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SAN FELIPE - ZAPP Animal Center is Giving Away a $1000 Cash Prize!

ZAPP will send you one raffle ticket for every dollar you donate. Somebody is going to win the $1000 cash prize; it might as well be YOU!

You're viewing just some of the eighteen puppies that we took in yesterday at ZAPP Center. The five on the right were dropped off by Irene and Luis Cogley, who found them abandoned in town.

The picture on the left shows just a portion of the other thirteen puppies Irene and Luis found after leaving ZAPP Center, where the puppies were hiding deep in a pile of old tires. I don't even know how they saw them. Unfortunately, neither of these litters came in with a mama, so we couldn't spay her and break the cycle.

By the time these puppies are ready for adoption, ZAPP will have spent $900 on their spaying and neutering, along with giving
each puppy a complete set of vaccinations. That does not include food, by the way.

Please help if you can; for every dollar you donate we'll send you a raffle ticket for a chance to win $1000 in Cash. We'll send your tickets thru the mail---the drawing will be held at the San Felipe Blues and Arts Fiesta on Saturday, March 27th, here in San Felipe, and you need not be present to Win! Raffle tickets are just $1 each.

When you click the donate button below, please include your mailing address on the form.

Our new surgery room at the Center is on its way to being fully equipped, and I want to thank ZAPP supporter, Susan Lygo, from the UK, who bought us a Centrifuge on eBay, and had it shipped directly to ZAPP in Mexico.

From now until the drawing, on March 27th, all our ZAPP monthly subscribers will also get equivalent raffle tickets for every dollar they donate. Without the members of our Financial Friends program we just couldn't do it. Thanks so much.

and if I need your mailing address I will email you directly.
707-320-4969 from the US
686-190-3432 in San Felipe

LORETO - Mission of San Javier

Mission of San Javier
One of the Best Preserved Missions in Existence
by Benjamin Eugene

Fortún Jiménez de Bertadoña discovered the Baja California Peninsula in early 1534. However, it was Hernán Cortés who recognized the peninsula as the "Island of California" in May 1535, and is, therefore, officially credited with the discovery.
In January 1683, the Spanish government chartered an expedition consisting of three ships to transport a contingent of 200 men to the southern tip of Baja California. Under the command of the governor of Sinaloa, Isidoro de Atondo y Antillon, and accompanied by Jesuit priest Eusebio Francisco Kino, the ships made landfall in La Paz. The landing party was eventually forced to abandon its initial settlement at San Bruno due to the hostile response on the part of the natives. In 1695, the missionaries attempted to establish a settlement near Loreto but again failed.
Father Kino and Atondo y Antillon returned to the Mexican mainland, where Kino went on to establish several missions in the northwest. A Jesuit priest named Juan María de Salvatierra eventually managed to establish the first permanent Spanish settlement, the Misión Nuestra Senora de Loreto Conchó. Founded, on October 19, 1697, the Mission went on to become the religious and administrative capital of Baja California. From there, other Jesuits went out to establish other settlements throughout the peninsula, founding a total of 18 missions along the initial segment of El Camino Real over the next seven decades.

As early as the voyages of Christopher Columbus, the Kingdom of Spain sought to establish missions to convert pagans to Catholicism in Nueva España (New Spain. New Spain consisted of the Caribbean, Mexico, and portions of what is now the Southwestern United States.). To facilitate colonization, the Catholic Church awarded these lands to Spain.

The Spanish Missions in Baja California comprise a series of religious outposts established by Spanish Catholic Dominicans, Jesuits and Franciscans between 1683 and 1834 to spread the Christian doctrine among the local natives. The missions gave Spain a valuable toehold in the frontier land, and introduced European livestock, fruits, vegetables and industry into the region. Eventually, a network of settlements was established wherein each of the installations was no more than a long day's ride by horse or boat (or three days on foot) from another.

One of the 18 missions is the Mission of San Javier, which was built by Spanish Jesuit Miguel del Barco in 1744, and it is generally claimed to be the most beautiful and one of the best-preserved missions in existence.

The original Spanish mission of San Francisco Javier was initially founded about eight kilometers north of the mission's current location, near a stream in an area inhabited by the the native Cochimíes.

Jesuit Father Francisco María Píccolo visited the place on May 11, 1699, two years after the founding of Loreto, and started the construction of a chapel in October of the same year. Father Juan María de Salvatierra dedicated it to All Saints on November 1. The site was abandoned in 1701 because of a threatened Indian revolt.

Father Juan de Ugarte, one of the most esteemed missionaries of the conquest, reestablished the mission in 1702. A few years later it was moved to the better-watered present location of the community of San Javier, Baja California Sur. The energetic Ugarte constructed dams, aqueducts and stone buildings. He introduced cattle breeding, big and small species, developed agriculture and taught the locals to thread and knit wool, not only for themselves, but also for the missionary project in general.

