BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO – I’m often asked by stateside friends about our family’s experiences traveling in and around Baja California. We drive just south of the border from San Diego 2-3 times a month for weekend stays on the beaches of Rosarito Beach and Ensenada, great food and wine in the Valle de Guadalupe, art and culture in Tijuana and to check out other Baja California destinations and bring the story back to you, our readers. We enjoy sharing tales of our adventures and of course always encourage our amigos and amigas to visit for themselves or join us on a tour.
However, travel is never without its detours and potentially life-changing experiences. To make sure you get the most out of your trip, here are El Gringo’s 10 travel warnings to keep in mind when visiting Baja California…
1. You will be exposed to new and interesting cultures.
From the indigenous Kumiai to migrant families from all over Mexico, visiting Baja California may expose you to new and interesting people, food and cultures.
2. You may develop a decreased tolerance for boring wines.
The Valle de Guadalupe supplies 90% of the vino consumed in Mexico. It’s also home to a burgeoning artisanal wine scene that is producing some imaginative and delicious blends.
3. Street food.
El Gringo knows that street food in Baja California can be scary – scary good! From adobada (marinated pork) tacos and carne asada tortas in Tijuana to ceviche tostadas in Ensenada, there are many delicious and inexpensive options.
4. Tijuana has a graffiti problem.
Not really, but the city does boast a lot of thoughtfully rendered street art. Check out Pasaje Rodriguez, Avenida Revolución, Playas Tijuana and the parking lot/street art gallery at restaurant Verde y Crema for just a taste.
5. Friendliness is contagious.
Baja Californians are notoriously friendly and typically easy-going. Locals welcome visitors with warmth and are always ready to help you with recommendations and directions to their favorite restaurant or cantina.
6. You will develop an aversion to frozen seafood.
Baja California has an abundance of fresh seafood. Fish and shellfish from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez are found everywhere from vendors on the beach to several of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in Baja California.
7. You may notice an Increased tendency to relax.
The sound of rolling waves through an open window at night. A glass of wine in a vineyard on a warm summer afternoon. Baja California has a reputation for relaxation. If not alert, you may experience a siesta. In a hammock.
8. You may be bitten by the Foodie Bug.
Tijuana, Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe have become culinary hotspots on an international scale. You may not be able to resist taking a shot of that perfectly plated dish and posting it to Instagram before devouring it.
9. You will experience spontaneous occurrences of fun.
Baja California provides its tranquillo moments, but the peninsula knows how to have fun too. FACT: There are more festivals than days of the year in Baja California – from the Rosarito Art Fair to the Baja California Culinary Fest.
10. You will develop an urge to return.
El Gringo’s señora is fond of saying that a single day in Baja California feels like three. Living in Southern California makes it easy for us to visit south of the border often. And we suggest that you do the same. Just heed these 10 travel warnings and it’s sure to be a great experience.
Your Gringo in Mexico,