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Old 07-17-2015, 10:39 AM   #1
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2008 20' Safari SE
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: May 2015
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Looking for info for 1st timer to mexico Baja

My wife and I just got our 2007 Airstream 19 SE, and we love it. We have RV'd for many years, but now in retirement. We are planning on making a trip from PHX to la Paz in Mexico the first week in January, and staying till the 2nd week in February. We have friends in La Paz. I am looking for some good quality advise, campgrounds on the way, driving conditions, restaurants,equipment needed, and anything else that you can tell a first timer to Mexico. What about a Caravan? Dave

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Old 07-17-2015, 11:50 AM   #2
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We were in La Paz in our boat in May. It is a beautiful city you will love it. We took our rv down there several years ago.
If you are a Mexico first timer, a caravan is more comfortable.
But the trip is doable without it.
There is a book written by Dwight and Terry Church available on Amazon which has all the campgrounds and directions to them.
Speaking a bit of Spanish helps. Study with a phrase book.
Pay cash for gas. We use our credit cards with caution as identity theft is rampant.
La Paz is roughly 750 miles from the border. Allow 3 to 4 days minimum for the trip down. A week would be better. The road is two lane nearly all the way, curvy and mountainous and heavily trafficked by busses and double remolque semi trailer trucks. A safe speed will rarely exceed 45 mph and will often be less.
The road can be rough and rutted. Make sure your towig rig is in top condition. ST tires are unavailable in Mexico. I would bring a spare and and unmounted second tire.
Tape your cabinets shut and prepare to fix loose screws that will pop up due to the rough roads.
Some of the electricity connections are makeshift. I bring a tester which tests voltage and polarity. I have a three prong adaptor with a ground connector. You may have to make your own ground. If there are no electrical connections, you may have to camp dry so be prepared for that.
The risk to your person from bandidos and narcos is negligible. I would not drive at night because of the roads.

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Old 07-17-2015, 11:54 AM   #3
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1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
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Make sure you purchase Mexican Insurance for your vehicle and trailer!
"Between what matters and what seems to matter, how should the world we know judge wisely?" - E.C. Bentley, Trent's Last Case
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Old 07-17-2015, 01:55 PM   #4
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I assume you are talking about going in Jan 2016. I am considering a similar trip in early 2017. Regardless, I will follow this thread. If you are thinking 2017, send me a PM.

Jeanne and John, and always with us...Jake
2008 30' Classic Ltd Rear twin, 2014 Ford Super Duty
WBCCI 3100, unit 12, TAC USA-1, Escapees 129379
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:20 AM   #5
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The Church's have two books, one for the mainland and one for Baja.
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Old 07-18-2015, 11:05 AM   #6
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2012 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Laguna Niguel , California
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Mexico is a beautiful place BUT bad stuff happens there sometimes. How about the good ole USA or Canada ? Be safe
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Old 07-18-2015, 11:17 AM   #7
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1973 25' Tradewind
Toronto , Ontario
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As a Canadian living in Toronto I wouldn't recommend visiting us in January, lovely as it is in winter. We too have often dreamt of doing the Baja. Some people leave their RV's in Mexico and I wonder how they get to do that. We have driven to Mexico twice from Toronto and each time have had to surrender the hologram on the windshield to prove the vehicle left Mexico and we didn't try to sell it there. Does anyone know about leaving an RV there? Does it get a hologram too on the way in? On our two trips down there we had camping in a camper and not towing. It sure would be nice to leave the AS there and not have to tow it down there each time.

I have looked at several caravans to Baja that you can join but they aren't cheap. About $4000. +. Mind you, they look after everything. We have never rv'd with a group except for an overland to India from Istanbul in 1969 (!) in a VW camper and there definitely was safety in numbers.

Maybe a caravan could be formed for Baja using this forum.
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Old 07-18-2015, 03:16 PM   #8
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Woule love joining a caravan. 2017 is possible for us.
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Old 07-18-2015, 03:24 PM   #9
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A ten year permit is available for your r.v. for a nominal cost. Once secured, the travel trailer can be left in Mexico for the duration of the permit.
I think Baja California is a "hassle free" zone meaning no car permit required. Part of northern Sonora including the popular tourist destination of San Carlos is the same.
Information about the latest regulations is available in the book by Dwight and Terre Church.
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Old 07-18-2015, 03:30 PM   #10
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san clemente , California
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Look into Vagabonds del Mar. I have been a member for over 10 years and they have a very good Mexican auto/motorhome/trailer/boat insurance. They will help you with explanations of legal documents and requirements. They also run group trips at various times of the year (affordably) to Baja and mainland Mexico.
800 474-2252

They are located in Rio Vista CA.
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Old 07-18-2015, 03:32 PM   #11
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San Diego , California
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We travel back and forth across the Border every week from our "casita" in San Diego to our "Casa Grande" in Baja and are updating our '64 Safari which is parked on our property in Playas de Tijuana, smack dab on the Pacific. Our only challenge is the salt air that has its detrimental effect on the aluminum skin! Mind the road rules (i.e.: complete stops at ALL stop signs, red lights and plan ahead!).

Above all, be courteous if you should ever be stopped by the police - Mexico has suffered enough from the bad press and paranoia of Americans afraid to travel in this beautiful and Historic country. We have room to park your rig for a night or two should you ever get through to our " Little bit of Paradise"! Good Luck and enjoy Mexico! The people are warm, generous and extremely helpful (even if you don't speak Spanish!).
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Old 07-18-2015, 04:14 PM   #12
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Sacramento , California
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Vagabundos del Mar is a great recommendation. New Highway 5 on the east side of Baja gets great reviews from neighbors coming down for the winter from New Mexico to the La Paz Area. Plenty of blogs for road conditions if you Google for same. Have fun.
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:47 PM   #13
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Toronto , Ontario
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Thank you to all who posted some great info to my query about RVing in Baja. Can't wait to have a go!

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Old 07-19-2015, 12:42 PM   #14
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Have traveled numerous times without any problems. Roads are much improved since I started traveling their in early ninties. I also have a 19 foot sarfari that I would not hesitate taking to LaPaz. My son lives their and travels the roads often without problem. Suggestions: take you time, drive slow and avoid night driving, watch out for Topes which are speed bumps near towns and our like running over a 4 by 4. Use visa card where possible and ATM for cash, peso's. Do not take many $$ or casier like in U.S., don't worry about crime in Baja...less than Phoenix, read good travel books for motels, rv camps, food, etc.,and mostly just enjoy the Mexican people and culture.

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