San Diego Zoo Experts Support Ecotourism Park in Ensenada

A team of experts from the San Diego Zoo, including veterinarians and biologists, recently visited the PaiPai Ecotourism Park in Ensenada to share their knowledge and implement improvements in animal care. Edgar Pérez Ortiz, the park’s director, highlighted that this collaboration aimed to enhance animal welfare through an exchange of expertise and experience.

The team consisted of 22 specialists from U.S. zoos, with 16 from the San Diego Zoo and 4 biologists from UABC. Together, they worked to apply innovative practices in animal care, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between conservation institutions.

At PaiPai’s farm, over 50 rescued animals, including goats, pigs, rabbits, ducks, roosters, and hens, received attention. The lion habitat saw significant improvements with new substrates and climbing areas, promoting natural behaviors.

The visit included various activities focused on environmental enrichment and animal health. Experts shared advanced techniques for managing and maintaining suitable habitats for the park’s diverse species.

“PaiPai is home to around 600 animals, including lions, tigers, jaguars, primates, birds, reptiles, small mammals, farm animals, and birds of prey like the Virginian Owl,” said Pérez Ortiz. The staff includes 28 zookeepers and 3 veterinarians.

In the stables, horses, ponies, donkeys, llamas, and some goats received hoof trimming and habitat enhancements. Water and air quality analyses were conducted to ensure a more comfortable environment.

Pérez Ortiz stated that the collaboration helped identify areas for improvement and develop long-term strategies benefiting both animals and the environment. “The San Diego Zoo’s expertise was invaluable in elevating care standards at PaiPai Ecotourism Park,” he affirmed.

Tijuana’s Ultimate Wine Festival Returns!

Get ready to sip and savor, wine enthusiasts! The third edition of the “Festival Vino sin Fronteras” (Wine Without Borders Festival) is set to take Tijuana by storm on Saturday, June 29th at Club Campestre Tijuana, starting at 3:00 PM. This fantastic event is all about bridging our border with the rich enological and gastronomical offerings of the region, thanks to the efforts of the Comité Provino Baja California. 

Last Wednesday, June 12th, a press conference was held at the CANIRAC Tijuana conference room to unveil all the juicy details of this year’s festival. Attendees included representatives from Provino Baja California, Zaida López Sánchez, President of CANIRAC Tijuana, Dr. Karim Chalita Rodríguez, President of COTUCO Tijuana, and José de Jesús Quiñónez, Deputy Secretary of Tourism of Baja California. 

“The main goal of the event is to continue promoting the culture of wine to the public on both sides of the border, while also serving as a significant promotional platform for enotourism among national visitors and those from Southern California,” emphasized Juan Carlos Ochoa, General Manager of Provino. 

This year, the festival moves to the picturesque Club Campestre Tijuana, providing an ideal atmosphere surrounded by trees to enhance the enogastronomic experience. Attendees will get to enjoy the best from the Valle de Guadalupe and Baja California’s wine valleys, with 45 participating wineries offering tastings and sales of over 100 wine labels, including whites, rosés, reds, and sparkling wines. Additionally, Temecula, CA, will be the guest wine region, featuring prominent wineries such as Doffo Winery, Falkner Winery, Churon Winery, and Oak Mountain Winery, enriching the event’s wine selection. 

Thanks to a partnership with the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Seasoned Food Industry (CANIRAC) of Tijuana, the festival will feature 25 regional restaurants from Tijuana, Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe, Tecate, and Rosarito. These establishments will offer a variety of gastronomic samples, supported by supplies from Distribuidora La Canasta, and some will also sell dishes. 

The musical lineup is set to entertain with regional talent, including DJ Maury de la Vara spinning retro ’80s tunes, DJ Amy with contemporary electronic sounds, and DJ Winstone closing the night with a tropical set guaranteed to get everyone dancing. The main act will be Astros de Mendoza, a Mexican duo with 12 years of experience, who will delight the crowd with their blend of organic and electronic tropical sounds. 

Tickets are priced at $1,500 MXN per person, including a wine glass and tastings of wine and food (while supplies last). Attendees are encouraged to arrive on time to fully enjoy the enogastronomic and musical experience. The event also has a social impact, as part of the proceeds will support Provino Baja California’s projects benefiting the communities of the wine valleys, such as the reconstruction of San Vicente Park in the Valle de San Vicente, south of Ensenada, where the Antigua Ruta del Vino is located. 

