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sandrifica
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[*] posted on 6-7-2018 at 09:35 PM
Virgins


My husband and I are leaving from Escondido, CA July 5, stopping in Guerrero Negro the 5th and Loreto the 6th, arriving in Los Cabos the 7th. We will depart Los Cabos on the 14th, but I haven't planned our return stops...any suggestions?

I would appreciate all the tips I can get. I have only flown to Los Cabos and I am super stoked about driving, as I have found exploring BCS by car to be a blast.

We are driving a 2003 F350 Diesel. Do all the Pemex stations have Diesel?

Where is the best place to purchase insurance? AAA?

I saw a post regarding a visa. Do I need one for a two week visit? Or just our passport books?

Any restrictions on what we can bring back to the states? Customs?

Any experience, strength, and hope would be gratefully appreciated. I look forward to sharing our experience.

Thanks Again - Sandra
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chumlee57
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[*] posted on 6-7-2018 at 09:42 PM


You should consider joining " Discover Baja " travel club, they are well informed, provide insurance, the latest info on the penninsula and are good people. It's pretty cheap and you will have peace of mind before you go. Good luck, make sure your AC is working well
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Paco Facullo
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[*] posted on 6-7-2018 at 09:48 PM


Making it to Guerrero Negro in one day is a ways ( about 11 hours ) so leave extra early as you REALLY don't want to be driving Baja roads at night.
You will need to stop at the boarder for a tourist visa ( 180 days, 500 Pesos ) free if under 7 days.




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sandrifica
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[*] posted on 6-7-2018 at 09:50 PM
Discover Baja


Thank you for the tip.
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bajaguy
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[*] posted on 6-7-2018 at 10:09 PM


We are driving a 2003 F350 Diesel. Do all the Pemex stations have Diesel?
......Most stations will have diesel

Where is the best place to purchase insurance? AAA?
.........Bajabound, a sponsor of this site

I saw a post regarding a visa. Do I need one for a two week visit? Or just our passport books?
..........Yes, you will need an FMM available at immigration at the San Ysidro border crossing. You have to get out of your vehicle and go into the Immigration (INM) office....and you will need your passport

Any restrictions on what we can bring back to the states? Customs?
.............Yes.........you will have to check the US CBP web site

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JZ
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[*] posted on 6-7-2018 at 10:14 PM


1. Bajabound.com for insurance. Best in the business.

2. Your trip down is WAY too fast. You are missing all the good spots and defeating the point of driving.

3. Spend much less time in Cabo. Cabo is NOT Baja.

Places you should stay more at:

Bahia de lLos Angeles - make this your first stop
Loreto - take a panga out to Isla Coronado, see the mission outside of town, drive down to Agua Verde
La Paz - get out to all the islands, incredibly beautiful
San Evaristo (2.5hrs from La Paz on a dirt road, air down to 35psi for a smoother ride)

There is diesel at most Pemex's. I wouldn't bother joining Discover Baja. You'll get all your answers here. Use the search function too.

If you are super adventurous, go from Bahia de Los Angeles to San Fransiquito (stay the night), then drive back out to Hwy 1. All dirt, but very good roads.

This is what Baja is about. Not rushing down Hwy 1 to get to Cabo. You are better off flying if you aren't going to stop and smell the roses.

See the first video in my sig to see all the places you'd miss.


[Edited on 6-8-2018 by JZ]




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David K
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[*] posted on 6-7-2018 at 10:17 PM


Most of the Pemex stations do have diesel, not all, but most I would say. In the southern state of Baja California Sur, Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel may not yet be available, but short-term use of the older style low sulfur has not done any permanent damage the diesel owners have stated. Prolonged use is a different matter.

YOU MUST STOP at the border, park, and walk into the INM office (in the first buildings inside Mexico) with your passports to obtain the FMM (Tourist Card)... some call it a visa but technically it is not. Free for up to 1 week and 500 or a bit more pesos for 180 days (multiple use). If you buy an FMM from Discover Baja before your trip, you STILL must stop at INM to get it stamped.

