15 Tips for RVing & Overlanding πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ Baja California, Mexico

15 Tips for RVing & Overlanding πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ Baja California, Mexico

Hello guys and welcome to the vlog! We’re
joined with Amy and Matt of the Travelling Together Journal. So since it’s
the beginning of the video… Hit SUBSCRIBE to their channel, hit
SUBSCRIBE to our channel! Because we’re gonna be sharing tips on; “How to Survive
and Thrive in Baja California, Mexico.” So Beck and I have an Expedition Vehicle
and we have been traveling Mexico this winter… But I grew up in San Diego. So I
was sneaking below the border to go drink in high school and then fish along
the Pacific coast in my 20s. So… Got plenty of my own experiences… I always
went diving in Mexico. That was my thing! Uuuhhm… We are the Travelling Together Journal and we spent two years driving through Mexico and Central America and then all
the way back up. So we’ve been through Baja multiple times before and after
that. And we are here to help tell you “How to Thrive and Survive in Baja” And
we’re gonna cut right into that right now Wait a minute! These guys forgot the most
important tip for traveling through Baja! Tip zero: “Don’t drink the water!”…Tap
water that is!…. Hi I’m Jason and I’m Cara and we’re the Everlanders. We just got
back from a two-month road trip through Baja in our self built Expedition Rig,
Beastie…. In our experience, some cities do have treated tap water. But many other
areas of Baja, the tap water is not suitable for drinking! And who wants a
E.coli or Giardia? Not I! So why take the risk?….. According to article 12 of the
Mexican Constitution, everyone should have access to clean, affordable and
accessible drinking water. Which is why you’ll find a water purification service
in every little small town you go through. $1 for a 5 gallon jug of clean
purified water can save you a world of hurt!…. Although we installed a four stage
water filtration system with UV ,it was a little bit overkill for Baja!…. But if for
some reason we weren’t able to get purified water, we could fill our jugs
with the tap water that was available. And then we would put one teaspoon of
bleach in each of our five gallon jugs. And then that of course would still run
through our filters. Which would remove the bleach taste and through the UV
sterilizer. Just for good measure and then we’d have good drinking water that
way!… But like we said, clean affordable drinking water was available in every
town that we went to! And it made it easy to stay hydrated in Baja! Alright, back
to you guys!….. Jumping right in, Number 1: “You’re gonna
have to learn to embrace Mexico!”… Probably the biggest question we get is; “Are you
afraid to go to Mexico?” No we’re not! We love it! We’ve travelled their our whole lives
and can confidently say it’s a fantastic place to go! And….. You’ll have a wonderful
time!….. I also think it’s important not to make comparisons to your home wherever
it may be! We’ll just use the United States as an example. You are a guest in
somebody else’s country and just enjoy the moment!…..
For us, one of our favourite countries of traveling all the way down to Panama and back is Mexico! Mexico is amazing, the people are amazing! The food is amazing! And…. You should definitely take your time and enjoy it!….. And Baja in particular is just
a land of adventure! There’s just so much open space to explore and enjoy!….There’s
a lot of freedom! There’s a lot more freedom than you’re used to in the
States. And that’s a really good reason to go and experience Baja!…. Alright! Number 2: We suggest that you do not break the law!….. Thinking more specifically about
things like carrying drugs or guns across the border… You’re not allowed to.
Don’t do it! A lot of people get this like; I call it a “vacation brain” Where
you don’t really think and you just have this idea that Mexico is a Wild West. You
can do whatever you want. It’s NOT true! It’s a developed country.
They have laws you’re supposed to follow them. As long as you do follow them, then
you don’t have to worry about the police or anything else!
Everything goes a lot smoother!… Number 3: And honestly I think this holds
true no matter what country you visit! Not just Mexico. But…. “Attempt to learn the
language!” At least a little bit. Like some key phrases: Please, thank you, you know! If you’re gonna ask for directions or maybe somethings like that… For the bigger stuff, Google Translate Ahh yeah! So if you have cell phone
service and by the way… If you’re in a major town in Mexico, you actually have
something really lightning fast internet speeds on your phone! But Google
Translate is an amazing tool! But if you’re going to be off
like way, way off, you know a little pocket book of common phrases would
probably be good to have! But we’ve held entire conversations with veterinarians,
friends that we have met! And they just embraced us and took us in and yeah!… They didn’t speak English, we didn’t speak Spanish but uuhhh….
Give me a little bit of credit! I grew up in San Diego, working around so a lot of
amazing people from Mexico so… I didn’t get myself into trouble!…. Alright! Number 4:
“Do not pay bribes!” A lot of people ask about the police and how they might try
to get bribes from you all the time…. That’s not really true! They don’t do it
as often as they used to! And it’s really focused around some large cities, mostly
in the north from our experience. But our policy is to not pay bribes! Usually the
process goes that they’ll kind of hint towards wanting some money from you and….
You just kind of take it as an opportunity to practice your Spanish. And
waste their time until they get bored and move along!…. It helps to insist upon a
ticket! If they are corrupt cop, they’re not gonna want to write you a ticket.
From our experience, this didn’t actually happen in Baja but different part of
Mexico. The cop had asked for such a large incentive to allow us to go free
in the moment… That when we said we wanted a ticket, he couldn’t write a
