to have a somewhat delayed sleep-wake rhythm. When they are in Baja they find themselves not wanting to sleep because of fear they will miss out on a life changing event.

The study was based on 26 million travelers — 14 million women and 12 million men.

Despite Aha’s findings, others are not as convinced about Baja-based addictions, especially those that have never visited the region.

“There are often underlying or co-occurring psychiatric disorders, such as weekend warrior syndrome, adrenaline addiction, perma-smile, or a disturbance in the ability to conform to social norms, all of which may explain the person’s addiction to Baja,” Lisa Green, Travel Savant at recently told Krista Simmons in an interview for the article in NY Magazine called “The Weekend Escape Plan – Todos Santos. While she was not quoted, she offered this: “The question is, do we need another ‘disorder’ in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), if the manifestations of Baja addiction can already be accounted for by well-described and better-validated conditions such as the “I live for Baja” syndrome?”

That, however, doesn’t mean that is writing off the possibility of Baja-based addictions. Green believes that better research is needed to quantify these behaviors and she has committed to doing so. “We need far more study on this issue,” she says. In fact, our company is developing alternative treatments for people who feel they suffer from symptoms of Baja addiction, such our patented “Baja patch” which provides small doses of the chemicals found in the air in Baja, as well as a “Baja light‘ that gives off special rays that are similar to those found in Baja for those suffering from Baja withdrawal (as well as a gentle bronze tan).

Please contact at if you are interested in participating in this study or learning more about these new products.


What is the Cost of Living in Mexico Compared to the US, Canada and Europe?

The cost of living in Mexico is lower than that of the US, Canada and Europe, especially for items that are produced locally. The good news is that this includes most product categories such as food, furniture and transportation. Additionally, if you are resourceful and patient enough to look for the right place and right items, i.e., if you avoid Gringo targets and tourist traps, most products are incredibly affordable. Despite the low cost of living, Mexico supports the 11th largest economy in the world. Areas in Baja California Sur remain among the most attractive in Mexico. Here’s how a few of the principal expenses stack-up in Mexico.


A single household with four family members spends around $360 every month on grocery items. Food and drinks in Mexico are very affordable since the country widely produces agricultural products, livestock and other raw materials. Food production is initially for the citizens although there are also manufacturing companies which aim to deliver to foreign countries primarily.

One can have a full meal of a taco or burrito and a drink for less than $2. There are also high-end restaurants which serve Mexican or foreign cuisines at rates averaging $100+. Middle class places can serve meals to full families for well under this amount.

Beef is very cheap in Mexico and it is the most popular meat product among locals. Poultry comes a solid second in terms of purchased grocery items. Mexico also produces several herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits which can be bought at very low prices outside the city.

There are a number of markets in major cities selling agricultural products like bell pepper, tomatoes, corn, rice and beans at low rates or wholesale. Mexican beer is cheap while there are also high quality drinks like tequila, tea and coffee which can cost higher.

Housing Costs in Mexico

On the average, a single person spends about $250 every month on apartment rentals. As the quality and space increases, prices will also become more expensive. Location is obviously a determining factor so spots in more desirable locations command more of a premium. Rents in Mexico can be higher than in equivalent-sized US towns or cities if the place is popular or fashionable, particularly places within easy reach of the US border or frequented by foreign visitors and expats. In less popular (or less well known / off the beaten track) towns and cities, you may find good quality accommodation at lower rents that you would pay for the equivalent space in the US. Some additional quantitative data can be found here.

Services Costs in Mexico

Utilities are more expensive in Mexico than in many other areas. For example, prices for electricity are high, compared with US and even European prices, due mainly to the lack of competition. Telephone services, both landlines and cell phones, are priced higher than the US and Europe. Telmex, the national telco incumbent which has a natural monopoly. The advent of internet telephony (e.g. SkypeVonage) is beginning to make long distance communications, especially, affordable. As such, internet rates start at around $20 per month while annual subscriptions tend to be cheaper.

Piped water is relatively inexpensive, but not always potable (drinkable). Decades of under-investment, combined with a widespread attitude of impertinence towards paying water bills has left Mexico’s main water system in poor condition. As a result, most people purchase bottled water, often in 20 liter containers. Bottled water costs hundreds, if not thousands, of per cent more per liter when compared against the price of potable tap water in the US, Canada or Europe.

Clothing Costs in Mexico

Shopping for name brand clothes in Mexico can be fairly expensive; however, department stores, flea markets and street vendors offer a tremendous assortment of options. The quality of clothes is also good if manufactured locally. There are imported products from the United States, Europe and Asia as well. Products from the latter are quite cheap and are sold in bulk. Prices for traditional Mexican dresses are around $30 while shoes cost around $50, depending on quality. The average Mexican spends $125 to $200 each month on clothes. Again, overall Mexico is a great place to shop for locally made items.

Healthcare Costs in Mexico

Mexico also gives utmost importance to the health and security of its people. Health insurance policies are advised to all working individuals while there are several excellent health facilities providing quality care and state-of-the-art technology. Average insurance rates cost around 50 euros every month. There are several compensation benefits provided to insurance policyholders. The government also has a housing authority agency which takes care of poverty and homelessness.

