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Stories by Martina

Martina

Storytelling is an ancient oral tradition among many of the world’s early inhabitants. Here in Baja California, the Kumiai, Cochimi and many other first people's history was carried by the old ones in story form. Martina, author, freelance writer and journalist, presents her version of how storytelling can vividly portray travel in Baja. Her stories are visual, vibrant and authentic. The articles are informative for the traveler with intriguing hints of Baja magic filtering through her words. Her excellent writing skills set her stories apart from more traditional travelogues. Martina offers the reader a truly heartfelt journey. She has lived in both states of Baja California for over a decade. Her passion is writing about the stunning beauty and the wonder of the peninsula, while telling the stories about the unique people who call it home. Enjoy!

The latest stories...

Splash!
Splash!
Perched on the edge of the Pacific just south of Rosarito Beach, Splash has become an iconic destination eatery. Heavy surf surges into dark volcanic rock channels and leaps back on itself in powerful plumes. The wave returns ... Read more...
Sanoviv: Holistic Health and Medical Center
Sanoviv: Holistic Health and Medical Center
Picture yourself in a dream. All around you is beauty and a sense of deep peace permeating the dreamscape. Every aspect of your life is being supported: emotional, mental and physical. You find you have nothing to worry about, all is being taken care of. Startled, you wake up and discover this dream you are dreaming is actually a reality ... Read more...
La Estancia Restaurant
La Estancia Restaurant
Baja California is all about adventure and its mysteries. Getting off the beaten path is one sure way to discover parts of Baja that offer just that. La Estancia is waiting for you. For the adventurer, a trip into the hills in search of good food, makes a destination into a delightful journey. Mystery comes ... Read more...
Oldest Bar in Baja, Hussong’s
Oldest Bar in Baja, Hussong’s
In 1889, a Pacific Coast Steamship chugged through the blue diamond water, docking in the beautiful harbor of a small Mexican town south of San Diego. With sounds of an air horn blasting ... Read more...
Calafia, A Historic Landmark
Calafia, A Historic Landmark
Brilliant white sunlight, like a shimmering halo, moves across the surface of the Pacific to the horizon. It is nearly impossible to look directly into its beauty. Except for the wind, there is a deeper quiet than just the... Read more...
A Walk On The Ensenada Malecón
A Walk On The Ensenada Malecón
The expansive Plaza Cívica is sun washed with light bouncing off gigantic golden heads. The locals call this La Plaza de Las Tres Cabezas (Three Heads Plaza) and the sculptures are honoring men from Mexico’s historic past... Read more...
Walking Avenida Adolfo López Mateos
Walking Avenida Adolfo López Mateos
Here is a great road trip and weekend destination, only an hour and a half from the border to Ensenada. The beautiful bay invites massive cruise ships here for a reason, because there is a very special place of old world charm, just off the busy main thoroughfare. ... Read more...
A New Look for Don Eddie’s Landing
A New Look for Don Eddie’s Landing
Just a few hours from San Diego you can find the best fishing, long range tuna trips, RV parking and casitas with a restaurant just steps away. The Bay of San Quintin is sparkling and waiting for you, to cast a line, eat good food and have a toast to your good fortune for having found this bit of Baja heaven... Read more...
Alximia
AlXimia - Elemental Wine
Summer is a luscious time in the Guadalupe Valley, with deep green vines following the contours of the land and tall waving stands of yellow mustard flowers lining the road. The first sight of AlXimia is sure to elicit a wow or two... Read more...
Quercus
Dining Under Ancient Oaks - Restaurante Quercus
You can't say enough about the new opportunities in the Guadalupe Valley for beautiful places to eat. At this point with the explosions of new wineries pairing wine with gourmet food, one could spend their whole vacation sampling and tasting. In the midst of all of this... Read more...
Craft Beer
Exploring Ensenada's Craft Beer Scene
Think Mexico, think beer and the names are easy to recall, Corona, Pacifico, Tecate with a number of darker brews. But Baja California is poised right on the edge of being well known for its micro brewers and they are springing up all over the city of Ensenada. Not fifteen years ago... Read more...
Doña Esthela
La Cocina de Doña Esthela: The Tastiest Breakfast in the World
Well, with a recommendation like that how could you not want to travel out into the ranchland of El Porvenir? In 2015 FoodieHub bestowed this grand title on La Cocina de Doña Esthela and culinary ambassador Anthony Bourdain has raved about their food... Read more...
