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Mexico Welcomed Record-Breaking 35 Million International Tourists In 2016

World-famous Mexican hospitality and diverse tourism experiences fuel industry growth

The Mexico Tourism Board announced today a record-breaking 35 million international visitors traveled to Mexico in 2016, representing a growth of 9 percent compared to 2015. This growth is more than twice the global industry average, most recently reported at 3.9 percent by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in January 2017.  Additionally, tourism spending by international visitors grew even faster, at 10.4 percent, highlighting the strength of Mexico’s appeal to luxury travelers, interest in multi-destination visits, and demand for Mexico’s gastronomy, artisanal goods and shopping offering.

“Mexico’s sustained, fast growth is a testament to the incredible quality and diversity in our tourism offering and the hard work for the entire industry, both internationally and domestically. More than 9 million Mexicans working in the tourism and hospitality industry have made it their mission to ensure visitors have incredible experiences,” remarked Lourdes Berho, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board.  “Plans are already underway to ensure 2017 builds upon these achievements and that Mexico continues to welcome all visitors and give them reasons to come back again and again.”

Mexico Welcomed Record-Breaking 35 Million International Tourists In 2016

Mexico’s World Famous Hospitality Makes Visitors Feel At Home

True to the famous Mexican adage, ‘mi casa es tu casa’ (my home is your home), travelers from all over the world have recognized Mexico as being one of the most welcoming and friendliest places to visit in 2016.  In fact, the Mexico Tourism Board’s internal consumer tracking studies showed more than 94 percent of visitors reported an experience that “exceeded their expectations” and 86 percent say they would “like to come back again” in the next six months– some of the highest scores in the industry.  Examples include:

  • Mexico was awarded #1 country in the world for Family Travel and Puerto Vallarta as #2 destination in the world for LGBTQ travel by the global Travvy Awards
  • For the third year in a row, Mexico was ranked as the friendliest and most welcoming country in the world by the John Mason survey of expatriates in 191 countries
  • “Close to China” (Cerca de China) is a special program co-created by both China and Mexico which shares and recognizes best practices in the services offered to Chinese travelers by hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and guides
  • “Halal Mexico” is a special program to help prepare airlines, hotels, restaurants and the wider Mexico tourism industry to cater to travelers from around the world that maintain a halal diet

Mexico’s Visitors by Air and Expanded Connectivity Continues to Grow

Tourists arriving by air grew at an even faster rate of 10.7 percent, propelled by continued expansion in connectivity.  This includes service from new international markets to multiple Mexico destinations, expanded frequency on existing routes, and upgraded aircrafts featuring additional seats along with improved passenger experiences.

Mexico’s Top Destinations Featured and Recognized Around the World

From industry awards to consumer media, surveys and high profile brands, Mexico has once again proven itself once of the world’s most recognized destinations in 2016.  Examples include:

  • The New York Times named Tijuana (#8) and Puerto Escondido (#32) in their 52 Places to Go in 2017. Mexico City was featured as the #1 place to visit in their 2016 list.
  • Travel & Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards” reader survey named five Mexican cities in its Top 10 Best Cities in Latin America rankings, including San Miguel de Allende (#1), Oaxaca (#3), Mexico City (#4), Merida (#5), Guadalajara (#8)
  • Mexico and its local partners and destinations across the country, won a collective 35 International Travvy Awards in early 2017 including: Mexico as Best Family Travel Destination in the world; Riviera Maya region as the Best Honeymoon Destination in Latin America, and Puerto Vallarta as Best LGBTQ destination globally. In Mexico, Los Cabos received top recognition for its culinary and luxury offerings.
  • The Rough Guides named Mexico City as the #2 city to visit
  • National Geographic named Baja California as one of its top places you need to visit in 2017
  • Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017 selected multiple locations in the Riviera Maya and Yucatan region including Tulum for one of its largest features in 2017

The Mexico Tourism Board’s recently announced 2017 tourism development strategy included a focus on developing expanded products and personalized marketing campaigns focusing on areas such as luxury, weddings and romance, diving, biodiversity and nature, culture, gastronomy, high-profile events, sports and adventure, as well as programs for audience segments such as millennials, LGBTQ and retirees.