You cannot bring more than a qt. of booze per person as a Californian (I went to high school in Escondido). There are many fruits and some vegetables that are also not permitted. No eggs, raw chicken or pork products. Best to be free of any plants or fresh food coming back into the U.S.

Baja Bound is a sponsor of this site, has online newsletters similar to Discover Baja and sells the same brands of Mexican Auto Insurance (the best). www.bajabound.com (no membership needed), just to provide an option. Discover Baja is a great club, and they sell Baja books at their office or online, as well. I am a member.

As for your trip... Baja is 1000 miles of fun and adventure... Cabo is at the tip, so that means all of the rest of Baja is between the border and there. Why not see what has excited so many of us Nomads and all of Baja California? Cabo is no more like any other part of Baja in the same manner as Las Vegas is not like any other part of the U.S.

I am happy to help point out places of interest but need more info about your interests as Baja has so much to show. I am big on the old Spanish missions... the first 18 California missions are in Baja... which was the first California... before San Diego mission was founded. I wrote a book a couple years ago about the 27 missions in Baja and other history and stories. See it here: www.oldmissions.com

Have a great time and ask away if we can help further!

The Trip Reports forum here on Nomad is a great source of ideas, too!




"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

A Baja Missions History book, updated in 2018: http://oldmissions.com

My (over 50) Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

My Baja web site, to help you plan your adventure: http://VivaBaja.com

My 2018 Maps: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=88771
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mxracer50
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 05:36 AM


That is really too long to stay in Cabo unless you like to party. Todos Santos, Los Barriles and La Paz are much more authentic. Not driving at night is a good idea in baja.
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 06:02 AM


Quote: Originally posted by sandrifica  
My husband and I are leaving from Escondido, CA July 5, stopping in Guerrero Negro the 5th and Loreto the 6th, arriving in Los Cabos the 7th. We will depart Los Cabos on the 14th, but I haven't planned our return stops...any suggestions?


My first recommendation to people wanting to travel in baja: skip cabo.
Your proposed stops sound fine, especially as your driving schedule doesnt really leave you any time to see anything more than the view out the window.






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David K
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 08:38 AM


I don't think we can convince her to skip Cabo, that is the kind of 'fun' she wants. Hopefully, she will see that Baja is a fantasy land for all kinds of adventure on her drive south.

Too bad she is in such a hurry to get to Guerrero Negro. She needs to leave Escondido before sunrise to have any hope to see more than a blur before the sun goes down! July has long days, but you lose an hour with the time zone change at the state border.
Other things that make driving down Highway 1 slower than American freeways:

*The border stop will take a little time to get the tourist cards.
*The military checkpoints may be stopping people (but often don't southbound). Does she even know about the army checkpoints? There are at least 5 along the way from Ensenada to Loreto.
*The farm town traffic for over 100 miles south of Ensenada can be slow. The mountain sections south of Ensenada as well.
*The curvey roads of the hills south of El Rosario cannot be driven fast.
*Do they want to see anything along the way, take photos, touch a boojum tree???





"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

A Baja Missions History book, updated in 2018: http://oldmissions.com

My (over 50) Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

My Baja web site, to help you plan your adventure: http://VivaBaja.com

My 2018 Maps: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=88771
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BajaUtah
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 10:14 AM


I'll just echo what has been said in that the haul from the border to GN is a looong first day. Hwy 1 is not a US type road. It is skinny and bumpy and very twisty on spots. Elevated roadways with no run offs are very unforgiving about wandering attention. Everyone is on that road from speed crazed SUVs passing without regard to slow and wide semis. Until south of El Rosario it is typically a slow go.

Having said that I've done that drive several times in my 1999 F350 diesel. But I've also done Hwy 5 4 or 5 times and much prefer it to Hwy 1. My usual first stop is GN but I know it's a 12 hour day from Blythe and I don't have to stop for an FMM because I have Residente Permanente status. My truck loves Mexican diesel.