Cava Entre Santos
Cava Entre Santos
Impressive is the first word that comes to mind when entering the Cava Entre Santos wine tasting room in downtown Ensenada. This surprising treat run by the Santo Tomás winery is hidden just off the main tourist area of Lopez Mateos. A visit here is too good... Read more...
Casa Mediodia
Casa Mediodia - An Off-Grid B&B
Baja California is a dream maker. There are many stories of travelers passing through, then returning and finally staying because something would not let them go. Hidden in the hills above the famous La Bufadora south of Ensenada is one of those stories. Casa Mediodia Bed and Breakfast... Read more...
Hotel Riviera
Inside the Historic Hotel Riviera
Driving by the majestic and historic Hotel Riviera del Pacífico on the way through Ensenada, the traveler might mistake it for a government building with its sweeping lawns and graceful arches. But hidden inside is the story of the prohibition days with all of its glitz and music and famous names from the... Read more...
Mulege Baja
The Art of Pueblo Living
Morning starts slowly and so quietly in Mulege. The first sign of the new day is sunlight splashing patterns on old adobe walls creating deep shadows on weathered doors not yet open. A rooster crows. A woman steps outside to sweep. Sweeping, a lost art, is alive here... Read more...
Fausto Polanco
Fausto Polanco Furniture
The breeze blows through the massive open doors to the showroom and gallery of Fausto Polanco Furniture in Rosarito Beach. Your first sight is an explosion of turquoise pottery, a feast for the senses in infinite shapes. Sunlight creates deep shade and spotlights the inner grassy court yard... Read more...
Cava de Marcelo
La Cava de Marcelo: Happy Cows Make Great Cheese
Are you hankering for a new Baja adventure less traveled and close to home? If you love natural and aged cheeses, paired with a fine wine in a beautiful setting, put La Cava de Marcelo on your Baja can’t wait to do list. It is a twenty-five mile drive east of Ensenada,... Read more...
she walked here
She Walked Here Over 800 Years Ago
She lived on the coast of Baja California when the land was free of boundaries and borders, when nothing was named as we know it today. It was one vast untouched land that stretched out forever and it belonged to no one. Those who found her, called her Mujer de Humo... Read more...
Rancho El Tule
Rancho El Tule
Outside the bustling Guadalupe Valley wine country with sprawling vineyards and gourmet dining is the hidden Rancho El Tule. Just getting there is an adventure and the dirt road entrance has only a tiny unpretentious sign announcing you have arrived. I traveled with my friend and photographer Bill Veale... Read more...
Old Mill
Destination: The Old Mill
The first time traveler is going to be in for a nice surprise, if they are willing to tackle the four miles of graded dirt and rock road off Highway 1 south of San Quintin. It is a straight shot out to the Pacific, yes a little bumpy, but cheerful signs, “You are almost there!” posted every mile ... Read more...
Bahía de Los Angeles
Hidden Gems of Bahía de Los Ángeles
Almost like a moonscape the road into Bahía de Los Ángeles takes you through arroyos once wild with flood waters, but now deep dry canyons. The force of nature has been captured in the very earth itself. Even so, it is a smooth and easy 30 minute drive in from Highway 1... Read more...
Hidden Treasure
The Call of Hidden Treasure
Rumor had it that there was a treasure chest full of old coins in a small museum hidden in the hills just north of Mulege, Baja Sur. Suddenly, I was in search of a story fueled by childhood thoughts of pirates and hidden treasures. By some twist of fate I found someone who could give me directions as most people didn't know of its existence. There is something about the untouched areas of Baja Sur... Read more...
Cabo Claudio
Harley Hogs and Mayan Secrets
Do you want to know a secret? Traveling in Baja California has many hidden secrets and they are often found in the most unlikely places. As it happened one day I found myself in the lovely town of Loreto in Baja Sur on the Gulf of California. Expecting the quaint historic community atmosphere, I was startled by the growling engines... Read more...
Don Johnson Hotel Serenidad
The Heydays of Hollywood Baja Style
Light splashes everywhere, the palm fronds, the surface of the swimming pool, the drops of water falling in the fountain. At night the dark heavens are radiant with stars and a wash of moonlight. Step into the magic of Baja. Step into the past. Stars of the silver screen walked here during the heydays of Hollywood... Read more...
Historian of San Ignacio
Historian of San Ignacio
Near the picturesque central plaza of San Ignacio is found a hidden resource and guide for the town and Baja California. Casa Lereé is a lovely blue colonial-style adobe building that was built in 1885 by Frenchman Lereé for his wife and it became the first guesthouse in San Ignacio... Read more...
