"DON'T DRIVE AT NIGHT "
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For current travel, we advise:
Travel with another vehicle in order to have assistance in case of a flat tire or mechanical breakdown. This way you will have someone who can find a tow truck or roadside assistance if necessary. Before leaving home have your local mechanic go over your vehicle and replace anything that looks worn - belts, hoses, headlights, etc. Bring at least basic spare parts.
Don't drive at night. It's not safe, if for no other reason than cows are often in or alongside the highway. You might not see one until it becomes a hood ornament. Also, a breakdown may leave you on the pavement if there is nowhere to pull off to avoid a semi or bus coming at high speed. They do drive all night. There was a big problem for us one time getting on the road late because we were having too much fun at the beach and we thought we knew the road well. Then we found the road we had traveled fairly recently had been repaved but not yet marked. It was a very dark, moonless night with lots of black cows at the edge of the road. That was real white-knuckle driving.
Don't drive too fast. We may hit 60 mph when we can see a long way ahead but 50 mph is our usual speed, especially when driving an RV or towing and many of us have been doing that for a long time without any problem. This will give you an edge in reacting to unforeseen hazards. Looking far ahead at oncoming traffic, if you can judge when you will cross paths and estimate speed, it's better to slow or increase speed and cross paths on a straightaway rather than on a curve or curve and hill.
Drive with your lights on. It's easier to be seen in a passing situation!
Take extra care on blind hills and curves. A tank truck might be half in your lane and you have to move over as far as you can to the right.
Fill up with fuel when your gauge indicates half empty. Between El Rosario and Jesus Maria on Baja 1, the distance is about 150 miles and there are no gas stations in between.
Carry collapsible red cones and a red flag. We use a water ski red flag and it has saved us big time in hazardous situations - including on US roads. Keep it where you can reach it in case your vehicle suddenly becomes disabled; set your hazard lights and get away from the vehicle. These days there seems to be more vehicles and people stalled by the side of the road being hit by traffic coming behind them.
Be extra cautious around Mulege, La Paz and around the Cape areas- southern Baja Sur. More accidents seem to be happening there. It might be due to most roads are now four-lane highways and traffic is moving faster. Another area where extra care is needed is through and south of San Quintin. There is a lot of agriculture traffic and the lanes are narrower.
But above all, realize that we have been sending caravans down Baja and all over the Mexican mainland for many years and have never had a problem with anyone else on the highway. We plan our trips to be in an RV park or motel before the sun goes down. We have trailer boat cruises every year and our fishing tournaments continue to be popular. Also, as mentioned, most of our Officers, Directors, Ambassadors-at-Large and many Members regularly drive the Baja Peninsula with no problems.
9/18/17 ROAD REPORT - My husband and I just finished our road trip from Tijuana to Los Barriles and thought it might be helpful for other Members who are traveling on Highway 1 to have a road update. Here's what we found on our drive:
-There are 2 washouts in Catavina
-2 Big wash outs in Santa Rosalia
-15-20 small washouts between Santa Rosalia and Mulege
-South bound lanes washed out between Ciudad Insurgentes and Ciudad Constitucion, they have it to a shared freeway with one lane in each direction
-Major freeway repair south of Ciudad Constitucion
-Major freeway repair right before La Paz
-Small wash out in San Bartolo
Hope that's helpful for other Members!