Tickets can be purchased at various Farmacias Roma locations in Rosarito (Giramar Juárez), Tijuana (Paseo Playas, Triángulo de Oro, Campestre, Las Américas, Conquistador, Hipódromo, La Mesa, Tropicana, Plaza Torre Agua Caliente, Zona Río Urbana, Chapultepec, Cuauhtémoc), Mexicali (Justo Sierra, Caballito, Plaza 686), and Ensenada (Parque Revolución).  Online tickets are available here.

Punta Piedra’s New ‘Misión’ Project Boosts Baja

Baja California’s coastline just got even more appealing with the introduction of the new ‘Misión’ section of Punta Piedra, a stunning residential and tourist complex in the coastal corridor of La Misión. This exciting expansion promises not only breathtaking views but also a significant economic boost, generating over 1,500 jobs during its construction phase.

Andrés Martínez Bremer, the CEO of Grupo Luva, proudly announced the creation of 500 direct and over 1,000 indirect jobs through this project. He paid tribute to the original developers, Enrique Lutteroth Camou and Roberto Curiel Ortega, who started Punta Piedra over three decades ago. Bremer emphasized that Punta Piedra has grown to include ‘Misión,’ a place designed to offer an exceptional lifestyle where nature and sophistication come together to provide a unique experience for residents.

Strategically nestled between Ensenada and Tijuana, near the La Misión bridge, Punta Piedra offers stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Its proximity to San Diego, California, adds an extra layer of convenience for residents and visitors alike. Bremer also highlighted the additional allure of being close to the famed Ruta del Vino in Valle de Guadalupe, making it a prime spot for food and wine enthusiasts.

The new ‘Misión’ section will feature 70 residences, available in four different models ranging from 172 to 249 square meters. These homes will be equipped with advanced technology to ensure maximum comfort and efficiency. Prices will vary depending on the model and other unique features, but one thing is for sure: Punta Piedra is all about exclusivity. The development emphasizes sustainability, with homes featuring solar panels, water-saving systems, and facilities for electric vehicles.

Miguel Aguiñiga Rodríguez, the Secretary of Tourism for Baja California, emphasized that such investments enhance the state’s competitiveness, attracting significant projects and positioning Baja California as a prime destination for investment. He highlighted that the vision of Grupo Luva supports the efforts of Governor Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda in attracting capital to the state, generating employment, revenue, and ensuring the state’s reputation as a key player in the country. The ceremonial event also saw attendance from the elected mayor, Claudia Agatón Muñiz, and Lucía Aguirre, the municipal government’s director of economy.

New Tourist Marina Set to Transform Ensenada’s Port Area

Get Ready for “Ventana al Mar”: Ensenada’s Shiny New Waterfront Gem

The Ensenada port is getting a fabulous makeover, folks! The National Port System Administration (Asipona) has announced an exciting new project: a state-of-the-art tourist marina called “Ventana al Mar.” This marina isn’t just about docking boats; it’s a whole experience with fuel stations, restaurants, commercial areas, and much more.

Covering an impressive 12,000 square meters of prime maritime real estate right next to the current cruise terminal, “Ventana al Mar” promises to be a bustling hub for both locals and tourists. The marina will be leased for 19 years with an option to renew for another 19, making it a long-term fixture in Ensenada’s waterfront.

Think of “Ventana al Mar” as more than just a marina. It’s set to offer a range of services including public port services for recreational and sports boats, specialized operations like embarkation and disembarkation, rope mooring, in-water repairs, and supply services (water, fuel, internet, and waste collection). There will also be diving services, maritime inspections, and a vibrant commercial area with restaurants and shops.

To be part of this grand project, participants (whether individuals or companies, Mexican or foreign) need to show they have at least 25 million pesos in assets. The leaseholder will pay Asipona an initial fee, a fixed annual fee, and a variable fee based on income from services provided in the area. If you’re interested, you need to buy the bidding documents by June 11, 2024, for a cool 200,000 pesos. Proposals will be reviewed on October 30, 2024.

Asipona will evaluate proposals based on technical criteria and the highest initial fee offered. In the event of a tie, the winner will be the one promising the highest investment in the marina’s construction and equipment before it opens.

This project, detailed in the official federal gazette on May 28, is spearheaded by Vice Admiral Joel Sandoval Gómez, the head of Asipona Ensenada.

