A unique region, with important natural reserves, beach, desert, valley and forest destinations. Baja California is a territory of adventure, rest, fun, innovation, gastronomy, capital of craft beer production and land of Mexican wine, and endless activities for your trips.
The origins of life in the Baja California peninsula are remote. Indigenous ethnic groups lived here, essentially nomadic in those times, who arrived in the peninsular zone as part of the continental migrations. The oldest archaeological remains are 10 years old. Of the indigenous life, the cosmogony, the songs, the customs of these peoples survive, in the record in the texts of scholars and catechist friars, who lived in these latitudes from the XNUMXth century.
Of these indigenous ethnic groups, we can point to the already extinct, once based in the southern peninsula (pericúes, guaycuras and cochimíes), and the Yuman ethnic groups that resisted and survive in difficult conditions: kumiais, kiliwas, pai pai and cucapás. Later, with the Spanish Conquest, the desire to explore and conquer the new unknown territories was stimulated. Hernán Cortés, one of the greatest characters in our history, promotes exploratory trips to the latitudes of Baja California, at that time an unnamed region, which owes its baptism to a cavalry novel of the time: Las sergas de Esplandián. At the same time, from the XNUMXth century onwards, the number of explorations increased which gradually outlined the cartography of what was perceived as an island and later as what it is, a peninsula.
The project to catechize the native inhabitants of the vast territories and advance the possession of these spaces for the Spanish Crown prevails. In the viceroyalty, in the seventeenth century the first Catholic outpost landed with the arrival of the Jesuit friars who founded the Mission of Loreto in 1697, which would be the capital of the Californias. Then begins the foundation of missions, led by religious of the three orders (Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans) who arrived in these lands in succession. The missions were enclaves of the new civilization, rooting structures, domination and extension of the viceregal jurisdiction. The Jesuits, expelled in 1767 by the Spanish monarch Carlos III, were relieved by the Franciscans in this task of evangelization and exploration, which moved north to the territories that were called Alta California, and the subsequent arrival of the order of the Dominicans. The Californias at this time are a region steeped in legend, by the councils of sailors and explorers and by the will of the viceregal authorities to colonize them and establish greater control over their territories and inhabitants.
In the mid-nineteenth century the secularization of missionary life occurred, signifying a substantial change in society at that time, with many repercussions in the daily life of the inhabitants of the region The warlike conflict with the United States in the mid-nineteenth century it forges the conditions for the emergence of the border, as we know it today.
Emergence of the Border
With the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, on February 2, 1848, the separation of Alta and Baja California was carried out. There were still attempts at a filibuster invasion, such as that of William Walker between 1853 and 1854, an invasion that was repelled by the Baja Californians themselves, who, under the command of Antonio María Meléndrez, confronted the filibusters and expelled them from national territory. Since 1872, Real del Castillo was the capital of the Northern Party of Baja California and in the course of a few years its political and economic activities began to decline. The residents of the place requested that the head of the Northern Party be changed to Ensenada de Todos Santos.
This is due to the investments that the Company had in the region and whose main purpose was to attract US clients to Ensenada to sell land in the area. The company's partners failed to meet their goals because the business did not pay off, largely due to the lessening of the California area real estate boom. In 1888, the Northern Party became the Northern District of Baja California, with its capital at the port of Ensenada. The history of education in Baja California begins with the work of Manuel Clemente Rojo and Eliseo Schieroni, beginning in 1869.
It is true that the Jesuit, Franciscan and Dominican missionaries who settled in the northern peninsula during the 1884th century spoke of educating the natives, but their education was more indoctrination than true and free education. In July XNUMX several foreign partners formed The International Company of Mexico better known as Compañía Internacional de México or Compañía Americana in Hartford, Connecticut, United States. With the arrival of the Company in Ensenada, it changed radically because urbanization works began to make the purchase of land more attractive. Ensenada communicated with San Diego through telegraph and telephone lines.
In Mexicali, the Colorado River Land Company started irrigation, through modern irrigation canals, of the fertile lands of the Mexicali valley and the Colorado River delta, creating a city based on cotton cultivation on an international scale. In Baja California, Ricardo Flores Magón, representative of the most radical wing of the Revolution, drives a campaign to take Baja California in January 1911, taking the border populations of Mexicali and Tijuana with the support of Mexican and foreign insurgents. In 1915, Esteban Cantú changed the capital of the Northern District, from Ensenada to Mexicali to be closer to the border and to have better protected the population, a change that will be official in 1917. In 1920, the Sonoran revolutionaries who have taken the reins of the The country finally controls the Northern District, which is under the military orders of General Abelardo L. One of the main problems of that time was the repatriation of compatriots that led to high unemployment in the region.