I always carry road side spares like serpentine belt, upper and lower radiator hoses, fuel filter and a CPS and the tools to change them. You can get parts in Mexico but the basics will help avoid 2-3 days in a little town waiting for parts. There are very talented mechanics up and down Baja but parts take time.

Mexico is a cash based country. Swap for Pesos at a cambio at the border or Costco or get your bank to sell you some before you leave. I burn through 4,000-5,000MxP just in fuel one way. In Los Cabos ATMs are the exchange method I prefer. Tell your bank where you are going to avoid a mid-trip cut off. Pesos at fuel stations and restaurants will avoid the "I got ripped off" stories you hear about.

Lastly, keep up on the weather. You are heading south during hurricane season. You are much better off not trying to tough it out if something big hits. We got clobbered by Odile in 2014 and were completely unprepared for the cut off isolation that BCS dealt with for weeks after.

Now, it's not all doom and gloom. We love it and love the drive and wouldn't hesitate to jump in the truck tomorrow and go (work sucks) even though it's 36 hours behind the wheel to get from SLC to our house in La Ribera. Go, have fun. Just keep your eyes open.




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Alan
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 10:34 AM


Diesel pumps in Baja are BLACK not GREEN!



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Paco Facullo
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 11:04 AM


Another BIG NO-NO is to speed ..... There is not much room for error on those skinny roads.

I normally make my first stop, coming from Los Angeles , at San Quintin. Then it's an easy drive to Guerrero Negro....

But that's only IF I'm in a hurry, if not I stop for a night in Tijuana then Ensenada then San Quintin then maybe Catavina.....

Also stops in Bahia Asuncion is great ( but a ways off of Hwy 1 ),
Mulegé is a must to check out ! And then there Loreto....
Each City and area has it's own "flavor" to be enjoyed at it's own pace , and that pace is Baja time.....

Do yourself a favor and DO NOT be in a hurry, there's SO SO much to be enjoyed all throughout Baja..........




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David K
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 11:29 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Alan  
Diesel pumps in Baja are BLACK not GREEN!


Diesel pumps are also usually not near the gasoline pumps, either located behind the station or on the opposite side of the property from the gas pumps.

The highway south of San Quintin narrows to just 19 feet, often elevated without pull-offs, shoulders, or any hope of avoiding a head-on if you round a corner and find a bicycle rider, cow, or burro. No speeding!





"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

A Baja Missions History book, updated in 2018: http://oldmissions.com

My (over 50) Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

My Baja web site, to help you plan your adventure: http://VivaBaja.com

My 2018 Maps: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=88771
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KasloKid
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 11:43 AM


Diesel at Pemex stations: Not all have diesel.
Unless it's changed, you won't find a diesel pump at the gas pumps...
the diesel pumps are in a separate area that big rigs and semi's can easily navigate and fill.

Look for the sign "Pemex" as they list the type of product they carry..

(I see David beat me to the diesel locations :) )

You didn't say where you planned to cross into Mexico.
IMHO, Tecate is a much more relaxed town to cross at. Park your rig on the US side, (just before you cross there's a small shopping plaza) (parking is very limited in Tecate) walk across, get your FMM (tourist visa) walk a block or two east, go through US customs, retrieve your rig and drive on in!!





[Edited on 6-8-2018 by KasloKid]
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JZ
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 12:40 PM


Quote:


Park your rig on the US side, (just before you cross there's a small shopping plaza) (parking is very limited in Tecate) walk across, get your FMM (tourist visa) walk a block or two east, go through US customs, retrieve your rig and drive on in!!



This sounds like a recipe for disaster.


[Edited on 6-10-2018 by JZ]




See Baja California in 4K: https://youtu.be/4VNTIhRa6q0

Ever wanted to camp on a deserted island in the Sea of Cortez? https://youtu.be/g3ThXCm3XSA



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KasloKid
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 03:33 PM


Quote: Originally posted by JZ  
Park your rig on the US side, (just before you cross there's a small shopping plaza) (parking is very limited in Tecate) walk across, get your FMM (tourist visa) walk a block or two east, go through US customs, retrieve your rig and drive on in!!