Ensenada – San Diego Ferry Service Set to Sail in Five Months

Get ready to mark your calendars! The long-awaited Ensenada to San Diego ferry service is set to launch in just five months, promising a scenic and efficient new way to cross the border. Kurt Ignacio Honold Morales, the Secretary of Economy and Innovation of Baja California, has announced that all environmental hurdles have been cleared, with the necessary engines, which meet California’s strict standards, already purchased and on their way.

This maritime link, operated by Azteca Ferries, will offer daily round trips capable of transporting 330 passengers. The project, a collaborative effort between various governmental bodies including the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Coast Guard, aims to provide a faster, more enjoyable alternative to the traditional border crossing methods.

Priced between $30 to $50, though not yet finalized, the ferry is viewed not just as a tourist attraction but as a crucial infrastructural expansion that will enhance bi-national cooperation. The service will initially cater only to passengers, with potential future expansions to include vehicle transport, turning the ports of Ensenada and San Diego into bustling hubs of activity.

Get Ready for the Roar on the Shore! The Baja 500 is Here

The Baja California Peninsula is revving up for the much-anticipated Baja 500 off-road race, a rugged, adrenaline-pumping event set from May 29 to June 2, 2024. This wild race will roar through the landscapes of Ensenada, starting and ending right by the cultural hotspot, the Riviera del Pacífico.

For those looking to catch the action up close, there are designated viewing areas along the route which promise great visibility without compromising safety. These spots are perfect for fans who want to experience the thunderous excitement of engines and the gritty determination of the racers.

Safety is a top priority, with Baja California’s Civil Protection issuing guidelines to ensure everyone enjoys the event safely. They’ve advised spectators to keep at a safe distance from the race path, stay hydrated, and use sun protection during the sunny race days.

Ensenada’s downtown area will feel the race’s pulse too, with several roads, including sections of the Bulevar Costero, temporarily closed to manage the race and ensure smooth operations from start to finish.

With the support of various organizations and local government, the Baja 500 not only promises high-octane excitement but also boosts local tourism and business. It’s not just a race; it’s a celebration of motorsport culture, right in the heart of Baja California!

Playas de Tijuana and Rosarito Declare Beaches Fit for Fun!

Good news, beach lovers! Both Playas de Tijuana and Rosarito have rolled out the blue carpets, inviting everyone to enjoy their sparkling sands and clear waters. After months of efforts and environmental vigilance, these popular coastal spots are ready to make your beach day dreams come true.

Playas de Tijuana: From No-Go to Go-Go!

It wasn’t looking good for a while there. With high levels of enterococcus bacteria—yes, that’s the yucky stuff from sewage spills—Tijuana’s beaches were a no-go zone for months. But thanks to the tireless efforts of the ‘Proyecto Ambiental Fronterizo’ and various local campaigns, the tides have turned. As of late May 2024, after relentless monitoring and cleaning, the Federal Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks (COEPRIS) has given Playas de Tijuana the green light. They’re not just open; they’re officially safe for all your beachside frolicking. Let’s just hope they stay that way for a while.

Rosarito’s Center Beach: The Place to Be!

Moving down the coast to Rosarito, things are looking equally sunny. Center Beach has passed recent water quality tests with flying colors, showing levels of enterococcus well below the threshold of concern. Thanks to continuous improvements in beach surveillance and the commitment of local lifeguards—who train rigorously three times a week to keep their rescue chops up—beachgoers can rest easy. And to top it off, vehicle access to the beaches has been restricted to keep the sands safe and serene.

Both cities have seen remarkable community and governmental collaboration, demonstrating a stellar commitment to environmental health and public safety. From closed beaches marred by pollution to thriving recreational hotspots, Playas de Tijuana and Rosarito are clean, clear, and utterly inviting.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab that beach towel, slap on some sunscreen, and head to these beaches. Whether you’re building sandcastles, catching waves, or just soaking up some rays, these clean coastal gems are the place to be. Remember, though, the battle for clean beaches continues, and it’s up to all of us to keep them beautiful. Pack your trash, use those bins, and let’s keep our sands as clean as our fun is wild!

Gasoline Shortage Hits Tijuana, Tecate, and Rosarito!

Buckle up, folks! The gasoline shortage has hit Tijuana, Tecate, and Rosarito, and it’s not pretty. Carlos Roberto Rubio Arreola, the head honcho of the Onexpo Baja Gas Station Association in Tijuana, spilled the beans: some gas stations are already dry. Why? Because Pemex-Rosarito has hit the brakes on fuel distribution, thanks to a never-ending blockade by the residents of Maclovio Rojas, who are fed up with the lack of solutions to their property title issues.

