"DON'T DRIVE AT NIGHT "
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2/20/18 Beaches and Whales Caravan In addition to potholes there are small sections of the shoulder that is missing in various spots. There is a four mile section that has been repaved before you get to Guerrero Negro. The caravan stayed at Mario's RV Park and enjoyed a windy but eventful day whale watching. The panga brought the group out to the lagoon and was instantly surrounded by three adult gray whales and one calf. For the next two hours the caravan played with the whales. Everyone on the boat was able to pet a gray whale. The caravan arrived at Santispac Beach today and will relax and enjoy the sunny weather for the next two days.
1/15/18 Road Report from the Baja Direct Caravan. The caravan entered Baja on January 8th at Tecate. They reported good roads and no road construction from Tecate to San Quintin. South of Catavina starting at KM 142 - KM 179 the potholes are bad. This is the worst section of the road. From KM 179 to the Bay of LA turnoff there are large potholes but not as bad as the previous section. From Bay of LA to Mulege the roads are good and Mulege to Loreto also good. From Loreto going into La Paz at KM 29 there is construction at the curve. La Paz to Los Barriles the road is good. Returning to the US on January 16, 2018 the Wagonmaster took MX 5 and reported the 21 mile section of MX 5 that connects at MX 1 in Chapala is in the same condition it has been for years. While driving he noticed the progress crews are making on the new section of road. However, it is not completed and they are not allowing vehicles on the new section.
12/23/17 From San Quintin to Guerrero Negro the road is worse than we have ever seen it! Deadly pot holes...we have 10ply tires on the F250 and heavier than average tires on the trailer, but still blew 2 tires! Maybe smart to bring an extra spare! Great tire place in GN across from the "Casino"...they are busy! Just left Guerrero Negro heading for Loreto....Road is now great! John
Los Angeles to Loreto nonstop flights round trip
January 6, 2018 - January 20, 2018 - $338.68
February 2, 2018 - February 16, 2018 - $372.68
March 4, 2018 - March 19, 2018 - $354.68
April 9, 2018 - April 23, 2018 -$354.68
San Diego to San Jose Del Cabo nonstop flights round trip
January 6, 2018 - January 20, 2018 - $360.35
February 2, 2018 - February 16, 2018 - $248.35
March 4, 2018 - March 19, 2018 - $291.00
April 9, 2018 - April 23, 2018 -$324.35
12/15/17 Greeting Michelle from San Carlos. We crossed at Nogales and Km 21 yesterday the 15th. At km 21 if you say you are staying in the free zone the personnel will assume you are in a car or truck unless you make a point of stating you are pulling a trailer or driving a motorhome. We showed a picture of our truck hauling our 5th wheel and immediately he stated the truck was OK but the "motorhome" would have to be imported. We clarified that our trailer was not a motorhome but he said it did not matter. My guess is a bunch of people hauling 5th wheels are simply not bringing the subject up and are proceeding without importing. We did this last year and had no problem even being inspected on our return North at the major truck inspection point South of Santa Anna. I am not sure what would happen if you encountered an inspection in the free zone and they demanded to see your importation documents....impounding? We are in Totanaka RV park in San Carlos for a month or so....I will do a little informal canvas to see what other people have done and let you know. Bob J
Friday, December 08, 2017 Gary Graham Western Outdoor News - Mex 1 road trip conquered with common sense, coupled with modern technology. After three solid weeks covering back-to-back tournaments - Los Cabos Billfish, Bisbee Offshore - the Black & Blue, and finishing up with the 19th Annual Western Outdoor News/Yamaha Los Cabo Tuna Jackpot Tournament - I left Cabo early on a Friday morning heading north on Mex 1.