In this context, Bernal Navarrete ruled the region and tried to apply the federal policy of "Mexicanizing" Baja California, an idea that did not prosper due to the lack of resources in the center of the country and the complexity of the Baja California region. President Ortiz Rubio's project established the measures that should be applied for the "Mexicanization" of the region. During the administration of Rafael Navarro Cortina, as Governor of the Territory and under the national policy of the agrarian distribution of President Lázaro Cárdenas, the event known as Assault on the Lands took place on January 27, 1937, in the Mexicali Valley . The intention of the Mexican peasants was to obtain land where they could settle with their families and at the same time, make the land produce.
They were organized in the Álamo Mocho, Francisco Javier Mina, Michoacán de Ocampo, Guadalupe Victoria and Lázaro Cárdenas agrarian communities. The Assault on the Lands was an invasion of the extensive lands, property of the foreign company Colorado River Land Company. This fact led to the formation of a peasant commission to meet with President Cárdenas in Mexico City, in order to reach a solution to the problem of the Mexicali Valley. With the interest of solving the various problems of the Northern Territory of Baja California, Cárdenas orders the formation of a Mixed Inter-secretarial Commission to analyze the problems of the region and provide solutions.
After technical work, the Commission recommended the establishment of the Free Zone, the completion of the Rodríguez Dam, the construction of the railway, adjustments to the International Boundary and Water Treaty, the creation of secondary and higher education schools, and the colonization of the Mexicali valley. The obvious problem was the sparse population of this area and the concentration of rural property, since most of the arable land was in the hands of large landowners. The Cárdenas government affected the interests of the Colorado Land River Company, usufructuary of large tracts of land in the Mexicali Valley, in favor of the distribution of land benefiting the peasants. In 1935, President Lázaro Cárdenas prohibited gambling houses and then, in 1937, he took away the concession from the Colorado River Land Company and distributed the lands of the Mexicali Valley to Mexican farmers from all over the country.
At the same time, the conditions for industry and local commerce are created with free perimeters and the construction, from 1937, of the Sonora-Baja California railway, which is completed until 1948, when it is inaugurated by President Miguel Alemán. The Second World War is an opportunity for Baja California to become a first-rate industrial fishing, agricultural, beer, and manufacturing platform, as well as an obligatory site for the Bracero Program, so that the main cities of the entity grow at a ever faster pace, with greater wealth and prosperity. During the first half of the XNUMXth century, the Baja California industry was predominantly a service industry due to the avalanche of foreign visitors. The studies of the engineer Ulises Irigoyen at the beginning of the thirties, record the economic panorama of the time of harsh economic crisis that has repercussions not only in Baja California but throughout the country.
Abandoned to its fate and with the burden of thousands and thousands of returnees arriving daily in the then Northern Territory of Baja California, the lack of transportation and communications, which could supply basic products for daily subsistence, makes importation of these products from the United States is inevitable. Irigoyen, who comes to study for the construction of the Sonora-Baja California railway, is fighting for the free zone on the border as an expedited way to alleviate the economic situation in Baja California. According to the Mexican economist Sergio Noriega in his pioneering book, The Economy of the State of Baja California, «the free zone is an import and export franchise granted by the government of Mexico to the inhabitants of the Baja California peninsula and northwest Sonora . "This exemption from taxes and controls is the fundamental incentive for Baja California development."
On January 16, 1952, the Official Gazette of the Federation decreed the creation of the Free and Sovereign State of Baja California, the 29th state of the Mexican Republic. On March 29, 1952 the state congress was elected and on August 16, 1953 the decree of the state constitution was published. The Political Constitution was promulgated by the provisional governor Alfonso García González and the third transitory article indicated the call for elections to deputies of the first Legislature and for constitutional governor. The work of this first Legislature was extremely important since the deputies were responsible for writing, discussing and approving a series of laws that gave the new federal entity the legal framework.
With this, the educational offer at a professional level that the entity required is ensured. In the eighties the Iberoamerican University, the College of the Northern Border and the Tijuana Cultural Center were founded. From Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas, with a length of 1708 kilometers. On December 1, 1973, President Luis Echeverría inaugurated the great work at Parallel 28, the boundary between the two entities, united by the term California.
