Baja California Norte

Baja California Norte: A Story Untold

For the six months we have traveled south, I’ve looked forward to being in Latin America. I moved away from Mexico ten years ago and the thought of once more speaking my native language, eating the food that I grew up with, and immersing myself in Latin culture excited me.

A couple of days ago we arrived at the US – Mexico border. As eager as I was to finally cross into Mexico, I was also nervous. Many of my friends and family have expressed concern because of the turmoil that Mexico is experiencing.

Border Mexico - USA

My goal for this journey is to use my talents to share beauty in the world, and despite everything that is going on in Mexico I know there is still a lot of beauty to be shared here. Less than a week into Baja California Norte, we already find ourselves surrounded by that beauty and a sense of tranquility.

Baja California Norte

Baja California Norte

Besides it’s natural beauty, Mexico is full of people with incredible kindness, passion, and laughter. We had the chance to meet Emma Villareal Montemayor, a gracious woman who runs the famous El Palomar Hotel and Restaurant in Santo Tomas, which she inherited from her father. She shared with us her struggles, her views on life, and her relationship with God. One of the things that struck me most was Emma’s ability to focus on the beauty of life instead of the bad things that might happen. Below is a glimpse of that conversation.

It was refreshing to find someone so full of life and proud of where they are from. Mexico is filled with people like Emma. I am so honored to once again have the opportunity to meet them firsthand.

With this in mind, I’ve begun taking portraits hoping to capture that spirit, the pride and joy of living that are so evident in the people here. The following is a photo essay celebrating the people of Baja California Norte, Mexico.

The People of Baja California Norte, Mexico

People Of Baja California Norte

People Of Baja California Norte

People Of Baja California Norte

People Of Baja California Norte

People Of Baja California Norte

People Of Baja California Norte

People Of Baja California Norte

People Of Baja California Norte

People Of Baja California Norte

People Of Baja California Norte


Photos by Ricardo Palomares
Video by Riley Engemoen & Ricardo Palomares
Photos taken with a Panasonic GH4 camera sponsored by Omega Broadcast Group


  1. Ande Shoults

    Love the portraits.

  2. Patsy Holliday Durham

    Beautiful friendly looking people. Enjoy Mexico Riley and Ricardo. Great to see you at Thanksgiving. We love you so much Riley – you will treasure this trip for years and years to come. Wish we could have done something like this in our youth but love living it with you. Grandma/Grandpa D.

  3. Anonymous

    Keep it coming Ricardo, Dyar, Riley, and Thomas. So great to live your trip through your thoughts, photos, and videos.

  4. forrest

    hola chicos. i crossed the border from mexico back to the states a few days ago. i miss latin america so much. when am i going to see the footage of that late morning in the little diner?
    have you guys taken the ferry from the peninsula to mainland yet? if not, i know a cheap way to do it. you have to talk with the truck drivers. each driver is allowed to have an assistant. the ferry price for drivers and their assistants is much cheaper than a regular passenger. good luck.


    Drove from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas in the mid 70′s after the highway was paved about a year.
    Did it again a few times over the years and have LOVED the Baja peninsula and it’s people

  6. Ricardo

    Hi Forrest,

    I am not sure when will release that footage. Some footage we are only showing it for the feature documentary.

    We just got to La Paz, we are looking for a cheap way to cross. Can you email us further instructions?


  7. Cassaundra Courtney

    So touching. Thank you for sharing. I just got home from South America. I’m really looking forward to reading your stories about that incredible country

  8. Devin rhodes

    Aye wassup it’s ya boy devin

  9. kim kim ling


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