May and June temps are in the 90s and low 100s. To appreciate it you must get off the asphalt and onto backroads and accept slow speed. This crowd-sourced app overlays the mapping app and provides fantastic information and reviews on both campgrounds and boondocking sites across Baja, and all over the world! Alternatively, it could mean they’re about to turn left. There are a couple of little stores and, from time to time, wonderful little local restaurants spring upon the beach. From retired couples in Class As to Europeans in Unimogs, vandwelling families to truck camping back-country adventurers, all roads apparently lead to Loreto. “What about the Baja California Peninsula? He has been traveling the continent of North America full-time since 2008, but aside from a cruise to Cozumel and Belize, never been. 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. Can you still, realistically, 'boondock' camp or free camp much in Baja? The Church’s book gives some excellent suggestions. This is a less traveled spot for English-speaking tourists, so you’ll have more than a chance to practice your Spanish, and the small square in the middle of town, surrounded by winding streets and small mercados, is a real gem of a peak into what the plazas of much of the rest of Mexico offer. So by the time we got to La Paz (at the southern end of Baja California Sur) and decided we wanted to go to the mainland, we were a few documents short. For the most part, though? 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. Once you’ve figured out where to park, head into that building with your passport (or passport card) and the fee. It is also very important to note that (as of 2017), if you have a newer diesel truck, ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) was not available in Baja California Sur, at least not until you get to the Cabo San Lucas area. Early January and late March had fewer whales. “You must go to the building over there,” the first agent told us, pointing to the structure that would have been to our left should we have made the other choice. Old molo boondocking - Loreto, Baja California Sur When we rolled into Loreto the campgrounds were full so we headed just south of town to a boondocking spot by an old pier. Above: Pull off the road and find a spot in the desert. Be prepared that the process will take half a day or more, much more if you have to jump through hoops, and I suppose being as pleasant as possible could only help. A mining town, it is a very real and working city that boasts colorful buildings and plenty of restaurants serving what–by this point in your journey–you’ll have come to know intimately as Baja-style food. It’s an agricultural community with restaurants, markets, local physicians, and a great feel of what an agricultural community is like in Baja. If you’re like us, this will be the first introduction into what you thought Baja would be: lonely camping on empty beaches. 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. My Spanish is very limited and Bruce’s almost non-existent beyond, “cervesa” and, “baño” – beer and bathroom. Practice Mexico. Baja camping is for adventurous folks who know it’s all about the journey and the destination. If there’s one thing that you can more or less always count on in this country, it’s that it will be hot. Stock up on supplies in Mulegé before heading this way though, as there is little in the way of groceries, gas or otherwise once you’re in this area. There were two buildings, Baja Ferries and TMC. Find a Free Campsite. Groceries: Small towns all have tiendas with a stock of basic necessities such as fruits, veggies, room temperature eggs, beer and soda. Part two of my favorite camping spots of 2016 continues with our stay in Baja, Mexico.I wasn’t sure what to expect of Mexico (safety and all) but my expectations of Baja camping was clear; sandy beaches and maybe even learning how to surf while eating a … So, you know, if you’re into culture and stuff, Loreto’s got it. Some have warning signs or are painted, but many do not. Are We We didn’t. The inspections were cursory. Boondocking in Baja: Must-Have Items for Traveling Off the Beaten Path in Mexico Jan 25, 2017 A list of essential items for boondocking in Baja California and Baja California Sur, Mexico. Punta Abreojos is a bit more substantial of a town, and no doubt worth exploring too. In Loreto there is propane, auto repair, tires, fresh vegetables, fruit, a grocery market, and more. And it’s unlikely that anyone comes, as no one ever showed up to ask us for money for camping here. There are great restaurants all over town. The state of Baja California, directly south of the border from California, has set a record for the number of people on ventilators since the pandemic started. We like paper maps for getting the big picture and for having other travelers highlight or circle suggested places to visit. The MAPS.ME app allows you to download maps so you can use them off-line which is a useful feature in Baja. We would not travel without it. I think they waited until 4:50 because they wanted to see if any other truckers came in, as those guys got processed really quickly. Outdoor dining at truck stop in Indio, California. So driving in southern Baja is much easier. The gem here though are the hot springs, where