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Bahía de Todos Santos Becomes World Surfing Reserve
text & photos by connie ellig
On June 21, 2014, Todos Santos Bay officially became the sixth site in the world (and the second in Latin America) to receive World Surfing Reserve status, thereby protecting the legendary breaks of the Baja coast from Salsipuedes to Killers. The official plaque is located at Playa San Miguel, Carr. Tijuana-Ensenada Km. 99, just south of the Ensenada toll gate. San Miguel is credited as the birthplace of Mexican surf culture.

2015 SCORE World Desert Championship Schedule Announced
from www.score-international.com
RENO, Nevada – SCORE International announced today its official five-race schedule for the 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship series featuring four races in Baja California, Mexico and one in the United States.
The biggest changes for the 2015 race season will be the season opener, SCORE San Felipe 250, now starting mid-January, the all new addition of the SCORE Baja Sur 500 race in April and the SCORE Imperial Valley 250 now taking place in September.
“It is truly the dawn of a new day in SCORE and the SCORE World Desert Championship series is having a significant impact in the world of motorsports,” said Roger Norman, CEO and President of SCORE International. “Mexican races are the cornerstone of SCORE and to have our first event entirely in Baja California Sur will add another colorful chapter to the SCORE Baja racing legacy.”
SCORE has also announced that final negotiations are being completed to again televise the entire SCORE World Desert Championship series nationally on the CBS Sports Network and internationally through syndication.
Norman continued, “With the diligence and creativity of BCII TV, SCORE has a viable domestic television package this year with the CBS Sports Network as our partner and our international syndication platform. When we finalize our 2015 television package it will continue to move SCORE up the visibility ladder with viable and sustainable programming.”
SCORE International will be celebrating its 42nd year as the world’s foremost desert racing organization in 2015 with a five-race series that will feature competition for 25 Pro and 5 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and ATVs.
2015 Schedule
Launching the 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship series schedule will be the first of the three original SCORE Baja races:
Round 1 will be the 29th SCORE San Felipe 250, Jan. 22-25 in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
Round 2 will be the inaugural SCORE Baja Sur 500 on April 16-19. Marking the first time a SCORE Baja race has been held entirely in Baja California Sur, it will be a point-to-point race starting in Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of Baja and finishing in Loreto on the east side of the peninsula along the Sea of Cortez.
Round 3 will be the 47th SCORE Baja 500, June 4-7, in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
Round 4 will be the 3rd SCORE Imperial Valley 250, Sept. 24-27 in Plaster City, Calif., USA.
Round 5 will be the 48th SCORE Baja 1000, Nov. 18-21. The most recognized name of all desert races, it will start and finish in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
2015 Point Titles
In order to earn a 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship class point title, SCORE has announced that racers will have the option to run either the inaugural SCORE Baja Sur 500 or the 47th SCORE Baja 500. If a racer elects to run both races, his/her highest point total between those two races will be included in his/her point totals from the other three SCORE races which are all required starts in order to qualify for a season point championship. (read entire press release)
For more information, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.score-international.com
A Hot Time near La Bufadora!
text by connie ellig; photos by manny leos
On August 16, 2014, residents of Rancho La Bufadora absconded with almost all of the awards at the 19th Annual Restaurant/Bar Los Gordos “Anything Goes” Chili Cook-off & Salsa Contest, held near the famous La Bufadora blowhole in Punta Banda, 21 miles south of Ensenada.
A great time was had by all, especially the victorious chili teams and salsa cooks. Winners included:
First Place: David Ortiz (Rancho La Bufadora)
Second Place: David Ortiz (Rancho La Bufadora)
Third Place: Jack & Ardel Dyer and Jeff Fricke (Rancho La Bufadora)
Best Booth: Donna Bar with No Me Chingas Chili (Rancho La Bufadora)
Salsa - Regular
First Place: Pam Connor (Rancho La Bufadora)
Second Place: Robert Durrell (Lomas del Mar)
Third Place: Donna Bar (Rancho La Bufadora)
Salsa - Hot:
First Place: Pam Connor (Rancho La Bufadora)
Congratulations are extended to the cooks, judges, organizers, assistants, raffle donors and attendees who contributed to the success of this event!
1st & 2nd Place Chili: David Ortiz & team with organizer Pam Connor
chili winners

