Eco-Tours in Baja - Rosarito Beach

Mexico

EXPEDICIONES ECOTUR Manuel Sanchez 482 West San Ysidro Boulevard, Suite 244 San Ysidro, California 92173 (011) 526-613-1183 BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO Go to the Rosarita Beach area, just a 45-minute drive south of San Diego, for eco-tours in Baja Norte. Rosarito Beach makes a perfect "home base" for affordable one- and two-day excursions into the area's mountain and desert wilderness. 20 minutes South of the U.S.-Mexico border below San Diego, California, is the seaside resort of Rosarito Beach, an increasingly popular vacation destination. Clean sunny beaches, world-class hotels, great food and shopping with friendly service, and fun things to do like horseback riding, visits to historical and archaeological sites and nature trips. Go get tired and dirty with your kids in Baja! Here's a sampling of eco-tours from Rosarito Beach. Y our guide is Manuel Sanchez of EXPEDICIONES ECOTUR. He meets you at your Rosarito Beach hotel and supplies all the necessary provisions. Most of Mr. Sanchez's excursions can be customized to suit your special interests, and equipment and meals are included! MOUNTAIN TRIP A 2-day trip through the Sierra Juarez, best taken between May and November, covering the entire mountain range in a 4-wheel drive vehicle and enjoying spectacular vistas all the way. As you leave the coastal reefs and exotic resorts and travel inland, the naturally terraced plains and mountain foothills come into view. Pass by ranchos with cattle in oak-studded valleys and chaparral-ringed canyons, then break for a home-cooked meal of huevos rancheros and fried angelito (eggs and fish). First stop - the archaeological site of La Rumorosa, with the 5,000-year-old cave paintings of El Vallecito. There is also a natural museum featuring the cultural artifacts of the native Kumiai tribes. Now turn south and go off-road through the Mexican pinon forests with their stands of Jeffrey and white pines, as well as chamiso and manzanita bushes - valued for centuries for their aromatic and medicinal properties. Watch for coyote, wildcat, deer, falcons, quail, even the elusive roadrunner. Overnight stop is in rustic wood and stone cabins at Laguna Hanson, a lake nestled in the forest and adorned by monumental granite boulders. Time to take pictures, hike, ride a mountain bike, or just enjoy watching nature. Heading further south, descend to the lower elevations and pay a visit to the rural museum at the village of Ojos Negros near the old mining site of Real del Castillo. Finally head back through Ensenada and on to Rosarito Beach. DESERT TRIP This is a more low-key two-day trip, best taken between November and May. The first part of the trip is the same as the mountain trip, with an initial stop at La Rumorosa. But then turn toward the desert and Laguna Salada for an off-road adventure. Spend the first night at the Guadalupe Canyon in an oasis on the edge of the desert at the foot of the Sierra Juarez with its palm trees and waterfalls, natural hot spring pools and stunning rock formations. Next morning's sunrise across the vast desert is spectacular. Hike among chollas cactus, creosote bushes, mesquite trees and una de gato (cat's claw). Rock art along the way includes La Vivora (snake) engraved by the Kumiai thousands of years ago. The way home includes Tecate, a border town famous for its brewery and namesake beer. BEACH TRIP This is a nice day trip from Rosarito Beach. Head 2 hours south to the ruins of San Vincente, site of the Ferrer Mission (1780-1839) and what was once the largest native population (Pipi tribe) in Baja Norte. After soaking up a little history, proceed to the beach of Las Playas Lopas Rayon. The Cueva la Lobera (rock of the sea wolf), a natural habitat for seals a quarter-mile offshore, points the way to the mouth of a salt cave. You go into the cave with lanterns and observe the hanging stalactites. The surrounding beach is completely wild and full of mineral and floral treasures in its sandy crevices. Lunch is at San Vicente Viejo, and then it's back to Rosarito Beach. MISSION TRIP Another easy day trip is a visit to the area's historic mission sites and museums. The first stop is the natural history museum in Rosarito Beach itself, located next to the once-infamous Hollywood get-away, the Rosarito Beach Hotel. From there we might explore the Mission el Descanso (1814-1834), the Mission San Miguel Archangel de la Frontera (1787-1834) or the Guadalupe Mission (1834-1840). For a side trip in the Guadalupe Valley, we could visit one of Baja Norte's old-family wineries, such as Cetto, Pedro Domequec or Mont Xanic. We finish up our outing at the Russian Museum - that's right, RUSSIAN. In the late 1860's a religious group of 300 families was expelled from Russia and migrated to the area.

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