Land's End
A Guide To Land's End
Pull out that map! One thousand miles of open road belongs to you. Taking time to explore the unexplored riches of Baja California is a life changing experience. My sis and I took our first road trip to La Finisterra in 1993 in my '73 VW Beetle... Read more...
Earthship Rosarito
Earthship Lands in Rosarito Beach
The Earthship appears to be emerging out of the rocky hillside. Its structure is carved deeply into the earth with expansive windows that gaze out onto the vast Pacific. It will soon be the home of Sandra Moffat, builder and visionary. Sandra is the first person to build an Earthship in Rosarito Beach... Read more...
Day of the Dead in Mulege
A gentle breeze blows through the cemetery stirring the silken flowers adorning the grave sites of loved ones. Bright sunshine flashes off the white tombs and sacred statuary of Christ and Guadalupe. The cemetery is laid out in a haphazard movement of the history of death with no forethought... Read more...
Dr Seuss of Baja
Boojum! Elephants! Cardón! Oh My! - The Dr. Seuss Characters Of Baja
"You are not going to believe this!" my sister hollered over the roar of the VW engine. "You're going to see something that you have never seen, no one has seen these creatures unless they have driven past El Rosario! This is where the real magic of Baja begins!" Read more...
San Ignacio: An Oasis
San Ignacio: An Oasis With A Huge Heart
The heart beat of San Ignacio is found in the central plaza. The magnificent Indian Laurel trees provide thick shade from the summer sun. The historic town began at the steps of Misión San Ignacio; the very ground of ancient times when the Cochimi Indian cave painters lived in this Gulf region. Date palms introduced by ... Read more...
Rancho San Gregorio Leather
Leather Work of Rancho San Gregorio
The blazing sun of southern Baja California fills every crevice, there is no shade. The road is carved out from the dirt and dry rock. I am not prepared for what is about to occur. Jane Ames, my traveling companion and guide, has created the opportunity to meet the vaqueros of the mountains of San Francisco... Read more...
San Bruno Baja
Campo Rene - Estero el Coyote
Campo Rene is a great destination south of Guerrero Negro on the Pacific Ocean. Traveling into Baja Sur and through the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, you spot the turn off for Abreojos. The road is paved almost all the way to Campo Rene, but watch for the pot holes! Locals know it as the coolest place to hang out... Read more...
San Bruno Baja
San Bruno – In Search of a Story
The seagull walked along the low stone wall of the San Bruno marina. Its laugh sounded almost human, though a bit demented. The gulf waters were shimmering with morning light and there was a pleasant salty sea smell. It was very quiet, not with the expected activity of fishing pangas coming and going... Read more...
Walking the Baja
San José de Magdalena
There is always a bit of excited anticipation when I take a side road into a Baja place that I never been before. South of Santa Rosalia, BCS and east into the mountains is a small pueblo called San José de Magdalena. There is something organic about driving into the heart of the mountains... Read more...
Loreto Baja Sur
Loreto, City of Magic
Whatever you do, don't drive past Loreto! You will want to plan at least a few days in this magic town designated by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism as a Pueblo Mágico. Besides the magic and feeling transported into another time and space, Loreto is rich in Baja California history with beautiful gulf waters... Read more...
Walking the Baja
Walking the Baja
Mike Younghusband walks his talk. He has walked the length of the Baja California peninsula with a burro named Don-Kay and a rescue dog named Sola-Vino. At the perfect moment in his life he happened upon Graham Mcintosh's books, Into a Desert Place and Journey with a Baja Burro... Read more...
San Javier Baja
On the Royal Road to Misión San Francisco Javier
Early morning sunlight bounced off the Gulf of California, the water so blue you could lose yourself in it. The day was bright with a cloudless sky as I took the turn west into the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range, rising dramatically from the gulf shores. I had lodging at a delightful Inn in Loreto with the intent to visit... Read more...
Santa Rosalia
Discovering Santa Rosalia
Heading to Santa Rosalia from San Ignacio, there is nothing like the long drive across the Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve. Passing by the volcanic range of Tres Virgenes, I come to the edge of the desert and it is like dropping over into the cerulean blue of the Gulf of California. The breathtaking descent... Read more...
VinTango
VinTango :: Jo Ann Knox Martino
Years ago Jo Ann Knox Martino sat on a beautiful beach south of Mulege in Baja Sur. She was startled in a momentary realization that because of her trip to Baja California, her life had changed forever. She returned to the U.S. only to take care of details and leave behind her 23-year Hollywood film career... Read more...