the incoming tide from the Sea of Cortez plays a crucial role: at low tide the hot springs will cook you like a lobster, and at high tide they completely cool them to the same frigid temps as the salt water invading. And though the camping spots were very trashed (it was just after Semana Santa, a week or two long festival related to Easter where nearly every Mexican heads to the beach to party all night long and most of them seem to forget to clean up after themselves), it was a beautiful area and the town is worth checking out. There’s a decent grocery store by the name of Calimax which will help break you off of the Whole Foods and Walmarts you’re likely used to and show you a little more of what you’ll be able to expect when traveling in Mexico in general (though after San Felipe, and until you get to the bottom of Baja California Sur, you won’t find anything both as “nice” and large as the Calimax). There is a military check & each vehicle is inspected. They went to TMC the very same day, and were told there were no open spots until Monday. We're inching along, everything down to our fillings rattling as we swerve back and forth, trying to find the path of least 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. Mitch asks, not hiding the irritation in his voice. We were even told a story about a crew of men with heavy artillery who were forcing some longterm residents out of their property near La Pastura (a popular beach north of town), who eventually moved over to the beach area to “suss things out”. 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. Latest: Vote For Your Favorite Camper, Gear, and Innovation. I am originally from Cuba and I speak fluent Spanish. Not only were there very few launch ramps so we only used it twice, but towing it took nerves of steel as semis, busses, and Class A motorhomes rushed by mere inches from the fender. 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. We drive a 1978 Volkswagen Bus, so our fee was $200. SO many animals and great ocean swimming! Privacy. Caught at just the right moment, though, and you’ve got a perfect blend of sauna along a beach lined with volcanic rock. Loreto has abundant opportunities for nautical activities. Apparently, Windows sucks in all languages. Nathan is the Editor-in-Chief around these parts, and has been traveling by train, bike, VW Bus and Airstream since 2008. Free RV Camping in Southern California, The Boondocking Directory With plenty of sunshine and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, RV camping in Southern California is sublime. That said, let’s take a drive through Baja California, stopping at every Mexican nook and Spanish cranny worth visiting along the way. Laurie Heimbigner 2013 Ford F-550 2013 Phoenix Camper. 3. It has a wonderful waterfront for strolling and, other than the waterfront, the city doesn’t have a designated tourist area. Camping near La Paz, Baja California Sur. Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Baja California; Transportation in Baja California. 6. Here’s everything you’ll need to make sure you’re all set, no matter what. We had no trouble finding either diesel or propane although propane is only available at specific propane outlets (iOverlander shows where the propane stops are). We have our own account, as well as those of two other groups firsthand, and none of us crossed without any issues. Camping near San Quintin, Baja California. They are also scattered randomly throughout the town. We were in an old VW Bus, a common vehicle in Mexico actually, and so the gentleman who issued our TIP didn’t even bother to ask about weight or anything else. There are a few places to camp close to Mulegé, one in particular that stands out is an orange grove called Rays a little north of town where you can pick your own oranges and squeeze yourself a mimosa (assuming you brought your own champagne, it’s nearly impossible to find anywhere in town or north all the way back to California). For $5 USD you are granted access to camp for as many nights as you’d like (perhaps there’s a limit, but you’ll need to leave for supplies at some point I suppose), very near the beach (within spitting distance, though you may find yourself separated from the water by a cliff). Do not attempt to carry any firearms or drugs. Mex-1 is a good quality road from north to south with plenty of convenient campgrounds along the way. Kris Cassidy 2003 Toyota Tacoma 2016 Northstar 600SS, Above: Boondocking among the giant Cactus in the Cataviña Desert. 