Greg Niemann

Greg Niemann has had Baja Fever all his life; some of his favorite childhood memories go back to romping around Ensenada beaches during the early 1940s. He bought his first Baja hideaway in 1971 and still has a beach home there. A long-time Baja writer for various publications, Niemann is also the award-winning author of Baja Fever, Baja Legends, Palm Springs Legends, Big Brown: The Untold Story of UPS, and Las Vegas Legends. Visit Greg's website.




Rancho Santa Ynez
Rancho Santa Ynez
Because of its strategic position far from anywhere, many Baja travelers along Highway 1 spend the night in the Cataviña area, an enchanting ethereal, boulder-tumbled landscape about 120 miles south ... Read more...
Ensenada’s El Rey Sol
Ensenada’s El Rey Sol
Serving French and international cuisine along with local Mexican fare, the El Rey Sol in Ensenada is Baja’s most honored restaurant and still reigns as a gourmand’s gem. It appears an anomaly, a fine French restaurant... Read more...
The Towers of Tijuana
The Towers of Tijuana
Tijuanans call them “Las Torres,” the twin, 28-floor, 295-foot skyscrapers that in 1982 became Baja California’s tallest buildings. The west tower is the 400-room Grand Hotel Tijuana, and it shares a symbiotic relationship... Read more...
Van in the Sand
Van in the Sand
It was summer of 1983 when Leila and I left San Felipe for a day visit to the community of Puertecitos. Back in the mid-1970s, I had bounced down that 50-mile road to Puertecitos, but my wife had never been. In our 1982 Ford van... Read more...
Rosarito’s Legendary Hotel
Rosarito’s Legendary Hotel
There’s a graceful old dowager in Baja that seems to wear her age well. She’s the legendary Rosarito Beach Hotel and Spa, the first and still the biggest attraction in the seaside community of Rosarito, the newest municipality (incorporated city) in the state of Baja California. For over 90 years... Read more...
Catching Baja Fever
Catching Baja Fever
An acquaintance who knew I was a Baja buff once commented that she and her husband had gone down to Baja California the previous summer. “We had a great time,” she admitted, and then added, “but it sure was nice to get back across the border to the good old U.S. of A.” Obviously that couple was not afflicted with Baja Fever. To those who have this chronic disease... Read more...
Bahía de los Ángeles Pioneer: Dick Daggett
Bahía de los Ángeles Pioneer: Dick Daggett
Today’s travelers to Bahía de los Ángeles, that idyllic little village on the sparkling Sea of Cortez are usually interested in fishing and relaxing. Early settlers to the area, however, had a different goal – they were drawn to the nearby hills... Read more...
“Bullitt” Goes to Baja
“Bullitt” Goes to Baja
The Baja 1000, the “Grandaddy of Off-road Races,” will celebrate its 50th anniversary in November 2017. Through the years many well-known participants helped popularize the grueling event, including top off-roaders, world renowned race car drivers... Read more...
When the Socialists Invaded Baja
When the Socialists Invaded Baja
The Mexican Revolution that began in 1910 spawned many changes for that country. Along with radical political upheaval, there were also stories of heroism and defeat, and of hope, despair and opportunism that emerged from the multi-faceted revolution... Read more...
Arturo Grosso – Baja’s Road Builder
Arturo Grosso – Baja’s Road Builder
Baja’s long-anticipated eastern connection with the Transpeninsular Highway (Highway 1) is nearing completion. Soon travelers, especially those entering from southeast California and Arizona, will find the new Highway 5 a better option to head into the heart of Baja California. So far the road is paved from Puertecitos... Read more...
Scammon's Saga
Scammon's Saga
Today, one of the most exciting encounters Baja California visitors enjoy is to get close and actually pet a whale. Over the past few decades, whale watching excursions to the lagoons of Baja California have become a big business with numerous operators offering a wide range of trips. But it wasn’t always that way. Baja’s gentle whales were once hunted... Read more...
The Russians Of Guadalupe Valley
The Russians Of Guadalupe Valley
In case you haven’t noticed, the Guadalupe Valley has mushroomed in importance with more wineries, restaurants, accommodations, attractions, and the attendant tourists and publicity. The valley, most easily reached off the toll road north of Ensenada (Highway 3), has become a popular destination... Read more...
The Case Of The Mysterious Traveler
The Case Of The Mysterious Traveler
In the late 1940s, the pavement of Mexico Highway 1 ended not many miles south of Ensenada. The smooth macadam road abruptly came to an end, forcing the occasional travelers headed south onto a hard-packed rocky dirt road which loomed out over the plain... Read more...