I usually take the "Roadtrek" south in the spring, leaving the van in storage, and fly back and forth monthly until early November. This year was no different. Last year I managed to take a wrong turn out of Cabo and it had taken more than an hour to sort it out. What was different this year, was that I used the Google Maps app on my cell and zipped right through the outskirts of Cabo and onto the highway north. Making it through La Paz before the usual early morning traffic, I was soon rolling past the first inspection point north of La Paz with little more than a "Buenos Dias" from the Officer on duty. Caution: There is still some roadwork just beyond that point and it's in rough condition. Expect detours and drive with caution.
Expect additional roadwork south of Ciudad Constitucion with dirt detours as they are widening the road, followed by the 20+ stop signs in town that are a favorite hangout of local police. Be careful! NO ROLLING STOPS!
Past Ciudad Insurgentes, the next road work is approximately 30 miles north where there are dirt detours around bridge construction projects.
Mid-morning, I pulled into Puerto Escondido at the invitation of Gregory Nash Rhew, manager of the Puerto Escondido Marine facility. The marina is owned by a new group that has changed the face of the area. Rhew gave me a brief tour on his Marine facility... a full-service boat yard equipped with a cement ramp and a travel lift for larger boats. This is a welcome addition for the Loreto boating community as well as for cruising yachts.
Back on Mex 1, I continued my journey homeward. Santa Rosalia is a mess with the main road north of town along the waterfront under repair until the road turns inland. There had been chatter about several police cars equipped with radar stopping travelers in both directions beyond San Ignacio after the Military Inspection point. Sure enough a few miles before the Abreojos turn-off, several south-bound Baja 1000 support vehicles were pulled over. With the Baja 1000 scheduled for the following week, from that point north the southbound traffic increased.
Beyond Guerrero Negro, the reports of more potholes mentioned frequently on the various forums were confirmed. The number and severity definitely demanded a reduction of speed going northward. It was almost dark by the time I arrived at Punta Prieta where the road to Bahia de Los Angeles heads east. I stopped at a small Cafe where there were a handful of big rigs. I inquired about parking for the night, and a rancher visiting with the truck drivers volunteered that I could park on his small ranch on the other side of the road for 60 pesos.
By all reports, Mex 1 was in very rough condition with pot holes and worn roads from where I was parked to Km. 133 north of Catavina.
When I awoke at 2-am, the surrounding desert was brightly lit by a full moon. Although I do not normally drive at night, I was back on Mex 1 heading north. I wasn't alone that early Saturday morning as big rigs streamed south. By the time I reached the Laguna Chapala Mex 5 turnoff, the number of potholes combined with the increased traffic, convinced me that with the bright moon the Mex 5 option made sense.
Until the Coco's Corner turnoff, the only traffic in either direction was a 3-car group headed south. The road lived up to its reputation of being rough and rocky but well-marked. I drove slow and resisted the impulse to speed up on the straight stretches. I was back on the paved road heading north in about an hour and a half. From Gonzaga Bay to Puertecitos is 30-kilometers, paved and in great condition; from there to San Felipe, it is in rough condition. The paved road has eroded in many areas and there are potholes. If you are driving it, go very slow as there are numerous vados that can sneak up on you.
Arriving in Mexicali, once again I depended on Google Maps to lead me through the maze to the border, which it did perfectly... even though at the last few minutes I was sure the directions were wrong. However, modern technology prevailed, and as I made the left turn it instructed, not only was I at the crossing, but I was at the Sentry entrance.
Once again, common sense, coupled with modern technology, brought me home safely!
10/28/17 ROAD REPORT - Northbound from Los Barriles short section just north of La Paz go slow not too bad until north of state line. Baja north road continues to get worse. Then the potholes are very bad all the way to just south of El Rosario. Watch out for stutter bumps prior to bad curves, some are very harsh. Many speed bumps with the paint and warning signs gone. Total neglect of road in this section. Be sure your tires and spare are aired to maximum, good jack and wood blocks may be needed. I drove a Gulfstream Mini Sprinter RV, the stutter bumps where harsh enough to break water tank. Drive slow and careful. Good luck.
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!
Cheers Joe McGinnis
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. 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
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....
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.