In each of these areas, partnerships with key destinations as well as global travel operators will bring an ever-expanded portfolio of options to travelers of all types. These industry partnerships are critical to Mexico’s goal to appeal to a broader audience in new markets, globally. This will help in achieving the new ambitious goal of reaching 50 million international visitors by 2021.

For more information about Mexico, please visit 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, call toll-free (US/CAN) at 855-BAJA-411 or email us at

EagleRider Creates a New Baja California Motorcycle Experience Portal

As part of ever continuing efforts to increase convenience and service for customers, EagleRider, the world’s pioneer and innovator of motorcycle experiences, has launched all-new experience portals that capture the essence of iconic American destinations to give riders as close to a firsthand look as possible of what’s in store if you’re thinking of undertaking a journey with EagleRider.

The Baja California Experience Portal is now available for the adventurer’s viewing pleasure. This page is a one-stop shop for anyone who’s ever been interested in touring one of the most highly acclaimed destinations in the World, a North American final frontier. The video magnificently transfers the experience that riders have when they undertake this adventure and no less than 7 Baja tours—both guided and self-drive—are featured on the page so you can take your pick and explore Baja exactly the way you want to while EagleRider takes care of the logistics.

So check out the experience portal here and then go find out for yourself what all the fuss is about Baja California from the saddle of your favorite motorcycle!

Baja California Motorcycle Experience


Pioneering the motorcycle rental concept in 1992, EagleRider has since extended its branches to become a motorcycle experience industry giant offering services of all kinds to assist and empower motorcyclists and travelers worldwide. Whether you simply would like to try out the motorcycle of your dreams or go on a great adventure in the self-drive and guided tours offered from any one of our beautifully located 100+ locations across the globe, EagleRider offers the world’s favorite brands including Harley-Davidson®, Indian®, Honda® and BMW® in motorcycles as well as Scooters, Dirt Bikes, and ATV’s. We also provide motorcycle service, parts, and accessories in addition to a vast array of solutions for individuals as well as dealers that are looking to buy and/or sell their bikes.

For more information on rentals and tours, please visit If you are interested in buying and/or selling a bike, visit Our inventory of parts and accessories can be found at
 is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at



Baja Year in Review – 2015

Baja Year in Review - 2015

In this, the first installment of what we hope will become a regular year-end feature, we put a bow on the year in Baja with a review of our favorite stories, headlines and videos in 2015.

We hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane, and wish you and yours the very best during this special time of year.

¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!

Headlines to Remember

Sometimes the headlines tell you pretty much all you need to know. Here are five that made us smile in 2015.

Baja Year in Review - 2015

Valle de Guadalupe Restaurant Makes the World’s Best Breakfast

Locals and SoCal daytrippers weren’t surprised, but just about everyone else was when culinary website FoodieHub made it official: Valle de Guadalupe restaurant La Cocina de Doña Esthela serves the world’s best breakfast. The announcement was made May 31, 2015 at FoodieHub’s third annual awards ceremony, and was the latest sign that Baja California cuisine is becoming increasingly respected around the globe.

Baja California Tourism Hits Highest Level in Eight Years

The last weekend in July saw 260,000 people visit Baja California, spending more than $66 million in the state’s hotels, restaurants, and other businesses.

“’Baja California is living its best tourism moment in eight years,” said tourist minister Oscar Jess Escobedo Carignan at the time, attributing the increased numbers to coordinated efforts between state government and the private sector.

Baja Year in Review - 2015

Photo courtesy of Carolina Bastida Davis.

Seven New Mexican Locations – Two in Baja – Added to List of Protected Areas

The Sierra la Giganta and Sierra de Guadalupe mountain ranges in Baja California Sur were among seven newly protected natural areas in Mexico in 2015, bringing the total number of protected areas in the country to 184.

Two of World’s Top 100 Golf Courses Located in Los Cabos

GOLF Magazine selected Los Cabos layouts Diamante (Dunes) and Cabo del Sol (Ocean) for inclusion in its prestigious “Top 100 Courses in the World” list, as featured in the publication’s October 2015 issue.

