Baja California Journals

Invitation To Baja

Best of IgoUgo

A January 2002 trip to Baja California by Ishtar

So many houses like these Photo, Baja California, Mexico More Photos
Quote: My previous taste of Mexico had taken me around the Distrito Federal and the periphery of the city itself. Baja on the other hand, would prove to be a horse of quite a different color. Common to both was abject poverty and unabashed luxury, side by side.

Invitation To Baja

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

So many houses like these Photo, Baja California, Mexico
Quote:
We got as far as Ensenada, so there may be treasures we didn’t get to unfold. The drive itself, from Santa Ana to a mid-way point between Rosarito and Ensenada is where we dropped anchor. The border crossing can be a veritable nightmare, as Mexicans pour into San Ysidro and Americans fly on the free road to their home-in-progress in the South. The most joyous part of our journey was our day spent in Ensenada. Getting there, once you get past Banamar on the freeway, becomes landscape poetry. It is as if someone had chiseled the Andes a bit carelessly, and left behind towering crags seemingly born from the Pacific Ocean. As you drive, your vistas demand that you adjust your vernacular: hundreds o...Read More

La Vendimia

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

La Vendimia Photo, Baja California, Mexico
Quote:
The outdoor seating is always a magnet, and around Ensenada, there's quite a bit of it. It's a matter of where you happen to be when the hunger pangs manifest themselves, so there we were! We opted to stay outside because the sun was finally shining warmly, and we moved our table away from the shade of the green umbrellas. We were the only couple outside and inside, there were 3 or 4 diners having a late lunch in what appeared to be an extremely romantic atmosphere. After we settled in and ordered, our waiter brought out a kind of seviche made with tuna, red onions and some other condiments. It smelled great, and even though Chuck was grimacing, anticipating death by poison, I convinced him to try...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 13, 2002

La Vendimia
Avenida Riveroll NO. 85 Zona Centro
Baja, Mexico
011-55-6-1 74 09 69

El Maison

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "La Rocas Resort & Spa"

El Maison Photo, Baja California, Mexico
Quote:
Las Rocas Resort & Spa looks like a great big villa on Mykonos. We went to their El Meson Restaurant The lights were dim at this hour, with very few diners in the restaurant. There was a wonderful fireplace burning, and we sat there to keep warm. For the folks who like to "party hearty", there was a lot of noise emanating from the more casual Café Carnaval , so you may want to check this out if you go there. . Menus came, water glasses came, warm nachos with super spicy guacamole and pico de gallo that would launch 1,000 rockets; we were told that they could not be made any milder. But this is what really grabbed me: the water is...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 13, 2002

El Maison
Km 38.5 Free Road Tijuana-Ensenada
Baja, Mexico
011-526-614-03-54

Cafe Kaffa

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Cafe Kaffa Photo, Baja California, Mexico
Quote:
Move over Starbucks ! By day's end, I was dying for a cappuccino, and had not seen any coffee bars yet. As we made our last purchase of 2 wonderfully wooden sculpted candle holders, it was seriously cold. A few feet from that store, I saw a sign that had the word "espresso" in it, and I regained hope. Now all Chuck had to do was find a parking spot, no easy task in Ensenada, believe me. We must have gone around the block quite a few times, but finally, got lucky and replaced a vehicle that was right in front of the place. Talk about luck! Cafe Kaffa uses Lavazza brand espresso for all their drinks, which is Italy's # 1 brand....Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 13, 2002

Cafe Kaffa
Ave Lopez Mateos # 190-12
Baja, Mexico
011-52-646-71-02-59

Puerto Nuevo

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Puerto Nuevo Photo, Baja California, Mexico
Quote:
Puerto Nuevo was another recommended stop during our stay in Baja, and was no more than 15 minutes from our home base. It was quite overcast, and a bit chilly, but we decided to hit the road. This place is famous for its lobster more than anything else, and the thing to do next time, is to arrive at the lunch or dinner hour, and enjoy a fabulous lobster dinner at prices anywhere from $9.00 to $13.00 max. We parked our car on one of the side streets in front of one of the more than 30? Restaurants that now populate this area whose name translates to New Port. It was put on the map by California surfers that usually came down here on weekends to make their mark. Puerto Nuevo also includes c...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 13, 2002