In 1744, a few years after Ugarte's death, Father Miguel del Barco (1706–1790) began to build the present mission church, which took 14 years to complete. The three magnificent gilded baroque retablos (altarpieces) came from Tepotzotlán, just north of Mexico City, and were brought here on the backs of mules, along with oil paintings and other religious paraphernalia. Miguel del Barco was responsible for building what has been called "the jewel of the Baja California mission churches."

Due to the ravages of European diseases, the native population declined steadily through the Jesuit period (1699–1768) and then more steeply after the missionaries of that order were expelled from Baja California. By 1817, the mission was deserted. The church has been restored and is now maintained by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History. Remarkably, the church really hasn't changed much over the last 250 years.

How To Get There

The mission of San Javier is located in the Sierra la Giganta, the mountain range to the west. The junction is 7 km south of Loreto at Km 118. As of August 2009, half of the 36-kilometer mountain road to San Javier is paved.

The drive to the San Javier will take around two hours. You'll want to stop and see Cuevas Pintas, one of the most easily accessible locations in all of Baja to see cave paintings. Abstract figures, thought to be the visions experienced by a shaman during a trance adorn a protected rock overhang. The area sits in a small canyon oasis with a cascading stream flowing over large boulders and between the tall swaying palms.

As you climb the mountains, you can look back and see a magnificent view of the Sea of Cortez and Isla de Carmen. You'll marvel at the desert countryside, with its unique flora and fauna. You'll also want to visit to the olive orchards planted by the Jesuits, a stopover visit to Las Parras Ranch, with a charming orchard at the bottom of a canyon, a natural spring and fruit trees, remnants of the Jesuit presence in the area, an irrigation systems introduced by the Jesuits that is still in use today, a more than 200-year-old chapel.

This route is a winding mountain road, rocky in places, with some steep sections and occasional mud from the mountain rains. Once you reach the top of the range, you'll cross the high Chaparral and several large ranches.

The village of San Javier is an oasis in a semi-arid mountain wilderness with about 60 inhabitants, which live in small houses that run up and down the few narrow, clean, cobblestone streets. The community sits center a small valley surrounded on all sides by tall mountains with a stream running through. It offers very limited tourist services, but does include a small store, restaurant, motel and police station.

Any trip to Loreto should include a side trip to San Javier. This is not only one of the most amazing missions in the Californias, but a very beautiful drive and a look back at the history of the region and Baja California Sur.

On your way back down the mountain, just a kilometer before reaching the Highway 1 junction is Del Barracho Saloon. This is a "must do" addition to the San Javier trip. Stop for a game of pool, awesome burger, or cold beverage; this is one of the few locations with actual draft beer, including dark.

Excursion Length: 6 Hours

What You Need:
Comfortable shirt and pants or shorts
Bottled water for the drive to and from the Mission
Windbreaker or sweater
Your camera

Who Should Take This Tour:
Anyone interested in Mexican history
Anyone interested in the history of the Missions in the New World
Anyone who'd like to learn some of the history and lore of Baja California
Anyone looking for a low impact excursion

Viva Travel Guides,
Cruise Port Insider,

Additional Reading:
Baja California Sur

CALENDAR - Baja California Weekly Calender

Baja California Weekly Calender
Mon Mar 1, 2010
TBA  LOS BARRILES - Watercolor Workshop  
8am SAN FELIPE - San Felipe Rotary Club Meeting
10am TODOS SANTOS - Organic Fruit And Vegetable Stand
12pm TODOS SANTOS - Live Mexican Music at Hotel California
4pm LORETO - Augie's Bar & Bait Shop
4pm TODOS SANTOS  -The Palapa Society Todos Santos a Lecture

Tue Mar 2, 2010
10am TODOS SANTOS - Organic Fruit And Vegetable Stand
12pm TODOS SANTOS- Live Mexican Music at Hotel California
4pm LORETO - Augie's Bar & Bait Shop Happy Hour
6pm SAN FELIPE -Karaoke Night with THE SISTERS AND Chuey at JOLLY MON

Wed Mar 3, 2010
10am TODOS SANTOS - Organic Fruit And Vegetable Stand
12pm TODOS SANTOS - Live Mexican Music at Hotel California
1pm TODOS SANTOS - Recycling Center Open
4pm LORETO - Augie's Bar & Bait Shop Happy Hour
5:30pm COBO - Los Cabos Now Radio
6pm SAN FELIPE -Alcoholics Anonymous
6pm SAN FELIPE -Vatos Locos at La Vaquita

Thurs Mar 4, 2010
10am TODOS SANTOS - Organic Fruit And Vegetable Stand
12pm TODOS SANTOS - Live Mexican Music at Hotel California
4pm LORETO - Augie's Bar & Bait Shop Happy Hour
5pm TODOS SANTOS- Sushi Night at Mario’s Bar
6pm  ROSARITO BEACH -  The Joint Happy Hour
6pm SAN FELIPE - Cigar Dinner
6pm SAN FELIPE - Name That Tune
6:30pm SAN FELIPE -La Vaquita Presents Isaac Diaz Acoustic

