Gay Baja California

Published Date Author: , August 14th, 2014

Baja, CaliforniaThe enormous 775 mile long Baja California peninsula is split into two large sparsely populated Mexican states: “Baja California” in the north, and “Baja California Sur,” to the south.

The entire narrow peninsula is one of the crown jewels of the planet, bathed by two incredible bodies of water, the mild Pacific Ocean to the west, and the warmer Sea of Cortez to the east, Baja offers hundreds of pristine islands and two thousand miles of scenic coastline.

Baja California is Mexico’s unofficial bilingual zone.
Millions of its residents have lived, and/or worked in Alta California, and continue to enjoy American television and radio broadcasts creating a large community that speaks English as a second language.

I’ve been to many large restaurants in Baja where all the customers, one hundred percent were bilingual Chicanos: Mexican Americans from California and Arizona who cross the border regularly for lunch, dinner and a little shopping, and sight seeing.

The entire reason for existing of seaside Puerto Nuevo is Lobster, fine lobster dining. Thousands of gringos drive to Puerto Nuevo just for the clawed delicacy. You can get to Puerto Nuevo from downtown San Diego in under an hour. More than thirty restaurants serve Lobster, Puerto Nuevo style, which is pan-fried served with the typical Spanish rice, refried brown beans, fresh mashed guacamole salad, and piping hot hand made corn, or flour tortillas.

Any day is a good day to enjoy the world’s favorite crustacean, but if you can be in Puerto Nuevo for the annual Lobster Festival in October, so much the better. The festival is a joyous event centered around Mariachi bands playing on the main street, as well as contests and free samples of popular Mexican brews, including Baja’s own Tecate, the beer you drink with salt sprinkled on the can and a wedge of lemon, or lime squeezed onto the salt.

If you miss the Lobster Festival, the large and modern Tecate Brewery in the city of Tecate right on the international border 25 miles east of Tijuana offers pleasant free tours year-round, including free beer.

The number one tourist attraction in Baja, is “La Bofadora,” one of the largest and most powerful marine geysers, or blow holes in North America, twenty miles south of Ensenada. La Bofadora is more faithful than even Old Faithful, blasting its one hundred foot tall eruption every minute.

Massages in Baja are way cheaper than in the US, and quite different. Rather than a massage table, your treatment takes place on a concrete pedestal. You masseur covers the six-foot long cement bench with clean white bath towels, then soaks the towels with warm water before you lay on the pedestal face down for your massage.
Mexican massage is a combination of deep tissue, and chiropractic techniques.

Admission to a gay bathhouse shouldn’t cost more than ten bucks, and a half hour massage should cost about the same.

You can charge a soft drink, or beer to your locker number. I always buy my masseur, and anyone who strikes up a conversation with me a beer, or soda. It is always a surprise to them, and most welcome.

I always take a good supply of crisp new two-dollar bills to pass out as tips. These unusual bills always cause quite a commotion. While US currency, which they call “plata,” or silver in Spanish circulates virtually everywhere in Baja alongside the Mexican Peso, called “moneda nacional,” national currency in Spanish, the obscure two dollar bill virtually never circulates anywhere outside the US.

Drinking age is 18 years-old in Mexico, so the crowds you will see packing the gay bars, and discos in Tijuana, and the inland state capital of Mexicali will be much younger than at home.
A tidal wave of 18 to 20 year old Americans cross the border to legally club, and party in Baja.

There is an excellent highway running the entire length of the peninsula, from the US border all the way down to Los Cabos.
Take the toll road, “cuota” en espanol, the adjacent free road is much slower because of all the agricultural, and cargo trucks that utilize it.

Tijuana International Airport is a major hub with discount flights throughout Mexico, the US/Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Major cruise ship ports-of-calls in Baja include Ensenada on the Pacific, Loreto and La Paz on the Sea of Cortez, and Los Cabos at the tip of the peninsula where the two bodies of water converge.

A modern overnight passenger and auto ferry runs from quaint Santa Rosalia on the east coast of Baja, across the Sea of Cortez to the popular resort of Guaymas in the Mexican state of Sonora on the Mexican mainland.

Thousands of Americans and Canadians retire in Baja, or vacation there regularly because of the convenience of being so close to the border.

Seaside Playas de Tijuana, Playas de Rosarito, Baja Malibu, Baja Mar, La Salina and Ensenada on the west coast, San Felipe and Rio Hardy on the east coast, in particular are magnets for snowbirds.

Playas de Tijuana sits right on the border, you can see Americans swimming on the other side of the border from the breezy terrace of your restaurant, or hotel.
Many Americans live the good life in Playas de Tijuana, and commute to work in San Diego.

Health Tourism is popular in Baja. As soon as you cross the border you’ll be faced with dozens of dental clinics that perform all the procedures they do back home at half price, or less. They can even fit you for dentures, or a crown and ship the finished product home for you.

Pharmacies are excellent in Mexico, American and European manufactured name brand and generic medications are much cheaper, and many that require a prescription in the US, such as antibiotics, do not need a script in Mexico.

Chinese skyrockets are for sale in dozens of stores. Fire them at midnight on the beach into the pitch-black star-studded sky.

Camp on the white sand beach in the fishing village of San Felipe.
I like a beachfront campground named Pete’s El Paraiso a few miles north of San Felipe. Rent one of dozens of mobile homes, or a beach cabana, not much more than a thatched shelter from the blazing daytime sun. Snuggle up in your sleeping bag at night.

Dig for clams when the tide retreats, scoop up a few crabs and shrimp in a tide pool with your bare hands, fish for silvery glistening flying fish, and cook your catch on the beach in a simple campfire.

The indigenous people have nourished themselves this way for thousands of years along these shores.

Watch the whales, dolphins, sea turtles, pelicans and a profusion of other sea birds that make their home in the Sea of Cortez.

The author, Ernie Alderete is a Los Angeles-based adventure travel writer. His work has appeared in the Bay Area Reporter, the Gay & Lesbian Times, Update Newspaper, Frontiers and Adelante Magazine, among many other LGBT publications across North America. His travels have taken him from the saline depths of the Dead Sea to the frosted heights of the Andes, from the steaming heart of the Amazon to the spectacular wide-open natural grandeur of the Great Barrier Reef. Your comments are always welcome:

Baja Sur Gay Travel Resources

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Comments reader  One Reader Comment

Gay Baja California - Gravatar Gay Baja California said on August 27, 2014, 5:31 pm:

[…] By Ernie Alderette – Full Story at The Purple Roofs Gay Travel Blog | Baja Sur Gay Travel Resources […]

Ross Fish - Gravatar

Purple%20Roofs Ross Fish said on June 2, 2018, 11:00 am:

Moving our RV to the Baja beaches of Bahia Concepcion. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.
Thank you, Ross

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