The Sounds and Colors of Baja California
After all these years of living on the peninsula, I've never found an end to the amazing colors and sounds that Baja has to offer. From Tijuana's new image of fine art, music and sidewalk bistros, to the high end art galleries of Cabo San Lucus, there are hidden riches of art and music found everywhere in between... Read more...
The Last Outpost - Rancho Meling
As if someone cut the clouds with a knife, I broke free of the clinging fog of June’s coastal climate to find the sun blazing and already hot at 9 am. In search of the sun, I was headed southeast starting from Ensenada into the foothills of Sierra San Pedro Mártir, destination Rancho Meling... Read more...
Checkpoint! Stopped by the Mexican Military
The desert stretches out in all directions. It is desolate except for the military check point just ahead. A comical scarecrow soldier with rifle holds a place a few yards before the official stop. There are several cars ahead of me, so I turn up the music and watch the wind fill up a brown paper bag... Read more...
Ancient Winds of Cataviña
Baja Sur is a land of harsh reality and stunning beauty. It requires something more from the traveler who ventures beyond the cities of Baja Norte. It asks that you participate more fully and pay close attention to the moments of now. Many have said that just after El Rosario is where the real Baja begins... Read more...
The Light of Asuncion
The first thing that artists and photographers will notice as they drive into the fishing village of Asuncion is the quality of light. Their art is a perfect media for capturing the experience. A writer, on the other hand, has to work a little harder using words to recreate a sense of this light, so rarefied... Read more...
San Pedro Mártir Where the Condor Soars
Making a trip into the high country of Baja California is just that and more. It rewards the traveler with breathtaking views of the folding foothills all the way out to the Pacific Ocean, while making a journey through five different ecoregions. The paved road to Sierra San Pedro Mártir National Park... Read more...
TJ to Mulegé: A Cycling Challenge
Talk about traveling into Baja California. Some of the hardiest souls actually take on the challenge by heading out on foot. Names like Graham Mackintosh and Michael Younghusband come to mind. Their only luxury was a burro with an attitude. Each of them walked thousands of miles through the harshest desert terrain... Read more...
Shimul: On the Outskirts
Searching for new wine varietals is almost like a treasure hunt for devoted wine drinkers. Since early 2000 there has been a virtual explosion of new wineries in the Guadalupe Valley. While the numbers vary some say, including all the artisanal wine makers, there are nearly a hundred... Read more...
Kumiai Celebration
Grandmother Oak spreads her massive branches as a canopy of shade for the gathering Kumiai. Her children have been gathering for 2000 years in this valley, but their ancestors date back 10,000 years. The oak has provided for them in life-sustaining ways for millenniums... Read more...
Festival del Caballo
It was a rich experience for the senses filled with pungent barn smells, shrill stallion calls, combined with the beauty of Adobe Guadalupe Winery hosting the June Festival del Caballo, the Festival of the Horse. I made my way into the dark interior of the stable hearing the soft snuffling noises of horses digging... Read more...
San Ignacio Springs Bed & Breakfast: A Desert Paradise
In the heart of the Viscaino Biosphere Reserve is the quiet pueblo of San Ignacio in Baja Sur. Even deeper into the interior is a true destination, if the traveler chooses to stay a few days to fully experience what San Ignacio has to offer. The best place to discover the hidden treasures is Ignacio Springs Bed and Breakfast. Read more...
Francisco Zarco: Off the Main Road
There is always a surprise waiting if I get off the main road. Robert Frost wrote "I took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference." Which was surely the case this day. I thought to investigate if a story was lurking somewhere. I was not disappointed... Read more...
The Beaches of Bahía Concepción
The beauty of the beaches of Baja Sur creates such intense inspiration that capturing the images in words becomes a true challenge. We know we might come close, but we also know we will never fully offer the complete essence of being there... Read more...
The Gray Whales of San Ignacio
Chilly darkness and chips of stars greeted me as I opened the door onto the predawn sky. This day was to be my first encounter with Baja California’s gray whale. My friend Colleen and I moved in quiet anticipation, as we packed up her Jeep for the long trek out to the San Ignacio lagoon.... Read more...
Travels with Graham Mackintosh
"Baja is stunningly beautiful, challenging and never dull. It has opened my eyes to so much," said author Graham Mackintosh as he pondered the spiritual nature of his rugged journeys in Baja California. He had just returned from a solitary five-and-a-half week trip exploring Isla Angel de La Guarda... Read more...
Sailing with Einstein
With a firm hand the young pangero twists open the throttle, the outboard springs to life with a growl. The panga slices through the satin surface on Conception Bay headed for Isla El Coyote. It is a perfect day to visit Aubrey Westly, an American expat living a unique retirement dream. Read more...
