How about a quick getaway with a purpose? Are you ready for endless beaches, plentiful sunshine, and… movies? That’s right. Movies. Los Cabos is hosting the first annual Baja International Film Festival on November 14-17. Stay at your favorite resort (we’re always up for a stay at Las Ventanas!) and relax poolside in the morning. Then, spend the evenings living it up like a celebrity and previewing films next to your favorite stars! Say hello to Ed Norton.
Why will the Baja International Film Festival become an important player in the film and travel world? It will serve as a bridge between the Mexican and U.S. film communities by encouraging and facilitating communication and collaboration between them. As a bonus, it will further solidify Los Cabos as the top destination for Hollywood celebrities and the world’s cultural elite.
You know you want to be there.
Recently, the folks at the Mexican Tourism Board hosted a launch party with the Baja International Film Festival at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Here’s a glimpse:
And the multi-talented Ricardo from TravelPlusWine chatting about Mexico and movies – his 2 passions.
November’s film fest promises great films and fun parties!
Interested in attending the Baja International Film Festival? Check out the festival website for more information on the films and travel.
With an inauguration ceremony, the airline began operations last Thursday, October 11 at John Wayne Airport Terminal B.
This represents a great step for Interjet as it becomes the first Mexican airline to service this important region in California.
Additionally, Interjet is now covering the west coast of the United States, adding another great destination to its American portfolio of cities which include New York, Miami, and San Antonio.
José Luis Garza, CEO of Interjet, mentioned there are great advantages to operate from John Wayne Airport as it is smaller, convenient, simpler, and decongested. He added that travelers will also find custom clearance to be fast and easy here.
In addition, Garza said they are always innovating and invites people to discover the advantages of flying with Interjet. “There are plenty of differentiators apart from the price, like legroom, leather seating, 110 lbs. bag allowance, free onboard snacks and beverages, and a lot of flexibility in the ticketing.”
He added travelers can actually reach many more destinations with Interjet, as they can connect to the many cities that Interjet services in Mexico and Central America.
For more information and booking visit Interjet website: www.interjet.com
The Mexico Tourism Board Office in Los Angeles announced the creation of “Boomer Fest Days” during a press conference last Friday, September 14 in Los Angeles.
“Boomer Fest Days” is a Music, Food & Wine Festival that will take place in the coastal town of Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), Sonora, Mexico on May 1-5, 2013.
This five-day event will be a first of its kind and will include 24 top music bands and comedians from the 60s, 70’s, and 80’s. The organizers will be revealing some of the band names in the next few weeks.
The Managing Partner of the event, Henry Altman, is bringing together a world-class production team who has been involved in some of the most famous and spectacular events in the world.
Altman also mentioned the importance of “Boomer Fest Days” has to do with the fact that there are millions of baby boomers out there who have disposable income and who are at a time where they want to have fun and enjoy life.
With that in mind, some of the activities prepared for the visitors of “Boomer Fest Days” include:
- Celebrity & Sponsors Golf Tournament
- Celebrity & Sponsors Sport Fishing Tournament
- Food & Wine Festival
- Arts & Crafts Sales and Exhibitions
- Motor Sports Exhibit, featuring Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
- On-Stage Performances
- Laser Light Show & Mega Fireworks
- Carnival Games and Ferris Wheel
- And many more…
The organizers expect a crowd of about 50,000 people attending the five-day event and encourage visitors to make their reservations on time. Tickets for “Boomer Fest Days” will officially go on sale in mid-November through their website.
Why Rocky Point, Sonora? Because this area is not only a booming touristic attraction enjoying a beautiful coast line on the Sea of Cortes, but also because there are over 31 million Americans living within 400 miles of the Festival site.
“Boomer Fest Days” has the support of the Mexico Tourism Board, the Sonora Tourism Board, and Puerto Peñasco Visitors Bureau.
For more information please visit www.boomerfestdays.com
We recently had the chance to visit Loreto and discover the magic, the beauty, and the real paradise that this destination has to offer.
Located on the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) in the State of Baja California Sur in Mexico, Loreto is an ideal place for the perfect escape.
Whether you are looking for a quiet place to relax from it all or a more adventurous vacation full of fun and exciting things to do, Loreto will not disappoint you.