ticket for the same amount of money! Because then his force would have known
he was going for a bribe! So he eventually just let us go! Uhhmm.. Also
taking a picture or pulling out a phone and getting an image of the police
officer who is bothering you. If you feel like it’s not going correctly, is a
really good way to give them incentive to just let you go! At the end of the day,
if you take a ticket and they take your driver’s license…. Which is what they’re
gonna do. They’re gonna take you to the local police station. Just go to a local
police station and pay the bribe! You’re helping… Pay the ticket! You’re helping every other traveller after you say; “You can’t bribe us!…Uhhmm and then the next thing we’re
going to talk about is…. “Your money!” So you’re probably gonna take a lot of cash with you. That’s one option and you want to separate and store it. So
you’re gonna have the cash that’s on you… Maybe a hundred bucks at most! Things
aren’t expensive, you don’t need a lot of money on you! And then you’re gonna have
somewhere hopefully safe to put the rest of the cash. Another option is to not
take any cash! And just take your debit card. The amount of money that you’re
gonna spend, just take out your maximum amount or maximum amount the ATM will
allow you to take out with your debit card… And just go one or two transactions
at a time! There’s plenty of cities plenty of ATMs… You don’t need to worry
about it! And then if you’re gonna be traveling for a really long time, you can
go get a Charles Schwab account. And it takes a bit of time to set up. But you
get all of your ATM fees back and you don’t and you get all of the… Foreign
transaction fees!…. Yes! Thank you…. You get all of them back! And every month or two
months you’ll see these refunds…. I think one thing worth adding from our
perspective. And you guys just do it as well…. But photocopies of your
identifications! Your passport and your driver’s license… Very, very valuable! And you should have copies of each other…Exactly… And copies that neither of you have on your person…. And
even a family member on the other side of the border so yeah! Just be prepared!
Number 5: “Enjoy the cuisine!” And I keep getting ones that apply to no matter
what country you visit!… Yeah…. But uhhmm… Go spend some time in the grocery store! Buy
a few things to taste that you’ve never had before! Uhhmm…. You know maybe Google some
recipes before you go or something but… It’s cheaper guys!…. It’s so cheap down
there! You can eat like a king, drink like a queen, go out and enjoy the restaurants!
Because the two of you because sometimes can eat for like ten bucks! And that includes
drinks! So…. And the seafood. Obviously it’s a Peninsula surrounded by ocean on all
three sides. The most amazing seafood! Shrimp, clams, fish, lobster… Like
everything! Also here’s an amazing place to visit it’s called:
The Valle de Guadalupe. It’s only about a half hour to an hour below the border, from
the San Diego area. And it’s Mexico’s… Wine region and it is absolutely
amazing! If you’re looking for like a romantic weekend in wine country that
has a little more Flair, hit up by The Valle de Guadalupe!…It’s like fifty miles south of
Tecate border… Yep!…. And if they’re calling it like Mexico’s Napa Valley, it’s
awesome!….. What I would say about eating in Mexico is eat out as often as your
budget will allow! And…. When you’re traveling through a town no matter how
small it is…. If you see a restaurant or even a little Hut and it has a ton of
locals sitting at it, even if it’s five or six and it’s small….
You should stop there! It’s probably gonna be really cheap and really
delicious!…. Alright, number 6: “Bring the water to us.” Baja like we said earlier,
pretty much surrounded by the ocean and on the Sea Cortez side, it’s quite warm!
So it’s great for swimming, relaxing… Fishing on the Pacific side. You get
quite a bit of swell. So bring your surfboard and have a good time!… I think
being the fisherman at heart, I have to add that: If you are fishing from shore
in Mexico, you do not need a fishing license!…. Number 7: “You really should
be properly insured!” And I’m not just talking about the automobile. And you
definitely need to insure your automobile! If you kind of want to get it
fixed if anything happens because your auto insurance policy will not work
below the border! And our recent tip for saving money;
You know there’s Vagabundos Del Mar Many, many agents for getting Mexico
insurance… But Triple A cut us a really amazing deal! At like 60 to 50% off of
what Lewis and Lewis and all those other places were gonna charge. So… Insurance is
very crucial, also you need to think about medical insurance! And I want to
emphasize medical evacuation. Because if you are in a pickle because you’re going
to be doing extreme sports, having fun in remote areas. You really need to consider
evacuation! We travel pretty extensively outside of
the country! And so we have permanent Global Health Insurance. If you’d like to
learn more about that, we’ve done a video that talks about nothing but that! And
we’ll link it below. But if you’re gonna go for a couple weeks or a month…. You can
get some traveller’s insurance that will cover you while you’re down there. As
well as cover you to get out of the country and back home to receive
higher levels of care. If you’re gonna stay longer, then you could consider a
more permanent plan! And there are many companies out there that offer options….
And the longer the duration, the cheaper the price…. So you definitely want to make
sure that you do get your vehicle insured! Because it’s legally required in
Mexico. And they will ask for your proof of insurance!
Just out like the military checkpoints and or if a police officer pulls you
over….Another point is:”You do not need a temporary import permit for your vehicle,
if you’re just going to Baja! If you’re going to take the ferry over to mainland
Mexico, then you will want to make sure that you stop at that extra office at
the border crossing. And get your temporary import permit or tip…Which is