Fri Mar 5, 2010
10am TODOS SANTOS - Organic Fruit & Vegetable Stand
12pm TODOS SANTOS - Live Mexican Music at Hotel California
4pm LORETO - Augie's Bar & Bait Shop
4:30pm  ROSARITO BEACH  - Square Dancing: Costa del Sol clubhouse
5pm SAN FELIPE - Sushi at the Lighthouse Rest.
5pm TODOS SANTOS - Sushi Night at Mario’s Bar
6pm CABO - No worry's Bar & Grill Live Music
6pm ROSARITO BEACH - The Joint Happy Hour
6pm SAN FELIPE - La Vaquita with Baja Boys
6:30pm SAN FELIPE - Agave Blues at JollyMon  
8pm ROSARITO BEACH - Rosa & Rita (Karaoke Bar)
8pm TODOS SANTOS - Live Music at Hotel California

Sat Mar 6, 2010
SAN FELIPE -Las Amigas Poker Run
10am TODOS SANTOS - Organic Fruit And Vegetable Stand
12pm TODOS SANTOS - Live Mexican Music at Hotel California
5pm SAN FELIPE - Sushi at the Lighthouse Rest.
5pm TODOS SANTOS- Sushi Night at Mario’s Bar
6pm CABO - No worry's Bar & Grill Live Music
6pm MULEGE - Hotel Serenidad - Pig Rost
6pm ROSARITO BEACH - The Joint Happy Hour
6pm SAN FELIPE - Alcoholics Anonymous
6pm SAN FELIPE - La Vaquita with Tavo's Revolution
6:30pm ROSARITO BEACH - Fiesta Mexicana at the Roasrtio Beach Hotel
7pm ROSARITO BEACH - Wine Dinner at the Roasrtio Beach Hotel
7:30pm LORETO - Fiesta Mexicana at Hacienda Suites In Loreto
8pm ROSARITO BEACH -Rosa & Rita (Karaoke Bar)

Sun Mar 7, 2010
SAN FELIPE -Las Amigas" Poker Run
10am TODOS SANTOS - Dharma Talks And Guided Meditation
12pm CABO - CaboMil Happy Hour Radio In English.
12pm CABO - No Worry's Bar and Grill Reggae Sundays
12pm TODOS SANTOS- Live Music at Hotel California
3pm CABO - Live music by Daline Jones and Diego Ramirez

For more detailed information about an event go to Mexico Living's Baja California Calender.

Email your event information to All Calender & Entertainment events are posted on the Baja Report and in the Monthly Mexico Living - Baja California.
If there is a correction please email with "
CORRECTION" the subject line.

LOS BARRILES - Looking for the next Ernest Hemingway

WANTED! 5 more people to join us on an adventure to find the next Ernest Hemingway. Did you ever want to write your memoir, poetry, a novel? Email Walter at  to sign up. The adventure begins on March 15. Seats are limited in the Asociacion de Artes writer's workshop. Sign up today! Cost is $50 USD / $600 Pesos. 

TODOS SANTOS - "Environmentalism, Poverty Alleviation and Peace-building"

On Monday, March 1, 2010, 4:00 to 5:30 P.M.
The Palapa Society Of Todos Santos, Ac With Support From The International Community Foundation - Will host a lecture: entitled,"Environmentalism, Poverty Alleviation and Peace-building",

Date & Time: Monday, March 1, 2010, 4:00 to 5:30 P.M.
Where: The Cultural Center by Dr. Saleem H. Ali, author of "Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future" (related link:

The lecture entitled,"Environmentalism, Poverty Alleviation and Peace-building", will be in English and Spanish, will include a 30 min film, and question and answer period. The presentation will consider how a new paradigm of pragmatic environmentalism seeks to transcend parochialism and make international conflict resolution a seminal part of its agenda. Cost: The lecture is a free, community service event. More information contact Donna Viglione,,, 612-145-0299

Event information by Baja Western Onion

VIDEO - The Baja Blondes Realty Show

An episodic "realty based" series. The Baja Blondes will unlock the secrets to living, working and thriving in Baja California.


SAN FELIPE - The Snarlin' Cholla Party

Once again, it is time support our local racing! The Snarlin' Cholla Party is Tuesday March 2 from 1-4 at the Flannigan's house at Playa de Oro in San Felipe! Join us for the Annual 'Cheeseburger in Paradise Party' where you can spend a relaxing afternoon in the beautiful weather of Baja touching bases with your friends. Enjoy Nacho's Cheeseburgers, Beer & Well Drinks, Cordells Famous Margaritas & Baja Brewers Home Brew--- 50/50 Raffle.

No cover charge. This legendary Sportsman Class Rail finished 3rd in it's class for the 2009 SCORE Point Season. Help us raise as few bucks to back our racing team and support our local racers. Our superstar drivers will be available for Photo ops! We traditionally have awesome fun with music by DJ Mehico and the party people of San Felipe.

Directions: Go to the gate a Playa de Oro and follow the signs to the Flannigan's house by the arroyo (towards the beach.) Tell them Pancho Villa sent you and get a free smile from one of our friendly guards who will help you in any way possible.

