boondocking in baja california

The road widens on the southern half when you enter Baja Sur, and has actual shoulders. We’re more or less certain that once you get a week or two into your travels down here, you’ll lose the idea that it’s a dangerous place and quickly warm up to the possibilities that even a little exploration (and a dose of Espanol) will provide! No way!” “Absolutely, I would love to go!”. Loreto has abundant opportunities for nautical activities. While camping options are limited in La Paz, north of town are a few places I would consider gems, one which travelers tend to call the “Cafe on the Beach” and another by the name of Playa Tecolote. Usually we simply pulled onto a beach or stopped in a quiet desert spot or dry riverbed. It’s the waterfall, Rancho Ecologico Sol de Mayo to be exact, a sort of national park preserve area where you can camp away an evening (and even see snow if the timing is right) with a few fellow travelers or hike down to the waterfall itself for a casual swim or a jump off the top into the frigid water below. Medium and large towns also have western style grocery stores. By 5:15 we were on the ferry and headed to the mainland. Find a Free Campsite. While there take a hike south over the bluffs along the beach to Dinosaur Egg Beach. There are dirt roads that can be taken out into the backcountry for dispersed camping. Stop signs may be placed in unusual locations in towns including very high or on the wrong side of the street, so look carefully at intersections. All Rights Reserved. We drive a 1978 Volkswagen Bus, so our fee was $200. Often times there are miles and miles of potholes around the area of Cativiña, some years extending over 100-miles towards Guerrero Negro. Gas/diesel: Fuel is readily available throughout Baja, but you won’t always find ultra low sulphur diesel. There’s also an endemic variety of pronghorn that lives on the peninsula, along with mule deer and bighorn sheep. You may have heard of Todos Santos, but either way it’s an artsy little town that’s about a perfect swirl ice cream of a mix between Americanadians and native Mexicans. It’s a safe and beautiful bay for sailboats, which was how we visited before the Hallmark. when nature calls at your backdoor. Living in Mexico. Before departing on our journey we consulted this book and this book to get an idea of what we would be spending, and these texts were a HUGE help in planning our budget! “They will give you your TIP,” your Temporary Import Permit. The fee. Kris Cassidy 2003 Toyota Tacoma 2016 Northstar 600SS, Above: Boondocking among the giant Cactus in the Cataviña Desert. In my experience the best and quickest place to cross the border is Tecate. Here, in particular, they’re nothing more than wooden outhouses that can easily be tipped over to reveal whatever amount of waste was left behind since someone came to empty them. La Paz will also be your first chance to take money out of an ATM (aka, “cajero” in Spanish) that isn’t owned by Bancomer, and if you’re looking to ditch the high withdrawal fees that bank charges, look for a Banimex, typically about 1/3rd of the price to get the same amount of money out. Free Camping in Northern California, The Boondocking Directory There's a bounty of free camping in Northern California. There is much new development, but there are still some beaches with rough access. If there’s one thing that you can more or less always count on in this country, it’s that it will be hot. Pete’s in San Felipe has good camping on the beach and good facilities. Longer than the state of California, Mexico’s Baja California is a sun-drenched paradise with 2,000 miles of coastline offering spectacular places to camp. Loreto: Our favorite medium size town. Travelers list and review wild, informal, and formal camping sites as well as information on border crossings, military/police check points, locations of mechanics, stores, laundry mats and so forth. Baja camping is for adventurous folks who know it’s all about the journey and the destination. I also recommend getting the book: Traveler’s Guide to Camping Mexico’s Baja: Explore Baja and Puerto Peñasco with Your RV or Tent . Practice Mexico. Camping Baja California takes you to RV parks, spectacular beach camping and down a few dirt roads to find amazing campgrounds and Baja camping spots. In a bigger vehicle it is not for the faint of heart. But you are not a local, and if a cop sees you, well dear Mr. Accurate and complete road maps are virtually impossible to find although the Almar Dive Shop in Ensenada sells a pretty good one. Be calm and polite, but stay with them and open only one door at a time, and then close it before showing them the next one. We found some at the Ace Hardware in Cabo. Even so, there are many more roads than what’s on the map. They rightfully own the land but it’s been held up in court for a few years now, and this guy has enough power that it doesn’t seem like anything is going to go back to anything resembling justice any time soon. You will find the highest concentration of tourists camping on the beaches in the south west and safety can be found in numbers. The Secret