So I want to do a Baja trip

garrett

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Jun 18, 2004
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After discussing this w some friends and family that have been to Baja recently I'm starting to get worried about the crime factor. Apparently among recent activity the state department has issued a strict no travel warning to some states in Mexico. They are in the Mainland but Baja is on a Level 2 alert status. A few of the states are right across the Sea of Cortez from Baja. That makes me really nervous. All the talk about not traveling at night. Having bribe money. A fake wallet w fake credit cards and a little money in it....damn. I didn't even think about this stuff before. I was more worried about my truck than anything.

I want adventure but I dunno if I feel like dying/getting robbed to do it.

The driving/riding at night in Baja isn't about getting grabbed by the bad guys. It's about hitting livestock and other animals on the road. Only once did we ride at night and there were lots of coyotes on the roads - and a handful of fixed military check points. But evidence of cattle getting on the roads and struck by cars.

If you stick to Baja you'll be fine. Mainland is where the drug issues occur. There are certainly isolated incidents that come up and then are then magnified by press, people that have never stepped foot in MX, etc.

Over the past 6-8 months I've been working with a good number of CBP agents working with DSS. Guys stationed on/around the MX border - we always discuss MX, where I like to go, etc. They all pretty much say the same thing - Baja is quite safe/trouble free. The border towns/routes, etc are where you need to be a bit more careful. Mainland isn't Baja. Detroit isn't Vermont.

Like I said - check out Talk Baja on FB. Lots of American's on there living in Baja and they will give honest feedback. I'm watching that page regularly.

Going solo isn't a great idea regardless.
 

Mongo

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Apr 19, 2004
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It's not any different now than it has been in the past...crime has always been prevalent and if you look for trouble you'll find it. Solo travel is just that, solo, with few risks inherant risks beyond those of travelling with a group. If you do stupid shit, it doesnt matter if you're in a group of 100. FYI, Someone from AZLRO was just down there in a Dormobile with thier wife and kid and had no probelms.

Some simple advice that will go a long way:
Keep a 100 dollar bill in your wallet for IF, and that's a BIG IF you get stopped and need to grease the wheels.
Makes copies of your passport, drivers license,tilte and insurance and stash them in the truck.
No fake shit needed, keep enough pesos on you to fill the tank, get a temporary VISA card that you can use at a ATM for everything else.
Travel to the known spots, don't travel late into the night, keep in touch via social media and/or sat phone and enjoy the trip.

Don't know how to say this but if you find State Dept. warnings to be upsetting, 3rd world travel isnt for you.

EDIT:
Garret is right, the border areas suck ass, once thru them it's a laid back place, with trouble only for those who seek it out
 

Shiftonthefly1

Well-known member
Aug 11, 2014
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Las Vegas
Thanks for the real advice. I've never traveled like this before. So hearing press warnings horror stories etc is hard. Not knowing a damn thing means I have to consider all that I hear as possibilly being true. I'm not a wuss by any means. I'm not an idiot either. I know how to keep a low profile and be aware of my surroundings. I just want to be aware of what may be issues. Bribe money is totally a foreign concept to me. I'm nieve apparently.

Hell some nieghborhoods here in Vegas are really bad. I'm in those all the time w work. I usually carry here so I have a bit of security on my belt. I'm assuming that's not an option with border crossing either going there or coming here. It's the not know that's scary. I hear so much conflicting info. I appreciate the good advice. I'll check out that page.

I may try a little harder and go with at least one other person/vehicle. That seems to be the best way to safe guard in a few different ways.
 

garrett

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Jun 18, 2004
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I remember when I went to Iceland and State Dept had some kind of warning - based on the economy, but still a "threat level". Those warnings are just stupid and meant for the cruise ship travelers.

Copies of everything is smart. We did that. Getting a trip permit at the border is technically required - especially if you get pulled over for speeding, etc.

We came across both in Tecate and TJ. Ensenada is a great place to stop for the night and hang out. Go to Hussong's, listen to the mariachi band playing Pink Floyd and get your boots shined. The street food is stupid good and cheap.
 

