Culture

Check Out These Baja California Hotels And Resorts For Your Next Vacation

Adobe Guadalupe / Facebook

When it comes to vacationing in Mexico, resort cities such as Cancun and Puerto Vallarta often get the most tourist traffic. If you want to go off the beaten path,  start looking at flights and car rental rates to Baja California, a land filled with desert dunes, crashing waves and abundant marine life. Here are hotels and resorts to stay at while you’re traveling around Baja.

1. Hotel Araiza Mexicali

CREDIT: araizahoteles / Instagram

If you’re heading south of the border through the capital of Baja California, Mexicali, then you might want to book a stay at Hotel Araiza Mexicali. Guests can enjoy paella and ceviche on Fridays and relax by the outdoor swimming pool.

2. Hotel Colonial Mexicali

CREDIT: Hotel Colonial Mexicali / Facebook

If you’d rather spend money on experiences but still have a nice room, Hotel Colonial Mexicali might be more in your price range. The hotel is located within walking distance from the Plaza Cachanilla Shopping Center and the Sol de Niño Museum.

3. Rancho Tecate Resort

CREDIT: RanchoTecateResort / Instagram

Heading east from Mexicali before you hit Tijuana lies the city of Tecate. During your stay in the city, sip on a glass of wine while touring the vineyards of Rancho Tecate. Rolling hills surround the villas at this resort and the staff is ready to help plan excursions including ziplining and horseback riding.

4. K Tower Hotel Boutique Urbano

CREDIT: K Tower Hotel Boutique Urbano By Lucerna / Facebook

As soon as you cross the border into Baja California, K Tower Hotel is ready to welcome guests with sweeping views of Tijuana from the rooftop pool. Photos of Mexican cultural icons including Cantinflas and Maria Felix adorn the walls of luxe suites.

5. Hotel Real del Río

CREDIT: Hotel Real del Río / Facebook

This hotel in the Zona Río district of Tijuana, which is the modern business district of the city and is in walking distance from  parks and restaurants.

6.Hotel Real del Mar Golf Resort

CREDIT: Hotel Real del Mar Golf Resort / Facebook

Bring your golf clubs and hit the links at this resort in between Tijuana and Rosarito. Pink and white buildings in colonial architecture overlook the 18 hole golf course, tennis court and mission style church inside the facility.

7. Las Rocas Resort & Spa

CREDIT: Las Rocas Resort & Spa / Facebook

After taking the scenic drive down Federal Highway 1D from Tijuana to Rosarito, you can stop overnight at Rosarito’s Las Rocas Resort & Spa. The resort has multiple infinity pools that overlook the Pacific Ocean, guaranteeing you some zen while you stretch out under the ocean breeze.

8. Rosarito Beach Hotel

CREDIT: Rosarito Beach Hotel / Facebook

This three-tower resort has enough accomodation for 500 rooms that overlook into the Pacific Ocean. Each building has its own pool and jacuzzi, and guests in the Coronado Tower can see Coronado Islands less than 10 miles away.

9. Hotel Castillos del Mar

CREDIT: Hotel Castillos del Mar en Rosarito / Facebook

Located five minutes from the center of Rosarito, Hotel Castillos del Mar has 33 oceanview rooms and boasts two private beaches. If you want to get a better view of the Pacific Ocean, take a stroll through the cliffside garden and palapa.

10. Puerto Nuevo Hotel & Villas

CREDIT: Puerto Nuevo Baja Hotel y Villas / Facebook

If you like to gram those foodie shots while globetrotting, make a pit stop at Puerto Nuevo, known as the “Lobster Village” of Baja California. Dine on some grilled lobster with a side of piping hot flour tortillas within a block from the Puerto Nuevo Hotel & Villas.

11. Bruma

CREDIT: brumacasa8 / Instagram

Why not visit Mexico’s best-kept secret while you’re traveling through Baja? Valle de Guadalupe’s wine route sits tucked away between sloping hillsides and is finally being noticed as a global wine region although its grape beginnings has been rooted since the late 1800s. For a secluded getaway, book these boxed bed-and-breakfast suites designed by Alejandro D’Acosta at eco-luxury resort Bruma.

12. Adobe Guadalupe

CREDIT: Adobe Guadalupe / Facebook

If the rustic architecture is calling your name more than a modern suite, Adobe Guadalupe’s hacienda style is just as enchanting. Dine al fresco under olive trees at seasonal restaurant El Jardin, which is open between late spring and early autumn.