FEATURE - Fashion Baja Style

Fashion – Baja Style
by Greg Niemann

Most people wouldn't think of Baja when they think of fashion—Milan, yes . . . Paris, yes . . . even Buenos Aires . . . but Tijuana, hardly. To many, the most readily conjured image is a black velvet painting of Elvis, or the humongous sombrero and requisite serape bought by neophyte tourists.

Even the Americans who "hang out" there through frequent visits, or second homes, have not traditionally been thought of as being fashion pates. I mean flip flops are flip flops, and shorts only come in so many colors. The T-shirts can get a little creative, but hardly the stuff for runway strutting.

One casual garment that sells for a few dollars everywhere is the "jerga" or the traditional Baja jacket, a heavy coarse cotton, long sleeved pullover with large hood and pocket.

Baja California, however, is responsible for much more than the ubiquitous Baja jacket. For years its factories have created and assembled clothing for apparel companies around the world. Called maquilladoras, manufacturers have sprung up all over Baja fulfilling global clothing needs and providing employment for the Mexican people.

In the Ensenada area alone are Lamex Fashion de Mexico, Jean International, O'Neill (Men's and Boys' clothing), L.A. Ensenada Fashion (Women's, Misses, and Junior), Uxma Garment (Women's and Junior outerwear), and Diaco International (Women's dress clothes).

Baja clothing goes a bit beyond the maquilladoras. The off-beat magic of the name "Baja" has led to any number of enterprises, including sportswear. Picking up on the Baja name are Baja Gear, Baja Fleece and Baja Outback, mostly a lot of adventure gear, good for outdoor activities. Casual wear for a casual place. But what about high fashion? The enigma is that Mexico can continually surprise one. And high fashion is one such awakening, relegating outdoors clothing to its auspicious niche market.

Mexico City, for example, draws over 10,000 of the world's top fashion buyers, celebrities, designers and media to its semi-annual Fashion Week Mexico (Dias de Moda). Hispanic designers are rapidly emerging on the global fashion scene and the prestige event focuses as much on them as it does the products. 

Over 30 designers appeared at a recent Mexico City show to introduce their modern designs with a clear Mexican flavor to the international fashion world. Many, like Carla Fernandez, borrow concepts from the Indian culture, using a preponderance of squares and rectangles.

Some, like Pineda Covalin and Carmen Rion, have created large markets with their focus on global design with a local touch. Alana Savoir is another young Mexican designer who has created an upbeat line of clothing that transcends international fashion.

Pineda Covalin was founded by two young Mexican designers, Cristina Pineda and Ricardo Covalin, and their unique designs are inspired by Prehispanic culture, Mexican traditions and mysticism. Their products have gone beyond the top Mexican boutiques and exclusive department stores and can be found in important U.S. museums such as the MOMA in San Francisco, and museums in Seattle and New York as well.

Mexico City designer Adriana Hans, who created the trendy Wishes line that makes custom-decorated tank-tops, noted that Mexico is in a transition and she is seeing more and more interest in Mexican fashion.

The spotlight on Hispanic fashion has even reached Tijuana where designers have crossed the border to bring fashion shows to San Diego presenting at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Now a regular event, the fashion shows are held at the museum on the first Thursday of each month. Called the Thursday Night Thing (TNT), some of Tijuana's hottest designers are involved including Tania Candiani, Franklin Collado, Jorge Sanchez and Jorge Tellaeche. The dynamic and intriguing collections have helped make the event the dynamite it is named for. Along with fashion, included in TNT are art, ceramics and musical entertainment.

What about shopping in Baja, if not high fashion, for at least more than touristy trinkets? With a growing number of upscale residents and visitors, one can find all sorts of high-end fashion, primarily in both Tijuana to the north and Cabo San Lucas in the south.

Most of the trendy boutiques in Cabo border the marina, anchored by the Puerto Paraiso Plaza on the north end.

People might expect upscale shops in Cabo, but many might be surprised to discover the depth of shopping in Tijuana. Once one gets off of Avenida Revolucion and its cheek-to-jowl tourist shops, there is a surprising array of clothing finds.

The price of fine tailored suits and custom dresses is often about a third of what one might pay in the States. There are several shops that make brides' and bridesmaids' dresses for weddings (bodas). Most are located along Ave. Constitucion, around 3rd Street (Calle 3). With wedding dresses so pricy these days, savings of hundreds of dollars can be realized.

One shopper who pays about $75 for a tailored shirt in the States said he paid about $35 for the same shirt in Tijuana. You can bring your own fabric and allow the Mexican wizards to turn it into custom apparel while you sip a margarita around the corner.

For more conventional shopping in Tijuana, I recommend the Plaza Rio Tijuana, Plaza del Zapato, Pueblo Amigo, and Plaza Fiesta. There are department stores, fashion boutiques, shoe stores and much more. One of the largest department stores is Dorians, founded in 1959 and now with 28 stores throughout Mexico's northwest. Another department store in Tijuana is Sara's (Revolucion and 3rd Street), which has been around since 1929.