And the best place to stay just happens to be the only Five-Star resort in Loreto: Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto.
Villa del Palmar is a fantastic resort with 180 luxury rooms with a Jacuzzi tub in each suite and well equipped with full kitchens. It is located on 1,800 hectares of property surrounded by nature and its own beach cove at Ensenada Blanca Beach.
The resort also has 5 pools, a world-class spa, a mini market, a kids’ area, and three restaurants.
The entertainment at Villa del Palmar is endless. Every day there are fun activities scheduled all day long. Start early with a morning hike on one of the trails that overlook the beautiful islands of Loreto.
Throughout your hike, you will see the diversity of vegetation in the area, the amazing water colors of the Sea of Cortez, and if you are lucky, you could spot Baja condors flying around the coast. Just make sure you are wearing enough sunblock.
If you wish to enjoy the resort’s activities, you can join the aqua-aerobics classes at the main pool every day. On different nights, they have a variety of great shows. Don’t miss Mexican Night on Saturdays; it is a fun, colorful display of all the important traditional dances of Mexico.
As far as water activities, Loreto is a true paradise. Not only is Loreto one of the best whale-watching spots during the winter months, but all year round you can enjoy great kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and paddle boarding.
The late Sea Explorer Jacques Cousteau actually dubbed the Sea of Cortez “the aquarium of the world” due to the hundreds of species unique to the region.
Wild Loreto is a company with friendly staff and many years of experience who have an office in Villa del Palmar’s lobby.
Their staff can help you choose among all the fun activities and tours you can do during your stay in Loreto. They also have kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkeling equipment for rent.
If you wish to ride on a catamaran boat around the islands, they can help you as well.
We took a boat to Danzante Island and it was an incredible experience. We saw many dolphins on the way there and we snorkeled at Honeymoon Beach, where we saw starfish and other types of sea life.
Not many know that Loreto is of great importance in the history of California. Actually, of both Californias: the Alta California and the Baja California.
And it is from here that the Spanish went on to build missions and presidios that went all the way up north ending at the Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma following El Camino Real.
Furthermore, the famous “Camino Real” actually starts in Loreto. Despite this importance, the town of Loreto has remained small, with a population of about 10,000 people.
If you want to be closer to the historic downtown, Hotel Santa Fe Loreto is a great place to stay. The spacious rooms are equipped with full kitchens and the hotel offers a pool, hot tub, and plenty of parking. It’s only a short walk to visit the historical Mission of Loreto.
How to get there
Loreto is such an easy destination to get to. From LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) there are several airlines that fly there. You can get great specials on a charter flight with CalJet Airlines.
They have a fantastic schedule leaving and returning on Saturdays. And best of all, the flight only takes 1 hour 40 minutes. It’s that fast!
If you love adventure and beautiful scenic road trips, you can go by car. Driving from San Diego is about 13 hours.
Most people drive to the town of Guerrero Negro on the Pacific side and spend the night, arriving in Loreto the next day.
If you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway paired with authentic Mexican charm, Loreto is a destination you won’t want to miss. But hurry before it’s discovered!
When it comes to Mexican touristic destinations, it’s almost a given that places like Cancun, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, or Acapulco are the first that come to mind.
But Mexico offers more than beaches in paradise. And so when beaches become the touristic norm, a place like Monterrey all of a sudden stands out!
And I’ll show you why Monterrey is a destination you’ll want to consider next time you visit Mexico.
I love Monterrey because there is truly something for everyone in this one-of-a-kind city in Mexico. Whether you are adventuresome and love the outdoors or whether you enjoy world-class museums, modern shopping malls and dining at fine restaurants, you have many options.
First of all, reaching Monterrey is as easy as can be. Its unquestionable status as the Industrial Capital of Mexico has Monterrey connected to top US airports with daily non-stop flights to cities like Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, and Chicago.
Also known as the Sultan of the North, Monterrey is located in the northeastern part of the country embraced by beautiful mountains.
One of them is the city’s most famous landmark, the Cerro de la Silla or Saddle Mountain (see photo above).
Being surrounded by mountains means the scenery is not only spectacular but outdoor activities are pretty much endless.
I particularly love to hike in Chipinque Ecological Park, located in the south part of the city in the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains. Chipinque has over 15 miles of hiking trails for all levels with its highest peak at approximately 7,000 feet.