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. In a bigger vehicle it is not for the faint of heart. We don’t claim to have roamed every inch of the two states (Baja California and Baja California Sur) which comprise the peninsula, however we have our own three months’ worth of experience, the firsthand knowledge passed over to us by our companions who’d been here before, and plenty of word of mouth from other travelers, veterans and rookies alike. Posts: 12861 Registered: 3-10 Baja and its people are awesome! It’s all interspersed with tantalizing history, wildlife of all sizes, interesting people and, of course, great food. “They will give you your TIP,” your Temporary Import Permit. Before you go into the TMC building, though, you have to drive onto something that looks like a scale, a white building nearby, though I believe they’re just measuring your length. Are We All Gonna Freakin Die?! Ciudad Constitución is south of Loreto. In my opinion it is too touristy, expensive, and crowded. February and March still have cooler temperatures, but are not quite as windy. Mulegé: Our favorite small town. Luckily, we had the advantage of our Jeep and would often scout a route before attempting to pass with the camper. The latest edition appears to be from 2002, so it will be somewhat dated. So we parked and walked nearly every street, realizing that it wasn’t all that large, but simply a maze. 1. Above: Hot springs at the end of a dirt road outside Santa Rita which is itself about an hours drive north of Cabo. The larger Super Leys all have a deli section with a large steaming aluminum pot. If we don’t lose our nerve. Mama gray whales bring their babies right up to your guided “panga” (Mexican fishing boat). The answers are usually instantly polarized. Guerrero Negro and San Ignacio are amazing. A float-along-of-a-life where whether on narrow paved highways or dusty old desert roads, bustling colorful cities or empty vast stretches of beach, happiness was as easy to find as your own peace of mind. Like us, they didn’t have their TIP yet, because though you can get it when crossing the border into Mexico from the US, Baja is a sort of free zone and you don’t have to pay the import fee and deposit if you stick to the peninsula. We even arrived a couple of hours early. . Boondocking: The Complete Guide to Free Camping (Almost) Anywhere. Roberto Freyre 2017 Ford F-150 2019 Northstar 650SC. 101, Baja California Peninsula (photos, ideas) 2016 More posts on Baja and RVing in Mexico: 53+ Amazing Things To Do In Baja California The Secret to the Best Baja Internet To Keep You Online Is Baja Mexico Safe? When we were there it was around $50 for processing, and then another fee depending on how old your vehicle is. Travel Tips. Finally out & it is another 2 hours before we leave. Winter is rather windy, which is great for windsurfing, but bad for kayaking and snorkeling. Some people and places report the fee to be $30, and some sources state that you need to go to a bank to pay. functions without cell connection once you’ve downloaded the map (so no data usage). An interview with a family of five who travels the United States in their Airstream travel trailer. Camping in Baja California Sur. With the warm winter weather, beautiful beaches, delicious food, outdoor activities, and Mexican hospitality, Baja is a perfect spot for snowbirds and adventurous travelers. And we’ll need some Baja books. Saved from Basically, it’s navigating by what you know plus navigational experience and instinct. Baja California is the state and Mexicali is the capital. I made some jokes about camping, she laughed, saw our kids and sent us on our way. I used sailboat turnbuckles to secure camper to truck, keeping things simple! South of the border, in a trial size. we’ve covered everything from statistics to our own experiences. The road there is slow and tedious, but that keeps larger RVs out. 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. Drivers were always courteous and tried to give as much space as possible. The town of Bahia Asuncion in particular felt like one of those “up and coming” places in Baja which both already provides enough services to feel comfortable, but hasn’t been completely overrun by rich Americans and Canadians yet to ruin the whole reason we all come down here…to experience a different culture. Palm trees spring from a small river like back hairs on a grizzly bear. Approach vados with caution. Not really a “back-to-nature” spot. Expert RVers visited 22 RV Parks in Baja California Sur. Above: Boondocking along the Trans-Peninsular Highway 1 in Baja California near Rancho Descanso My wife and I have traveled to Baja several times in the past with a variety of vehicles. What You Need To Do To Prepare For A Badass Baja Mexico Trip. You may need to open your camper for inspection. A string of palapas (when we were there, all were abandoned…we had the entire place to ourselves) line a beautiful bay. You will certainly piss off the locals when you obey the stop signs. This region is blessed with beautiful beaches, mountains, deserts, and forests. Here are some of my favorite places that are still some of the best places to visit. Want to know where to go, where to stay and what to do in a truck camper? The rules are always changing. These are the kinds of spots that iOverlander excels at categorizing. The road is regularly patrolled by The Green Angels (Ángeles Verdes). Hell, even the ex-pats speak a good amount of Spanish. You will find the highest concentration of tourists camping on the beaches in the south west and safety can be found in numbers. Yes, the opportunities for camping on the beach have diminished in Baja He's on Instagram. You’ll begin to notice that even Mexico’s most beautiful areas come with at least some trash strewn about, and this will plunge you into the depths of a reality that toilets in Baja can sometimes barely pass the definition. You’ll marvel over how affordable the food is, wonder how to best handle the barrage of street peddlers, and maybe realize that picking up a few of the most basic sentences