North Baja includes Mexicali and Tecate but for now we will focus mainly on the area south of San Diego, which includes Tijuana, Rosarito, the Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley), Ensenada and San Felipe.
Tijuana is the world’s largest border crossing, more people cross the San Ysidro border in a day than any other crossing. In the 1920s it was the place to go as alcohol and gambling were allowed, it then became a mecca for high school and college students; until 2008 when the drug war hit the area quite hard. It is still recovering but the activities locals are partaking in are impressive and will bring a new image to the city.
Further south, you come into Rosarito. A town with great seafood and surfing. The beaches are crowded in the summer (and sometimes dirty) but the new mayor is working on cleaning them up. The food is delicious and many San Diego surfers come down to enjoy the empty line-ups. It is also suffering from the lack of tourists but lately they have remembered why they used to come down and have been back to this friendly town.
The Valle de Guadalupe is Baja’s wine country, there are dozens of vineyards and restaurants with great local products. There is wine for all tastes and they will only get better as the region becomes more well known.
Ensenada is two things, a port town with delicious seafood and great partying, and the biggest town in the world; It stretches from the city of Ensenada to the limit with Baja California Sur. It’s a fun little town where cruise ships from the US stop over and enjoy the Mexican lifestyle for a couple hours.
San Felipe is on the Sea of Cortez, about 4 hours from Tijuana. I was there in the off season but it’s a place where quads and jet skis are rampant. It’s a pretty little town with a nice boardwalk and friendly locals. Their crew is the best in Mexico, and competes nationally. Who knew San Felipe had a national rowing team?