Baja California, Mexico
Hi Fellow Hipsters,
This is Virgin again of Ocean Beach-San Diego, CA, formerly of Santa Cruz, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Central California Coast (see my postings for these places). As a San Diegan for the last four years I can tell you that Baja California is magical and one of the best-kept secrets of hippie-oriented San Diegans. This is a brief list of some of my personal hippie-friendly highlights:
Tijuana: For Mexican spiritual flavor, check out my Ocean Beach-San Diego posting for places to check on Day of the Dead and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
There’s a groovy cafe that’s my FAVORITE secret spot in TJ so I’m not going to announce details. If you want real homegrown Mexican bohemian flavor, do some poking around to find this cafe on the beach that welcomes jamming musicians all evening on Sundays. Trust me it’ll be worth it.
Rosarito: Off the coast is awesome scuba diving at the Islas Coronadas, where you’ll also find pelican and sea lion rookeries. You can access these islands from dive outfits at Mission Beach, San Diego.
During the summer on the night of a full moon, find your way to the beach in the north part of Rosarito for “lunadas,” which are small all-night parties by chill young Tijuanenses.
La Fonda: Do a Mapquest to find this little outpost between Rosarito and Ensenada that’s popular with Gringo surfers for its consistently good, uncrowded, longboard-friendly waves.
Guadalupe Valley: Just before you get down to Ensenada, turn off to drive east on Highway 3 to get to this area, which is Mexico’s largest wine-producing area. I won’t give the details of this away, but if you do some poking around near the L.A. Cetto winery you can find your way to a very chill Kumeyaay Indian village called San Antonio Necua and nearby waterfalls and hot springs (not recommended during rainy months or for folks who don’t have a four-wheel drive).
Erendira: Between Santo Tomas and San Vicente on Highway 1 there’ll be an off-ramp at Km 78 for a potholed 12-mile road to the coast. In this little non-descript town is a very hippie-friendly hostel called Coyote Cal’s. Check out their website coyotecals.com. But be forewarned about a very bitter controlfreak ex-hippie who runs the place, and do your best to avoid this dude. Despite his bad vibes the cliente is generally cool.
Bahia de Los Angeles (a.k.a. “L.A. Bay”): Try to ignore the late-night loud Gringo sportfishing drunks and Mexican rednecks with their early morning ATVs and loud late-night Norteno music; this place is awesome for natural scenery: a spectacular sea water inlet replete with great shallow-water snorkeling, early morning feeding dolphins, huge marine mammals, and surrounded by stark desert landscapes. If you come here in mid-October you can swim with and touch harmless whale sharks, which max out at 55 feet. You can also land at nearby little islands where you can snorkel with playful sea lions and harbor seals. Totally awesome.
Laguna Manuela: This is a tiny unmarked fishing and lobstering hamlet just a few miles north of Guerrero Negro. In good conscience I can’t give you specific advice about this (which concerns U.S. laws that apply to Americans everywhere in the world), but if you happen to be in Laguna Manuela from early January to early February I strongly recommend you rent the services of a fisherman to take you out in the water to check out amazing specimens of HUGE marine creatures traveling through the bay this time of the year. Believe me you won’t regret it.
Enjoy! Or should I say, !Que lo pases bien!