“To flip through our 17th biennial rankings is to travel the globe,” wrote Top 100 chairman Joe Passov, noting that the “rankings are determined by a 100-strong international panel whose members include major championship winners, architects, journalists and a cadre of connoisseurs who have played all of the world’s top 100 courses.”

Chosen from a ballot of nearly 500 golf courses worldwide, Diamante Dune shot up 14 spots in the 2015 rankings. It now stands at No. 38. Cabo del Sol’s Ocean Course, a Jack Nicklaus design with an ebb-and-flow layout that delivers players to the sea on both nines, clings to the no. 100 spot.

Baja Year in Review - 2015

Mexican naval ship Uribe now rests beneath the surface…as the centerpiece of the new Rosarito Underwater Park.

Sunken Naval Ship Serves as Centerpiece of Rosarito Underwater Park

On November 21, 2015, a few carefully calibrated charges sent the decommissioned Mexican Navy patrol boat Uribe to her final resting place: in 90’ of water in Bahía El Descanso, two miles off the coast of the famed lobster village of Puerto Nuevo.

The sinking was the culmination of years of hard work – bringing the 220’ ship over from Manzanillo, cleaning and preparing her, and determining her ideal underwater location were all expensive and time consuming propositions – but also the beginning of a far more ambitious project, which is the formation of the 100-acre Rosarito Underwater Park (or Parque Submarino Rosarito).

In addition to a “ship graveyard” and artificial reef formed by the Uribe and three other vessels, the underwater park will also feature shallower sections showcasing, respectively, pyramids and statues that evoke Mexico’s Pre-Hispanic past, and a Titanic tribute with chimneys, propellers and other pieces of wreckage. There will also be an onshore museum.

Our Favorite Stories

Many thanks to our contributors around the Baja California peninsula for another great year of stories. Here are three of our favorites, and judging from the response we got on social media, three of yours as well.

Baja Year in Review - 2015

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

Our most popular and commented upon story this year was A Gringo in Mexico blogger and contributor Scott Koenig’s list of warnings for potential Baja visitors, which cleverly subverted the type of fearmongering  alarums against Mexican travel so common in the U.S. media.

Here’s a sneek peak… Click on the link below the excerpt to read the full story.

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.

  1. 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.

  1.  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.

Read more

Baja Year in Review - 2015

10 Things to Do in Tijuana (That Don’t Involve Drinking)

San Diegan Katherine Belarmino knows her drinks. In addition to writing about restaurants and bars in her blog Travel the World, which helps vacationers get the most out of their travel experiences, she also samples beer, wine and cocktails around the globe for Passports & Cocktails. In this profile of Tijuana for, however, she concentrates on the cultural aspects of a city too long pigeonholed as a cross-border getaway destination for decadent behavior.

Historically Tijuana has been a drinking mecca.  Its proximity to Southern California cities like San Diego and Los Angeles and its legal drinking age of 18 meant Tijuana was a popular place for the under 21 crowd to come for drinking and clubbing.  Tourism from the United States to Tijuana dried up for years when stories of crime and drug wars filled the news.  Now Tijuana is a safe place to visit again, and the implementation of a passport requirement means the demographic of the traveler looking for a day trip or weekend trip to Tijuana has shifted.  Tijuana’s streets are no longer overwhelmed with rowdy underage drinkers.  Now they are being strolled by couples and families looking for things to do that celebrate Tijuana’s beauty and culture.

The Tijuana Cultural Center is the most important center for culture in northwest Mexico.  Founded in 1982, the Tijuana Cultural Center portrays the culture of Mexico close to the border.  The center has art galleries, a botanical garden, an aquarium, an IMAX theater, a performance hall, and an outdoor area that is a great place for events, festivals, and outdoor exhibits.  There is constantly something going on at the Tijuana Cultural Center.  The center hosts concerts, theatrical productions, movies, documentaries, and many other events, some of which are free to the public and others which require paid tickets.

During our visit, the Tijuana Cultural Center was featuring a beautiful exhibit of the works of Massimo Listri, a photographer of interior spaces like libraries, churches, and palaces, some of which you may recognize from your own travels.  The Museum of the Californias is a permanent exhibit covering different times in the history of the Baja peninsula including European explorers, missions and missionaries, the Mexican Revolution, and more recent history.  Did you know Tijuana had an airplane factory in the 1920s?  We also visited an exhibit featuring the work of local Baja artists.