Technology in Mexico

A growing range of items, especially domestic appliances, audio/visual equipment, technology (e.g. iPods, WiFi), computers, computer software and cameras are more expensive than identical items sold in the USA.

Employment Costs in Mexico

Trade and tourism remains to be the top industries of Mexico and comprises the bulk of its GDP support. The employment rate is estimated to be at 92% and the government foresees a continued decrease in unemployed individuals. The economic boom of Mexico may also be contributed to several citizens working abroad and bringing in dollars from the United States and Europe. If expatriates’ skills match the category in demand at the moment, employment can come easy (subject to the regulatory framework).

Transportation Costs in Mexico

Cars cost slightly more in Mexico than equivalent models in the US.

Local and national pubic transportation is generally lower in cost than the US/CA and continental Europe. Competition has been introduced in the domestic airline market and low-cost airlines are beginning to make a significant difference to domestic air-travel fares in Mexico, has been relatively expensive to date.

Gasoline and diesel is (currently) subsidized by the Mexican government. For this reason prices don’t fluctuate as much as those in the USA and Europe when oil prices go up or down on international markets. In fact, the government recently suggested they would retain prices at the equivalent of around $2.50 per gallon for 2009. However, it is unclear how much longer Mexico will be able to afford to subsidize the price of auto fuels.

Baja Events – May 2012 – Picks

Spring is in full bloom in Baja and wine shines as the undisputed star of the Peninsula during May. And where there’s wine, regional food usually follows and often with a backdrop of joyful music and fine art to cater to our senses.

The Guadalupe Valley, our backyard Tuscany, is a veteran in organizing fiestas that capture the spirit of the season. This May for the first time,Todos Santos in Baja California Sur, borrows the Valle de Guadalupe’s art of celebrating the season, blending it with its own recipe to appeal to our palate at the GastroVino festival.

If great food and fine wine is not your… cup of tea, other seasonal festivities provide an ample taste of the Baja lifestyle, including horse shows, off road races, and art festivals. Finally, on June 2nd, Baja comes to San Diego for the Baja Bash, a benefit event that promises to entertain with art and flavors of the Peninsula, celebrity chefs and top musicians, all helping to support WiLDCOAST preserve the natural and unique environment all Baja aficionados have come to cherish.

There are hundreds of local events for everyone that can be found on The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

Rosarito: World Outdoor Racquetball Mexico Cup
When: May 3-6
Don’t miss this spectacular event that will take place at the  Rosarito Beach Hotel. The competition will begin on May 3rd and continue until May 6th, 2012. The tournament will feature handball and outdoor categories that will compete for a slice of $20,000 in prize money.
$50 to $90

Ensenada: 10th Annual Horse, Art and Wine Festival
When: May 20
A great event for horse lovers with a packed program that will keep you entertained all day. But it’s not only about horses. There will be food, live music, folk dancing, art exhibits and, of course, Guadalupe Valley wines to enjoy in the beautiful setting of the Adobe Guadalupe Vineyards Inn.
Cost: Approx $24

Todos Santos: 1st GastroVino: Baja Food and Wine Festival
When: May 19th and 20th
A festival created to celebrate the typical food and wine of Baja California. Several wineries from northern Baja will offer tasting and wine for purchase, while top chefs from the Todos Santos region will prepare local delicacies. Bands will alternate on the stage throughout the day and a silent auction will benefit local charities. A wine maker’s dinner is available on the 19th, the night before the main event.
Cost: Approx $19

Ensenada: Fiesta of the Flowering Vineyards
When: May 19
This event is a perfect choice for those looking to immerse themselves in the breadth of what Mexican wines can offer. It’s held at a different winery every year, with regional wineries presenting samples of some of their best varietals.   The 2012 edition will take place at Vinedos Lafarga. There will be regional food as well as live music.
Cost Approx $15

Rosarito: Rosarito Art Fest
When: May 26-27
The Rosarito Art Festival will be celebrating its third year, hoping to build upon the success of last year’s event. The event is organized by the artist’s community of Rosarito Beach, and will showcase the skills of over 100 regional artists.
Cost: free

Ensenada: 44th Tecate SCORE Baja 500
When: June 1-3
Half the size of the Baja 1000, but not half the fun and excitement. Over 250 cars, motorcycles, trucks, and ATVs compete on 500 miles of Baja’s rugged terrain. The race will begin and end in Ensenada.
Cost: free for spectators

San Diego: The Baja Bash in San Diego
When: June 2 is pleased to support Wildcoast, the international conservation team responsible for groundbreaking environmental projects and campaigns to conserve Baja California’s coastal habitats, in sponsoring this event that celebrates the natural beauty of Baja. Over 300 surf legends, community leaders, and environmental pioneers are expected to gather at the Port Pavilion in San Diego for an evening of festivities that include a sunset cocktail reception, Baja-inspired cuisine, a photography exhibit, live music, and a silent and live auction.
Cost: $75


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.