How To Help
Helping out Baja does not take much. Simply going, interacting with locals and being respectful is a great step to help ensure that our relationship with our neighbors down south is solidified through friendship and not political or monetary measures. Every time you cross the border is an opportunity to bring goods to orphanages, stoke out a local kid with a new toy, or create a new friend over a beer and some good food. Mucho Take It Easy was founded with the philosophy of giving back to a place that has given so much to us.
So, what can you do to help while traveling in Mexico?
This is by far the most important thing. When you travel to other countries you are basically an ambassador for your home town and country. Showing respect and being friendly is the Baja way, they do it for us and we should do it for them.
Clean up after yourself
This is technically part of the previous step but it needs to be said. Most of Baja is a wonderful and clean place so don't let the trash in a city or specific area let you slack on helping to maintaining your own respect for the land.
Bring some donations to small towns, orphanages, churches, fire departments or any other person or place that may benefit from it. Local bars tend to accept donations that they will spread out throughout their town to the people who could use it the most. We get a lot of children's clothes, old toys, new toys, women's clothing and teen clothing donated to us that we drop off where we see fit. Most orphanages we have talked to get a lot of baby clothes donated but they tell us that they also need clothing for teens that will be leaving the orphanages soon and will need to find jobs. Adult size toothbrushes, deodorant, hair gel, nice shirts and pants: all things that could help a young adult feel more confident when leaving the orphanage to find a job or simply just fit in.
Fire departments in Baja are mostly funded by donations and volunteers. A lot of fire departments will hold benefits / fundraisers to help raise capital to obtain the equipment they need to ensure the safety of their towns. Looking up information on the town you may be visiting may inform you of a local fundraiser or charity auction as well as what you can do to help. Volunteering at these events is an awesome experience where you can meet a lot of locals, make new friends, and hear great stories.
Although haggling can be fun it is important to not haggle someone out of a meal. There are certain people you haggle ( mostly because they are haggling you ) and there are other people that are simply trying to sell a good or a skill that they spent time crafting. Saving a dollar or two means that person that may only make a dollar or two a day now has a dollar or two less in their pocket. Definitely don't overpay but be respectful at the same time.
We like to ask around town and do our research to find a good captain to fish with. Normally we will have a few options and try to talk to each one before we decide on who to go out with. It is important to go with a captain that loves the ocean, wants to preserve it and doesn't want you to overfish or catch protected species. Most people go to Baja for the wonderful secluded beaches and awesome fishing and if you support the captains that love the same thing, the next generation will be able to go down and catch even bigger fish than we do. Expect to pay around $200 for a panga ( the boat, not per person ) for the day in most smaller towns. In the larger towns you could expect to pay more but will most likely be on a bigger and faster boat. Tipping is recommended and it is important to help clean the boat! Don't be one of those guys who just sits in the car with the A/C on while the captain cleans the boat out and cleans your fish ( you know who you are ). Get your hands dirty, help clean up all your gear, clean out all your trash and help or watch them clean your fish. Some of their fish cleaning techniques are different than ours and you could learn something.