If those aren't enough Baja shopping and clothing options, there are now Walmarts in the major cities, including Tijuana, Ensenada and Mexicali. The goal of those Mexican Walmarts, it was announced, is to have a preponderance of its products made or grown in Mexico. Hey, maybe they'll sell those Baja jackets there. 
Greg Niemann has written extensively about Baja California for numerous publications, and is the author of Baja Fever, Baja Legends, Palm Springs Legends, and Big Brown: The Untold Story of UPS. 

FEATURE - San Felipe Home Builders

San Felipe Home Builders


Bill and Carol Spradlin, Owners of San Felipe Home Builders

Since its inception in 2005, San Felipe Home Builders has been creating custom homes in the San Felipe area that incorporate American quality and style with traditional Mexican flare. The ability to bring an American dream home to life in the ideal picturesque setting of San Felipe is just one thing that makes San Felipe Home Builders stand out from their competitors.


San Felipe Home Builders has over 20 employees and realized early on that hiring quality builders to do the work rather than contracting it out has saved them time and money in the long run. This gives them complete control over the finished product and gives them the ability to see to it that the work gets done right the first time.


San Felipe Home Builders adhere to U.S. standards for materials to ensure top quality and safety. When it comes to popular designs and products for baths and kitchens, there is a definite market for the American styles that San Felipe Home Builders are able to import. Aside from importing the best materials for the job, San Felipe Home Builders also makes a point of working with their clients for a truly customized finished home. They are also upfront with the client about the realities of the options they may envision for the finished home. If the client really wants a certain look or material that will not live up to its expectations once done, San Felipe Home Builders will truthfully advise that client about potential repercussions and also give them advice on what may work out better in the long run.


Originally coming to the area to semi-retire and help out with projects for their church, the owners of San Felipe Home Builders have a personal mission that has made them an integral part of the San Felipe community. They have three orphanages in the works that will house up to 12 girls each. These quality built homes for orphans will eventually be run by married couples who will work to instill a sense of family and purpose for the children who live there. Since 2006, San Felipe Home Builders has worked diligently and with the local government and community to make these orphanages a reality.


Since the changes in the American economy have rippled through the global market, business has slowed a bit, but San Felipe Home Builders has kept afloat and knows that the American dollar currently goes farther in San Felipe than in the past. This makes now an excellent time to invest and build in the area.


San Felipe Home Builders have moved north from downtown but can be easily contacted through their website or by calling Bill at (619) 920-2292 or Carol at (619) 200-6456.


Beautiful Customs Home by San Felipe Home Builders


Mexico Living's Baja California - March 2010 Edition

Mexico Living's Baja California March
edition is now available online. Available throughout Baja March 1st.

EVENT - 2010 Blues and Arts

Photo of last years stage being built, 2010 is even bigger!

Changing Lives Through Music & Art!
by Karri Moser
With the mind-blowing musical talent and accomplished artists exhibiting their work, the upcoming 2010 International Blues & Arts Fiesta just may be the largest and most entertaining yet. On Saturday, March 27, this will be the fourth year the fiesta has been held at the base of the mountains right along the picturesque Sea of Cortez.
The spectacular efforts of the professional lighting and sound technicians of the past Fiestas will be on hand again to provide the crowd with stunning visuals and astounding audio. The amazing stage will be the centerpiece of the festival where visitors will be allured by the aromas of the finest foods and drinks. With the best beach camping options available in this part of the world, San Felipe is the perfect locale for hosting such an outdoor event.
The list of musical acts on the schedule this year is astounding, and if the musical talent alone was not enough to ignite excitement and please the senses, you will be able to browse and acquire a wide selection of one-of-a-kind pieces by many local and not-so-local artists.
In the past, the International Blues and Arts Fiesta has raised over $65,000 for the charities sustained by the San Felipe Lions Club. The money has been vital to the building of an orphanage that gives abused or abandoned children a safe place to rest their heads. Money from the fiesta has also made a difference in the health of many San Felipe residents who could not have afforded basic health care without the clinics funded by the Lions Club. These free clinics give primary care, specialty care, emergency care and health education to those who need it.
Marketed by Mexico Living, and John and Rachel Pack, this increasingly popular and growing festival is only possible through the tireless efforts of the San Felipe Lions Club, whose extraordinary volunteers work many months to organize and produce it, and countless organizations and behind-the-scenes individuals who work to keep it growing in talent and attendance.
General admission is ONLY $20, and $25 if purchased that day, so don't miss the event of the year!