Salsa winners: Pam Connor (1st), Robert Durrell (2nd) & Donna Barr (3rd)
salsa winners

Having a Grape Time at Fiestas de la Vendimia
text by connie ellig; photos by david hopps & connie Ellig
postres del antanaThe 24th Annual Fiestas de la Vendimia (Grape Harvest Festival) opened on the evening of Friday, August 1, at Ensenada’s iconic Riviera Cultural Center. A sellout crowd of 2,700 national and international visitors attended the inaugural festivity, known as the “Muestra del Vino (Wine Sampling),” which featured live music, photo expositions, a variety of appetizers created by 40 Baja California restaurants, and more than 300 different wines from 54 wine companies in the region. Baja California Governor Francisco Vega de Lamadrid, Provino President Alvaro Ptacnick, Winemakers Association President Hugo D’Acosta, and other state and city officials presided over the opening ceremony.

papagayo paellaOrganized by Provino, A.C., the official 2014 calendar of Fiestas de la Vendimia featured more than 40 different cultural and culinary events, concerts, wine tastings and seminars at wineries, vineyards and restaurants in Valle de Guadalupe, San Antonio de las Minas, the Old Wine Route, Ensenada, Tecate, Tijuana, Rosarito and Mexicali from August 1-17. The grand finale of Fiestas de la Vendimia was the Ramón García Ocejo Paella Contest held on Sunday, August 17 at Viña Liceaga Winery in San Antonio de las Minas.
Nearly 5,000 wine and wine aficionados were on hand to sample the libations of 54 Baja California wineries and to devour the saffron-kissed paellas prepared by 90 cooking teams. The winning teams of the 2014 Paella Contest were:
Quality category (color, look, taste and texture)
1st Place: Los Domineros
2nd Place: Buenos Diaz Ensenada
3rd Place: To Go
1st Place: Este Arroz ya se coció
2nd Place: Bola de Fuego
3rd Place: Tía Margarita
Best Decorated Stand
Punta Morro of Ensenada
For more information about the annual Fiestas de la Vendimia, see Spanish-language web site http://fiestasdelavendimia.com or contact the Baja California Winemakers (Provino), tel. (646)178-3038 or (646)178-2949; e-mail 

Tijuana-Ensenada Toll Road Map
courtesy of www.discoverbajacalifornia.com

toll road alt route

Mexico: A Traveler's Guide to Safety Over Sensationalism
from BanderasNews.com and amar.org.mx
Baja, California - Mexico, one of the world’s great travel destinations, is often singled out for violent crime without telling the whole story. While there is sporadic violence along parts of the U.S. border, the majority of Mexico’s key tourism areas are not only safe, but safer than many other popular tourism areas.
While the media often portrays Mexico as the most dangerous place on earth, it is statistically quite safe. According to NationMaster.com which uses U.N.-based data, Mexico doesn't even make the list of the 36 nations with the highest murder rates. Mild-mannered nations like Sweden and Switzerland top Mexico for murders on NationMaster.com. The assault rate in the U.S. is nearly 5 times greater than that of Mexico in the independent Prominix report adjusted for under-reported crime.
Even when we add on independent estimates for unreported homicides, Mexico ranks 21st behind many popular vacation destinations. Places we think of as idyllic Caribbean retreats have double, triple, even quadruple the murder rates of Mexico. Mexico’s famous vacation areas are even safer than the averaged statistics, and even safer still for tourists.
The Yucatan is as safe as rural U.S. states.
The magnificent beaches and ancient ruins of the Mexican State of Yucatan are among the safest and most spectacular resort beaches in the world. Yucatan’s  low homicide rate is slightly lower than the rural U.S. States of Wyoming, Montana, Oregon and Maine.
Mexico is safer than many cities in the U.S.
More than 150,000 Americans safely visit Mexico every day. And while the media sensationalizes stories of violence in Mexico, Mexico is safer than many major U.S. cities. Travelers feel relatively safe visiting popular U.S. cities like Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington D.C, or Atlanta. Visitors from around the world enjoy these vibrant cities in relative, reasonable safety. Yet each of these cities is statistically less safe than Mexico.
Mexico and politically charged Media Bias
In the debate on immigration reform in the US, the facts on safety in Mexico have become a casualty of politics. To change public opinion and policy, politicians sometimes throw fuel on the fire. If you make up an exciting story about “severed heads in the desert,” it gets a lot of attention and people believe it. The governor of Arizona admitted this story was baseless, but only after months of damage was successfully inflicted to the image of Mexico. The homicide rates above are facts from the FBI, not political fabrications.