[/rquote]

This sound like a receipt for disaster.


What do you mean?
I do this all the time with my pickup truck...
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kevin_in_idaho
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 04:13 PM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Most of the Pemex stations do have diesel, not all, but most I would say. In the southern state of Baja California Sur, Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel may not yet be available, but short-term use of the older style low sulfur has not done any permanent damage the diesel owners have stated. Prolonged use is a different matter.

YOU MUST STOP at the border, park, and walk into the INM office (in the first buildings inside Mexico) with your passports to obtain the FMM (Tourist Card)... some call it a visa but technically it is not. Free for up to 1 week and 500 or a bit more pesos for 180 days (multiple use). If you buy an FMM from Discover Baja before your trip, you STILL must stop at INM to get it stamped.

You cannot bring more than a qt. of booze per person as a Californian (I went to high school in Escondido). There are many fruits and some vegetables that are also not permitted. No eggs, raw chicken or pork products. Best to be free of any plants or fresh food coming back into the U.S.

Baja Bound is a sponsor of this site, has online newsletters similar to Discover Baja and sells the same brands of Mexican Auto Insurance (the best). www.bajabound.com (no membership needed), just to provide an option. Discover Baja is a great club, and they sell Baja books at their office or online, as well. I am a member.

As for your trip... Baja is 1000 miles of fun and adventure... Cabo is at the tip, so that means all of the rest of Baja is between the border and there. Why not see what has excited so many of us Nomads and all of Baja California? Cabo is no more like any other part of Baja in the same manner as Las Vegas is not like any other part of the U.S.

I am happy to help point out places of interest but need more info about your interests as Baja has so much to show. I am big on the old Spanish missions... the first 18 California missions are in Baja... which was the first California... before San Diego mission was founded. I wrote a book a couple years ago about the 27 missions in Baja and other history and stories. See it here: www.oldmissions.com

Have a great time and ask away if we can help further!

The Trip Reports forum here on Nomad is a great source of ideas, too!


David and OP,
He states he has a 2003 diesel so he doesn't need ULSD so he can burn just about anything probably including old fish taco oil :-)

You should be fine all the way down. ULSD is available in Baja Norte and literally right at Jesus Maria at the mid-point is the last place for ULSD but since you have a 2003, just fill up when you are near a station and near half a tank (or anytime). Occasionally you may not find diesel but I didn't have one station out but I didn't go all the way.


Have fun. Take your time!
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David K
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 05:15 PM


Thanks, Kevin!
I think it is a good thing to mention for others reading this who may have the newer diesels.
I hope Sandrifica gets all this down! What did any of do before Baja Nomads could tell us how! LOL
Have a nice weekend!!:bounce:




"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

A Baja Missions History book, updated in 2018: http://oldmissions.com

My (over 50) Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

My Baja web site, to help you plan your adventure: http://VivaBaja.com

My 2018 Maps: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=88771
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willardguy
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[*] posted on 6-8-2018 at 05:22 PM


Quote: Originally posted by sandrifica  
My husband and I are leaving from Escondido, CA July 5, stopping in Guerrero Negro the 5th and Loreto the 6th, arriving in Los Cabos the 7th. We will depart Los Cabos on the 14th, but I haven't planned our return stops...any suggestions?

I would appreciate all the tips I can get. I have only flown to Los Cabos and I am super stoked about driving, as I have found exploring BCS by car to be a blast.

We are driving a 2003 F350 Diesel. Do all the Pemex stations have Diesel?

Where is the best place to purchase insurance? AAA?

I saw a post regarding a visa. Do I need one for a two week visit? Or just our passport books?

Any restrictions on what we can bring back to the states? Customs?

Any experience, strength, and hope would be gratefully appreciated. I look forward to sharing our experience.

Thanks Again - Sandra


salud! you've already been so you know what you're in for! no place I'd rather be than los cabos, I'd live there if I had a barrel of dough and could take the summer heat!:yes:
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