an easy process and but like I said you only need it if you are crossing over to
mainland Mexico…. And as far as insurance… If you say want to choose to only have
like say an evacuation insurance for the big things, you can get away with getting
basic medical help in these countries for very very cheap…. I thought I might have
fractured my ankle… I went to the doctor… Visit, plus x-rays, plus medicine for my
ankle only cost me $25! So it’s a huge difference, we’re not used to it…It’s a bit
of a shocker! But… And it goes to the same for your dog! So if you have say
medications that your dog is on or you’re on…. You can get those filled very
easily at Walmart or any pharmacy and… You just need a piece of paper that kind
of looks official that says:”This is my prescription.” And they’ll basically hand
most things over to you without a local doctors written notice…And it’s way cheaper! I mean you literally can go buy 3 boxes
get one free at Walmart pharmacy and… The vets are also very cheap! And there can
be some good vets. So just just go trust your gonna be okay!
Number 8: “Don’t be afraid to Boondock!” And what I mean is there is a lot of
awesome on the beach RV camp spots! But Baja is a free for all!…There’s not a
sign that says; “Don’t camp here.” You can camp there and the desert is beautiful!
So you can just drive out on some dirt road you see off the side of the highway
and drive till it meets the ocean! And pop up your tent or whatever! Just set up
and enjoy the scenery! A sunset is beautiful almost anywhere in Baja!…. You
can get sunrise and sunset all in the same day over water… Good, yeah..Yes you can.We have done it!…. I think
what we have to add to that is; There’s many different types of travellers and
granted our vehicle is fully self-contained. And we do sometimes stay
in the RV parks because…. We have great friends at Victor’s RV in San Felipe. But
also you’re gonna find lots of compo. And it could be Victor’s compo. It could
be Juanita’s compo. An there just amazing places! They’re usually just a palapa and
a place to park and most of them are right on the water!… So Baja is amazing
because it’s where the desert meets the sea for sure!…. And just make sure that you
get out there and relax and enjoy! Don’t rush, don’t plan the whole thing to like
every second of your trip!…. Yeah… Because… We always, we say this about Alaska our
home as well! But Mexico it’s so true that, it’s as much a state of mind as a
destination! So make sure that you really embrace that!….. Number 9: “Be aware of your
surroundings!” Now I want to preface this with, you don’t really have to be scared!
That’s not what this is about. This is about being sensible. And it wouldn’t
matter if you’re walking down the street Chicago or if you’re in Baja! Things like
you know, tucking your bag under your shoulder and making sure the zippers on
the inside of your body and…. If you’re gonna be walking around at night, pay
attention to who’s around you while you’re out there! Sensible things like
that. Just don’t have your nose in your phone, looking down not looking up where
you’re going and looking at who’s around you…. It’s just, it’s common sense! Smart
travel no matter where you are!… Alright number 10: “You do not need to be afraid
of a military checkpoints!” These guys are just there. They’re supposed to be there
and they’re just doing their jobs! They’re actually there to keep you safe.
So they’re looking for people who are doing bad things like; Running drugs or
guns. Like we suggested you don’t do!… So as long as you don’t have the drugs or
the guns with you, then it’s just an opportunity to meet someone, practice
your Spanish and carry on your way!…. I will say, if you don’t know what they’re
saying, this is what they’re basically asking:”Where did you come from?” So where
was the last place you were at? And where are you going?” And normally in that order…
So if you have no idea what they’re saying… Just have those two answers ready for them and they’ll be fine!…. And I also think less is more when you’re dealing
with customs, boarders or military check. You don’t need to get into a long-winded
story….You know they don’t care!… They want to know where you’re spending tonight
and where you spent last!… Exactly…And if they ask to look in your car, it’s just
routine. And as long as you don’t have the drugs and the guns, you’re gonna be
fine!…. And if you don’t speak Spanish… You don’t end to worry about that either!
It’s pretty obvious in hand gestures… Turn off your car, get out, then they’ll
point at the thing they want you to open! You can figure it out!…. Yeah…. Although it
is rather intimidating to come up on men in camouflage… In their usually early
20s. Doing their military time with automatic rifles…. And usually out in the
middle of the desert. Where it feels like there’s no one around to help…. But on our
last trip, we saw a sign that said if you do not….
I’m gonna paraphrase. But essentially it says: “If the soldiers were not
professional, please report them to this agency.”…. Yeah, we’ve seen that in quite
a few checkpoints now. They’re really overall in Baja. A lot of stories you hear are
gonna be from the past. They’re really cracking down on any kind of corruption
from their officials. Where’s the military or the police these days….
Alright number 11: We’re gonna talk about;” Baja miles!” What are Baja miles?
Seriously, they can be some rough miles… Generally speaking, you are not gonna be
driving 75, 80 miles an hour. It’s not gonna happen! Because you’re gonna fall
into a pothole and your whole vehicle is gonna get lost! Baja miles are rough
because you’re sharing the road with truckers and the roads are very narrow.
And sometimes there’s absolutely no shoulder at all! So when you see a big
18-wheeler coming at you, you just pucker up and grab ten and two on that wheel!
And just look right on past that vehicle. But they’re slow, so you actually get
better fuel economy. But…. They take longer… And that being said; It’s always, we like
to travel in the morning hours! And if possible like travel in a group with