8/28/17 MEMBERS SPEAK - 23 miles dirt road from Gonzaga to Chapalla. I just returned from our boat trip of 6 weeks and over 560 miles on the Sea of Cortez. We launched my 32ft. Stamas with twin 4 stroke 250 Yamaha's at San Lucas Cove. 250 miles towing the 11' 2" wide 32ft. boat, 23 miles on dirt from Gonzaga Bay to MX 1 at Chapala then to Santa Rosalia. San Lucas Cove is 12 miles south from there. I had planned to travel about 60 to 100 miles a day depending on the weather. Mechanical failure on a couple of the tow trucks in our group left me as the only boat to head south out of Santa Rosalia Baja (San Lucas). I left the cove at 8pm and anchored for the night at the east end of San Marcos Island. The next day was a pleasant boat ride to San Juanico where the owner (Tom) of a huge reserve had invited any and all that wanted to come by land or sea to his two day party! (second year). Free food, drinks, horse back riding, swim in the pool, music, goat BBQ, camping on the beach, etc. There were a lot of people there and it was a Blast! It was worth the effort and risk of cruising alone to get there on time. I met with other boats that were heading south and kept in touch as I fished my way to Puerto Escondido. There were not much fish to mention, cool water temps as well as a lot of prey for the fish, made for a slow bite! Anyway the weather was nice with cool nights and hot days! The wind behaved until we got to La Paz where we stayed in port and enjoyed the town plus got the boat waxed & polished there. I rented a car and picked up my wife Linda in San Jose del Cabo, spent the night and took in the sights on the way back. At a few anchorages we rafted up for Happy Hour with the 3 other boats in our small group. One highlight was diving for rock scallops in El Gato, that was fun and a delicious dinner! On the way back we stopped in Sebastain Cove where my son knows a Henderson NV Fire Captain and asked me to say hello, but Mike was out fishing and we missed him. I made the last leg 60 miles before the wind was to shift out of the north. My buddy Craig there at San Lucas could hear me on the VHF from 30 miles away and met me at the launch ramp. Got a good suntan, and Jax my 2 year old dog became an excellent swimmer!
Temporary Border Closure - El Chaparral Tijuana September 23-25
Starting September 23 at 3 a.m. until September 25 at 12 p.m the southbound vehicle lanes will be closed. Traffic will be diverted east to Otay Mesa. The pedestrian crossing will remain open as well as the northbound vehicle lanes.
Los Angeles to Loreto nonstop flights round trip
August 26, 2017 - September 08, 2017 - $318.58
September 30, 2017 - October 7, 2017 - $280.58
November 20, 2017 - November 30, 2017 - $357.58
December 18, 2017 - December 28, 2017 - $421.58
San Diego to San Jose Del Cabo nonstop flights round trip
August 31, 2017 - September 07, 2017 - $306.52
September 08, 2017 - September 16, 2017 - $314.62
September 30, 2017 - October 07, 2017 - $396.52
November 20, 2017 - November 30, 2017 - $346.52
December 18, 2017 - December 28, 2017 - $352.52
8/10/17 MEMBERS SPEAK - Trailer tires seldom wear out. So, people see good tread and take off. Wrong. Rubber degrades over time. A five-year-old tire with perfect tread will delaminate in the heat and potholes of Mex 1. The flapping tread will damage your wheel well, and you may destroy the rim as you limp half a mile to the next spot with any room to pull off. If you don't know the age of your tires, look for minute sidewall cracking. Tire experts can help. Invest in good rubber, including at least one spare. Carry wood blocks and jack equipment that will work in a rocky dirt environment. If Baja hasn't tested your best preparations, it's just waiting for the perfect opportunity. - Thank you Barry - There's a 10-11 numbers and letters after it says DOT. The last 4 numbers tell you the age. For example 3416 would mean the tire was built the 34th week of 2016 -Alan Montgomery Birse
6/23/17 Beginning July 1st, the Port Captain's office will no longer be doing the safety inspections of the boats. The Port Captain will be doing the communications and registering of boats and the military will be doing the safety inspections. It may be a good idea to check your boat for safety equipment and make sure all paperwork is in order prior to launching in any tournament. It may save you a lot of inconvenience at the ramp. Reported by: Juan at the FONAMAR office. Submitted by: Randy Hamman Loreto_Community Yahoo Group
6/22/17 Road Report - Crossed at Mexicali on May 17th at 9:00 AM. He wasn’t stopped for anything at the border. He traveled South on MEX 5 without any problems. The last 24 miles from Cocos Corner is still not paved but packed and graded (good condition). 10 miles from Catavina on MEX 1 is in bad shape multiple unavoidable potholes. If traveling in a large vehicle and towing be very cautious. William Ogletree
Crossed at Tijuana got inspected they took some meet they said wasn’t packaged properly or not allowed other than that it was smooth sailing across the border. A few miles under San Quintin you’ll come across a section of bad road but its passable. Between Catavina and Chapala be very careful huge pothole (vedos) a few miles before the LA Bay turnout there’s also a stretch of bad road but passable. Down to Cabo the road is in good shape a few rough patches after La Paz but nothing to worry about. Roman William
4/24/2017 Mexico Customs Law - List of items - customs list
4/18/17 Mexico Customs Law - Mexico is now enforcing existing laws regarding bringing meat, vegetables and pets into Mexico. A Mexico organization called SENASICA is in Tijuana inspecting traffic entering Mexico for meat, vegetables and pets. If you have any of these items (fresh, cooked, frozen or canned) they will ask you to take them back to the US or a SENASICA agent will take them. If you have a pet traveling with you an international pet health certificate will need to be presented or you will need to return to the US.