13. Estero Beach Hotel/Resort

CREDIT: Estero Beach Hotel & Resort / Facebook

This has been a mainstay for tourists in Ensenada since the 1950s and regularly hosts beach volleyball, tennis and soccer tournaments. Guests can choose between private rooms with patios and ocean views, or cottage units.

14. Bajamar Ocean Front

CREDIT: BAJAMAR, Ocrean Front Golf Resort / Facebook

Bajamar’s golf resort includes 71 rooms and 10 junior suites in Spanish hacienda style architecture. Guests will either be provided views of the ocean or the gold course depending on which room they are booked in.

15. Hotel Mision Santa Maria – San Quintín

CREDIT: Hotel Mision Santa Maria / Facebook

This expansive resort sits on the sundrenched coastal town of San Quintín, south of Ensenada. After walking around the courtyard complete with a fountain, relax on the beach after a round of beach volleyball by swinging in a hammock under a palapa.

16. Don Eddie’s Landing

CREDIT: Don Eddie’s Landing (Hotel And Sport Fishing Center) / Facebook

If you are one of the thousands of tourists eager to reel in some fish off the coast of Baja, take a more casual approach to your lodging by staying at Don Eddie’s Landing Hotel and Sport Fishing Center. The 17-room hotel also has space to park trailers and RVs, and if you forgot some of your fishing equipment, the hotel has a sport fishing store on-site.

17. San Felipe Marina Resort

CREDIT: San Felipe Marina Resort / Facebook

The western coast that hugs the Pacific Ocean isn’t the only coast that you can visit while traveling around Baja. Cross over the state to the Gulf of California to the city of San Felipe, where you can stay at the San Felipe Marina Resort. The beachfront retreat has a private beach and sits next to the Fonatur Marina.

18. Hotel El Cortéz

CREDIT: El Cortez / Facebook

Named after the Sea of Cortez (another name the Gulf of California goes by), this hotel sits right in front of the ocean and is a little over 10 minutes walking distance from the Malecón San Felipe esplanade. It was built in 1959 and is decked in a tan color that matches the sand dunes of San Felipe.

19. Las Animas Eco-Lodge

CREDIT: Las Animas Ecolodge / Facebook

Accessible only by boat, the Las Animas Eco-Lodge is ready to provide guests with a one-stop eco adventure. Go kayaking in the Sea of Cortez or snorkel with dolphins at your side. The adventure is up to you if you’re willing to stick it out in these eco-friendly hut-style vacation rentals.

20. Rancho Rodeo del Rey

CREDIT: Rancho Rodeo del Rey / Facebook

This resort is *completely* the polar opposite from any of the architectural styles of Baja California’s typical resorts. Located on the edge of the, this cabin resort is surrounded by pine trees along the Sierra de Juarez mountain range. Snow even falls in the winter! You can book a stay at Rancho Rodeo del Rey after making the trip either from San Felipe or it’s an easy 2-hour drive from Ensenada.

Which resort would you like to stay in? Let us know in the comments!

Puerto Vallarta Has Long Been An LGBTQ-Friendly Travel Destination And Here’s Why

Culture

Puerto Vallarta Has Long Been An LGBTQ-Friendly Travel Destination And Here’s Why

ThatGayGringo / Instagram

Puerto Vallarta is one of the favorite Mexican tourist destinations of the LGBT community. There are hotels, bars, nightclubs, beaches, and even drinks specifically for LGBT travelers, and due to the safety and welcoming environment for these guests, it is the first city in Mexico to receive the Gay Travel Approved distinction by GayTravel.com.

But why PV? What made Vallarta Mexico’s top gay destination?

Let’s start back at the beginning.

Credit: thatgaygringo / Instagram

In the south of Puerto Vallarta you will find the “Old Town,” also called “The Romantic Zone,” the tourist area favored by expats and foreigners who want to soak up local traditions. The Old Puerto Vallarta is also considered the gay neighborhood since 1980, when the gay community and retired Canadians and Americans bought land and properties in order to create gay-friendly businesses. Today there’s a wide variety of attractions with this focus, including bars, restaurants, stores, nightclubs, and both budget and boutique hotels.

In this zone is nestled the popular beach Playa de los Muertos, which, although not exclusively gay, for the last 20 years has been known as a gay-friendly beach (also called Blue Chairs, because of the many blue chairs placed by a gay resort which bears the same name), mainly in the high season, from November to March.