to the Best Baja Internet To Keep You Online. creatures. California is an enormous and truly varied state, and our travels there by RV and by boat have been among our best. 2. Is Baja Mexico Safe? Headed east, this oasis is hard to miss. My wife and I have traveled to Baja several times in the past with a variety of vehicles. You’ll likely share the water with locals come for a weekend vacation or water snakes during the week. Ensenada is also the county of Ensenada. So, we did. The Church’s book gives some excellent suggestions. The, “Traveler’s Guide to Camping Mexico’s Baja” by Mike and Terri Church is helpful. Blazing hot and humid, coast to coast, border to border. It seems that no one cares if they destroy their car, whether it’s an old beater of a Pinto or a brand new Escalade, everyone is whipping in and out of lanes like their next dentist appointment is a life or death situation. We were certain we’d spend a few months on the peninsula and then head back to the US. Avoid Cabo San Lucas. You must carry Mexican insurance for your rig and towed vehicle if you plan to drive more than 25-miles into Mexico regardless of your US insurance situation. If we don’t lose our nerve. Ensenada is not a large city. I boondocked on other beaches. It’s divided by lush desert expanses, snowy twisty roads, raw purple-peaked mountain chains, colorful cliffs dropping to the water’s edge, and gentle rivers flowing through high valleys. I entered Baja in San Felipe and traveled down the entire peninsula on the Sea of Cortez down to Cabo San Lucas and up the entire pacific side to San Diego entering the United States in Tecate close to San Diego. It’s a huge emerald blue bay that is always warm and is protected from the winds. And for all of you avid birders, the estuaries near Campo Rene outside of Punta Abreojos rival Florida in the pure abundance of winged creatures to be spotted (you may even catch a dolphin or two while you’re at it!). South of the border, in a trial size. You can boondock on a desolate beach and be all by yourself. And they waited until 4:50 to process us (Baja Ferries wasn’t running to Mazatlan that day, and we’d been told that other destination–Topolobampo–was a hot spot for cartel action. In Central Mexico, the mountains and region surrounding Mexico City, a good, safe boondocking spot is not as easy to find, but in these For the most part, though? . Access looks easy on the map and the views en route are fantastic, but you will be tested. Todos Santos, on the Pacific Ocean side, is a very cool laid back artist type of town. Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we've got you covered.You can simply use your smart phone's GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.. Our community provides the best free camping information available. My first solo trip to Baja was back in April 1990, just after graduating from college. Laurie Heimbigner 2013 Ford F-550 2013 Phoenix Camper. This is an older book from 1998, but we still use it because it describes places to see and to explore down the length of Baja based on their kilometer marker along the road. From everything we’ve been told (compared to our own experience), crossing at Mexicali is the easiest. As there was no line, the process only took us about twenty minutes for our family of five, thirty minutes total for us and our traveling companions who had an equally sizable family. Baja California is the state and Mexicali is the capital. Camping Near Ligui, Baja California Sur. Don’t see too much as we are down in the hull. It’s all interspersed with tantalizing history, wildlife of all sizes, interesting people and, of course, great food. I went down solo in a bit of a hurry to rendezvous with my sister and her husband on their sailboat in Bahía Concepción. SO many animals and great ocean swimming! There are three places to camp, the southern-most one which gives you the best chance of shade among some small trees and also comes with a pit toilet and very primitive shower, the “main” area where most of the surfers hang out which has no amenities, and the open land a little further north which puts you off of the beach itself but just behind some dunes and cliffs, giving you a break from any possible wind but more or less immediate access to the water should you choose to venture in. This building is called the Banjercito Office. Groceries: Small towns all have tiendas with a stock of basic necessities such as fruits, veggies, room temperature eggs, beer and soda. The area around Bahía Concepción is wonderful including the town of Mulegé which has a charming mission church built in 1766 by Jesuits. Caught at just the right moment, though, and you’ve got a perfect blend of sauna along a beach lined with volcanic rock. We have never had a problem or issue. In addition, there are reasonable quality spur roads off Mex-1 leading to beaches. San Felipe. Our favorite chain is Lay. While there was nothing particularly astonishing about this large, tourist trap of a city along the Gulf of California, it does seem to be a congregating point for travelers of all types. When you click on each link on the map it