A member crossed at Tijuana yesterday and was stopped. The agents from SENASICA were polite and took all the meat and vegetables that were in the motorhome. The member was given a pamphlet explaining the law.
We will have more information from the pamphlet and SENASICA soon.
4/17/17 Road Report - Mexicali to San Felipe the road is in good condition. San Felipe to Puerticitos there are many potholes in the road and previous repairs that have gone bad again. That stretch of road is tough on any vehicle. There are many dips in the road, termed "vados." Sometimes it's difficult to see these ahead and you might be down in one or airborne before you know it. Driving 40 to 45 mph maximum is advised going through this area. Puerticitos to Gonzaga Bay is the best road in Baja. Just south west of Willard pavement ends and then 24 miles of construction and dirt road on Highway # 5 to junction of Highway # 1 (average 6 - 8 mph).
Tecate to Ensenada the road is fairly good. Through the canyons out of Tecate there are numerous huge rockslides. Ensenada to El Rosario there is a lot of mud and a few washouts. A lot of dust on the highway. El Rosario to Vizcaino the road is full of huge potholes.
Ensenada to San Felipe takes over 4 hours now. Lots of pot holes.
Catavina to the Bay of LA there are severe pot holes. Drive with caution.
On Highway #1 about 2 miles south of Loreto bridges are being replaced and road construction. There are a couple miles of dirt road.
As you approach the La Paz area this is the largest single construction bypass area currently. Some of the bypass road really rough. The dust is like talcum powder.
3/27/17 Road Report - Tecate to Ensenada the road is in great condition and the last 6 miles is now paved.
3/25/17 Road Report - We just returned from our four month excursion in Baja. Weather was delightful all the way to Cabo San Lucas. Wish we could say the same regarding road conditions. We always stay few days at Don Eddies in San Quintin as Tony is always very welcoming. The "new paved road" from highway to Don Eddies is already in bad need of repair with many big potholes! The road out of Catavina both North and South has many miles of potholes and washouts. Makes it very hard to pull an RV with the huge potholes. Road from Loreto to Constitution is in bad shape. We found roads after Ciuadad Constitution in pretty good shape.
In LaPaz we were bilked out of 1000 pesos for allegedly parking in red zone. However the zone was white and the cop pocketed the $50 with no ticket. This also happened to two other sets of friends while we were all staying in LaPaz. We've traveled in Baja many years but this is 1st year of the dishonesty that we have experienced.
All in all, the time was great but we plan to travel to mainland Mexico next year due to the awful road conditions in the Baja.
Thanks to Vagabundos for always arranging our Mex auto insurance and for assisting us with our Mex travel papers.
Bill and Linda from Wyoming
3/22/17 - Beaches and Whales Caravan Feedback - Hola Vagabundos! We are still reveling from our Baja caravan experience! We got home late last week and have finally gotten ourselves, our belongings and our rig spick and span! What an incredible experience! Mike has been motorcycling in Baja for many years, but this was my first closeup view of Baja! Any "fear" I previously had has been erased! We thoroughly enjoyed the trip. What helped to make the excursion as good as it was, was the leadership of Freddie Washington! He is a fabulous person, well suited to be the glue for bringing together 15 different personalities and melding us into a "family" for a month. I consider most of our caravan family new friends for life. The whale excursions were far superior than we ever expected and we were treated with gorgeous weather on all three occasions! Swimming with whale sharks was the highlight for us! Santispac beach was our favorite spot! Aside from a little wind, it is truly a slice of heaven! Mike got to enjoy the itinerary from a whole new outlook in the RV. He saw parts of Baja he's bypassed before on motorcycle trips. He was pleasantly surprised!
Our group was very diverse with both rig size and comfort zone driving on the narrow/potholed roads. We don't know if it is possible to match rig sizes, as our smaller rigs (petal hoppers, as Freddie referred to us) could have traveled and parked much faster than the "big boys" in our group.