The first part of the twentieth century also outlined the tourist vocation of the coastal zone, which increased with the passing of the decades, which had an impressive boom in the period of the Dry Law, defining the tourist vocation that persists, with variations, until the present. Currently agricultural production is carried out successfully in the Mexicali Valley and in the variety of valleys of the Ensenada municipality. Currently, economic policy is geared towards promoting highly specialized labor and taking advantage of the strategic geographical position. Baja California has an efficient transportation infrastructure. The five main cities concentrate 92% of the population, and are connected by a modern four-lane road network. It also has a rail freight service that connects with North American networks at two points, Mexicali-Calexico, California and Tijuana-Tecate. Three international airports, in the cities of Mexicali, Tijuana and San Felipe, serve the influx of passengers and cargo that transits the state. Its advantageous geographical position allows it to have five sea ports with great commercial movement. The Ensenada port offers access to the products of the Pacific Basin; while in the Gulf of California, the port and airport of San Felipe have tourist functions. Both Mexicali and Tijuana have become poles of industrial development, where the aerospace industry stands out, the activities it comprises are the manufacture and assembly of airplane parts, interior design and other services. The manufacture and assembly of electronic products such as cell phones, marine sonar, microchips, electronic boards, semiconductors, etc. Tijuana, the most northwestern city in the Mexican Republic, nurtures its dynamism from the commercial potential and favorable conditions of the United States-Mexico binational relationship. Historically it is a city frequented by tourism and has an intense industrial dynamic. The Tijuana-San Ysidro border gate is one of the busiest land ports in the world. Tijuana's productive capacity is consolidated: it has 122 industrial plants that produce electronic supplies for the world market; More than 20 million televisions are produced in the city a year.
3250 trucks cross the border per day, carrying and bringing merchandise to the two countries. In this border city there are 52 industrial parks with the most diverse production lines. 588 companies unite their export potential every day. Tijuana generates a large percentage of the electronic products consumed by the world's top 10 airlines. In the Ensenada municipality, the biotechnology industry develops. The medical products and services industries have found in Baja California the ideal place to develop.
And it also has a wide cultural life tourist offer. Mexicali's economic growth is linked to the annual investments of companies mainly of electronic parts or equipment that have established their assembly plants for export mainly, such as Mitsubishi, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, VitroFEMSA, Skyworks Solutions, Cardinal Health, Bosch, Gulfstream, Goodrich, and Kwikset. This investment attraction is reinforced by the reserve of skilled labor, abundant energy and water supplies, a favorable economic environment and its status as a border with California. In Mexicali, there is a diversified industry, such as food products, where there are dairy pasteurizers, bottlers, wheat mills, tortillerías and meat packers, among the most important. The development of the processing industry and the maquiladora has been mainly in the food, automotive, metal, mechanical, glass packaging, electronics, plastic and textile industries. Mexicali has a geothermal power plant with enough potential to supply the entire state. Without a doubt, industry is one of the most dynamic lines of the region's economy. In the municipality of Ensenada, a wine production was developed in the Guadalupe Valley and other surroundings, reaching high levels of commercialization, both in the national and foreign markets.
This agro-industrial success is explained not only by tradition, the Mediterranean climate that the area enjoys and the specific qualities of the soil, but also by an activity subject to the dynamics of business management and severe quality controls and brand positioning. The wine of the region is a fundamental industry linked to gastronomy, tourism, commerce and services. The conformation of the Wine Route as a tourist attraction has had an undeniable success. The tour of the Guadalupe Valley includes visits to vineyards, recreational spaces, gastronomic enclaves and emblematic places, which represent a sensorial and cultural experience, which has gained an unusual boom and comes to reinforce the state's tourism offer. Higher education in the state is coordinated with the expectations of industrial and commercial development, in terms
of the formation of cadres prepared for incorporation into the labor market. In this sense, the state government has defined the impulse to preparatory education with semi-professional terminals in various branches and in this context the foundation of the Technological University of Tijuana occurs. Baja California's journey towards modernity has been rapid, coupled with the construction of institutions and the use of its resources. Today, Baja California is a strategic part of the country's economic geography, from a society of pioneers, semi-rural in its composition, which depended on foreign currency from tourism and agricultural production.