Read more

Baja Year in Review - 2015

5 Beautiful Restaurant Views in Baja California Sur

Katherine Belarmino wasn’t our only contributor having fun with numbers this year. Los Cabos correspondent Chris Sands followed up his popular pieces on The 5 Best Songs About Cabo San Lucas and 5 Classic Books About the Baja California Peninsula with this similarly enumerated look at Baja California Sur’s most spectacular restaurant views.

Although the most famous restaurant vantages in Baja California Sur are those that provide majestic views of the granite rock formations at Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, winning combinations of fine food and gorgeous views can be found throughout the peninsula’s southernmost state.

Here are five of our favorites:

Sunset da Mona Lisa, Tourist Corridor, Los Cabos

This is the gold standard. Often ranked as one of the most romantic restaurants in the world, Sunset da Mona Lisa offers Italian specialties and fresh local seafood dishes (from their own fishing boats, no less), a newly minted Taittinger Terrace Champagne and oyster bar, and of course sublime views of the Sea of Cortez, Cabo San Lucas Bay, and Land’s End. Proposals are so common here that wedding coordinators are on standby, ever ready to help plan and stage the ultimate destination wedding. Any meal at Mona Lisa is memorable, but for the maximum experience, synchronize your dinner reservation with the sunset.

Palapa Azul, Playa El Tecolote, La Paz

The beaches of La Paz – the capital city of Baja Sur since it became a state in 1974 – are incredibly beautiful, and also serve as sites for some of the area’s best barefoot dining. Playa El Tecolote is triply blessed, since it’s home to soft sand, the eclectic offerings of Palapa Azul, and incredible views centered around uninhabited offshore island Espiritu Santo. The restaurant is easy to spot, since it’s the only one around housed in a hollowed out boat. Grab a table beachside, order up a bucket of ice cold beer, and sample local specialties like chocolate clams and marlin en escabeche while enjoying the spectacular surroundings.

Read more

Videos We Loved

We didn’t make any of these videos, but we’re happy to share them, since they show off the spectacular natural beauty of our favorite place on earth, as well as the special character of its inhabitants.

Baja Year in Review - 2015

A Taste of Baja

Baja Taste, a one-hour documentary about the vibrant culinary scene in the Baja California peninsula’s northern state, enjoyed its world premiere in the southern one, at the 4th annual Los Cabos International Film Festival. In fact, it was the festival’s concluding film, enjoying an enthusiastic reception at Plaza Mijares in San Jose del Cabo.

The documentary, which was directed by Roberto Najera and produced by Adriana Santos, spotlights many of the chefs who have spearheaded the state’s culinary renaissance, and helped to promote destination food and wine tourism in Tijuana, Ensenada, Rosarito and the Valle de Guadalupe: chefs such as Miguel Angel Guerrero, creator of the influential Baja Med movement; Javier Plascencia, scion of Tijuana’s most famous family of restaurateurs; Diego Hernandez, the man behind wine country standout Corazon de Tierra; and Oso Campos, whose mobile Tacos Kokopelli is at the forefront of Tijuana’s street food scene.

We can’t share the entire film, but you can watch the trailer here.

The Magical World of Espiritu Santo

The Uribe may well be the centerpiece of the most ambitious artificial reef ever created off the Baja California peninsula, but it will not be the first. That honor belongs to the Fang Ming, which along with another vessel confiscated for transporting illegal Chinese immigrants, was sunk near Isla Espiritu Santo – just north of La Paz – in November 1999. The Fang Ming lies approximately 70’ beneath the Sea of Cortez, and is now a thriving habitat for fish, mollusks, sea turtles, and other marine life.

Isla Espiritu Santo itself is breathtakingly beautiful, and a mecca for kayakers and others interested in exploring one of the most magical places on earth. This video captures a bit of that magic.


Rush Hour – BJ Baldwin’s Epic Stunt Drive Through Ensenada

BJ Baldwin knows a little bit about driving the peninsula. But the multi-time SCORE Baja 1000 and overall series champion has rarely if ever shown off his skills to greater advantage than in this video sponsored by Monster Energy, in which he takes viewers on an exhilarating tour through Ensenada.


Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort Presents The Evolution of the Bikini with Amanda Cerny

The hottest new hotel in Cabo San Lucas is Breathless, a hip, adults-only all-inclusive that boasts a prime location at the juncture of the Land’s End city’s marina and its most popular beach, Playa El Medano.  In this special video for the romance focused resort chain, Vine star Amanda Cerny takes a fun look at the evolution of the ladies swimwear.


Thanks again for all your support this year. Happy Holidays! is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at


Mariachi Concertgoers Can Get Amazing Hotel Deals, Plus Help The Rosarito Boys and Girls Club

One deluxe lodging package costs less than concert tickets alone

ROSARITO BEACH, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO—Those who attend the  December 12th Mariachi Vargas performance at the Baja California Center will see one of the great concerts in the region’s history, and can also get amazing hotel deals and help the city’s Boys and Girls Club.

Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. is when world famous Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán will perform for the first time with a binational full symphony orchestra in a gala concert at the state-of-the-art Baja California Center, just off the scenic road in northern Rosarito.

Rosarito Boys and Girls Club

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán will perform in Rosarito with a full binational symphony on Dec. 12, 2015.

It will be an amazing performance, which comes with a deluxe dinner option that includes a meet-and-greet with one of the world’s greatest mariachi bands.

Thanks to Marsh Production, the event promoter, and the iconic Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort, fine lodging and a generous $100 per ticket donation to the Boys and Girls Club can be part of the package, along with the glorious and glamorous evening of outstanding music.

Tickets for the event purchased directly through the promoter are $350 (that includes dinner and the meet-and-greet), $100 and $60.

But for every ticket bought with lodging packages at the Rosarito Beach Hotel, individually at the resort shopping center or online at www.BAJACONCERT,com, $100 will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club — and that includes for the $60 tickets.

For the donation to be made, people must mention the word “CLUB” or type it in the promo code “CLUB” if purchasing at the Baja Concert website.

“This is an amazing effort to help the Rosarito Boys and Girls Club with much needed funding,” said organization president Rosy Torres “It will be a great help in providing after school programs for the region’s deserving youth.”

The Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort will offer special lodging and concert packages ranging from $169 to $699 for the performance, which begins at 8 p.m. and will be preceded by VIP events.

The resort’s $169 package includes a one-night stay in an oceanfront room plus two general admission concert tickets, which is only $49 more than purchasing tickets alone.

The $269 package includes lodging in a deluxe one-bedroom condo in the resort’s Pacifico Tower, plus two gold section tickets, which means the deluxe condo option is just $69 more than purchasing tickets alone.

A $699 Gala VIP package includes the deluxe condo stay plus, starting at 5 p.m., a meet and greet with Mariachi Vargas at the Baja California Center followed by a pre-gala four-course gourmet dinner accompanied by fine wines. That is actually $1 less than purchasing the tickets alone.

Rosarito Boys and Girls Club

Concertgoers staying at the historic Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort will also help support the Rosarito Boys and Girls Club.

Those who purchase the VIP package also will receive a commemorative program containing the history of mariachi and Mariachi Vargas’ position within that history, autographed pictures of the group’s members, and Spanish/English lyrics for all of the evening’s concert selections.

These advance concert packages are available by phone 1-866-ROSARITO or in person at the resort. Be sure to mention the word “CLUB” to ensure the donation to the Rosarito Boys and Girls Club

More information on Baja’s largest and best known beachfront resort, plus other specials and events offered there are available at

For more information on the concert, please call (818) 966-3966 or visit, or

“There are certain moments in musical history when we wish we could say ‘I was there’,” stated Ed Marsh, executive producer of the show.

“This musical event will be historical due to its uniqueness, and groundbreaking production values. Who to best perform this epic event if not the greatest Mariachi ensemble of all time: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan!”

“What Edward Marsh is doing is extraordinary, not just the concert itself, but all the fabulous help to our Rosarito underprivileged kids,” said Ms. Torres.