The views of the city from Chipinque are breath-taking and the park enjoys a wealth of bird and plant species.
But there’s more in the surrounding areas. You can water-ski at La Boca Lake, hike to the Horse-Tail Falls, and rock climb or mountain bike at La Huasteca Park, among other great opportunities to enjoy nature.
When it comes to city life, Monterrey’s colorful downtown area offers rich history and culture around the Macroplaza (the main square). With an area of 400,000 square meters, the Macroplaza is the second largest city square in the world, just behind Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
You can easily spend an entire day (or days) exploring the Macroplaza and its surroundings.
It is also a great way to see the day-to-day lives of the people of Monterrey.
Some monuments hard to miss are the heroes’ esplanade, the Monterrey Cathedral, the neoclassic Government Palace, and the Faro del Comercio, a modern light-house monument by artist Luis Barragán which shoots a green laser around the city at night.
But also lookout for some unique cultural and artistic sculptures, such as Horse by Colombian artist Fernando Botero (see photo), Homage to the Sun by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, an authentic Canadian Inukshuk by Inuit artist Bill Nasogaluak, and La Lagartera by Francisco Toledo.
A few steps away from the Macroplaza are two world-class museums you don’t want to miss.
First is the Museum of Mexican History, which has done an excellent job of showcasing the general history of Mexico in a fun and interactive way.
The other is MARCO, one of the leading contemporary art museums in the country and my absolute favorite museum in Monterrey.
The permanent collection in MARCO features Latin American paintings, but it has exhibited international artists such as William Kentridge, Alberto Giacometti, Claudio Bravo, Henry Moore, and Frida Kahlo just to name a few.
A top attraction that has become an icon in Monterrey is the Santa Lucía Riverwalk, an artificial river that connects the Macroplaza and the Fundidora Park.
You can either walk the whole way (about 2.5 miles roundtrip) or take a motor boat and enjoy the scenery. Along the river there are restaurants and a few shops.
Speaking of shopping, if you are looking to buy traditional Mexican arts & crafts, you should head to the Mercado de Artesanías located on Morelos, a pedestrian street adjacent to the Macroplaza.
If you are visiting Monterrey and love sports, you should definitely go to a soccer match. It is an exciting way to savor the culture and I promise it will be an unforgettable experience.
Monterrey has two teams in the Mexican Soccer League: Tigres and Rayados.
They both have lots of die-hard fans, which means you should get your tickets ahead of time.
Of course, if you are lucky enough to actually see the derby Tigres Vs Rayados, you’re in for a very special event. The entire city goes crazy for this match!
There are a handful of great day trips to do from Monterrey. I recommend you visit the García Caves and Villa de Santiago.
About 20 miles west of Monterrey, the García Caves have become an international attraction.
Discovered by a priest in 1843, they were formed millions of years ago and today they offer spectacular rock formations in one of the largest cave systems in the country (see photo).
Villa de Santiago is a charming colonial-era village also located about 20 miles from Monterrey, but going south east. It is a nice place to go for those looking to escape the big city.
As you arrive in the central square, you almost feel you were transported to the past. Cobble-stone streets, a relaxing water fountain, and the sounds of birds all welcome you to admire this traditional town.
At the highest point in town you can’t miss the 18th century Santiago Apostle Church. And just across you will find Las Palomas, a colorful and friendly restaurant offering live music and superb local cuisine.
If you are a true wine buff, you might be adventuresome enough to drive to Parras Valley in the neighboring state of Coahuila (about 2.5 hours from Monterrey).
Here you will find Casa Madero, the oldest vineyards and cellars of the entire American continent; its history goes back to 1574. Some of their best wines are the Casa Grande Shiraz Reserve, Casa Madero Semillon, and Casa Madero Cabernet Sauvignon.
There are many things to do in Monterrey and I would recommend visiting for at least a week to get a good flavor of this destination.
We understand visitors may have safety concerns due to the current situation in Mexico.
Although, at the time of writing, it is our opinion that the overall city feels safe, you should always take precautions, use common sense, and follow any travel warnings.
Have you been to Monterrey? What was your experience like? Please comment.
* Tigres Stadium Photo by Jorge Adrián