friends….Yeah! We regularly either will meet people
lower down there and once in awhile.. We’ll bring somebody from home with us!
But…. You know there’s safety in numbers! If you start in the morning, then you
have time to deal with whatever arises as the day progresses. Be it car trouble
or bad roads or road construction….At night there’s cattle… A black cow, on a
highway, with no lights and very little like reflective paint, yeah! It’s just a
bad recipe! So start your day early and be off the road by dusk….
Alright talking about driving in Baja… We’re going to move on to point
12: We’re gonna be talking about…”Your vehicles and what you need to go to Baja.”
You certainly don’t need four-wheel drive. There’s lots of places that you
can camp and stay along the main paved highway… You could stay in hotels the
whole time if you wanted to! But we really like having four-wheel drive. It
opens up way more of the Peninsula. It gives you way
more opportunities! You’re gonna be dealing with soft sand and silts quite
often if you get off the pavement! So four-wheel drive makes a big difference
in that! You might also want to carry some simple recovery gear…. Shovel and a
toe strap can really go a long way! And since you’re probably going out camping…
You’ll be carrying plenty of water and food…So you’ll be prepared in case you
do get stuck out there and it takes you a day or two to self recover!…. An air
compressor is a very important piece. Anytime you’re going on the sand, airing
down your tires, makes a very big difference! No matter what kind of
vehicle it is. Even if you’re in a two-wheel drive van or something. Airing
down can really make the difference!… One bit of information that’s really good is;
Four-wheel drive does not keep you from getting stuck, sometimes it can get you
stuck worse!…. Yeah, four-wheel drive doesn’t keep you from getting stuck but…
It helps you get out!…. Lucky number 13: It’s well established that Baja is where
the ocean meets the desert! Now that means… Brings up the question like; “What
is the best time of year to go to Baja?” Desert, that makes you automatically
think, winter months. But you know and trust me spending a whole winter in Baja,
would be a dream come true! But don’t overlook the Pacific side during the
heat of the summer! The Pacific is a very cold body of water especially compared
to the Atlantic or Sea of Cortez. So you’re gonna literally have two
different climates on Baja. That’s why a lot of people have homes, expats… Homes in
San Felipe for the winter and then Rosarito and Ensenada on the Pacific side….
Number 14: “Lock your stuff up!” Basically you want to keep the honest
people honest! It’s not that everyone’s out there to come and steal your stuff!
But if they walk by and they really like that chair and they don’t see anybody
around….There’s a lot of people that might take it and it could just be
another fellow camper! So…. Just put all your stuff away or like we use cable
locks and locks. And we just lock everything to itself. And then like to
the tire and that way if he tries to pick it up…. They’re gonna be
like, “Oh wait! I can’t just leave with it!” So they’d have to be very, very
intentional thieves at that point to take our stuff! And our personal
experience, that was enough for our whole trip. So just some really simple…
“Keeping the honest people honest!”…. Number 15: We are about to close it out here. And
we’re gonna share our favourite resources for Baja in particular, Mexico in general
with you! For us, we love to use iOverlander Ahhh…It kind of gets you into some
unique places to stay uhhmmm…And not just you know the typical places you might see
off the road. The other book that we also really like is: The church’s guide to
Baja. We actually got to meet them when they are doing their update in the
winter of 2017… They’re from Alaska to so…. Yeah, it’s not
the formal name of the book. But if you just type into Amazon: Churches Baja book
camping… It will come up and they just revised it…. They did…. Last year. So it’s amazing!….
And they won’t give you like the things to go do go do and see but it’s places to stay. And kind of tidbits that you’d want to know about you know certain areas and….. Just insiders
information….. But when it comes to resources…. iOverlander works offline.
Very, very valuable…. maps.me Make sure you load the area that you’re
visiting. That one works offline! And also a good old-fashioned paper book. It’s
priceless!…. And probably more important than any of those things is; Make friends
with the locals and ask them! Because they know all the greatest secrets!
Mm-hmm ….So for resources, we use Maps me a little bit but over a longer period of
time during our trip we really enjoyed Google Maps. And Google Maps does have an
offline download option and…. You just have to do regions and you can do all of
Baja and the maps do take up a lot of data and your phone’s. You just need to
make sure you have a little bit of space… And if you don’t have enough space, you
could just do North and then if you’re gonna do South, you delete North. And then you do South. But they’re really thorough… And then….Uhhmmm….
I also have a paper Almanac that I carry… It’s the Baja Almanac. They’re quite hard
to come by now because they’re out of print but if you can find one…. The maps
in it are actually better than any GPS downloads or Google Maps or anything
else that I’ve come across. So having that to cross-reference if you’re really
trying to get off the track, it’s quite helpful!…. Alright guys, that concludes our:
“15 tips to Survive and Thrive in Baja California Mexico.” We want to thank Amy
and Matt for participating in this video with us! And if you guys like love all
this b-roll footage that we’ve been dropping on you in this video…. All that
footage is on their Channel and our channel. So make sure you guys go and hit
the SUBSCRIBE button to His and Hers Vlogs and the Travelling Together Journal…
Thanks so much for joining us guys! It’s been fun sharing all this information
with you!..Bye!