Baja California has been a pioneer in social changes (the role of women in politics) and political (the partisan alternation in the legislative, state and municipal power); in economic (free zone, free trade agreement) and cultural (individual freedom, defense of the environment, civic culture) transformations. Baja California is currently made up of five municipalities (Tijuana, Playas de Rosarito, Tecate, Tijuana and Mexicali). Tijuana, with its economic strength, its commercial and tourist dynamism, the binational exchange and headquarters of cultural projects; Ensenada, with its academic institutions, its wine and music culture; Rosarito and its gastronomy, tourist attractions and festivals; Tecate, its regional appeal, its traditions, the connection with nature, and Mexicali, its industrial, agricultural and cultural activity. Our entity in the XXI century is a society in progress with inevitable problems or lags, but with a constructive agenda and programs in action. Baja California is a state with great economic vitality, which has an intense commercial life, with a diversity of natural settings, a participatory civil society and an innovative vocation, which clearly define it as a land of opportunities.
Some indigenous groups in Baja California, such as the pai pai, the cucapá and the Kumiai, have kept their traditions alive and continue to produce handicrafts in the way they have been done for centuries, such is the case of the Cucapá community, which date is preserved and is the one made in chaquira. Formerly the small beads, today made of plastic, were made with shells or small animal bones and were the main ornament for both men and women. With a needle, a colored glass bead, cotton or nylon thread and snails of about 3 cm, they make chokers, small necklaces and pectorals. The ceremonials wear geometric designs that are repeated in bands. The pectoral is formed in the form of a network, threading the bead on the thread. The width is 50-60 cm and reaches to cover the shoulders of a woman. Long it grows to 20 to 30 cm. The pectoral is part of women's clothing. Formerly it was of daily use and in our days it is ceremonial. Much of the production is done today for tourists or collectors, which has diversified the type of objects they make, as well as the colors.
Likewise, the women of the pai pai community use ancient techniques to mold ceramic vessels with decorations that have earned them international recognition. These ceramic pieces are also combined with desert agave fiber, which like other ornaments such as multi-colored patchwork quilts and cotton cloth dolls with indigenous designs are highly appreciated by all visitors. While men, using materials such as oak, mesquite, poplar, manzanita root, beef and goat skins, agave fiber and gourds, they make artisan pieces such as bows, arrows, mallets and basketry sticks.
In the various settlements of the community the Kumai are skilled weavers of the reed that they collect in the spring with which they make vessels and decorative figures of various shapes and sizes. The pieces are decorated with oak bark tincture or with the reed root that give baskets, hair ornaments and decorative figures a unique color.
In the Ensenada area and near Tijuana, an artisanal industry has been developed based on abalone shells. Chess boards, frames and decorative figures are made, among other products. In fact, in Ensenada the Artisan Center is located where you can buy the most representative objects of crafts from all over the country.
In Tijuana many of the specialized stores offer handicrafts from all over the state, in addition to some other creations from all over the country such as: onyx, fine leather, silver, blown glass and iron. And in Playas de Rosarito is located the Popotla Artisan Corridor, which has a sample of the country's crafts, arranged in different art galleries. You can find: wooden furniture, clay crafts, wrought iron and many other pieces.
Representative folk costumes of ancient origins abound in our country. But in the peninsula no one had been defined in particular, but period costumes were used in the absence of a dress that had the necessary characteristics to symbolize, before the other entities of the Mexican Republic, the territory of Baja California. For this reason, in the year 1955, a contest for the preparation and design of the regional costume was called; the winner was the "Flor de Pitahaya" costume, a characteristic plant of the Baja California deserts.
Woman: The representative suit is made of red, white and green satin. The blouse is white, with an oval neck and a green pitahaya embroidered in beads and sequins. The skirt is red and semicircular, the lower part of which is surrounded by a white hollan and without buttons. Both the blouse and the skirt are embroidered with a branched cactus, of which three flowers are distributed, one at the top and two at the sides. The tones in which the cacti and flowers are embroidered and painted are in green, pink and yellow, with sequins and beads in tone; It is adorned with a tulle bow embroidered in black chaquira, an effect that simulates the pulp of the seed. It is complemented by pearl necklace and earrings.
Man: The typical men's suit consists of cotton pants and shirt, the latter plaid. They wear boots with spurs for footwear. A palm hat is worn on the head.
Gastronomy represents the main motivation for those who visit the state. The culinary wealth is based on the quality of the products, and a free technique that is open to international influence, which converges with tradition, highlighting in it flavors of urban cuisine and its fishing and agricultural communities.