DIVING - Socorro Island

Diving Mexico's Socorro Island
by R.J. Archer

With all the incredible diving around Mexico's Baja Peninsula, why would anyone get on a boat and travel 240 miles south of the peninsula's southern tip to dive? Well, it turns out that there are some really big reasons! Big—as in whales, sharks and huge manta rays. For divers seeking some adventure, a live-aboard trip to the remote island of Socorro is a must.   The Revillagigedo Archipelago, known world-wide as the Mexican Galapagos, is a group of four volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean recognized for its unique ecosystem and large concentrations of pelagic species. Most of the dive activity in the Archipelago occurs around Socorro, an island that rises abruptly from the sea to 1,050 meters (3,445 feet) above sea level at its summit. The Mexican government is heavily involved in preservation efforts, making Socorro Island an ideal location for diving.   Socorro is approximately 386 km (240 miles) south of Cabo San Lucas and 600 km (372 miles) west of the Mexican mainland. It is only accessible by long-range, live-aboard boats, which depart Cabo San Lucas November through May when the seas are the calmest. Tours typically last from 8 to 9 days and include 6 or 7 days of diving because the crossing between Cabo and the island takes about 24 hours.   The live-aboard vessels that serve Socorro range from 33 meters (110 feet) to 35 meters (116 feet) and offer all the luxuries a diver could want, including resident chefs, air conditioning and comfortable state rooms. The diving is considered intermediate level, but less experienced divers are welcome on most dives.   Water temperatures at Socorro range from 28 C (82 F) in November down to 21 C (70 F) in February, and rise back to 25 C (77 F) by mid-May. Visibilities vary, but they can be as much as 40 meters (130 feet) in the strikingly blue waters.   Okay, so why go to the Socorro area in the first place? As mentioned above, there are a number of large species that inhabit the waters around the island and they are often found in large quantities. One of the most amazing creatures you will see is the Giant Pacific manta ray, which can grow to 7.5 meters (21 feet), wingtip to wingtip. These gentle giants are diver-friendly and up-close-and-personal encounters are quite common.   Bottlenose dolphins have always been spotted at Socorro, but until recently they were "shy" and kept their distance. However, according to Mike Lever, captain of the Nautilus Explorer, all that changed about three years ago when they began imitating the mantas by interacting with divers and ". . . even hanging on ascent lines with divers at their safety stop. There is nothing quite like seeing a dolphin hanging at a safety stop with the ascent rope tucked underneath its pectoral fin!"
At least seven species of sharks inhabit the waters around Socorro, including Silky, Galapagos, Hammerhead, Whitetip, Silvertip, Reef and Tiger. Whale sharks, as long as 13 meters (40 feet), can be seen in the early part of the season, and the winter months bring more than 1,200 humpback whales to the area to breed and calve.   You can also expect to see large yellow-fin tuna (the world record was caught near Socorro), wahoo, turtles, octopus and large schools of jack. It's little wonder that Socorro has become known as the best big animal diving spot on Earth! For underwater photographers and videographers, Socorro is a true paradise. Check out Jason Heller's recent expedition to Socorro aboard the Solmar V at He's a professional underwater photographer and he's posted some great photos from his trip.
As I mentioned earlier, the only way to experience the incredible diving at Socorro is to book a trip with one of the excellent live-aboards that serve the area, so here are the links you will need. The rest is up to you!  
Live-Aboard Vessels Serving Socorro Island:

Sea Escape:
Solmar V:
Nautilus Explorer:

For more information about the fabulous diving available around the entire Baja Peninsula, visit

Sea Escape

Solmar V    
 Nautilus Explorer


FISHING - Baja Saltwater Scorpion

Baja's Saltwater Scorpion: Saga of the Sculpin
by Tom Gatch

The sharp, poisonous dorsal fin of Baja's notorious scorpion fish can inflict a painful wound to the unwary, yet its delicate white fillets offer a gourmet delicacy.