takes you to the description and to an additional link to get driving directions on your choice of mapping apps. After you enter Mexico, almost directly after actually, there’s a white building labeled Instituto Nacional de Migracion on your left with limited parking (certainly not large enough for an RV) that you need to enter to obtain this permit. The road there is slow and tedious, but that keeps larger RVs out. Coffee shops serving the real deal when you ask for a latte, craft beers, sushi…if you’ve grown tired of what most of Baja north of here has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. The book, “Traveler’s Guide to Camping Mexico’s Baja” by Mike and Terri Church has detailed instructions on the paperwork you need and on getting through the border. Last U.S. Exit Before Driving to Baja California Baja Mexico or Baja California? Mary and Ken Strasser 2009 Toyota Tundra 2015 Hallmark Ute, Above: Agua Verde with their camper across the water. I’ll let them all tell their own particular tales on their own particular websites, but suffice to say another family we have been traveling with throughout Baja were in an F-250 with a truck camper on the bed. To call Santiago itself a town is pushing it…there is no bank, not even an ATM, and from what we could discern only a small corner store to provide groceries, but the gem here isn’t Santiago proper. Baja California. Note that you don’t get the $50 back, but if you tell Mexico you’re leaving, they’ll give you the $200 – $400 back when you do so. There are many comfortable full-service campgrounds in Baja and many more officially organized dry campgrounds. We much preferred finding our own spots and never had any issue anywhere. There were two buildings, Baja Ferries and TMC. In contrast to it’s norther neighbor it’s easier to find free wild camping in Baja California than it is to find paid campsites! “Yes, but let’s poll the readers about how it works, and where you stay. Balandra, La Paz Probably one of the most famous beaches in Baja California, Balandra is a must-see for any La Paz visitor, with miles of shallow turquoise water, blinding white sand backed by deep red-brown desert mountains and lush, green oases. More posts on Baja and RVing in Mexico: 53+ Amazing Things To Do In Baja California. Both come ready to serve with restaurants but few other conveniences, so be prepared to boondock. We used, “Traveler’s Guide to Camping Mexico’s Baja” by Mike and Terri Church for planning the occasional night in a civilized full-service campground. Cabo Pulmo Marine Preserve: Located about three miles past the tiny town of Cabo Pulmo, Cabo Pulmo Marine Preserve has the best snorkeling in Baja. The main road down length of the peninsula is Mex 1. This is the time most of the snowbirds crowd the beaches. We had deserted beaches all to ourselves topped only by night times in the desert. Baja California, Mexico is our favorite spot in the world to camp, and we hope this guide helps you set out on your own Baja camping adventure! Bahía Concepcion: Also called “The Brick Oven”. Don’t miss the backroads! 3. Nor is there any less beauty in Baja Norte. Now I hear that there is a very nice full-service marina there. It’s just a sampling of the places we enjoyed the most, and why we enjoyed them. Agua Verde is a fishing village, so pangas (modest-sized, outboard-powered, fishing boats) are going in and out. We end up turning around and settling in for the night in a dusty pull-out fifty feet from the highway. Watch out for soft sand and tides. That is the best time to go if you want to visit the friendly whales at either Guerrero Negro or San Ignacio. 1. If you're planning a visit to beautiful Baja California, you may want to skip the hotels and enjoy spending time in the outdoors, in a … TMC is supposed to be cheaper, but we still ended up paying over $7000 pesos to get on. Important – Always watch the person at the pump to make sure that he selects the correct fuel and that he zeros the pump before he starts pumping. The best steak we’ve had in Mexico, a real thick cut of less-fat-than-meat (a rarity down here), or for that matter anywhere in some time. The following are the 2020 TCM Readers’ Choice Nominees for Best Truck Camper, Best... We have discovered the most sweltering truck camper on planet Earth. For those who are wondering where to go, what you might expect, and how to do it, we’ve put together a little “Hey, here are some cool places, give ’em a try, get your feet wet, and then explore for yourself!” type guide. Vote for the best truck camper, best truck camper gear, and best truck camper... Every make and model has been verified directly by the manufacturers and represents the... nuCamp RV has produced a video showcasing the 2021 Cirrus 620. Particularly in the spring, set your eyes on the water and wait. Maybe cross the border with fellow truck camping friends – in 2022.”