Media Favoritism versus Facts
New Orleans is beloved and its renaissance is showcased in the news. The FBI reports the murder rate of New Orleans is declining, but it is nearly 4 times higher than all of Mexico and over 5 times higher than Mexico City. New Orleans is still an amazing place to visit and the Media is right to champion this inspirational city. But Mexico is at least as remarkable and there is a clear difference in how each of these storied destinations is portrayed in contemporary news.
Every city and country has places that are safe and dangerous. Mexico is no exception. The areas that are dangerous should be avoided. And those that are safe should be enjoyed and celebrated. (read entire story)

The Baja Review
text by barbara keller; photo by david hopps

Celebrating its first anniversary in January 2013, the Baja Review is a hard copy, print on paper newspaper with no breaking news. It’s published once a month and is on the stands on the 23rd for the coming month. The focus is good restaurants, wineries, hotels, music, outdoor life, events, and community. My agenda is to inform, comfort and encourage the English speaking ex-pats living here, to support and stimulate the Mexican economy, and in time, to reach and reassure the folks contemplating tourism in northern Baja.
The Baja Review has some excellent writers: Tom Gatch, of Hooked on Baja fame, composes the fishing column and a restaurant review column; Sitara Perez chronicles a wine diary of her first year making wines in the Guadalupe valley; Susan Shea provides a golf column. Classical music aficionado and choral ensemble member Margit Gantt presents classical music reviews. Bunny Wingate, a prolific writer and playwright, does a column about the interesting women in Rosarito.
The quality is good, the articles are interesting, and the ads are cheap. Be sure to check out the Baja Review, now online at www.bajareview.com
If you have stories or articles that fit generally into the categories we focus on, you are welcome to contact me at (646)155-0581 or e-mail barbarakeller3@gmail.com with your questions or submissions. Please keep stories less than 500 words and nothing scary or contentious.

You can find the Baja Review on the 23rd of each month. Where you can find it is listed on the back page of the paper, which is tricky if you don’t have a copy. We try to make them available at the big restaurants and some of the hotels in Rosarito, La Misión, Ensenada, Punta Banda and Valle de Guadalupe. Please call me at (646)155-0581 if you would like an exact location. Enjoy, please, and I welcome feedback.

Get Hooked on Hooked on Baja
hooked on baja coverEscape to a land of magical, natural beauty that offers a warm sun, a host of beautiful coastlines and some of the very finest saltwater fishing on the entire planet. Hooked on Baja by Tom Gatch gives you the maps, GPS waypoints, proper angling techniques, tackle and species information that you need to be successful when fishing and exploring the coasts of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

Much more than a simple fishing guide, Hooked on Baja incorporates many true-life adventures from some of Baja’s foremost outdoors personalities along with travel information, deliciously authentic south of the border recipes and, for those who end up being ‘hooked on Baja’ themselves, vital information on how to go about purchasing and legally securing real estate property along the picturesque coast of the Baja California peninsula.

Hooked on Baja allows readers to step away from the hustle, bustle and traffic gridlock that are a regular part of life in many of the crowded urban communities north of the Mexican border. Discover a place where there are still countless opportunities for relaxation, recreation and retirement in an enchanting world where the fish are nearly always biting, and lines of pelicans are regularly observed gliding silently mere inches above the pounding surf. 

Released on September 15, 2007, Hooked on Baja is now available at Borders, Barnes & Noble and Costco warehouse stores in southern California, as well as through most major online booksellers.


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