Photo by Tom Gatch

"What the heck kind of fish is this ugly sucker?" chirped the 16-year-old angler from Arizona. He then turned from the rail of the Ensenada sportfisher holding the blotchy, spike-finned toad by the lip, as if it were some type of freshwater bass.
"Watch out, amigo!" shouted out a nearby deckhand who immediately realized what was going on. "Just drop the fish on the deck, my friend, I'll take it . . ." But it was already too late.
"YEOWWWW!" shrieked the unfortunate young man. "He STUCK me! Oh, man . . . this really hurts!" he screamed as his fellow passengers looked on, stunned and frozen by the unexpected turn of events. Within five minutes he was lying on a bench inside the galley writhing in indescribable agony, his hand swollen to nearly twice its normal size. Our trip was ultimately cut short; as the boat quickly headed back to port so that the passenger could receive much needed medical attention.
Even though this event took place in the summer of 1965, almost 40 years ago, I still recall it just as clearly as if it happened last weekend. While growing up, I had always heard the horrible stories about what happened when unlucky anglers found themselves on the wrong end of a sculpin's dorsal fin, but this was the first time that I had seen it in living color and it was not a pretty sight.
Anyone who has ever spent much time around tide pools in northern Baja and southern California has probably noticed smaller members of the sculpin family. They dart quickly between limpets, barnacles and sea anemones, and nearly disappear when they sit motionless; their natural camouflage blending with the mottled rocks around them.
The most common of these, the wooly sculpin is generally only two to five inches in length. It is known for its tendency to lie motionless in one place to blend in with the terrain until it can quickly lunge at unsuspecting prey, such as small worms, crabs and snails that come within its range.  
The sculpin's body of is stocky and slightly compressed, with a relatively large head and poisonous dorsal and pectoral fins, which can be painfully sharp. These fish range in color from a dark orange/brown to bright red, and rarely exceed four pounds. Most sculpin found in Baja California live in Pacific Ocean waters, but there are also isolated populations that occur in the central and upper portions of the Sea of Cortez
Sculpin are generally caught over hard, rocky bottoms from just below the water's surface, to depths of over 600 feet and occasionally over mud or sand. Their diet includes mussels, small crabs, squid, octopus and a variety of the small fish that share their territory. They will readily take a piece of squid, mussel or anchovy that has been lowered to the bottom in one of the rocky areas that they are known to inhabit. A lot of time can be saved by using bait such as squid strips, which are harder for the fish to steal from the hook. At times, chumming with small pieces of squid, mussel or sea urchin will help attract them to the area. 
As previously mentioned: after a sculpin has been landed, it must be handled very carefully! The sculpin is the most venomous member of the Scorpion fish family on the Pacific Coast of North America. All who come in contact with it should be forewarned that its dorsal, pelvic and anal fin spines are connected to poison producing glands that are capable of causing an extremely painful wound. Penetration of the skin by any of these spines is followed almost immediately by intense and excruciating pain in the area of the wound. Many treatments have been used for sculpin stings, but immersion of the affected part in very hot water seems to be one of the most effective.
Having said that, sculpin can be safely handled by using a sharp pair of clippers to carefully snip off all of their dorsal and pectoral fins prior to placing them into a live well or onto a stringer. They can then be filleted in the usual manner. It is also a good idea to place a rag over the its head while pressing down on the cutting board, so that your hand can be shielded from a few additional prongs and spikes.
Once landed, sculpin are highly prized as table fare. My favorite way of preparing them is to lightly dust the small fillets in flour, dip them quickly in beaten egg and then roll them in panko-style, Japanese breadcrumbs. Let them set up in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, then fry until golden brown in an equal mixture of olive oil and garlic butter. Serve with fresh lemon wedges, rice pilaf, steamed vegetables and, if you like, a cold glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc. 
Good luck and Bon Appétit!

LORETO - The wedding of Hector Ramirez and Kathy Hill

On Sunday in Loreto BCS Mexico, February 14, 2010 we celebrated a fairy-tale wedding at our home here in Loreto. Attended by about 120 wonderful friends and family members, we were serenaded by a Mariachi Band, and ate the finest Mexican fare available - Birria de Chivo, Tamales de Res and Pozole. Kathy's
brother Mark, handsome in his tux, and her best friend Dennis, dressed in
his new kilt, gave the bride away. Even the weather cooperated! We
sincerely thank all of you for sharing in the most beautiful experience of
our lives! - Hector Ramirez and Kathy Hill (Hector & Kathy are the owners of Gecko Curios)

TODOS SANTOS - 16th Annual Historic Home Tour

16th Annual Historic Home Tour on February 28, 2010
Presented by The Palapa Society of Todos Santos 

Join us to visit over 15 historic homes and commercial sites in the heart of Todos Santos. Tickets are only 200 pesos and go on sale at 10AM Sunday - February 28 at the Cultural Center.

Homes will be open from 10AM until 3PM with food and beverages available at the Home Tour Food Court at Casa Cordova on Calle Obregon. The tour will feature several new sites that have never been shown before. Hotel Guaycura and La Garra Restaurant have already been added to the tour. These spectacular locations show how adaptive new uses can be done without destroying the character and beauty of historic buildings.

Proceeds benefit the Palapa Society Children's Programs and the Bomberos; For more info 612 145 02 99 or email Sharon Morris,

TODOS SANTOS - 7th Todos Santos Film Festival

March 4th - 7th 2010 at the Cultural Center in Todos Santos BCS Mexico.

Come view a range of films from Mexico. Tickets can be pirchased at El Tecolote book store Donation of 50 pesos a film. Advance ticket purchasers will get priority seating until 15 minutes before the film starts. To find out the full program of films and times please look at our web site. - Sylvia Perel,, 612 145 0099, Todos Santos

SAN FELIPE - Tony Reyes Memorial Fishing Tournament

March 6, 2010
Baja Blue Promotions is proud to present a fishing tournament in memory of Tony Reyes—Pioneer of Baja sportfishing and well-known benefactor to many fishermen and their families in San Felipe.

The tournament will be held in San Felipe on Saturday, March 6, at 7 a.m., leaving from Rosita's at the Malecon. Cash awards will be given, and over 55 competitors are expected from Northern Baja, Imperial and Yuma Valley. The event will also honor San Felipe’s Olympic team canoeing winners of Mexico’s recent competition held last year. For more info contact Armando Olea at (686) 577-6336, (686) 160-8516.

SAN FELIPE - Cigar Dinner at Langusta Roja

Cigar Dinner - Thursday March 11, 2010
Please RSVP - email Dan <>
Coctails at 6:00 P.M. Dinner at 7:00 P.M. at Langusta Roja Restaurant (Red Lobster) San Felipe BC Mexico.

