Preparing for your journey to Baja?
If you are driving to Baja from California we recommend that you use our Tijuana border crossing map!
Getting ready for a journey to Baja can present completely different scenarios, depending on how you plan to travel and how long you plan to stay. For many it can be as easy a throwing a few pairs of shorts, some shirts (or blouses) and a bathing suit, or two, into a bag. For others it can be considerably more complicated.
If you are flying to Baja your task can be pretty easy, again, depending on the length of your stay.
If you are driving it can become as involved as preparing a well equipped 4x4 vehicle for heavy duty off road use. For others it can mean packing of a motor home or large trailer for a multi-month trip to a deserted beach where few supplies are available nearby. We have witnessed some really incredible examples of RV packing tricks, that defy the limits of both space and gravity.
Do I dare drive the family car to Baja? Of course, this is done every day. Make sure it has recently been serviced and be sure to check it over very, very carefully. Follow our instructions on the Be Well Prepared... The List page and remember that you are not in an off road vehicle. You should be OK.
Fishing oriented travelers may have to get the boat, trailer and all of their fishing equipment dusted off and put into good working order for their next Baja adventure. Quite possibly they will end up having to buying some extra coolers for all of the fish they are going to bring home.
For others it may involve the prep of motorcycles or quads for the deserts, dusty roads and sandy beaches they plan to explore during their next Baja adventure.
In any case, getting ready for your first or your 30th Baja journey will usually bring on a feeling of exhilaration not usually associated with any normal vacation. Getting ready to experience "The Baja Feeling" is usually accompanied by a wonderfully exciting inner emotion.
Preparing for a drive down the Baja peninsula.
First: Make absolutely sure that your vehicle is up to the trip. See: Driving to Baja? Be well prepared...The List. This should be done well before you are ready to leave.
Second: Be sure to get a Mexican Insurance Policy, your U.S. policy is not good in México. Try to get it on-line, or at one of the many insurance outlets, near all border crossings. Do not wait until you get into México! Change some dollars into pesos. Keep a bunch of small dollar bills (1's, 5's and 10's, just in case. Do not count on all Mexican gas stations accepting your credit card (some do - some don't). Not all gas stations will accept U.S. dollars, although most will.
Third: You will need to obtain a tourist form FMM (they do not call it a Visa anymore) if you are planning on driving south of Ensenada or San Felipe on the eastern coast. For information on how and where to get your FMM call the Mexican Consulate in San Diego at (619) 231-8414, in Phoenix at (602) 242-7398 or in Yuma at (928) 343-0066. No special auto permit or bond is necessary as long as you intend to stay on the Baja peninsula. Alert: You may not be able to get a FMM in Ensenada, so do it at the border just to be safe.
Forth: First Day of Driving. Try to drive to San Quintín, El Rosario, Cataviña or even Guerrero Negro for your first overnight stop. We often drive as far as south as San Ignacio but that is really pushing the limit, for most drivers. For your second day you may then plan a much more leisurely pace. Enjoy your drive, take in the beautiful scenery and enjoy the abundant pleasures that Baja has to offer.
If you know just a few words of Spanish, always try to find a chance to use them, even if your pronunciation is not correct. If you know nothing of the Spanish language, try to learn a little before your trip. Just trying to speak a little Spanish can mean an awful lot to many Mexicans, who will take this as an extremely friendly gesture. Spanish for Travelers
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