Puerto Nuevo
Km. 44.5 Carretera Libre (Free Road)
Baja, Mexico

George Santini Gallery of Fine Art

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

George Santini Gallery of Fine Art Photo, Baja California, Mexico
Quote:
Nothing in Baja has an address. Everything is relative to its position to the Free Road which runs from the border all the way down to Los Cabos . Thus, this gallery is 26 miles south of the border. This was recommended highly to us prior to our arrival, so on our way to Puerto Nuevo, we stopped in. If you harbor a mental picture of a gallery, discard it when you come here. It’s a sprawling ranch with a walled gate all around, but the gigantic sign with Santini's name will greet you. As you enter, the first thing you’ll see is a group of jersey cows made of recycled washing machines. Other galleries occupy modern, low structures to the left, but the main attraction is straight ahead. Pa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 12, 2002

George Santini Gallery of Fine Art
Rancho Santini Km-40 - Free Rd
Baja, Mexico

Ceramica Orozco

Attraction

Ceramica Orozco Photo, Baja California, Mexico
Quote:
It is impossible to cite, let alone remember, every single arts & crafts shop we entered during our day in Ensenada. We went into this man's shop accidentally, as we were naturally curious about the Lingerie Shop on the same street, also referred to as a sex shop. More on that later, perhaps. The window to this very large, what you see is what you get, pottery and ceramic store has probably not been washed since World War I. The owner, Jesus Orozco, is a veteran of the Korean war, and damn proud of it. He is Indian, not Mexican, and don't you dare confuse the two. He's proud of his English, and has pictures of himself in the US Army. He tirelessly repeats the durability of th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 16, 2002

Ceramica Orozco
next to the Lingerie Shop
Baja, Mexico

B. C. Morgans

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Quote:
Tel: 011-55-178-8194 B. C. Morgans stood out among his peers in that he had some very unusual hand crafted items in his shop, including a huge circular mirror, with hammered aluminum, or silver banding about 6 inches wide acting as a frame. Yes, he had the much sought after Talavera from Puebla, but each piece was unique; he was the only one that had trash cans made of Talavera. And they were fairly inexpensive, coming in at about $11 for a small size and $14 for slightly larger. There were displays of marvelous plate designs, glass, and pewter, which you don't see much of in most other stores. He also taught me how to detect real "Talavera" ceramic from imitation, and it's in the s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 16, 2002

B. C. Morgans
Av. Lopez Mateos 1090
Baja, Mexico
011-55-178-8194

Calafia Resort & Villas

Attraction | "Calafia Resort & Villas"

Quote:
As popular sights go, this is probably one of the fastest growing industries in B.C. Buying property either as an investment or for retirement. And from what we were able to gather, at least when we stopped at this particular resort, is that they are selling them even before they can finish them. Before showing a model, the sales representative very adroitly took us to the ocean front view that was indisputably knee-weakening. No matter which way you turned, the majesty of the ocean, the sky, the rocks gave the best spectacle. They were all 2 story units; the lower had the advantage of apartment front space where you could lounge, plant and get lost in the sun. The upper floor apartment had a balc...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 15, 2002

Calafia Resort & Villas
Km. 34.5 Carretera Tijuana-Ensenada
Baja, Mexico

La Frontera - The Border

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

From the US into Baja Photo, Baja California, Mexico
Quote:
If you are going to Mexico by car, you simply can't avoid the border crossing; it can be fairly rapid, or agonizingly slow, depending on the day, and the time of day. From the United States, we crossed at about 4:00 pm on a Thursday, and it was quick and somewhat painless. There are some things you need to do however, before you get into Baja. Also keep in mind that the crossing has become "militarized" since 9/11, so cooperate with authorities. You are crossing at San Ysidro and need to stop at Dairy Farms to buy car insurance. If you plan ahead, you can avoid this and buy your insurance online here . The process is fairly quick, the hard part is fin...Read More

In the Streets of Ensenada

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

the first photo of Ensenada Photo, Baja California, Mexico
Quote:
Ensenada is about 30 miles from Las Rocas , which was our point of reference, as we looked at it every morning. The drive is magnificent, and as we approached town, people were coming over to the car and giving us brochures of hotels with rates and amenities. We parked right by the waterfront, where a cruise ship was at anchor, and I saw the Plaza Civica with 3 enormous bronze heads. Later found out that they were Mexican heroes Benito Juarez , ...Read More