Why is this pristine beach the LBGT meeting point? Because the gay-friendly beachfront hotels in the area causes—and guarantees—a concentration of LGBT tourists, bringing a multicultural ambience where members of this community will be respected without discrimination. In the morning they can socialize and enjoy the party atmosphere, and in the afternoon walk holding hands under the dazzling sunset, in a romantic atmosphere free of hostility. Such is the high demand for LGBT-friendly vacation spots that the area has been extended to include the green chairs and as far as the north coast, in the elegant Oceano Sapphire Beach Club, owned by gays.

But it’s about more than just the beach.

Credit: David Stanley / Flickr

Unlike certain countries, laws against homosexuality never existed in Mexico. There is, however, a strong macho culture and religious influence which disapproves it—nonetheless the locals show respect. Under these circumstances, the growing community has led LGBT organizations to work to promote a change of culture in the pursuit of equality. Their work has gotten results: they have achieved recognition of gay rights, and implemented laws against the provocation and incitement of hate or violence against LGBTs, and also to guarantee equality in employment and public accomodation and services. Even more, in 2013 Puerto Vallarta legalized civil union between LGBT couples, followed by same-sex marriage in 2016.

This city organized its first Gay Pride March, and has hosted the Pink & Proud Women’s Party—the equivalent lesbian celebration—for the last four years, with assistance from the local Canadian and American communities. The multiple events in support of the LGBT community have marked out Puerto Vallarta as the “Mexican San Francisco.”

Now, there’s a giant and flourishing LGBTQ tourism industry that welcomes people from around the world.

Credit: Kristopher Roller / Unsplash

For the last 10 years, the number of LGBT visitors has increased in Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco, and in order to meet demand, the number of LGBT-friendly resorts and touristic attractions has also increased. Now three of every 10 hotels in Puerto Vallarta are LGBT-friendly, and most also offer weddings and other symbolic ceremonies.

Bars, nightclubs and other amenities are already focused on this market, and there are also tours—like the Gay VIP Bars Tour—and even drinks—like the Gay Tequila and the Gay Energy Drink—to make these guests feel extra welcome. As a result, Puerto Vallarta now hosts International LGBT Business Expos, with important conferences and events, including fashions shows, beach parties and music festivals to celebrate this booming market.

Puerto Vallarta remains the gateway to Mexico for many LGBTQ travelers.

Credit: kwhigam / Flickr

Some other cities have recognized the demand, and are now attempting to attract LGBT tourism to their destinations. Puerto Vallarta is not letting it happen: diverse businesses—no matter the sexual preference—are joining forces to create organizations to promote this targeted brand of tourism. The market gives consumers what they want, and they have identified this growing target and will not let it go.

Beyond the marketing, Puerto Vallarta became a platform to support gay rights, and the LGBT community knows it and feels welcome here. What really keeps the LGBT community hitting Puerto Vallarta is the activism, respect, and freedom they find in this beautiful paradise.

We Can Guarantee That If You Go To A Mexican Fiesta You’ll Hear These 18 Songs

Culture

We Can Guarantee That If You Go To A Mexican Fiesta You’ll Hear These 18 Songs

Anna Summa / PhotoShelter

Quinceañera, wedding, baptism, school dance hall – Mexicans sure know how to turn any and every occasion into a good time. 

And no fiesta is ever complete without a bopping playlist that can carry the dancing late into the night. 

Today, we’ve thrown together 17 classic songs that you’re likely to hear at any Mexican party. They should have ya (or at least dear tía Nora) throwing your hands in the air. 

Caballo Dorado – Payaso de Rodeo

We’re kicking off the list with this classic wedding / quinceañera number. 

‘Payaso de Rodeo’ to some, ‘No romper mi corazón’, to others. Whichever camp you’re in, there’s no not recognizing it once the DJ has his way. It’s a CALL TO ARMS – one that guarantees a stampede to the dancefloor and a whole lotta clapping, hopping and sliding. 

This country band may have been formed way back in 1986 but this masterpiece is destined to outlive us all. Just, watch your feet – if you get ran over, it’s your fault.

2. Luis Miguel – Cuando Calienta El Sol  

A forever classic from the sol de Mexico himself, perfect for parties under the hot sun, and for invoking nostalgic vibes of youth’s eternal-summer… yeah, and who’s ever forgetting that music vid? 