MEXICO - Benito Juarez: Anniversary of the birth of Benito Juarez a National Holiday

The Beloved President Benito Juárez
Benito Pablo Juárez García  (March 21, 1806–July 18, 1872) was a Zapotec/Amerindian who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872.

Benito Juárez was the first Mexican leader who did not have a military background, and also the first full-blooded indigenous national ever to serve as President of Mexico and to lead a country in the Western Hemisphere.

For resisting the French occupation, overthrowing the Empire, and restoring the Republic, as well as for his efforts to modernize the country, Juárez is often regarded as one of Mexico's greatest and most beloved leaders. In addition to Mexico's national holiday on March 15, several towns, schools, parks, streets and monuments have been named to honor and remember him.

As with many historic figures, his clean image and some of his achievements are more myth than reality. During his presidency, Juárez was also known for refusing to leave power, manipulating election results and moving against political enemies. In fact, Juárez managed to hold to power for 14 years, second only to Porfirio Diaz. Ironically, many of the military battles that allowed Juárez to remain in power and win his reputation as a historical figure were actually won by Diaz himself who is today vilified by Mexican history.

NATIONAL - Mexico prez presents new plan for violent city

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- Relatives of youths killed in a recent massacre interrupted and jeered President Felipe Calderon as he pledged Thursday night to spend more on social programs to curb runaway drug gang violence in this border city. "If you had a son killed, you would have looked for the murderer even under rocks," a sobbing Luz Davila, whose two teenage sons were among 15 killed in the Jan. 31 attack, told Calderon. "But I don't have the resources."

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PHOTO: A protester is carried away by police outside a convention center in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010. Protesters demanded the president resign after a recent massacre that killed 15
teenagers with no known gang ties. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini) (Alexandre Meneghini - AP)

FEATURE- Baja’s Biggest Carnavals 2010

by Benjamin Eugene

Celebrated the week prior to Ash Wednesday and normally lasting a little less than a week, Carnaval (Spanish spelling) in Mexico has a long tradition dating back to the nineteenth century. Coming from the Latin word Carnavale, meaning “goodbye to the flesh,” Carnaval refers to the week before Lent (Cuaresma), where carefree abandonment and indulgence are encouraged.

Beauty Queens and Burning Moods, what else can you ask for?

Kick-off begins with the burning of El Mal Humor (Bad Mood), in which an effigy, usually modeled after an unpopular politician of the day, is hung and burned, followed by a flurry of confetti and fireworks. This gives commencement to nearly a week of festivities in some of Mexico’s most popular coastal cities.

Host cities celebrate all sorts of parades daily, depending on the local carnaval’s theme, which differs from region to region. Parades display an array of floats decoratively inspired by Mexican scenery and normally featuring bright flowers and live entertainment. Some parades require an entrance fee, and visitors are advised to get tickets to the parade as soon as they can through the local tourist office or hotel.

Ensenada Carnaval 2010 - "Fiesta Mitológica de los Dioses" - February 11–16

Parade's Route: Ampliación Boulevard Costero. Organizers: Patronato Ensendadense de Eventos Especiales. Phone numbers: (646) 174-0394/(646) 204-2993.

This year more than 600,000 visitors, both local and foreign, are expected during the Ensenada Carnaval 2010. The event will feature traditional events such as the floral games, a children's painting contest, food events, a chess tournament, lots of outdoor fiestas and and a cycling race.

Throughout the Carnaval route you'll find lots of opportunity for food and snacks from local vendors selling tacos, and a variety of Mexican food and beer. You and your family can enjoy the many bands playing on corners and the endless people dancing in the streets.

Carnaval excitement will fill the air, along with confetti and cheers from the thousands of happy Mardi Gras crowds adorned with the traditional masks and necklaces.

La Paz Carnaval - February 11–16, 2010*

Baja California Sur's capital explodes into a wildly colorful party every year during La Paz Carnaval. Parades and food stalls selling meat tacos and shrimp pack the streets, Hispanic music stars perform live and there are fireworks and fairground rides.

In La Paz, Carnaval is a cross-cultural, cross-dressing, free-for-all fun ride for all and everyone is encouraged to participate in the parades and dance under the stars at any of a dozen stages. Public drinking is permitted, and drunks are quickly picked up by the vigilant police to spend the night in the tank, while other local authorities keep the streets safe and clean.

The annual carnaval held mid-February attracts tens of thousands to this town of 200,000 and the 2 kilometers along the waterfront Malecon (walkway) and the streets becomes a river of beer and tequila drinks, and beer tents and beer gardens with their own bandstands, D.J.’s and sexy cha-cha girls.
La Paz is known for incredible fishing, scuba diving and the island of Espiritu Santos, but others will say it's Carnaval! 

Other important carnaval destinations in Mexico include Mazatlan, Sinaloa; Guaymas, along the Sea of Cortez in Sonora; Tepic, Nayarit; Cozumel, Quintana Roo; Merida, Yucatán and Chamula, Chiapas, said to be one of the most indigenous festivals in the country.
*La Paz Carnaval dates were not confirmed as of our publication date and are subject to change.