Carlos Roberto mentioned that they’ve been chatting with Pemex to fix the mess, but as of this Tuesday, some Tijuana stations have already hung up the “No Gas” signs. Since last Sunday night, the residents of Maclovio Rojas set up camp and blocked the fuel trucks at the Pemex plant in Playas de Rosarito. Their gripe? Authorities aren’t paying attention to their property title problems.

Onexpo Baja confirmed in an official statement that their members are worried. Not only is Pemex unable to deliver fuel, but the authorized distributors are also stuck in the same boat.

Rubio Arreola warned that the problem is getting worse by the day, causing more and more gas stations to run dry. Onexpo promises to keep us in the loop about the efforts to restore fuel supplies and hopes for a quick and lasting solution to the Pemex Distribution Plant conflict. They’re as clueless about the root of the problem as we are, dear citizens.

If you can still find a gas station with fuel, fill up while you can. Some stations have already shut down, and who knows when they’ll be back in action. Good luck, and may the gas gods be with you!

Get Ready for the Sassy Fine Art Festival 2024!

Rosarito is about to get a whole lot sassier! On Saturday, June 8th, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Hacienda Km 43 will host the Sassy Fine Art Festival. This all-day event promises a feast for the senses, featuring 23 of northern Baja’s finest artists, live music, delicious food from Chef Santos, and three fully stocked bars. It’s set to be a day of pure enjoyment.

The festival, inspired by the talents of Marlen Caster and Polo Valencia, will showcase a range of artistic brilliance. Marlen Caster’s glowing-in-the-dark artwork highlights the tragedy of discarded fishing nets in the sea. Her pieces are nothing short of mesmerizing. Polo Valencia, a seasoned artist with a gallery in Popotla since 1988, has helped curate the festival’s lineup. Polo’s gallery has attracted celebrities like Mel Gibson and James Cameron, and he has a knack for discovering incredible talent.

Adding to the excitement, Canadian author Marnie Ross, now residing in San Felipe, will be present to share her Baja-set murder mystery series. Young talents Maky Garcia Romero, and brothers Tonatiuh and Emiliano Ramírez, are also set to impress with their work.

The entertainment lineup is equally stellar. World-class violinist Jose Enrique Tovar, formerly of the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra, will perform. Jose, now living in Mexico, is renowned for his versatility, seamlessly switching from classical violin to fiddle.

Following Jose is Storyteller, a band of seasoned rockers guaranteed to get the crowd moving. Known for their infectious energy, drummer Todd and lead guitarist Dante, along with the rest of the band, promise to deliver a performance that will have everyone dancing.

The Sassy Fine Art Festival’s first year is shaping up to be an unforgettable celebration of art, music, and community. From stunning visual art to live performances and culinary delights, this event is all about enjoying the finer things in life.

Don’t miss out on what promises to be an unforgettable day at the Sassy Fine Art Festival!

Photo by: Medina Gorosave, Mexicali

A Night of Northern Lights in the Baja Skies

Baja California witnessed a rare and dazzling phenomenon on Friday May 10th night when the sky lit up with vibrant northern lights. This unexpected display was primarily visible in the northern regions of the state, leaving residents and visitors alike in awe. 

The spectacle quickly became the talk of the town as social media buzzed with stunning images shared by those lucky enough to catch a glimpse. One such viewer, Raúl Barrera, a rescue diver, posted breathtaking photos from Cañón de Guadalupe in Mexicali on his Facebook page. Meanwhile, in Ensenada, Blanca Azucena Bravo Navarro excitedly recounted her experience of spotting the lights while on the road with her family. 

“Driving on the Ensenada – Tecate highway with my dad and brother, we stopped in front of Testerazo to take photos,” she shared. 

Photo by Lauren-Akenson, Mount Laguna

According to local authorities, the geomagnetic activity responsible for this light show poses no danger to the population, though it may cause some telecommunications interference. The unusual appearance of the auroras in Baja California is linked to a particularly strong solar storm.  

The NOAA had issued a warning of a severe geomagnetic storm after a solar burst hit Earth, creating these stunning auroras. Typically, such displays are reserved for the polar regions, making this event a rare treat for the folks in Baja California. 

As the weekend progressed, the auroras continued to dance in the sky, with experts suggesting that Sunday night might offer another chance to witness this celestial wonder. So, keep your cameras ready and eyes to the sky; Baja California’s night show might not be over just yet.