Mulegé Magic
Historic Mulegé is a gem at the gleaming confluence of the Mulegé River and the Gulf of California. Many a person has reported that a stay here has changed his or her life forever. I am one of those people who never could return to what some would call a normal life. Read more...
Vindicating Vulture: A Storyteller's Plea
I was captivated years ago by the grace of the vulture in flight. To me it was a sky meditation. Vulture is the perfect soaring machine. There is no denying it is a little on the homely side with its bare head and neck. The fact that the skin is red doesn’t help either... Read more...
La Casa Vieja
Organic Wine from La Casa Vieja
Soft guitar music floats through the olive trees. Sun splashes in patches of light and shadow as I walk up the dusty road to investigate where the music is coming from. It is hot in the summer months of the Guadalupe Valley and the shade is welcomed. Where I am walking is as rich in history as the soil... Read more...
The Tibetan White Tara of Ensenada
The dirt trail carved into the hillside was a challenge to negotiate, one slip I'd be a ball rolling down the hill. My destination was at the where volunteers scurried like ants around the base of a statue that had fallen on very hard times. There was one sole intention that day, bring beauty back to the sacred White Tara. Read more...
Glamping Baja
Glamping: Tranquility Pairs with Extreme Sports
With a flash of red tail feathers a hawk lifts off its perch startled by the growling engine of our Polaris Ranger. The Red-tailed hawk is airborne above us, just as I am feeling in this moment. My guide, Fabricio, a strikingly handsome man, puts the peddle to the metal making a skidding turn up hill. Read more...
Saldamando Baja
Saldamando Day Trippin'
Being single in Baja is effortless, if you bring what you need with you, the whole panorama of the beauty of this peninsula spreads out as your backdrop. But there are times when it would be nice to text message someone to say, hey, I gotta get out of the house wantta go camping?! Read more...
Ensenada Hot Springs Baja
Rancho San Carlos Hot Springs
Everyday can be an adventure in Baja, even after living here over a decade. Destination hot springs is for the adventurous, willing to take a few dirt roads into paradise. My friend wheels her Jeep around rocks, spins the tires in the dust and jounces across rocky streams. Read more...
Great White of Baja
The Great White Shark of Baja
It glides through the underwater world, a powerful and silent predator, one of the greats of the sea. Its indomitable force fascinates us and at the same time horrifies as its very presence puts the human species second on the food chain. Yet it is humanity that has the final say on its survival. Read more...
Kumiai
Native Kumiai Finding a New Way
Getting to the Kumiai village of San Antonio Necua is half the adventure. It is off the beaten path, and well worth the day trip to see into the early history of Baja. Most Baja travelers will make it out to the wine country. Who hasn't done wine tasting at LA Cetto? However, the true adventure begins as you pass Doña Lupe... Read more...
Baja Agave Baja
Miracle of the Mescal
Just now the coastal agave is blooming. It is easily seen from the roadways, but you cannot fully appreciate it until you stop the car and walk up to it. It is a powerful beauty that amazes the senses. It makes the mind question how anything of this size can push up from the arid foothills of Baja and survive. Read more...
Vine & Wine Museum
Vine & Wine Museum: An Adventure into History
A gleaming state of the art structure in the heart of the sun-drenched Guadalupe Valley is a traveler's dream destination. The beauty of the architecture stands out against the backdrop of granite mountains, fertile soil and lush graceful vines, now showing their fall colors. Read more...
Baja Bee Man
The Bee Rescuer of Ensenada
The survival of mankind depends on the honeybee. Little regard is given to it, as a species, but if you ever hear that the bee has become an endangered species, you can be certain that humanity will follow. It is said that 80% of what we eat depends on the pollinating honeybee. How do we begin to help the honeybee? Read more...
Baja Travel for Women
Single Women Traveling in Baja
There is always a rush of anticipation whenever I unfold my map of Baja California. It is an instant promise of adventure waiting to be experienced. Sometimes I smooth out the folds and like to just relive the past, visiting in my memory the places where I camped, lived and fell in love with a most remarkable land... Read more...
Cruz Roja Baja Medical
Quality Medical Care in Baja California
The wail of the siren filled the cabin of the ambulance. I was strapped down, and could not see the beautiful stretch of road clinging to the side of the hills above the Pacific on my way to Velmar Hospital in Ensenada. I was headed towards my first hospital experience after twelve years of living in Northern Baja. Read more...

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