A Baja Dental Holiday
A Baja Dental Holiday
When asked recently about dental care in Baja, I had to admit I was stumped. I had not been to a Mexican dentist in over 20 years, and back then that Rosarito area dentist did not do that great a job. Thereafter I got my “ivories” checked stateside, paying ever-increasing... Read more...
Lost In The Dump
Lost In The Dump
Sometimes it’s hard to find the right dirt road in Baja. On a map, a single road might be shown leaving a highway to take you straight to the ocean a couple miles away. That’s the map. The reality often confounds the best of Baja off-roaders. There might be four or five dirt roads ... Read more...
Loreto Welcomes Adventurers
Loreto Welcomes Adventurers
The Loreto panguero who took us fishing that day was as old as dirt. Turns out he was a couple of months younger than me – well, that’s still as old as dirt. But it seems he should have turned the fishing over to a younger person. About two dozen small pangas were bobbing in the smooth strawberry reflection ... Read more...
Big Tuna and the Storm
The Big Tuna and the Storm
The tuna hit the bait hard, snapping me out of my reverie. It was 1998 and we were fishing out of Baja’s La Paz area. Leaving Punta Arena, we were north of Cerralvo Island at a seamount called El Bajo. My fishing buddy Don Lund, the skipper Jesus... Read more...
Day Of The Dead
Day Of The Dead
It was chilly as we approached the cemetery late that moonless night. Lights from numerous candles and a few flashlights cast eerie illumination on the very dark hillside reserved for the dead. The cemetery was buzzing with activity as the living came to visit. People moved about, their shadows on the stone markers dancing... Read more...
Mexicali
Mexicali
Mexicali, the state of Baja California’s capital and second largest city, was a hot (120+ degree days) barren desert with dust storms and desolation. Not far away, however, was the Colorado River. Early in the 20th century Americans began building canals to divert water west, creating the vast Imperial Valley. The whole area became a fertile... Read more...
Rancho La Puerta
Rancho La Puerta
The bucolic border village of Tecate may be home to the famous brewery, but it’s the Rancho La Puerta spa that really put Tecate on the map. I had the opportunity to tour the expansive grounds earlier this summer and they did not disappoint. La Puerta means “door” or “gate”... Read more...
The Case Of The Missing Fan Belt
The Case Of The Missing Fan Belt
It was May 1976 and the Baja Highway was only a couple of years new. A buddy and I had driven to La Paz and Cabo, looped the old dirt road through Todos Santos, and were heading home. We had passed Cataviña in my old Dodge Dart ... Read more...
Mr. Smith in Baja
Mr. Smith in Baja
He was once again on my mind as I bounded down the dusty Baja dirt road from Santo Tomás to La Bocana. “He” was Jack Smith (1916-1996) and I idolized the guy. Besides his largesse as a journalist, he was a fellow southern Californian and also a veteran. Although I served in peacetime, Smith survived the bloody WWII landing at Iwo Jima. His columns in the west’s largest newspaper, the Los Angeles Times... Read more...
Boy Detectives on a Baja Beach
Boy Detectives on a Baja Beach
"There’s another one," said Fritz, pointing to the sand in his authoritative manner that came with being the oldest kid in the family. Indeed it was, another 2-3 foot long indentation in the sand where the stolen fishing rods had been dragged by the thieves. "For sure they went this way," I answered, recognizing the obvious sign. It was 1947... Read more...
The Seri Indians Of Tiburon Island
The Seri Indians Of Tiburon Island
In 1905 Professor Thomas Grindell and a party of three others never returned from a gold-seeking expedition to Tiburon Island in the upper reaches of the Sea of Cortez and the nearby coast of Sonora, Mexico. They had ventured to the heart of Seri Indian country, a small tribe characterized as “savages,” “beasts,” “animals” and even cannibals by outside visitors... Read more...
Annex Baja 1890
The Filibuster of 1890: Plotting to Annex Baja
In a clandestine 1890 meeting, the San Diego conspirators reviewed their plot to seize Baja California. Smug in anticipated success to establish their new “Republic of Lower California,” they had already written a draft of the constitution and designed a colorful flag... Read more...
Riviera Casino Ensenada Baja
Jack Dempsey's Ensenada Casino
When I was a kid, I was in awe over the large white castle on the beach, a hybrid of Spanish and Moorish style with tile roof and wondrous gardens. It was a strong focal point in Ensenada dwarfing all other buildings in the post-World War II Baja village by the sea... Read more...