Mongo

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Apr 19, 2004
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You'll need the travel permit because your going south of the "tourist zone" below San Felipe and will be in country for more than 7 days. Here's the link for the tourist visa, 35 bucks and you can get it stamped on the MX side of the border.
https://www.inm.gob.mx/fmme/publico/en/solicitud.html

I'd aviod Ensenada, as is it way west for you...best spot for you to cross would be Yuma/Mexicali. But if you want to see a actually donkey show, have at it...I'm sure Garett can recommend something

keep posting up questions...
 

garrett

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Jun 18, 2004
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Encenada and TJ have all the crazy stuff I am sure. I've never spent a ton in either place.

One place I really liked was the Ruta del Vino heading north-east from Encenada. Guadalupe Valley. The town of Guadalupe is really cool. Tiny little town a great taco place. The wineries there make Napa look ghetto. God damn there were some good looking woman there.
 

Mongo

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Apr 19, 2004
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yep...route 3 thru the mountians to Tecate is pretty cool...
 

Blue

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Mar 26, 2004
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AZ
Sounds like a fun trip. Don't let the press or the State Dept get you down. Mexico is full of wonderful, kind people. And some bad guys too but so is anytown USA. The biggest impediment to Mexico travel, in my opinion, is not being able to bring pistols, rifles, and ammo with you. And you can't "chance it"....definitely not worth the risk. It's like going down without pants on. But lots of people still do it, myself included. Keep us posted on your trip plans....I'd love to dip into Mexico for a trip. I couldn't get away for 2 weeks but I'm sure I could escape for a few nights at least.
 

Blue

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Mar 26, 2004
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Hmmm, I figured Garrett would be the first to jump on the no pants comment.
 

p m

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Apr 19, 2004
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The biggest impediment to Mexico travel, in my opinion, is not being able to bring pistols, rifles, and ammo with you.
Bill... in the spirit of Russian saying about four-wheeling ("The tougher is your jeep, the longer is the walk to the dozer"), having a firearm on your side gives you maybe 10% chance of winning the conflict, and 90% chance of getting far deeper into it. Unless you're so cool that you never reveal it - but then you're cool enough to work your way out without one.
 

Mongo

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Nothing to do with trust...just curious about his experience and not sharing...
You’re 100% right about the gun thing, not needed and will only escalate the situation to a really bad conclusion
 

Shiftonthefly1

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Aug 11, 2014
426
1
Las Vegas
The more I think it over the more I think going w a group the very first time I go is probably the better choice. At least one other truck. Many people have suggested going in the winter months due to the heat. I obviously can't swing that this winter. So maybe next January or February. That would give me some time to get one or two friends together and go for it. I need to come up with another trip in the meantime. I can't wait a year to do something epic. I'll go crazy.

I'm disappointed by this. A few years ago I was planning to do a road trip to Alaska. Shit hit the fan at home and never got to do it. I'm really tired of making excuses.

I can't thank you guys enough for the insite. I'm going to continue to gather info and plan this. Hopefully by then the truck will be sorted.
 

garrett

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Jun 18, 2004
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Middleburg, VA
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The more I think it over the more I think going w a group the very first time I go is probably the better choice. At least one other truck. Many people have suggested going in the winter months due to the heat. I obviously can't swing that this winter. So maybe next January or February. That would give me some time to get one or two friends together and go for it. I need to come up with another trip in the meantime. I can't wait a year to do something epic. I'll go crazy.

I'm disappointed by this. A few years ago I was planning to do a road trip to Alaska. Shit hit the fan at home and never got to do it. I'm really tired of making excuses.

I can't thank you guys enough for the insite. I'm going to continue to gather info and plan this. Hopefully by then the truck will be sorted.

You'll want to take this "road" along the Pacific for a little while - camp, surf, whatever. This is a little surf town/area called Punta Santa Rosalillita. It's also where I wiped out and lost my wallet. So if you find it, let me know.

I've got most of next month off - now I really want to head back down there. Shit.
 
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Shiftonthefly1

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Aug 11, 2014
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Las Vegas
KTM! Wow. Big money there. I love those bikes. An adventure bike is coming soon. My love is a Tiger 800 Xcx but the Africa Twin is definitely up there too. KTM is a beast.