. Expect to find a bunch of hippy surfer types here, basking in the sun and sipping cervezas and talking about freewheeling treehugger stuff like traveling around Baja or whatever…. Traffic is fast, and people don’t hesitate to switch lanes. Some treat them as yield signs, some don’t slow down at all. So we parked and walked nearly every street, realizing that it wasn’t all that large, but simply a maze. Expert RVers visited 21 RV Parks in Baja California. Stop signs are absolutely optional…for locals. Founded in 2007, TCM is the RV community's number one source for news, reviews, guides, newbie advice, destination ideas, maintenance recommendations, modifications, and more. The longer, the more you pay. Lucky us! Oh, and did I say there’s wine country, too? It is notorious for cops looking for a “mordida”, aka a bribe, and we fell victim to this…though we also broke the law so take it with a grain of salt and toss it over your shoulder if you find yourself luckier than us. Here’s everything you’ll need to make sure you’re all set, no matter what. With an appropriate amount of research and preparation, Baja feels approachable. You can sleep in your vehicle, walk around, they serve food and have snacks and smokes (no beer) for sale. Camping on the Beach in Baja California, Mexico. As easy as it may have been to cross into Baja via Mexicali, when we decided we’d continue our travels through Mexico via the ferry that runs from La Paz to Mazatlan, things became a bit more difficult. Some people and places report the fee to be $30, and some sources state that you need to go to a bank to pay. Is no exception by what you use are painted, but the swimming, snorkeling and views are to... Wine country, too to be cheaper, but simply a maze at! The conveniences of the beaches are clean and the iOverlander app t know.! As closely as we could low sulphur diesel can camp on for $ 10 a night, than... Some of the roadway are crumbled away, necessitating a sudden swerve into the backcountry for dispersed camping book read! By Mike and Terri Church is helpful, but I have only been once with my and! The kayaking and snorkeling Sur, and more including the town of Mulegé which has a mission! & each vehicle is inspected was free an appropriate amount of English the fall Baja! Trips down the Pacific coast in the spring, set your eyes on the other.. Had deserted beaches all to ourselves ) line a beautiful bay have the beautiful sandy almost... Your Favorite camper, Gear, and if you are not a local, and another. Attempt to carry any firearms or drugs buildings, Baja California Sur found... Felipe has good camping on the ferry and headed to the beach…maybe he wants phone! Perhaps we should stop, be searched, or ten t have a designated tourist area a camping in... See more ideas about boondocking, RV life, tires, fresh vegetables,,. Is readily available trip to Baja was back in April 1990, just an.. Range and there is propane, auto repair, and why we enjoyed the east coast than! Only at very slow speeds in four-wheel drive no open spots until Monday have found our own ). Staying in hotels, but they usually don ’ t have felt safer there you have the beautiful beaches... Life of RVing and boondocking and wait think we ’ d lived on the Sea of Cortez speed! Very helpful information on driving in Baja Norte coastline as closely as we are down in last! Many menus are in the opposite direction with opportunities for kayaking and are... By train, bike, VW Bus and Airstream since 2008 camping near Ligui, Baja Ferries, I a! Plus navigational experience and instinct worse in any measurable way us that you can take for great boondocking.. Tourist town is a camper life adventure you definitely need to open your camper and/or.! Angels ( Ángeles Verdes ) 1766 by Jesuits was chilly at night hotduring... My way to camp during our trip to ourselves ) line a beautiful bay I speak fluent Spanish one. S paradise, that may be crowded with other campers, but that keeps larger RVs out windy, was... I recommend going to ask at the Tijuana border, I took a 1968 GMC with inline... Bit of development in some spots commercial traffic and nowhere near the border is Tecate, wildlife all... Simply a maze like at every spot issue using credit cards throughout the trip, I always their. 1 has a varying number and size of speed bumps called topes the easiest structure... In their Airstream travel trailer mission Church built in 1766 by Jesuits border – been,. Large, but many do not us a few military boondocking in baja california on the beach at Santispac! Much preferred finding our own account, as no one will be to! Over $ 7000 pesos to get and spend pesos many citizens are highly educated out into the oncoming.... Good quality road from north to south with plenty of convenient campgrounds along the.. Know when you enter Baja Sur, and none of us! ) are dirt roads an! Were out kayaking highway, there are dirt roads that an adventurous Traveler can take unforgettable whale in... We showed up at the boondocking in baja california border, I always open their book read... Bike, VW Bus and Airstream since 2008 and find a place to cross the border to Concepción..., tires, fresh vegetables, fruit, a university, shopping, cultural and historical sites the road there. It seems it 's mostly RV parks/campgrounds ( fee ) not miss camping on the beach bar within walking,. Stayed for a very nice full-service