“This is a truly exceptional event at Baja’s state-of-the- art convention center,” said resort owner and former Rosarito Mayor Hugo Torres. “It will be a wonderful evening both for long time fans of great mariachi and those new to the genre. We are pleased to be associated with it.”

The Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort was founded in 1925. The historic property is totally self-contained, yet only a short stroll from the downtown tourist district and a short drive from major Baja attractions like the Puerto Nuevo Lobster Village, Baja Studios (where Titanic was filmed) and the wine country of Valle de Guadalupe. is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at

Whale watching tours in Baja

There but a very few blessed places in the entire planet where one can sit along the beach or ride out just a few miles of the shores and be amazed by the spectacle of a whole colony of humpback whales or gray whales found so close to human habitation. Baja California in Mexico is one of these every few and fortunate places.

The Peninsula of Baja California is blessed to be located in between two very abundant and biologically diverse bodies of water. On the western shores of the Baja peninsula lies the expansive blue vastness that is the Pacific Ocean while its eastern shores open up to the Gulf of California (more popularly called the Sea of Cortez or Mar de Cortes after the Spanish conquistador who discovered the peninsula). These two large bodies of water eventually meet and marry at the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula forming an elongated U-shaped border of water area around the peninsula.

Almost every municipality in Baja California has at least one dock, harbor, marina or beach that offers whale watching tours and trips. Several species of whales such as gray whales and humpback whales, along with other large marine animals like hammerhead sharks and whale sharks head towards the southern regions of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean during fall and winter months to relish the warm waters found in these regions. However, many whales can still be sighted all through out the year in Baja California since the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez are rich with nutrients and sources of food for these animals.

Many tourists and vacationers that come to Baja California are attracted by the pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and the fresh sea breeze, things that can rarely be experienced and enjoyed nowadays because of the pollution and exploitation of nature which are rampant in almost every place in the entire planet. And it seems like whales are also attracted to Baja waters precisely because they continue to be untouched and are protected by both the government and the local inhabitants that rely on these waters for a living.

Here at Baja California, those wishing to watch whales up close can go on one of the whale watching tours. Guests and guides would be taken by boats and yachts to areas where humpback or gray whales can be sighted. Many time during these trips, these gentle animals would even swim close enough to the boats for guests to reach out and pat their slippery heads. Seeing and being so close to these amazing aquatic creatures is a wonderful experience that kids and adults will both enjoy.

However, you need not ride a boat out in the open sea in order to see a whale in Baja California. All you need is a little patience an d comfortable chair and you can watch whales flipping atop the water or spraying fountains of water from the backs right in the comforts of your hotel terrace or on the beach.

Come whale watching in Baja California now and enjoy a wholesome and exhilarating outdoor adventure!

Whale watching adventure

Bridget Turnspole

Being a mother of three overly hyperactive lads whose ages are all under ten years old can be a tedious and stressful job at most times. It seems like only television or video games can keep them in their seats for more than a couple of minutes. However, I understand completely that relying on the telly or video games to babysit the children is very much unhealthy so that when choosing a summer time destination, my husband and I made sure we went somewhere where there are lots of possible fun, lovely activities that our whole family can enjoy.

When the aeroplane landed in La Paz, Baja California, it was all we could do to keep them boys from running around the place and getting lost in the crowded airport. We picked up our rental car and headed to the hotel where we have booked our two week stay in Baja California. The hotel was really lovely, with very pleasant staff and a wonderful view of the Sea of Cortez. The boys could not wait to get to out hotel room so that they can change into their swimming suits and start enjoying the sunny white sand beach which they can glimpse of from the terraces that we passed by on the way to the room.

The hotel room itself was unexpectedly spacious, what with two bedrooms that have air-conditioning and twin king size beds each. It was all very glitzy as well, with a very large jacuzzi that bubbles up warm relaxing water which is located right at our private terrace. There was also a tub, shower, toilet, sink and a large area in the bathroom for changing nappies and placing towels and some such things. We ordered room service first before doing anything else because the aeroplane food was simply terrible, and after a snack of taco pizzas, burritos and Caesar’s salad, we headed straight to the beach.

We booked a quick yacht tour along the shores of La Paz just to see the sights that I was sure was as splendid as almost everything we have seen in Baja so far. I was worried though that the lads might be bored quickly and start to complain and whine like they usually do. All three looked really lovely and adorable in their little swimming trunks and their life vests strapped around them. For a while, they sat quietly in their seats looking around the islands and views of the Sea of Cortez. I was surprised then when they start shouting quite excitedly that they saw a big fish. When we looked however, the sea was still shifting with lively leaping waves but no big fishy was in sight. After a while however, the exact same thing happened.

A few minutes after, our tour guide pointed out that a colony of gray whales were swimming not far from where our yacht was, and it was these large mammals that the boys caught a glimpse of. When told that what they saw were whales, they were quite amazed and excited, and their little eyes kept on moving rapidly over the water in search of the large mammals they have seen only in books and telly before that summer. A little while later, a humongous one surfaced near the boat and let out a hefty spray of water. The boys squealed their delight, pointing and jumping at the whale. The tour guides seemed to find them all so adorable that they lent them their binoculars and the lads spent the entire hour long boat ride looking for whales and shouting out loud when they see one.

We went to several other whale watching places in La Paz. Others used yachts to take us near the bathing colonies of whales while other whale watching activities took place in the marina or the beach. Several times, the whales came so close to the boats that we could reach out and touch them. I myself was a little afraid but the children were tremendously excited to touch a live whale and they kept on reaching out their tiny hands to brush the slippery skin of the whales. We took plenty of videos and pictures and we even bought the boys whale stuffed animals to take with them as remembrances of our whale watching adventures in Baja California.

Whale migration map

Welcome to the hotel california

by Monique Louis

On a dark desert highway, the cool wind in my hair. Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air. Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light. My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, I had to stop for the night—OK, it wasn’t a dark desert highway, more of a friendly and bright Baja street. The wind at the time was cool, although it wasn’t in my hair cause I had my hair was up in a ponytail. There were definitely no colitas involved since a gram of which will earn you a couple of months in jail. And I don’t remember seeing any shimmering lights although I did see a traffic light (the only one in the entire Todos Santos area in fact). No heaviness of head and dimness of sight was experienced, but I definitely wanted to stop, not just for a night, but for an entire week at the famed Hotel California in Todos Santos, Baja California.

Time and time again, several circumstances have proven that the popularity of urban legends benefits local tourism greatly. In Europe for instance, there are plenty of supposedly haunted castles, dungeons and cathedrals that have been a permanent feature on tour maps because of their interesting histories and the intriguing beliefs and rumors that surround them. In Baja California, Mexico however, there is located a little hotel known to millions and millions of people all over the world because of a very popular song. The band who popularized this song was no less than the rock icon the Eagles and the song was known to everyone as Hotel California.

Although I wasn’t even born yet during the time Hotel California was first performed and released by Don Henley and fellow band members, the song has retained its appeal and popularity up until the twenty-first century. I have come across a past copy of the Rolling Stones magazine where it was said that Hotel California was one of the fifty greatest songs of all time (it ranked number 49 I think). I have always loved the song and it is a permanent track in my iPod now. So when I read an article in the Internet mentioning the real Hotel California in Baja which supposedly inspired this all time favorite song of mine, I decided to invite some friends to come and spend a week there with me.

It was rumored that Don Henley was staying in Hotel California in Todos Santos when he wrote the very eerie yet very enchanting song that was entitled after the name of the hotel. So I expected to arrive at an old-looking and dark building that stands in the middle of the desert by itself. I had in mind a structure that resembled one of those dilapidated wooden motels, something like the one in Psycho, with a sombre looking sign, peeling paint work with a noticeable aura of mystery and gloom. You could then understand my surprise when we arrived at a very pleasant and bright looking hotel with a sign at the facade bearing the words Hotel California.

There were plants and flowers in profusion everywhere. And inside, the halls and the eleven hotel rooms display bright vibrant reds, oranges, yellows, violets and blues. We were informed that the hotel California was salvaged from further ruin and eventually renovated by John Stewart and his charming wife Debbie. There were gently sloping archways and brightly colored windows everywhere one looks, and the decorations were perfect for a Mexican hotel. There were also no mirrors on the ceilings (thankfully!) and we were not served champagne on ice unlike the lyrics of the song. It was also fortunate for us that we booked a room in the hotel more than a month in advance because there were plenty of tourists and vacationers eager to check in at the famous Hotel California.