With Freddie's connections in the Loreto area, we feel we were treated like kings and queens and got a real feel for the hospitality of the Baja people!
All in all, we LOVED everything about the adventure! Thank you to Vagabundos for sponsoring this trip and working so closely with our wagon master Freddie Washington for a trip of a lifetime!
Lori and Mike Wilber
Bahia de Los Angeles trip, Feb 6th thru Feb 13th
Obtained our FMM paperwork thru Vagabundos del Mar. Highly recommended that one gets the proper documentation. In light of recent happenings with protests over gas price increase and such in Mexico, we crossed at San Ysidro at around 4:30 a.m. FMM's are to be stamped at port of entry, so we followed the "Items to Declare" lane which takes you basically right up to the office where that's done. Go to the office with the INM (Instituto Nacional de Migracion) sign, and they will direct you from there. At the time we crossed, we were the only ones there, no wait, and the whole process was very easy & took hardly any time at all. We encountered no issues, no protests, or road blockades of any kind, we had smooth sailing.
Road construction was taking place in the area around Santo Tomas, with detours onto sections of dirt roads. Could be messy in case of rain.
Just North of Catavina, the potholes start cropping up, and are numerous from that point on until Parador/turnoff to Bahia de Los Angeles. Use caution.
The road into Bahia is in good shape, but bridge & culvert construction continues beginning in the section just north of town, as you approach Bahia.
We topped off the fuel tank when we came into town, which is good practice. You never know when there can possibly be issues with fuel delivery, or with electricity. Much more of a rare occurrence these days, but things can happen down the line to South or other spots along the power line route that can interrupt service. Never hurts to be on the safe side. At the time of our visit, both stations had fuel, and the northernmost station on the east side of the road had diesel.
We did not leave ourselves enough time to obtain fishing licenses thru Vagabundos, however, I contacted a friend in Bahia who said you could get them at Casa Diaz.
Not sure as to their availability 100% of the time for certain, but we did buy annual licenses there, which was great.
Our time in Bahia de Los Angeles was very, very enjoyable, and the weather was even good enough for us to go on three fishing trips. Two of those were with Rafael Cuevas, a local with four decades of experience, and who knows his stuff from top to bottom. He really enjoys and cares about what he does, and will go out of his way to help you too. He took us to an area where we might hook up some big ones, and he checked & re-tied our knots for us so we would not lose the lures and a big fish. I highly recommend him without hesitation. Mind you, he is an old school fisherman and guide. You won't see GPS or depth finder on his boat; he doesn't need them, that's how good he is, and well he knows the waters.
For supplies, Mercado Isla, in the middle of town on the east/water side of the road has what you need, including cold beer, vegetables kept under refrigeration, sodas, ice, etc., and at good prices.
On our return trip, we opted to go back thru Tecate. The road was in good shape, with no issues. No wait at the crossing itself, with only two other vehicles going thru ahead of us. They will ask for your passport, so have those ready.
Take advantage of your Vagabundos membership to get all of your documents ready ahead of time (FMM's, car insurance, fishing licenses), as this will speed your trip time and it's a one stop shop; takes a lot off your mind and you can enjoy your trip. Hope yours is as good a time as ours was; had a great trip to Bahia de Los Angeles....
2/17/17 Road Report from Mainland. Crossed at Nogales going to Sayulita. The toll road cost about $50 for a car. The majority of the checkpoints just waved us through. One checkpoint stopped us and was looking for the temporary import permit for the vehicle. Once they checked all the paperwork we were on our way. Gas is about $3/gal.
Reports of problems in Mexicali with mordida and robbery. The standard is - ask to be taken to the police station to pay your fine. When this has been done recently in Tecate, the tourist has been released. If you experienced a problem call 011-52 (664) 973-0424 and ask Carlos Valenzuela to report the incident in Baja Norte. Be prepared with specific details such as when, where and who.
1/20/17 Baja Direct Wagon Master, Todd and Carolyn Way, and 18 Members are enjoying the sunny weather in Los Barriles. They arrived in Los Barriles on January 16 and are now planning their return home. Only one other rig is planning to return home with the Wagon Master. The other eight rigs have enjoyed their time so much they will be staying longer on their own.
