RVing On Baja Mexico Tips Parts 7 - 10
by Dan & Lisa Goy
Editor's Note This story was submitted on our What Is Your Favorite RVing Or Camping Destination PagePART 7
are something you will encounter several times as you travel the Baja. These can be a little intimidating with young men standing around in camouflage uniforms carrying guns, but they are here for our protection. Going south they usually wave us through (this is why we like to have the Canadian Flag stickers on the back of the side mirrors) they are looking for guns and drugs, as Canadians RV Snowbirds we pose no threat. On our return north we will be asked to stop and inspected. Sometimes they want to see your passports and will ask where you came from and where you are going (today). Usually they will ask you all to get out so they can do a quick inspection. They are looking for drugs. We have always found the soldiers to be very pleasant, courteous and trustworthy. When it is your turn at the checkpoint, remove your sunglasses before speaking to the soldier. If you have a pet it should be somewhere they can see it as you approach the checkpoint. If they request you to get out of the vehicle, take the time to leash your pet and bring it out with you. We advise you do not pick up hitchhikers because you do not know who they are or what they are carrying.Have you heard of the Green Angels?
This is Mexico’s Roadside Assistance who patrol Mex 1 on a regular basis. We know breakdowns do happen! The Government operated Green Angels travel the entire length of Baja twice a day, once in the morning then again in the afternoon.
The Mexican government maintains a large fleet of these green vehicles across Mexico’s major highways on the lookout for travelers and tourists alike that have broken down. In many ways this is very similar to the service offered by BCAA or AAA. They normally travel in pairs and on the Baja speak some English. They are in radio communication with their base and can call for a tow. The service is free except any supplies you might use. In the event you use their service please provide a tip! They possess remarkable mechanical skills and ability and have likely seen everything you can imagine. In the event you break down don’t be surprised if a local Mexican also stops to help – they (or their Uncle or Brother) are very resourceful people and those working with autos are very competent mechanics! PART 8
What about Fuel?
PEMEX is the gas station of choice for both gas and diesel as they are the only company (government owned) selling these products. This is a cash transaction (pesos or US dollars); however receipts are available on request. Normally this is a full serve experience and we recommend you do not leave your vehicle when the attendant is filling. Paying in US $ means you are paying more. Stand with him and chat him up, this is a good time to practice your Spanish. To ensure your pump starts at zero have a locking gas cap. Pumps measure fuel in litres and reads in pesos. Tipping the attendant is common, particularly if they wash your windshield. Although most of these precautions regarding purchasing fuel have come from our experiences on the mainland, this is a good routine to follow.Where should we Camp?
There are many full service and partial hook-up RV parks ranging from $15-$30 per night which include hot showers, flush toilets and laundry. Most have WIFI; some parks have pools and small restaurants. Often they are somewhat rustic compared to the RV Parks available in the US or Canada, but remember they are half to a third the price.
Dry camping-(boondocking) is still available for the more resourceful and adventurous types. There is nothing like staying on a beautiful beach for free or just a few dollars and watch the sunrise or sunset as you listen to the ocean and watch the birds. These popular locations are frequented by many vendors selling everything you can imagine from fresh vegetables, seafood, blankets and pizza. Rule number 2; NEVER, NEVER, NEVER CAMP ALONE!
Any incidents we have ever heard of (count on one hand) always involve people camping alone, on a beach, in the middle of nowhere. Travelling in pairs always eliminates this or simply camp with others. Unfortunately there are desperate people everywhere in the world. What is more common is to have items of value lifted that are not locked down, this really depends where you are. If in doubt ask other campers.
El Requeson is the 10th of 12 camping beaches on Bahia Concepcion and a favourite for many RVers. This is a short sand spit which connects a small island to the mainland at low tide, very picturesque indeed. Only pit toilets, nothing else. In 2011/12 season the fee was $6 per day. Vagabundos del Mar Trailer Park in Cabo San Lucas is very popular and one of our favourites.
This is a full service RV park that includes laundry, 2 washrooms and Hot Showers, a heated swimming pool, an excellent Restaurant, walking distance to Cabo San Lucas, close to everything. In 2010/11 season the fee was $25 US per day/$120 US per week/$480 US per month for members.PART 9
Where do we shop for supplies?
Your options are many and varied. You can buy supplies and groceries from Mini Supers, Mercados, Super Mercados, Farmacias, Walmart, Costco and many Mexican Chain Grocery Stores. There is also many open-air markets where you can purchase everything from fresh fruits, vegetables and meats to clothing, runners, tools and much more.
Bartering for a price is very acceptable depending where you are shopping. No price tags are your first clue that price negotiation is acceptable. This is particularly true when dealing with beach vendors for souvenirs or in tourist markets. Generally speaking better prices are at the bigger stores and some selected items are less expensive in US. Other items such as good cheese, butter and some American made products are also available; however you will pay a premium price for these items. Beer, wine and spirits are widely available everywhere and Mexican produced products are very price point competitive with American products.What about the water?
This is the 2nd most commonly asked question about RVing in Mexico. Although Baja has aquifers across the entire peninsula, purified water is available everywhere from Mini-Supers to Purified Water Outlets designed specifically to refill your water bottles. This often a good place to buy ice and sometimes beer! We do know a couple of good spots where you can drink the water right from the ground and fill up your bottles at the same time without charge. What about our pets?
You must ensure you have all shots up to date with papers. Although it is doubtful anyone will check on the way into Mexico, the American Border Services may check as you re-enter the US. Pet food availability is good; however not all brands! You should know that only “made in USA” dry food is permitted across the US Border when you return north. Mexican pets, almost always dogs, are rarely leashed. They are good beggars, skitterish and generally good natured, especially those on the beaches. We suggest when you are in town to leave your pet in the RV or have it on a leash. We purchase travel insurance for our pets which is very inexpensive, only a few dollars. This ensures your pets will be returned home in the event you cannot return by RV due to illness or accident. Baja dogs are always available for adoption and these canines make great pets, they will love you forever. You just need to get their shots and papers from a local vet which is very inexpensive. We have 2 Baja dogs, Jitterbug and Lulu, both from Mulege and both adorable.PART 10
What to do on Baja?
Where do we start? You can touch Grey Whales in Scammon’s Lagoon in Guerrero Negro , Malarrimo provides an excellent Eco-Tour. Visit the stunning 2nd oldest Mission in all of the Californias’ 35 km from Loreto in San Javier. Tour the historic “Hotel California” made famous by the Rock Band “Eagles” in Todos Santos. The list is truly endless; swimming with whale sharks in La Paz, bird watching in Rancho Verde, viewing ancient cave paintings, taking in many different missions and museums, hiking and horseback riding, spectacular kayaking and great fishing, swimming, snorkelling, kite boarding, wind surfing, shelling, cycling, golf and lots of shopping!
How you make the trip is up to you and there are many options, all safe and within everyone’s budget. You can go it alone, find friends to travel with, contact a Baja travel club for assistance and guidance or enlist the services of the many RV Caravan Tour firms operating on Baja.
We believe no matter what method you choose for your Baja adventure it is well worth it! We promise this magnificent peninsula is far more than just a spectacular RV destination, for many it is a life changing journey that you are likely to repeat for years to come. *Important Note
Only one (1) RV Shop on Baja
Wahoo RV Center
San Jose del Cabo
Magic Jack 909 237 1699
MX 624 142 3792
Dan & Lisa Goy
Baja Amigos RV Caravan Tourswww.BajaAmigos.netClick Here to tell us about your favorite RVing or Camping Destination.