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San Clemente Journal

Planning a Baja Holiday

Nov 01, 2007 05:21PM ● By Greg Niemann
by Greg Niemann

A lot of folks head down to Baja to spend their holidays, some to celebrate Christmas day there, but many more arrive during the week after. New Year’s Eve gets packed with parties, and dinner dance specials at most major hotels. While you’re waiting for the balloons, party favors, champagne, and the traditional countdown, there are numerous activities to keep you busy.

Whale Watching 
In December and January the gray whales hug the coastline in their journey south to breed in the lagoons in Baja Sur in one of nature’s greatest mass migrations. Several Ensenada fishing operators offer whale watching tours from late December until the end of March to view the whales up close on their journey. 

You might try Sergio’s Sportsfishing at 011-52 (646) 178-2185 or email them at Gordo’s Sportsfishing is another longtime Ensenada operator providing tours. 011-52 (646) 178-2377. Note: the lagoons where you can pet these friendly whales are several hundred miles farther south. From Ensenada you can observe them up close as they pass. 

Plan a Golf Holiday
You might want to plan a holiday trip to Los Cabos to tackle the number of fine golf courses from San Jose del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas. That area gets crowded during the holidays so plan early. 

Or you can fly to the booming town of Loreto down on the gulf side to try out the 18 hole Loreto Golf Course. The par 72, Fonatur-designed 6,800 yard course in Loreto has a world class challenging 14th hole. Numerous airlines go to Los Cabos, and Alaska Airlines now also goes direct to Loreto. 

For those driving, closer to the border is the Real Del Mar Golf Club, just past the first toll gate on Highway 1. The 18 hole course is situated within three canyons. It’s hilly, with beautiful ocean views on 11 holes.

Very popular with duffers is the tough and challenging 18 hole, par 71, links-style, Bajamar Oceanfront Golf Resort. Bajamar is on the toll road about halfway between Rosarito and Ensenada.

There’s also the Baja Country Club in Ensenada, an 18 hole, 6,834-yard course designed by Enrique Valenzuela in 1991. 

Or you might try Baja’s oldest course, the Club Campestre de Tijuana, established in 1948 near the Tijuana racetrack and the Fiesta Americana Hotel.

A Baja Christmas Stocking
If you can’t get to Baja for the holidays, you might want to consider giving a little bit of Baja to your family and friends. Books make a great gift, and there are a number of fine books out there now. Along with my two books on the peninsula, Baja Fever and Baja Legends, the Discover Baja Travel Club in San Diego carries a wide assortment of books and other gifts, including gift certificates.

Club members get a discount on all the catalogue items. But there are numerous other benefits to membership, from discounted Mexican insurance, events, trip advice, lectures, guided tours, prepaid tourist cards, and discounts for scores of Baja hotels and restaurants. 

Contact: Discover Baja Travel Club, 3089 Clairemont Drive, San Diego, CA 92117 (800) 727-2252 (619) 275-4225 fax: (619) 275-1836 Email: 

Following are a few gift ideas, including one new book, and one book popular with surfers. I was also informed that Discover Baja has just received Landon Crumpton’s newest version of the popular Baja Almanac. 

Discover Baja Peninsula T-Shirt
Former San Clemente artist Steve Breyer designed a Baja map T-shirt. Reprinted in vivid colors, you will always know where you are on our favorite peninsula. 100% cotton, Sizes S to XXL, please specify size. Exclusive rights to Discover Baja. 

Breyer Baja Map
This Steve Breyer map of Baja California is a reproduction of an original watercolor. Golden land surrounded by blue water, this art is reminiscent of maps used by the early explorers. A fabulous gift, and looks great framed. Choose from a variety of sizes and styles, from about $4.00 to $45.00.

Baja 2008 Calendar
Every Baja fan must have the Baja 2008 Calendar by naturalist and marine biologist Marv Sherrill. Marv is a retired biology teacher at nearby Dana Hills High School. Don’t miss out on the beautiful photos that depict the serene and tranquil nature of the Baja Peninsula and the Sea of Cortéz. There are also twelve inset photos that depict the culture and natural history of the area. Hang a little bit of Baja on your wall to keep you company until your next trip south.

New book: Oasis of Stone: Visions of Baja California Sur
Gorgeous full-color photography by award winning photographer Miguel Ángel de la Cueva, and evocative text by Bruce Berger bring the southern half of Baja California to life. This lushly decorated coffee-table book highlights the geology that created this “oasis of stone” and the flora and fauna that make their homes there. Hardcover, 11” X 11”, 208 pp., 150 color photos.

Surfer’s Guide to Baja
Here's the ultimate guide for surfers heading to Mexico's surf-packed Baja peninsula. This guide features over 75 breaks! From Tijuana to Cabo and around to the East Cape, the guide contains detailed surf maps, travel tips, wave height chart, tips on when to go where, accommodations close to the breaks and more. There is no better guide for surfers heading to Baja. Softcover, 81⁄2" X 101⁄2", 110 pp.

Gift Catalogue 
Contact Discover Baja for a complete gift catalogue which contains the above mentioned items in their comprehensive Baja list, prices, and membership information. Tell them I sent you. Did I mention they do carry my books too?