Alex and I are blessed to live so close to Mexico. With the border only twenty minutes from our door, adventures abroad are possible every weekend. But for too many years we’ve taken Mexico’s proximity for granted. In 2015 we intend to spend more time exploring our neighbor to the south – Baja California, Mexico.
As we’ve mentioned in our videos about Tijuana and the Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico suffers from an image problem. For a long time it was treated as a playground for Americans in search of cheap booze and all the thrills they couldn’t get in the States. Then in 2006 came the drug wars, ravaging much of Mexico as cartels battled each other and the central government for control of the lucrative cocaine trade with America.
Things have since calmed down, but tourism has yet to pick up. Baja California is empty, begging for you to throw your things in the car and road trip down the coast. So we decided to start 2015 off by doing just that – getting together all our friends to spend the holiday camping at La Bufadora, near Ensenada.
It was the perfect way to begin the year living with intention. We were surrounded by our closest friends from San Diego, all of us somehow able to get time away from work to enjoy time together. We were in nature, camping just meters from the Pacific Ocean. Our cell phones don’t work in Mexico and there was no WiFi, so it was a welcome sabbatical from the “Evernet” on which our job as travel vloggers depends. And for once, we traveled somewhere and didn’t make a video. We just enjoyed the moment.
We did, however, take these photos. The ones we’ve selected here capture what is the essence of Baja California – raw, naked, unadorned beauty. Coastline stretching for miles with few houses and no large developments. The ocean lapping against the rocks, a few fishermen’s pangas rocking in the shelter of a natural harbor. No one there but us and our friends.
As the name suggests, “Lower California” was the southern half of a California united under Spain and Mexico. But history has cleaved them apart and today the difference between the two is marked. While activists fight to preserve the last undeveloped stretches of America’s Californian coast, Baja California looks how my home state must have looked 100 years ago.
Some of the first Americans to explore Baja California were surfers in the 1960s. As the sport went mainstream and beaches like Malibu got too crowded to surf, a few brave souls threw their boards atop their vans and pointed them south. It was coastlines like these that excited their imagination at the possibilities that lay before them.
That’s how Mexico feels to us now. So on New Year’s Eve we left our camp to explore a nearby cove – exploration on a much smaller level. We walked up over the headlands and stood atop a windswept ridge line overlooking Puerto Escondido, Hidden Port in Spanish. A winding dirt trail led us to a deserted beach, not a trace of humans save for a few fishing boats offshore. Most visitors came to this place to see La Bufadora, a natural blowhole on the other side of point. But for us, this deserted beach was the destination we didn’t know we had been looking for.
Despite living next to the US/Mexican border, this trip marked the farthest I’d ever traveled down Baja California. As we left we realized there is so much more to discover – not just geographically, but culturally. The “Baja Med” revolution we’ve explore in Tijuana and the Valle de Guadalupe is making exploring Baja California all the more appetizing.
And on the morning of New Year’s Day, that’s precisely what we promised ourselves we’d do in 2015.