Alfonsina a Baja Legend

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The first purchase should be the Baja Almanac, a large-format road and topographical atlas of the entire peninsula— all in full color and , scale.

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While GPS is a worthwhile support to paper maps, I have mostly found it useful for recording a track or marking those perfect campsites and taco shacks. He aggregates user-contributed tracks to provide the most comprehensive digital back-road data we have found. It is certainly possible to stuff every square inch of your vehicle with accessories until it is a single shining lump of fear-based compensation— but common sense dictates otherwise. Here are the important bits:. Safety equipment fire extinguisher, comprehensive first aid kit with antibiotic and gastro-intestinal medications, and road flares.

Recovery equipment and tools A high-quality recovery kit and Hi-Lift jack are essential. A pair of sand tracks can be handy, along with a comprehensive tool kit for your vehicle. Remember, Baja has long, hot summers. Hot weather travel to the more remote areas of the peninsula can quickly turn the contents of a cooler into a mashed and blended soup of mass destruction. Having a fresh, cool, dry food supply is a reassuring perk—and the pure joy that comes from handing an ice-cold Coke to the fisherman who just sold you fresh lobster is unforgettable.

Camping equipment Camping equipment should be sturdy yet simple i. Most of your cooking will be done in pleasant outdoor temperatures and settings. Sleeping can be done in anything from a cot under the stars my favorite to a fully integrated camper. It is important to avoid cluttering your experience with heavy and distracting gear.

Alfonsina: A Baja Legend

Instead, save your money for fuel and an extra margarita at sunset. Mexico does have reciprocal agreements with the US regarding HAM licenses, but the permit should be obtained. We use 2-meter radios on Simplex for vehicle-to-vehicle communications. This greatly improves safety on the busier paved routes, announcing to drivers behind you of the presence of donkeys in the road, drunks staggering against traffic, or a semi wandering dangerously over the yellow line there are no shoulders on most paved roads. Tourist visa While it is fairly easy to travel in Baja, some pre-planning is useful.

This is accomplished most easily through Discover Baja in San Diego. You can complete the visa application online. Vehicle insurance Contrary to popular information, vehicle insurance is actually not compulsory in Mexico.

In the event of a collision, liability would need to be covered by the driver at fault, and both vehicles may be detained until compensation has been secured. Insurance provides access to counsel and limits the detention and impound period. Shelling out a nominal amount of pesos for a policy gives considerable peace of mind. Research It is also worth talking with others who have recently visited your area of interest—they can often recommend their favorite beaches and good restaurants and advise you on current road issues.

Forums like bajanomad. It is important to do a thorough search of your personal effects and vehicle prior to crossing the border. Possession of firearms and ammunition is highly illegal and carries a maximum penalty of 30 years incarceration. If a federale military cop finds a single spent cartridge rolling around your floorboards, the subsequent and thorough ravaging search of your vehicle, in addition to causing delays, will be very unpleasant and a mess to clean up. Drugs are also a serious offense and carry similar penalties to those for guns.

It is a good idea, as when traveling in any country, to keep all medications in the pharmacy-labeled container.

Baja, here I come!!! – Diomede Racing / Instructing

Mexico operates under Napoleonic Law—essentially you must prove innocence before charges can be dropped or fines reversed. Show respect, comply with local laws and customs, and make an effort to speak their language. Crossing the frontera into Mexico is an easy process, and begins with a few minutes on the US side cleaning up and organizing your cab. A neat, tidy vehicle will greatly reduce suspicion and make any inspection much more efficient.

When approaching the border zone, you will likely navigate a maze of concrete pillions on the US side, then a series of drive-through control gates on the Mexican side. Green means continue on, while a red requires you pull into the inspection station where a federale or aduana customs agent will likely ask a few questions and check the contents of the vehicle.

Our experience has been that they are professional and just doing their job. Once the inspection is complete, you will want to park, grab your passport, find the immigration office and obtain the FMT tourist visa. This is technically not required if your stay is north of Baja Sur and less than 72 hours. The biggest mistake I made during my early Baja travels was bringing too much food.

Yep, the food in Mexico is some of the best in the world and it is cheap. There are big grocers in the larger cities that may even have baristas to serve up a double cappuccino. Smaller towns will always have a market with basic sundries, and usually a restaurant or two. One of the common questions we receive about travel in Mexico is whether or not it is safe to eat the food and drink the water.