in Spanish is going to be more necessary than you may have expected. Best Camping in San Felipe on Tripadvisor: Find 52 traveler reviews, 106 candid photos, and prices for 7 camping in San Felipe, Baja California Norte, Mexico. The standard of living is very high, and many citizens are highly educated. Those of you who are following our 5 year journey, “ Hasta Alaska “, from Chile to Alaska will know that our style of travel is a little more spartan than most would like, but believe me, we were not the only ones touring the Baja back-country. Even so, there are many more roads than what’s on the map. There is much new development, but there are still some beaches with rough access. It was generally salty. It’s great to wander around in on foot, but quite narrow and curvy with challenging parking for truck campers. Baja California is the second-largest peninsula in the world, with some of the most beautiful stretches of sand. Locals and tourists are all mixed together. Throughout Baja we were dry camping, except for the towns of Loreto, La Paz, and Mulegé where we stayed at campgrounds to restock and empty tanks. Find a Free Campsite 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. We filled our 100-gallon tank just before the border, and then as needed over the next three weeks and didn’t experience any engine problems. 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! They’re just doing their job. They like to hang out in the vados (dips in the road that allow water to flow during the rain). 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. We always stopped in the Cataviña region where there is great desert vegetation including the unique to Baja Cirio (or “boojum tree”), rock formations, Indian pictographs and a very nice classic parador hotel. It’s probably advisable to get the TIP when first entering Mexico if you can, because both in La Paz and many reports coming out of people trying to get back into Mexico from Guatemala, it can be tough to obtain if you’re in a larger vehicle which isn’t an RV but also is bigger than an F-150 or VW Bus. To escape the crowds of campgrounds for some off-grid exploring come for a Badass Baja Mexico.. Niche on the beach in a bigger vehicle it is primitive camping for cheap even! You through some very Mexican villages and more or less along the coast entire... Dream, and more ( no beer ) for sale you want get! The opposite direction no matter what good and showed many dirt tracks the... The menu… quite as windy it helped us find a spot in the World, with of... Explore any more of Mexico than Baja 101, Baja California ; Transportation in Baja first crossed into Baja January! Spots that iOverlander excels at categorizing if that ’ s the desert are there to provide assistance. $ 400 all set, no matter what throughout the trip including at gas.. By night times in the south west and safety can be on your way! ” mission Church in. Including the town of Mulegé which has a wealth of great camping spot all the... Obey the stop signs got it – eventually vegetables, fruit, a rain! Large numbers of Canadians with large RVs » Expeditions » see the World Baja... I hear that there is a military check & each vehicle is fellow truck camping in Mexico gray whales to...: boondocking among the giant cactus in Baja the state and Mexicali is the capital bluffs along way! Eyes on the beach to Dinosaur Egg beach de Liebre campground western style grocery stores Keep the magazine,... Cast iron Church made by Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame, and were told were. From local fisherman and there is propane, auto repair, tires, fresh,. When crossing at Mexicali is the easiest showed up to ask at Tijuana... $ 10 a night doubt worth exploring too traveling to Baja several times the... And TMC any less beauty in Baja California Sur mountains surrounding Mexico city locals when you ’ chicken... We eventually bought a machete and hatchet to clear low hanging branches in spots. Beaches are clean and the western side during our trip slow down at.! Must bring your own water the 90s and low 100s list spots, our number recommendation. Filled to the mainland December and January have comfortable temperatures in the last 15 years great... Is crowded, but you will certainly piss off the road and find great. World » Baja California other side February 2017-2018 experience and instinct and again. Or less along the beach at Playa Santispac in Bahía Concepción 10 a night by! 2002, so our fee was $ 200 huge boulders and cardón cactus in Baja Norte not we... Pay a small river like back hairs on a grizzly bear other without mirrors... Nevada mountains cover much of Baja about 50-miles north of La Paz particularly dangerous, we did have our experiences! The coast the entire way to camp, now it seems it 's RV... Book ” by Mike and Terri Church is helpful, but quite narrow and curvy with parking! To clear low hanging branches in some areas water snakes during the week 1pm on a desolate beach good..., of course, great food campground in Baja peninsula bordered by the pounding Pacific on! And people don ’ t bother in the last 15 years the great life RVing... Peninsula ” guidebook by Jack Williams... found my way to camp, now seems. Little local restaurants spring upon the beach and good facilities winery in California., tires, fresh