Diving for Urchins Baja
Diving for Sea Urchins
The rusty old engine sputtered to a halt. Ohmygod! Surely Luis was in trouble. He was on the ocean floor at a depth of 25 meters (75 feet) and that temperamental engine had been pumping his lungs with air.... Read more...
Mulege Prison Baja
The Prison With Open Doors
Baja’s languid picturesque village of Mulegé has endured an interesting life. The lush valley town straddles a fresh water river that empties into a beautiful estuary on its way to the Sea of Cortez. Tropical Mulegé has long attracted visitors, from Indians to padres... Read more...
El Marmol Baja Onyx
When Baja Cornered the Onyx Market
While El Marmol means "marble" in Spanish, the product from the central Baja quarry of El Marmol is actually the more valuable onyx. At one time this quarry was the world’s largest producer of onyx. El Marmol is off Highway 1 some 70 miles past El Rosario on a nine-mile dirt road... Read more...
Caliente Tijuana
The Glitter of Agua Caliente
At first, it seemed the racing gods didn’t want Tijuana to have a racetrack. The original track, the Tijuana Jockey Club, was destroyed twice in its first year before John D. Spreckels who owned the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego stepped in to save it. Financed by San Francisco boxing promoter James W. Coffroth, the Tijuana Jockey Club opened with a lot of publicity in January 1916... Read more...
La Unica Baja
La Unica, a Baja Hideaway
Imagine being on your own private island with a small staff cooking meals and bringing made-to-order drinks at your command. A place where you can lay on the broad, sandy beach or languish in tepid water all day long. Where you can grab a kayak or snorkel on a reef teeming with tropical fish... Read more...
Los Corondado
The Mysterious Islas Los Coronados
Just offshore from northern Baja California, the intriguing Islas Los Coronados have long captured imaginations and nurtured tales of yore. Being only 18 miles out of San Diego, they are Baja California’s most accessible islands for southern Californians. The four largely barren and craggy islands... Read more...
Mike's Sky Ranch
Mike’s Ranch in the Sky
It’s rare that an entrepreneur switches from one type of business to another, and rarer yet when the change is a drastic one. But 45 years ago Mike Leon did – from the bright glitter of Tijuana nightlife to the dark skies and twinkling stars of Baja California’s highest mountains, the San Pedro Mártir... Read more...
Puerto Popotla
The Village of Puerto Popotla
Fishing villages are scattered throughout Mexico, dotting the coastlines of Baja as well as mainland Mexico. Hardy pescadores (fishermen) set up bases in sheltered little coves and inlets close to where the fish are. Some camps are isolated and very crude, just temporary mesquite shelters in remote areas... Read more...
Kayaking Mulege
Kayaking Conception Bay
By the late nineties it seemed that every second car heading down Baja’s Highway 1 had been festooned with brightly colored polyurethane torpedoes–they call them kayaks! Looking like primary colored hot dogs, some cars boasted two, three or even four, depending on how ingenious the driver is... Read more...
La Paz
The Tranquility of La Paz
When people ask what my favorite place in Baja is, my first question is favorite for what? I have favorite fishing spots, favorite secluded coves, and favorite palm canyons. But to visit over and over again, I’ve long liked La Paz. As the capital city of Baja California Sur, it is large enough to find great restaurants... Read more...
Guadalajara
Guadalajara: Mexico's Second City
The trio of guitarists enthusiastically belted out the melodious “Gua-da-la-jara, “Gua-da-la-jaaaa-raaaa,,” drowning out city noises and reminding the appreciative street side diners where they were – in Mexico’s second largest city and the birthplace of the country’s iconic music, mariachi.... Read more...
San Felipe Baja
Into the San Felipe Desert
Way up the canyon Bruce waved his arm that all was clear. I turned to the next dune buggy in line and gave it the go-ahead signal. It slowly climbed up over the rocks, negotiated the tight canyon curve and plopped back onto the sandy arroyo to rejoin the others... Read more...
El Pescadero
El Pescadero: Respite on the Tropic of Cancer
I found a captivating newer resort in an enchanting old setting, right on the Tropic of Cancer. Actually that imaginary globe-circling demarcation slices through two of my favorite Baja Sur towns (Santiago and Todos Santos), and this luxury boutique resort I discovered is... Read more...
Real del Castillo
Finding Real del Castillo
It was back in 1998, and my timing for an adventure into Baja California’s northernmost mountains could have hardly been worse. The punch of violent rainstorms spawned by the warm El Niño current had just left thousands of nearby Tijuana residents homeless... Read more...

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