In years past, food and waterborne illnesses were commonplace, but this is becoming much less of an issue. A more conservative approach would be to skip the salad and make sure the food you eat is piping hot. In the end no pun intended , the likelihood of a problem is minimal.

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Most gastro-intestinal issues, when treated with Ammonium AD or antibiotics, pass in a day. I find the risk worth it. Another taco de camarones shrimp taco , please. The camping experience in Baja is almost always better than a hotel. There are exceptions to this in the larger cities, but on most nights I yearn for the sound of crashing waves and the glow of the Milky Way. The best campsites are the remote ones on secluded beaches and isolated arroyos or canyons.

It is important to remember that nearly all of the land in Baja is privately owned or part of a national park. The exception is the beach, which is public to the high-tide line. If there is a rancho near your desired campsite, it will be worth stopping in and asking permission to camp. Some respect and a smile can go a long way. Border cities hold few attractions for the adventure traveler.

Most are merely a conduit to the places we really want to go. Tecate, a pleasant little town famous for its exclusive spa resorts and nearby brewery of the same name, is one exception to the rule. Tecate is my favorite crossing point into Baja. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, and with an authentic feel—attributes that have been commercially bleached from Cabo San Lucas. Loreto is also a nice city to stop in for a taco and resupply on your way south.

Return to Baja

Most small towns are located along the Mex 1 corridor and serve to refuel vehicle and driver. Though hidden beneath layers of dust, many have a unique story to tell as well. Some basic research in the highly recommended Baja Adventure Book or Lonely Planet more current will remove much of the guesswork. Tips Safety and security is the most frequent discussion point with regard to Baja, and reservations are understandable. US media channels have painted an alarming picture of Mexico—some of it well-deserved. However, much as the violence in Detroit is not a reflection of safety in Prescott, Arizona, the issues in Tijuana have no relevance to the colorful and inviting Todos Santos.

It is important not to be dismissive of the potential dangers, but rather to go equipped with realistic expectations and accurate information. Travel tip 1 Avoid traveling at night. This has much less to do with banditos than it does with open grazing and other hazards of the night. I still remember coming around a corner and finding a drunk wandering down the road, stumbling in and out of the lane.

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The most dangerous thing in Baja is the road, and it must be approached with vigilance, starting with no driving at night. Travel tip 2 Keep control of your valuables by locking your vehicle and not leaving cameras, purses, or bags on the seats. Violent crime is rare in Baja, but petty theft, as in any developing country, can be a problem.

Overall, Baja is a tranquil and safe place to travel. Along this section we get exposed to some of the most beautiful scenery on the gulf side! This day will not be as long for us as some of the others. After a coke or water at his place, we will make our way to the highway and head to the Bay of LA. When we arrive at the Bay of LA we will have a choice of stopping and relaxing for the day, or riding up to the Mission San Francisco de Borja. For those that would like to keep riding we can drop our luggage at the hotel and head out to the Mission.

The mission is roughly 35 miles one way from the Bay of LA. This day will be mostly dirt as we wind our way out of the Bay of LA through the coastal gulf mountains and along the gulf coast. We will stop along the way in San Rafael to see old whale skeletons and have a cold drink. From there it is back on the dirt where we leave the coastal mountains and head into the desert. This ride is fantastic and the desert terrain has a harsh beauty that is better experienced than described.

Once we hit the pavement we will make our way to the gorgeous and quaint town of San Ignacio. Today we will go on a bit of a different tour and add some Baja wildlife to the mix…how about Humpback Whales! If you have never been whale watching get ready for this!

Bajaj Legend - Chillies

Today will be our longest day but we will get to take it easy on the pavement. This time of year the desert flowers are bursting and we will get to travel through some of the most beautiful inland mountain, desert and farm towns in all of Northern Baja! Get your cameras ready for some fantastic inland photos! The fun does not stop there…when we get to our hotel, Mission Santa Maria, we will have an opportunity to ride our motorcycles on the beach!

If you have never done this it is fantastic! We will eat a gourmet meal at the hotel restaurant and enjoy cocktails in the bar after this long awesome day!