Highest Activity Since 2007 Throughout Baja California’s Six Distinctive Regions
As Baja California experiences its best year in tourism activity since 2007, more than 9 million foreign visitors are taking advantage of the decrease in border wait time, and rushing to rediscover Baja’s tourist destinations and award-winning restaurants.
An estimated 9.3 million foreigners, mostly from the United States, have traveled to Baja California since January 2015. This represents an increase of 12 percent from 2014, according to the Federal Secretary for Communications and Transportation. In addition, hotel occupancy in the areas of Ensenada, Rosarito and San Felipe has been 100 percent during important U.S. holidays such as Memorial Day, Easter and Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends, according to the Northwest Hotels Association of Mexico.
“More than 300,000 people visited Baja California this past Labor Day weekend, which is a 7 percent increase in hotel occupation compared to 2014 statistics,” said Oscar Jesus Escobedo, secretary of tourism of Baja California. “Baja’s calendar of events, quality of tourism products and good weather have all contributed to the rise in tourism.”
Following similar protocol for travel through Mexican airports, foreign pedestrians crossing from the U.S into Mexico’s San Ysidro Port of Entry, and who plan to stay in Mexico longer than one week, will be required to file for a permit (valid for up to six months) and pay a fee of 322 pesos (approximately $20). The new procedures support the safety of travelers in Mexico and allow for better monitoring of visitors aligned with similar procedures for air and automobile travel.
When traveling to Baja California, there are six distinctive destinations that comprise the northern Baja region:
· Tijuana – A trendsetter in the culinary arts, Tijuana offers a vibrant and flavorful restaurant scene featuring international cuisine as well as traditional Mexican dishes. The city’s size and location in the burgeoning border region have helped it develop all the offerings one would expect from a major global city, combined with international and unique flavors. Must-do: Find “Baja Med” cuisine, which combines the best of Baja California products with Mediterranean cooking techniques.
· Rosarito – For decades, Rosartio Beach, just 20 miles south of the border, has been the best-known beachfront resort city on Baja’s western coast, with miles of sand and great surf spots. In Rosarito, you can ride horses on the beach, ATVs on the sand dunes or relax in one of the many hotel spas. Must-do: Hop on your bike and ride in the 50-mile Rosarito-Ensenada bike ride, one of the largest rides in the world.
· Ensenada – Just 70 miles south of the border, Ensenada is both a major seaport and major resort region. Just off Calle Primera is a large fish market offering stands and eateries full of seafood delights. One of the most famous Ensenada landmarks is La Bufadora, a saltwater geyser that shoots into the air as the tide collides with the rocks to the south of the city. December to May is the best time for whale watching. Must-do: Drive the “Wine Route” to uncover wine producers, restaurants, indigenous cultural attractions and natural sites.
· Mexicali – Mexicali offers visitors the option of crossing the border by vehicle or by foot from neighboring Calexico in the U.S. The capital of Baja, Mexicali combines the charms of a modern metropolis, old world Mexico and tourist attractions. For the outdoor adventurer, Laguna Salada is a dried lake and a gateway to Guadalupe Wine Valley, and among the La Rumorosa rock formations you can find thermal waters and waterfalls. Must-do: Sandboarding has surged in popularity, so hit up the Algodones Dunes while in Mexicali.
· Tecate – Tecate is a small, colorful region with colonial style architecture and extraordinary natural attractions. The destination is a camping favorite with approximately 45 ranches and water parks with giant granite rock formations. Local artisans take advantage of the red clay found in the area to create handcrafted pots, vases and tiles. Must-do: Stay at Rancho La Puerta, the original fitness resort and spa since 1940, named one of the world’s best.
· San Felipe – San Felipe offers sportfishing, golf, boat rides, kayaking, jetskiing, motorcycling, ATVs, ultralight air craft rides, and the ecological reserves of Valle de Los Gigantes. This colorful port is also home to blue shrimp, arguably, the most delicious shrimp in the world. Must-do: Watch the Baja 250 off-road race in January.
MORE BAJA CALIFORNIA NEWS FOR THE FALL QUARTER:
Recent Awards – This year, Food Garden Market in Tijuana was named “One of the 10 best new food halls in the world” by Travel + Leisure Magazine. La Cocina de Doña Esthela restaurant was named “best breakfast in the world” during the Foodie Hub Global Awards in London 2015.
Baja California is Pet Friendly – Visitors can now share their experience rediscovering Baja with their pets, as many of the restaurants, hotels and tourist establishments in Baja are classified as “pet friendly.”
Baja Culinary Fest 2015 – Baja Culinary Fest, Oct. 8-11 at the Tijuana Cultural Center CECUT, is a four-day event showcasing the culinary and cultural heritage of Baja California through conferences, workshops, exhibitions and competitions, and private dinners and tastings, making this a one-of-a-kind culinary festival. Featuring 50 renowned chefs representing Baja California, visitors will get the opportunity to sip and savor their way through distinctive regions of Northern Baja. Participating chefs include: Chad White of Común, Javier Plascencia of Bracero and Mision 19, Adria Montaño of Don Ramon, Drew Deckman of Deckman’s en el Mogor, Ray Garcia of BS Taqueria, and more.
Upcoming events – Baja California’s busy calendar of events is also constantly expanding with new and exciting experiences for tourists to enjoy that continue to catch the eye of international organizations.
· Oct. 8 – 11: Baja Culinary Fest 2015, Tijuana
· Oct. 16 – 17: MTB Baja Ultra Endurance Bike Race 9th Edition, Ensenada
· Oct. 14 – 18: Expo Tequila, Tijuana
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Discover Baja California
Whether you’re taking a dedicated vacation to Baja California or a quick day trip from San Diego, there’s no better time to rediscover the vast diversity the Northern Baja region can provide travelers. The Baja California Ministry of Tourism, the region’s marketing district, can help uncover the region’s hidden gems, answer tourism industry questions or assist with planning a custom Baja California visit through its six regions: Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Mexicali, Tecate and San Felipe. Learn more at DiscoverBajaCalifornia.com and keep up-to-date on events throughout the region on Facebook.com/DiscoverBajaCalifornia.