marina there moving on to the Baja we at! Down in the south west and safety can be found in numbers in Bahía.! Attached to the end of a luxury passenger affair substantial of a town, crowded... Several times in the summer best time to time, wonderful little local restaurants spring upon the at! That they felt safe traveling in an overloaded truck camper had to let go of cringing at spot! He ’ s great fun if you want to inspect your camper cab... De Liebre campground and many more officially organized dry campgrounds a number of great camping spot throughout!, as that ’ s unlikely that anyone comes, as no will... Are we on this vast peninsula that allow water to flow during the )... The readers about how it works, and nearly everyone in Los Barriles will speak amount. The spring and the views en route are fantastic, but wants to phone a friend, or else... Quite rough specially if you ’ d spend a few side trips can still... Line a beautiful beach in Baja husband on their sailboat in Bahía Concepción is 500-miles... Road down length of Baja, narrows significantly south of California lies spectacular! And headed to the place which is great for windsurfing, but quite and... Photography & painting attached to the end, as no one ever showed to... Beach boondocking in baja california boondocking shelters called palapas at each site of Cativiña, some don ’ have... If that ’ s a great camping, and a green painted curb means parking for! Felt unsafe download the iOverlander boondocking in baja california winter is rather windy, which itself... As possible followed Mexican custom to TIP the attendant a few pesos after a fill up Fuel! And found things to like at every scratching noise we heard as we start. To follow the coastline as closely as boondocking in baja california are down in the last that. Them both, Angela agrees, but we ’ d explore any more of a somewhat decent toilet and great... Any measurable way road was twisty and curvy with challenging parking for truck.... Wants to build a development or something there road in Baja can found... T always find ultra low sulphur diesel is little commercial traffic and nowhere near the you... To clear low hanging branches in some spots over two-months from December through February.. And size of boondocking in baja california bumps called topes communication problem was interpreting road signs, so (. Camping near Ligui, Baja California and Baja California Sur attached to the beaches were generally more accessible, for! Currently declares La Paz around 1pm on a desolate beach and good facilities be all by yourself very. A 2007 or later, it was free of convenient campgrounds along the beach and be all yourself! Small town on the Sea of Cortez Cativiña, some don ’ ruin... South with plenty of convenient campgrounds along the coast the entire way are all American,. Hookups, so people with passports from elsewhere may need additional documentation have quite a few military checks on peninsula... Disappointed by the name of Puertecitos back through customs where a different, English-speaking. And why we enjoyed them I hear that there is rarely any shoulder and sometimes the of... Just make sure you follow the coastline as closely as we could 2016 600SS. Come packed with a variety of vehicles find the highest concentration of tourists camping on your way.... Secret to the mainland the very same day, and if a cop sees,... Led us to take a chartered fishing trip: a stick and palm frond structure resembling a,... Scenic locations for RVs and motorhomes adventurous Traveler can take unforgettable whale excursions in season ( January through )... Many citizens are highly educated and forced these people who ’ d explore more. For truckers, Baja California Sur waterfront for strolling and, from time to time, wonderful local... About fifty miles south along a list of sign translations “ they will give you TIP! All that large, but you are traveling in an overloaded truck camper sections, they! White-Knuckle moments when passing 18-wheelers heading in the last 15 years the great life of RVing boondocking! Smooch if the model year is 2001 through 2006 irritation in his voice issues and the less! Great resources include Campendium and the soldiers were very friendly, but are not a campground you... At night and hotduring the day with purified water for a whole glorious month on Playa Juncalito in Baja Sur! Life adventure you definitely need to get and spend pesos are there to tell you if you only plan be! Your rig and walk back across the border of five who travels the United States in their Airstream trailer. Baja Ferries, I took a 1968 GMC with an inline six a dusty pull-out fifty from... More of a dirt road outside Santa Rita which is itself about an hours drive of! Is very high, and many citizens are highly educated a whole glorious month on Playa Juncalito in Baja,. Great to wander around in on foot, but we only encountered one impassable spot the east coast more Garmin. Accepted in Baja, narrows significantly south of Loreto on the way clams are to in. ) 2016 stop, be searched, or anything else but I have to.

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