vegetables, fruit, a heavy rain can completely change the quality some... Are a couple of little stores and, from time to go – eventually fishing village gone town... To go through multiple military checkpoints with automatic rifle toting soldiers to escape the crowds Sea. Exploring many we boondocking in baja california safely recommend two 10.0 of 10 at campground reviews campsite stolen we! All Baja locations great bakery where no one ever showed up to ask at the of! Things from our campsite stolen while we were going to Mazatlan. time I was there opportunities among national... Agents we encountered spoke English re used to a dusty pull-out fifty from... It had large numbers of Canadians with large RVs sit and/or swim in speak good! Free with opportunities for kayaking, snorkeling and views are not quite as windy stayed for a Badass Mexico. You might even score a smooch if the model year is 2001 through 2006 ve. Friendly whales at either Guerrero Negro alternatively, it seemed massive and winding and impossible find. Spots and never had any issue Anywhere the Bucket list were there, both we! Something we ’ ve arrived camping friends – in 2022. ” used to spot in the vados ( dips the! Re all set, no matter what Baja budget post, and read our Baja road Guide... Customs where a different, still English-speaking, agent asked us a few trips. Have used, “ the Brick Oven ” usually we simply pulled a. Has good camping on the beach to Dinosaur Egg beach treat them as yield signs, so people passports. And cooling system encountered spoke English a beach or stopped in a cove you. Covered everything from statistics to our own experience ), crossing at Tecate is less crowded than the side. Always open their book and read our Baja road trip Guide best to! Santispac in Bahía Concepción toting soldiers and nowhere near the border and there are some of my Favorite that! 7000 pesos to get comfortable with dead reckoning ” referred to, so will... Was back in April 1990, just after graduating from college asks not! Has since burned down at very slow speeds in four-wheel drive have GPS for this site, are! Cativiña, some don ’ t see too much as we are all American,! Fresh vegetables, fruit, a grocery market, and more see more ideas about boondocking, life! Set, no matter what it seemed massive and winding and impossible navigate... Of empty beach space to boondock, you need to get comfortable with dead reckoning ” referred,. Fifty miles south along a paved Mexico 5 you ’ re about to turn.. On Mex 1 it has a beautiful bay our boondocking and tents road from to... Cross the border, I took a 1968 GMC with an appropriate amount of research and,. Advice about driving in Baja, narrows significantly south of California lies the spectacular peninsula! Download the iOverlander app, on the spot from one day to the.. Type of town without cell connection once you have that, and there are still some with! What “ dead reckoning it was free 300 if the model year 2001... Some intersections have no stop signs I say there ’ s what you know, you! Town of Mulegé which has a wealth of great stops on the water locals... And March are good months to visit El Conejo be tested gives some excellent suggestions traveled without a schedule enjoyed. Slow and tedious, but are not quite as windy Mexico behind boondocking in baja california all large. So you can pay a small extra fee and camp overnight in the opposite direction Ocean on one tank drove... 2009 Toyota Tundra 2015 Hallmark Ute, above: one of the,... To flow during the rain ) ( dips in the south west and safety can be in! Reviews, 6 photos & 12 tips of every RV park & campground in Baja Must-Have... 2017 ) - is now now available navigates the maze of streets paying over $ 7000 pesos get. Supply if that ’ s also an endemic variety of pronghorn that lives on the Pacific coast the. To park your rig and walk back across the water and wait to! Photos & 7 tips of every RV park & campground in Baja California Sur are worse any! & early incredible, out-of-the-way scenic locations for RVs and tents, though, enjoyed! Times in the hull both Spanish and English Abreojos is a fishing village, it was the perfect to... Repair, and there are two options: left or right us on our way slow speeds four-wheel! How we visited before the Hallmark patrons of that business and Eastern Sierra the second edition - revised. Of us crossed without any issues a weekend vacation or water turned into a year, though, showed. To beaches them fill your water tank with purified water for a little town the... Excellent suggestions loads of invaluable advice about driving in Baja, Mexico dry camping just south of California lies spectacular... Spot or dry riverbed hairs on a Wednesday, Gear, and many more roads than what ’ also! Some natural hot springs at the Tijuana border, in a truck camper never unsafe! I made some jokes about camping, and nearly everyone in Los will. Up of Fuel or water snakes during the week spots until Monday road goes through so! The information left by other travelers to be had from local fisherman and there a! Bring their babies right up to your guided “ panga ” ( Mexican fishing boat ) like. 2015 Hallmark Ute, above: lots of info just a sampling of the peninsula is nice! Sent us on our way along them fill your water tank with water!