28 Comments

  1. Loved seeing the traveling together journal on this collaboration. Would love to hang out with everybody one day.

  2. Wonderful tips,am just come back from San Felipe this week everything was perfect,next trip will be to all Baja.congrats.

  3. Super info……spent my honeymoon travelling all over Mexico (from West to East)many moons ago when police forces were even arguing. We loved the people and always got to know the locals which was in our favour. I think we were very fortunate to experience Mexican life then and that was without the technology we have today. Of course, we had a few blips but nothing disastrous. We even hitchhiked…not that I would recommend that today. I think it is marvellous that we have different cultures on our continent and most people in any one of those cultures are kind and giving. It's real living folks. Thanks again for updated info.

  4. Whoa,,, thanks so much for sharing the informative advice,,,
    Safe, happy & blessed travel on your all journey,,,

  5. Thanks a lot for the information about traveling to Mexico I've got a question though how often did y'all see boat ramps

  6. Great information. Thanks for sharing. BTW, Google Translate can also run offline and comes in handy without signal. Safe travels. Cheers!

  7. Awesome Mitsubishi, never new there was a 4×4 model, i drove a fuso back when i worked in San Diego, i always tought it would make a nice camper, anyways i live in Rosarito, ive gone on camping/Surf trips on different occasions, i would add just not to "wild camp"' near or in san quintin,look for an established campground in that area, further south free for all….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *