Baja attractions and travel tips for Mexicali, Tijuana, Ensenada, Tecate and Rosarita.
The world-renowned Baja 1000 off-road race is held in Ensenada every year in late November, while the Baja 500 race is held in early June. Off-road enthusiasts use Ensenada year-round as a starting point to explore Baja. The grey whale's annual migration from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California Sur between the months of December and March, and back in the months of April and May, can be seen from the coast of Ensenada. Sightseeing tours are available every day during migration season. Every year during the month of August, the beginning of wine harvest season is celebrated in the Guadalupe Valley and in the city of Ensenada with a two week long series of cultural and culinary events, all under the title banner of Fiestas de la Vendimia (Wine Harvest Festival), which attracts people from all over the world. The Ensenada Carnival is one of the largest in Mexico, as thousands of people gather in the streets for six days and nights.
The most popular tourist attraction in Tijuana is Avenida Revolución. Many foreigners travel there to drink, buy prescription drugs, bootleg brand-name clothing and accessories, and Mexican curiosities. Tijuana's most important entertainment center is the Hipódromo de Agua Caliente. It comprises a horse and dog race track, and a small zoo. Parque Morelos has a small zoo and big open spaces perfect for recreational activities and weekend barbeque; El Parque de la Amistad has a small pond, and a running and dirt-bike track. Parque Teniente Guerrero is a small park located downtown with a public library and weekend entertainment by clowns. Tijuana has various schools of superior studies, conservatory music, dance schools, plastic arts, science and culinary arts.
Rosarito beach is a popular spring break destination for college students and young people in general from the United States. Rosarita boasts miles of beaches, hotels, and dance clubs. Nearby at Popotla are the Fox Studios where many scenes from the movie Titanic were filmed. Some of the sets from the movie are now part of a museum located there.
La Paz, the capital of Baja Sur, offers all forms of water sports and exploration opportunities. By day, cultural tours through the city’s historic district introduce travelers to a centuries-old cathedral, the charming main square and the local museum. By night, restaurants and clubs come alive with some of the best seafood in Baja, live music and a laid-back ambience that is hard to come by in the twin capes to the South.
Loreto is a developing resort area which includes world class golf courses, fishing and all forms of water sports.
Mexico Travel Tips
A minimum of two hours should be allowed for all connections at Mexico City airport - a daunting experience for the first time visitor. Heads Up: Departing gate numbers are not posted on airport monitors until 'maybe' 30 or 45 minutes before the flight is scheduled to leave. Outbound international flights from Mexico City are oftentimes loaded and gone 20 +/- minutes prior to posted departure time.
Bus transportation offers a inexpensive way to travel in Mexico. They generally run day and night. If you are able to sleep in fairly cramped surroundings, this is the way to go. Most cities in Mexico have a Primero Clase (First Class) bus station. They are comfortable and safe. Find first class Mexico bus information at Premara Plus or Christobal Colon.
Warning: It is highly recommended that you AVOID all car rentals in Mexico. You can retain a very friendly, bilingual taxi driver for less money per day than a car (10 bucks an hour is high end earnings for most taxi drivers - try 5 buck an hour offer). Ask your hotel for a taxi driver reference and you'll see more, learn more and maybe make a friend.
If you feel you must rent a car, be prepared for the 15 bucks extra that the rental agencies charge for 'theft' insurance or maybe some other explanation. Check and confirm with your credit card company on the coverage which is needed and usually included with your credit card use. Pay particular attention to the pre inspection routine for existing car damage - scratches, dents, etc.. A favorite scam is to charge an extra 50 to 100 bucks for minor scratches and dings when you turn the car back in. Also find safe evening parking as rental cars are a target for free gas - always check your gas tank before taking off in the morning.
Driving in Mexico can be an adventure in itself. It is generally advised to take the toll roads whenever possible. Make sure you have current insurance and be aware that some listed paved roads are not there at all. Avoid driving between towns in the evening, stick to main highways, take short cuts at your own peril, and enjoy the adventure. It is usually a very complicated test to find out where a main highway leaves town as road signs are very limited or non existent once you enter.
Heads Up: Travelers to and from the Mexico will be required to have a passport or other secure, accepted document to enter or re-enter the United States. Always retain and safeguard the traveler's copy of your tourist card so you may surrender it to Mexican immigration when you depart. You must leave Mexico before your tourist card expires or you are subject to a fine. A tourist card for less than 180 days may be revalidated in Mexico by the Mexican immigration service. Failure to have your tourist card on departure may cause significant delay and missing your flight and fines. Visit the Mexico Immigration section for more information.