A 1980s tourism show featuring Baja California is being revived by the son of its original host. The new “Baja Window to the South” premiered its first show on YouTube on Feb. 25.
SanDiegoRed, a cross-border media outlet, is hosting the return of the show, which originally aired on Channel 6 in San Diego. The first episode features lesser-known travel ideas, such as the La Chinesca in Mexicali, where tourists can explore a network of basement tunnels that some of the city’s first Chinese immigrants created as an underground Chinatown.
“Baja Window to the South is a very special show for me, since my mother, Elsa Arnaiz, was the co-host of the original,” said Ramon Toledo, the president of Busca Corp., the digital entertainment network producing the show. “I always had the dream to bring back a program that would highlight the wonders, not just of Tijuana, but of all of Baja California.”
The Algodones Dunes, located about an hour from Mexicali in northeastern Baja, is one of the top suggestions for travel activities. “You can hire a tour guide and take a class to learn how to carve and shred down these massive mountains of sand,” described co-host Scott Koenig. Koenig leads culinary tours in Mexico and has assisted with film productions for Netflix, the Food Channel and NPR, among others.
Miguel Aguiñiga Rodríguez, the Baja California State Secretary of Tourism, who was a guest on the premiere show, addressed concerns about safety while visiting Tijuana.
“We hear a lot of things about going to Mexico and crossing the border and if you are going to be at risk, or not,” said Aguiñiga Rodríguez. “Let me tell you something. It’s like every big city in the world. If you are in New York or in L.A. or Paris or Madrid, and you go to the places you don’t have to go to, you might be in danger. But if you go to the tourism areas (in Tijuana), it’s really a great city to visit.”
Co-host Olga Sanchez de la Vega, who grew up in Mexicali, warned visitors to avoid driving at night, both for safety and to take in the beautiful scenery, especially along the coast between Ensenada and Rosarito.
The show also covers tidbits and little-known facts about Baja California and Tijuana, such as how the Caesar salad was invented there and how 70 percent of the wine made in Mexico is produced in Baja, according to Aguiñiga Rodríguez. He also mentioned how Tecate is a Pueblo Magico, known not just for beer but for a great bread.
“Each day, Baja has more and more visitors as well, as Americans looking to move to Mexico. ‘Baja Window to the South’ will serve as a guideline of how to get your best experience out of Baja California,” said Toledo.
He said the goal is to release a new half-hour show each week.