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Old 03-14-2012, 10:37 AM   #1
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Baja trip

We would like to take our Caravel to Mexico. Baja is our first choice.
Having driven the length many many years ago and spending many trips surfing in various areas, we are considering spring adventure.
Anyone recently been down to Baja with an AS recently?


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Old 03-14-2012, 10:51 AM   #2
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Van, I went to Bahía de los Ángeles once a year for a ten day fishing trip from 1994 until 2009 (which was our last trip) We would go down with two or three boats and several support pickups, from 8 to 12 guys. The year we stopped going was the year two Americans were killed on the turn-off road from LA Bay to Hwy 1. I say Americans, which they were, they owned and ran a small hotel in LA Bay. It just got to the point of us all asking ourselves where did the good old Baja go?? We all felt it was not safe any longer. I would think about it before doing it.


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Old 03-14-2012, 11:21 AM   #3
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Some years ago Lynn and I made many trips to and through Baja and mainland Mexico in our Dune Buggy, camping all along the way. We loved every trip.

But....we had a policy, even back then, that we never took anything with us that we wouldn't walk away from.

We would not even think about going to Mexico, even Baja, today.

Sad state of affairs.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:25 AM   #4
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We're another 'vote' for taking along look before going south of the border, these days...

We leased a place on a beach for 10 years below Mulege, but gave it up a couple of years ago...all the hassles with military check points and their 'light fingered' inspectors; 'short' fills at Pemex fuel stations; huge rent increases for we 'gringos' who always pitched in to help the locals during times of need, etc. - have outweighed the benefits...

'Safety' was never an issue, a few years back, but it's right at the top of the list these days - you can't deny it any more - there's just to much drug related crime flowing through all levels of the population, IMHO...

We love the 'old' Mexico and Baja California, but have decided to spend our 'RVing' money back here at home - Still so much to see in the USA, and the 'locals' are friendly too!

For lots of 'Baja' info, go to: Baja Nomad - Taking You Back to Baja! where most go to get current data about 'everything' BAJA...
Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:26 AM   #5
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x2 to the previous comments. We hoped to go this year, but have put off plans due to the violence. If you do end up going, I hear Tecate is a much better and quicker border crossing than Tijuana and not that far out of the way.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:54 AM   #6
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Thanks all,
I was afraid that this was the response I was going to get.
Maybe if I go I will cover the Caravel with the matte black flim
that 3M makes along with my tow vehicle. No one will notice me
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:16 AM   #7
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We haven't been to the Baja, but we do go to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) on the Sea of Cortez a couple of times a year with 2 or 3 other's only about 75 mile south of the Lukeville border crossing and pretty much a straight shot. We travel together and stay on the main roads. No troubles so far, and we always have a great time there.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:17 AM   #8
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If you do decide to go, and haven't been there for many's some notes...

1. we always left Northern Calif in the early evening, as soon as the evening commute traffic's subsided...

2. early evening get-a-way insures you'll have an easy trip through the LA and San Diego areas in the wee hours of the morning, with no traffice delays to deal with...

3. we liked to use the I-405, off I-5 to make it a slightly easier trip through LA...

4. we usually stopped at the Original Tommy's Burgers right off the I-405 on Roscoe Blvd (one short block) - they're open all night, and we stretched our legs while chowing down one of their great chili burgers or a loaded up hot dog! Original Tommy's Hamburgers

5. we also used the I-805 to veer around downtown San Diego to hit the Tiajuna border crossing...

6. right at the border, as you enter Mexico, you can pull into a parking lot on the RH side where you can get your Tourist Visas - you'll have to show your US Passport, fill in a form, pay the fee at a bank window, and have it validated at Immigration - these places are open all night, and if you get there in the wee-hours, they aren't busy, and you can get right through the process quickly...

7. you'll usually have to declare if you are bringing any 'stuff' into a visiting tourist there isn't really any problem here as you only have your traveling 'stuff' with you...I've found that they're usually half asleep at 4:00 AM or so, and don't want to be disturbed much, and so will let you go without much of a hassle...It's also much easier to get through Tijuana in the early morning, especially when towing...

8. make sure to keep all your valuables (cameras, phones, wallets, etc) in a place where you can keep an eye on em' - the military check points will board your trailer and look through stuff in your TV...ALWAYS have one of your group keep an eye on the person doing the searching - DON'T let them split you up to do their search without you watching! Don't let them intimidate you - be courteous, but firm, and explain you'd like to do one vehicle at a time - be ALWAYS viligant, I can't stress this too much!!!

I would suggest keeping the trailer locked, let them do the TV search first, then open the trailer and accompany them inside when they look it over! When you're in the trailer, either lock your TV, or let another in your group keep watch so they don't pull a switch and bait on you...

You'd be surprised how many small items (flashlights, cameras, wallets, watches, binoculars, etc.) become 'lost' after you're down the road from one of those 'inspections' for 'guns & drugs'...!

You'll probably encounter up to a dozen of these check points if you're going all the way to La Paz or Cabo...they used to wave everyone through on the way south, and stop for inspections on the way back north - I hear that many are now being stopped going south as as well to search for 'guns' from the USA...

9. Get lots of Pesos converted to use for buying fuel at the Pemex stations...we usually convert $s to Pesos in Ensenada as the business day has begun by the time we arrive that far into Baja - also the Costco is then open on the south side of Ensenada (on the main highway) for stocking up on goodies - They sell some great Shrimp Cocktail at Costco - yummy! And cheap Pacifico beer too!

10. Use pesos when buying fuel, as you won't get 'shorted' in the money-conversion process! Also, use a locking fuel cap on your TV - that way the attendant can't jam in the fuel nozzle and start filling till you get out and unlock the cap! Watch to make sure the attendant 'zeros' out the pump dials BEFORE he starts filling - just watch them - if they see that you're watching their process, they usually won't try any 'short' fills on you - I Always stand right near the attendant when filling (or the pump) and have a pen and paper to write down the cost in pesos, liters pumped, etc for my own info later (with mileage, local, etc) - I actually use a clip board to make it even look more 'official' to them, and put them on guard that this 'gringo' is paying attention to whats going on...

Hope that helps...
Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:10 PM   #9
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:49 PM   #10
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Just returned from 2 months in Baja. FYI Baja Sur is safer than most U.S. cities. We went down in a caravan and never had any issues and we felt like we could do it alone next time. Beautiful beaches, great cheap food and friendly helpful people. It is a white knuckle drive on the roads with many military check points looking for drugs or weapons (very professional). Seemed like half of Canada was there ( they must not read the papers).
Step out of your comfort zone and live life.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:12 PM   #11
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This was from a couple of years ago but it might be worth reading through . . .

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Old 03-23-2012, 07:06 PM   #12
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Local government officials and the Feds are discouraging Arizona spring-breakers and others from traveling to Mexico due to drug violence. Personally, my wife and I will stay north of the border and avoid the hassle and worry.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:40 PM   #13
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It seems to be 50/50 go or stay in the US. I work in China about 4 months a year and when I was much younger we would drive our VW bus to Mexico
to go surfing and the Federalies would hassle us then. I have a feeling not much has changed. Like always we have to be savey travelers and respect them and their culture, most of all try and speak their language
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:17 AM   #14
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Been going down to Mexico since 1972 and never been hassled by anyone. There are areas to avoid just like here.

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