3. Selena Quintanilla – Amor Prohibido

Straight from the queen herself, this song is a bop and a half. It was famously inspired by the love letters of her abuela, a maid who worked for a wealthy family and ended up falling in love with (and marrying) their son. 

Seems like we’re all suckers for a good forbidden romance – it topped the US States Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart nine weeks in a row in 1994. 

4. Jeans – Pepe

The four teens of the original Pepe video may have grown up, but Jeans will always hold a special place in our hearts. It’s a throwback to the days of innocence, bad hair, and those tummy butterflies from crushing on a classmate. 

5. Café Tacvba –  Ingrata

An anthem for every teen in the 90s who figured they were a rebel. This Mexican band straight out of Satellite were a bunch of teens at the time but boy did they just get us. 

6. Banda Blanca – Sopa de Caracol 

So no we may never truly know what they are saying, but this song was always guaranteed to get you up and grooving at any fiesta. 

7. Los Del Río – La Macarena

This Spanish one-hit wonder of the 90s needs no intro. Put it on any speakers, and the dance moves that follow are basically reflex. 

La Macarena made the rounds again in recent years when the internet realised what the lyrics were actually saying. Turns out, the song is all about a girl (Macarena) cheating on her boyfriend with two friends, whilst he’s off in military service. Can I get a #childhoodruined. 

8. Garibaldi – Banana

With refrains like ‘Mexicana like it (banana)’ and ‘Yo tengo una bolita que me sube y me baja’ (I have a little ball that goes up and goes down), Garibaldi’s Banana is, admittedly, no poetic masterpiece. 

What is IS though, is a Latin beat that’s catchy as hell and sure to get you dancing. Plus, what’s life without a little cheap innuendo.

9. Vicente Fernández – El Rey 

There comes a time in every respectable Mexican party when it’s time to break out the ranchera.

We were torn between this song and Chente’s Volver, Volver, but, well, it’s one of the best drinking songs of all time. Scoop up two amigos around the shoulders and bellow along: “PeRo SiGo SiEnDo eL rEy”

10. Los Angeles Azules – 17 Años 

Guaranteed to have even the oldest guests getting jiggy, the infectious rhythm in this song is not to be underestimated. 

No surprise really – Los Angeles Azules are the wizards of cumbia sonidera – a subgenre that fuses the 1950-1970s with synthy electronic 90s music.

11. Maná – Oye Mi Amor 

Here’s one from the Guadalajaran pop rock band Maná – the most successful Latin American band of all time. Like, 40 million albums sold worldwide, kind of successful. 

And this song? You might love it, you might hate it, but you most definitely, probably know the lyrics. 

12. Pedro Infante – Cucurrucucú Paloma

Maybe not a mainstay of your average houseparty, but we couldn’t resist. Tomas Mandaz wrote this Mexican classic in 1954, and it’s since been covered by the likes of Pedro Infante and Luis Miguel.

And boy is it a crooner. The cucurucucú mimics the sound of a dove, and is meant to signal lovesickness. 

13. Magneto – Vuela, Vuela

Whilst Vuela, Vuela is actually a cover of a 80’s French pop song, it’s also the song that helped skyrocket Magneto into the limelight. 

Dubbed by some as the Mexican Backstreet Boys, Magneto’s song hit the charts in the early 90s and flew as high as its namesake.

14. Los Tigres Del Norte – El Jefe De Jefes

This Mexican norteño band is famous for their ‘narcocorrido’ – music that glorifies drug trafficking. It’s a genre that’s actually illegal to play at live events in some Mexican states, which has landed the band a hefty fine in the past. Regardless, at parties the song’s a hoot.

15. Molotov – Voto Latino

An anthem for proud crowds of Latinx to roar along to, this Molotov song is a classic in its own right.

16. La Chona – Los Tucanes de Tijuana

An energetic and fast-paced norteño song from a band that’s been around since 1987. They started out playing in nightclubs, so there’s no surprise that it’s virtually impossible to not dance to this. 

17. Elvis Crespo – Suavemente

Sultry and sexy, this song is pure Latin rhythm heaven. Not only is it perfect for making eyes and swinging hips across a dancefloor, it also helped popularize merengue music. 

18. Ramón Ayala – Tragos Amargos

Contested by some as the ultimate drinking song, would any list of Mexican party songs be complete without some Ramón Ayala to top it off? 

READ: 13 Songs That Made Us Do Silly Dances We Couldn’t Help But Love

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