One of my favorite features of the Hotel California, Todos Santos are no doubt the Hotel California Bar and La Coronela Restaurante. The food in the hotel restaurant is beyond description, all fresh and delicious and unique. And the hotel bar was stocked with plenty of spirits and drinks to choose from, including wine and pink champagne. Ha! We also tried dancing to remember and dancing to forget in the bar which was especially lively and crowded during Friday and Saturday nights. It was fun joking around the very friendly hotel staff. We would sometimes address the hotel manager as captain and the lobby receptionist as night man and they were quick to go along with the jokes.

The entire stay was an enjoyable and wonderful experience and during the time when we were checking out of Hotel California, my friends and I kept singing, “You can check out every time you like, but I don’t want to leave”.

Vacationing in loreto

by Amaia Davis

It seems to me that many people nowadays prefer to enjoy plenty of recreational activities such as swimming, scuba diving, shopping, sight seeing or gambling when they are on vacation. I for one however, am one of those people who would rather spend a few relaxing days lounging and doing as little as possible on my vacation instead of engaging in activities that require physical and mental exertion on my part. When my family proposed that we go to Baja California to spend a week of our summer vacation however, I made it certain that we stay at Loreto, Baja California.

Unlike Tijuana or Mexicali which are always crowded with tourists and vacationers looking for a good time, Loreto is a relaxing and peaceful Baja getaway. Not a lot of people know of Loreto actually, and I love that that is so. Although tourism is part of Loreto’s economy, it is by no means the principal source of living that local Loreto citizens depend on. The small municipality is somewhat like a fishing village, with its main industries concentrating on businesses that are connected to the sea such as fishing and pearl diving. Because it is not marketed as a loud, happening party destination, those few tourists that come to Loreto can enjoy a tranquil and relaxing time during their stay.

There are a couple of luxurious and large hotels found in Loreto, Baja California. However, we opted to stay at a small little lodge found near the city proper. What attracted us instantly to the lodge which we stayed in was its quaintness and rustic charm. There are plenty of large, expensive hotels in the United States and so we were not in the least inclined to stay at one during our vacation in Baja California. We rented a two-story villa which had two bedrooms, a fire place, a kitchenette, a living area, three bathrooms and two terraces with a spectacular view of the sea. The furnishings and decorations featured local materials and old-world Mexican charm which made us feel all the more aware of the fact that we are in another country which has a unique and interesting culture of its own.

On the first day during our stay, the kids were very much excited to swim in the beach. Loreto has several beautiful beaches, almost all of which are not crowded during most of the week. We went to the one nearest the lodge and were pleased to see that aside from the sand and the sea, that specific Loreto beach had several mangrove areas that were very picturesque. The water was crystal clear and relaxingly warm. The children were also delighted because they can see many small colorful fishes darting around their submerged feet. I also liked that there was barely any crowd in the beach, so that the kids could wade in the water of walk on the beach for a distance and I can watch them perfectly because there was no noisy crowd blocking my view.

The following day, we went shopping for bargains and souvenirs. I was half expecting that shopping in Loreto was like shopping at Tijuana’s Avenida Revolucion where crowds of noisy, sweaty tourists and locals try to bargain with each other or to advertise their wares. Loreto’s shopping district was definitely not as large or as diversely stocked as Tijuana’s or Ensenada’s. However, it exudes the charm and rustic simplicity that Loreto is known and loved for. The streets and alleyways lined with shops, stalls and boutiques are beautifully cobbled with shiny gray stones and pebbles. There, we were able to buy local art crafts, souvenir sombreros, bottles of tequila and beautifully made silver jewelry pieces for very low prices.

By the end of our vacation, my husband and I felt extremely rejuvenated. Even the children,a s young and hyperactive as they were, were not there noisy and uncontrollable selves during the entire vacation probably because Loreto exudes a relaxing, calming aura. It was nothing short of paradise and we are all in agreement that our next summer vacation should definitely be spend in Loreto, Baja California once more.

Transportation in Baja map