From the legendary fish taco, the lobster of Puerto Nuevo, the tacos and fresh seafood carts, the world-class restaurants, to the Baja med cuisine of the cities of the state, the cuisine of Baja California has taken as main objectives to be extremely selective and respectful with the quality of the ingredients that come from the industries, agriculture and aquaculture of the region. Same supplies, becoming the protagonists of the most interesting dishes.
As a complement, they have multiple input producing regions for this industry such as Mexicali (the meat capital), the fishing fields on both sides of the peninsula, and the vegetable production farms throughout the state, which put the freshest ingredients (cataloged as export quality), available to the kitchens of the region. In some of these input production projects, such as the San Quintín aquaculture farms, you can enjoy an experience of tasting fresh produce from the sea to the table, products such as the various varieties of oysters, the generous clam, the sea cucumber, striped bass, abalone, and a wide variety of crustaceans, considered to be of the best quality.
As if this were not enough, they are minutes from one of the most vibrant and wealthy states in North America: California. With those who have an active exchange of techniques
culinary, ingredients, cooking traditions from all over the world, but above all human capital. In addition to all of the above, they have the joy of having a range of highly creative chefs with their shapes, colors and combinations of aromas and flavors, in addition to the advantage of having drinks available to pair food such as high-end wines. range and craft beer, also brewed in this state.
It is worth mentioning that The Fauna Restaurant in Valle de Guadalupe was recently named Restaurant of the Year in "The Guide to Gastronomic Mexico: the 120 restaurants 2020", where other restaurants in Baja California such as Los Compas, Deckman's in Mogor, Mission 19, Georgina, Finca Altozano, Corazón de Tierra, Laja, Manzanilla among others.
Among the recognitions for local gastronomy is Doña Esthela, awarded with the distinction of the best breakfast on the planet, according to the English network of food critics FoodieHub. Here is the most important Wine Route in the country, where more than 70% of the national wine is made, with more than 150 wineries to visit, bottling more than two million cases of wine annually. Baja California has been the watershed part of today's nascent wine culture in Mexico, receiving annually more than 750 thousand visitors, nationals and from other parts of the world, thus becoming in 2016 the second favorite destination for Mexicans (SECTUR).
The Wine Route offers various attractions that range from the smallest family wineries to large-scale producers, where you can taste wines made with great dedication. The Baja California wines that you will be able to taste are typically based on the Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grape varieties, in the case of whites; While Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Carignan, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Zinfandel grapes are used for reds.
The offer of quality wine on this route has opened an invitation for the most creative chefs to come to this rural area to settle down and create culinary proposals worthy of the grace of this legendary drink. This mission has been accepted by many, some of them local, and some others from various corners of the country and the world; some others of international reputation and some younger ones making their way into the world of gastronomy, generating a very rich offer of culinary proposals, where some of its restaurants have been named on several occasions as the best in the country in the most recognized rankings.
It should be noted that all this gastronomic and wine offer are framed by a landscape of dreamy sunsets, fields covered with vineyards and olive groves, which runs from the border with the United States to the south of the state, passing through Valle de Guadalupe, Valle de Ojos Negroes, Santo Tomás Valley, San Vicente, up to the vine plantation areas heading to the 28th parallel, which make the wine route an outstanding sensory experience in the country.
Likewise, the growing Baja California Craft Beer Route, stands out for having the highest quality beers in Mexico, our breweries have participated and won the first places in national competitions, and are the only ones that have managed to obtain recognition in the World Beer Cup Awards in 2018.
This is mainly attributed to two factors: the talent of Baja California brewers and the geographical location (next to the city of San Diego, California). The first factor is crucial to be able to generate a product that appeals to the palate of those who like good beer, due to its technical and sensorial qualities; and the second factor is strategic for obtaining inputs, knowledge of the process and technologies, since San Diego is recognized as a power in the elaboration of this effervescent concoction.
This results in a wide variety of beer tasting rooms, often accompanied by a cuisine that is largely influenced by the growing movement of Food Trucks and urban cuisine, Consequently, the gastronomic wealth and the offer of tourist products around it , in Baja California there are more than 600 events a year that involve gastronomy and beer and wine production, where chefs and foodies from all over the world gather to enjoy the culinary wealth in Baja California, among which the following stand out:
The Harvest Festivals, Baja Culinary Fest, Valle Food and Wine Festival, Ensenada Beer Fest, among many others.
In these events the music of renowned artists of the classic genre, pop, salsa, cumbia, among others, is promoted to integrate harmoniously with the gastronomic culture, a dumbbell that has already become essential to define the lifestyle of Baja California and is shared with those who visit them.
Some of our places that you can visit