1/11/17 - The Baja Direct Caravan checked in today while enjoying lunch in Santa Rosalia. They are enjoying the great weather and have not encounteed any problems on the road. They will enjoy the next few days on Santispac Beach.
Travel Buddies Calendar
In keeping with today's internet reliance and the Vagabundos code to travel with a buddy, our Travel Buddies Calendar is now online - a great tool to find a buddy to caravan with. Members traveling to Mexico can post trips, find other members who are traveling, find Vag sponsored events, and use the interactive map. Regardless of your driving experience the easy-to-use calendar will allow you to find a buddy. For more information and to login click on http://www.vagabundos.com/TBC.html
Temporary Import Permits:
PREPAID FMM'S (VISITOR CARDS)
Vagabundos members can obtain an FMM from our office, saving you from having to wait in line at a bank. We now process FMM's online and are now able to email you your FMM. Payment by debit or credit cards only. Card will be charged by Mexican Immigration.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO GET YOUR FMM TOURIST CARD VALIDATED AT THE BORDER WHEN YOU ENTER MEXICO. If you fail to get a valid FMM at the border you will be fined, Mexico Immigration will issue a letter giving you 7 days to exit the country and you will need to return to the US.
If you do not get the prepaid FMM from the Vagabundos office and you plan on getting it at the border, do not ask for a Visa because it is not a Visa, it is a TOURIST CARD. US and Canadian citizens do not need a Visa to get into Mexico, they need a TOURIST CARD.
10/30/13 A meeting was held Thursday, October 17, in San Diego regarding FMMs required for fishing on boats in Mexican waters in the 12 mile zone from land. We received information from the CONAPESCA Office in San Diego as to the new procedure for these FMMs. Mexican officials presented a website in Spanish to process FMMs online at http://www.inm.gob.mx/index.php/page/Pesca_Deportiva_Turismo_Nautico. With this new system in place fishermen will have access to an FMM confirmation without having to stop at any border to validate their FMM. This will not take the place for land or air entries.
The price is 500 pesos and it is valid for 180 days, single entry. The website is in Spanish. Land entry FMMs for Baja crossings can be purchased through the Vagabundos Office. Immigration requires that this service be provided only to Members. A copy of a valid passport is required.
FMM's AT TECATE: It is easier to park on the U.S. side, walk across to Immigration in the building on your right.
FISHING LICENSE APPLICATION
CURRENT RATES (subject to change without notice)
Agricultural items are prohibited If they can carry plant pests or animal diseases.
Fruits and Vegetables All fruit not on the permitted list below is prohibited. Sugarcane is prohibited. Potatoes are prohibited, including Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams. (Exceptions: Cooked potatoes are permitted. Avocados without seeds are permitted, except in California.)
Plants, Seeds, and Soil. Plants and seeds require special permits. Soil and some plants are prohibited. Check in advance with agricultural inspectors. (Exception: Some dried plant parts, such as for medicinal purposes, are permitted.)
Meat and Game Pork-raw and cooked, including sausages, cold cuts, skins, and pork tacos, is prohibited. (Exceptions: Shelf-stable, canned pork and hard cooked pork skins [cracklings] are permitted.) Poultry-raw meat from both domesticated and game fowl is prohibited. (Exception: Thoroughly cooked poultry is permitted.) Game - Check with agricultural inspectors in advance. Other restrictions may apply; check in advance with agricultural inspectors.
Eggs Prohibited. (Exceptions: Boiled and cooked eggs are permitted.)
Live Birds Wild and domesticated birds, including poultry, are prohibited.
To import personally owned pet birds, contact agricultural inspectors in advance.
Straw Generally prohibited. This includes wheat straw, seeds, animal feed, and all articles made from this material.
In addition to the excepted items listed above, many agricultural items are permitted if they pass inspection to be sure they are free of pests, soil and sand.
Fruits and Vegetables Permitted fruits are bananas, blackberries, cactus fruits, dates, dewberries, grapes, lemons, limes (sour), lychees, melons, papayas, pineapples, and strawberries. Vegetables are permitted, except for those on the prohibited list above. Okra, however, is subject to certain restrictions.
Nuts Permitted items are atoms, almonds, cocoa beans, chestnuts, coconuts (without husks or milk}, peanuts, pecans, pinons (pine nuts), tamarind beans, walnuts, and water nuts.