When we first moved to San Diego we were excited to visit our neighbors to the south. After talking with a few locals that painted a rather gloomy picture of Baja we decided to give it a try for ourselves. From the first time we visited we were hooked and we continue to head to Baja every chance we get. Whether it is to practice Spanish, eat delicious food or just to see something new Baja is great. Here are the top 5 reasons you should head down to Baja ASAP.
1. It’s safer than you think
We have visited Baja 8 times in the last 3 years and have never felt unsafe. I’m not going to lie Tijuana is a little grimy and you will see hookers and homeless people but everyone is very friendly toward Americans and appreciative of the tourism. Knowing basic Spanish is helpful but not necessary. The people who tell you the drug cartel will kidnap you have likely never been. Like anywhere if you plan to do a bunch of partying or are going to be wondering around at night you might be putting yourself at a higher risk but again we have never felt like we were in any danger.
2. The cheap lobster
Drive down the Baja coast 40 minutes south of TJ and you will find Puerto Nuevo. A tiny coastal town where it is all about the langostas. Theres about 10 restaurants all with the same menu and “very special deal” so you can’t go wrong choosing one. Opt for one right on the water and you can smell the salty air while you eat fresh caught lobster. Best part? The price! For $15 USD you get lobster tails, handmade tortillas, rice, beans, chips & salsa, a margarita, and a tequila shot! That’s what I’m talking about! Heads up: You may have to haggle. Also if you want to add to the experience tip the local mariachi band a few pesos and they will play your favorite Mexican song (Grants is Guantanamera)!
3. Fun Souvenirs
Try out your haggling skills and check out the vendors in Puerto Nuevo to buy some trinkets. This is a great way to practice speaking Spanish and everyone offers their “grandma’s homemade almond tequila” to sweeten the deal (which I must say is delicious). I bought my molcajete there and let me tell you, it makes the BEST. GUAC. EVER. We have also picked up a hammock, poncho and bracelet.
4. The Beach
The beaches in San Diego get crowded but they are pretty tame and relaxing. Rosarito Beach on the other hand = complete chaos! In the best way possible. You’ve got bands with tubas, babies running around, people selling churros, horseback riding, and mariachi music mixed with Drake. It’s a sight to see. You can also get a cheap massage right on the sand! The Rosarito Beach hotel offers parking validation if you get a drink at the bar (there is one by the beach) and is a really cool place to check out.
5. They have great wine
Who knew Baja is the Napa of the south? The Ruta del Vino in the Valle de Guadalupe is a great wine path near Ensenada with a combination of fancy wineries like L.A. Cetto and mom and pop shops. Some tastings are even free! Check out our Ruta del Vino travel guide here.
For more information on Mexico, grab this Lonely Planet guide book.
Ps. if you wan to do some good while you are down in Baja Grace Church partners with a orphanage in Tijuana that could use your help. Check out our post on Grace Church here.
Inspired Recipe: Next Level Vegan Enchiladas from Oh She Glows
These are to die for! The first time I made them I used fresh red peppers and skipped the sun dried tomatoes but it was WAY better the second time using the listed ingredients. I don’t usually make the sauce but instead serve sliced avocado or homemade guac from my molcajete. Enjoy!