We entered Mexico via California through the border town of Tecate in Baja California 2 days after Thanksgiving on November 28, 2015. Our Baja adventures ended up lasting more than two months.
Before crossing we had agreed to meet another couple of Overlanders who were heading South at the same time. On the morning of the crossing we met John and Mandi in a parking lot just a few hundred yards before the border. It turned out that they were also from Florida and had left just a few days before we did back in early May 2015. They had visited almost all the same spots and National Parks in the Western US/Canada/Alaska. Our schedules were different so we had never met. We were very happy to be traveling with another couple for companionship and also for security reasons.
It was a very special day for us! We had heard so many wonderful things about the Baja Peninsula and crossing into Mexico was another milestone, it felt like it was really the beginning of our big adventure.
Mexico, here we come! We got our tourist cards and the temporary import permit for our vehicle for 6 months!
Our first camp site in Mexico: Camp 7 at La Bufadora just outside of Ensenada on the Pacific coast. Not to many amenities besides the view over the fish farms on the Pacific Ocean and a pit toilet but it was pretty cheap! (70 pesos)
We spent three incredible nights at Rancho San Carlos hot springs in the mountains near Ensenada. It was a bit cold so we soaked all day in the pools!
One of the many military check points. They ask a few questions, look around inside and you’re back on the road in no time. After a couple, you get use to it.
Kiki’s RV Camp and Hotel in San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez. We ended up going there twice because we had to go back to the border town of Mexicali to get two fuel injectors replaced.
Puertecitos Hot Springs campground. Reminded me of Greece for some reason!
San Luis Gonzaga. Beautiful, but we experienced a terrible sand storm. Sand blew in the camper during the night from the smallest cracks it took three hours to clean up the next day. None the less we were able to enjoy the amazing sunsets and the dolphins swimming by.
Coco’s Corner is just one of those mythical place in the middle of no where! You buy a beer or a Coca-Cola and you camp for free!
Bahia de Los Angeles, La Gringa federal park. Free camping.
Bahia de Los Angeles, La Gringa federal park.
Los Petates Campground in San Ignacio an Oasis with date palms in the middle of the Baja desert.
Playa El Coyote just south of Mulege in Bahia Concepcion. We spent five nights there (100 pesos per night). José would stop by every morning selling tamales, empanadas, fresh veggies, fruits and fish. It was very close to paradise if it wasn’t for the trucks coming down the hill during the night and using their engine brakes. Our neighbors Tom and Linda from San Diego let us use their kayaks. We spent our days just soaking in the beauty of our surroundings.
Campground in the quaint town of Mulege. 100 pesos per night. Around 5 USD
Another popular spot near Mulege is Playa Santispac but we did not stay there.
We spent Christmas on the remote beach of Punta San Basilio on the Sea of Cortez. Thanks to our solar panels we have plenty of power and no need to hook up. It took us 1.5 hour to drive the 17 km of dirt road and river crossings, but no problem for our Mountain Ram! Another paradise!
Playa El Telecote near the City of La Paz. Free Camping. We camped here twice. It can be very windy, but when the wind dies down it’s a magical place where you can meet great people.
Playa San Pedrito a surf spot just South of Todos Santos. Five great nights (free Camping). One of our favorite! Incredible vibe, people and scenery!
Zacatito, another great spot on the East Cape north of San Jose del Cabo. John and Mandi in their Ford Van were already there and we joined them with Kevin and Dani in their Iveco. Whale watching, swimming and walking on the beach were our main activities! Horses and mules lived in an abandoned house near by.
We spent three nights at the Rancho Ecologico Sol de Mayo in Santiago. We swam in the amazing cool waters of the water falls every day, enjoyed an extraordinary meal at Amalia’s restaurant and explore the surroundings with Justin and Roxanne.
We spent a couple of nights in Los Barriles at Martin Verdugo Beach Resort doing laundry and enjoying the pool and restaurants near by. This area of the Sea of Cortez is very windy therefore very popular with Wind and Kite Surfers.
This journey is special because of the people we meet along the way. Locals or fellow travelers are the reason we decide to spend more or less time in a specific location. So far we have met incredible people that we hope we will have the opportunity to see again.
John and Mandi our traveling companions for more than a month. Thanks for all your technical support and just being friends! Oh Ya John is the best dish washer in Mexico.
Great bunch! So much fun with James and Kamala at Playa El Coyote.
José would bring us tamales, empanadas, fresh fruits,veggies and fish every morning at Playa El Coyote.
Wonderful couple of Overlanders, Kevin (Brit) and Dani (Swiss) and Mali the dog. These guy’s have been overloading for a long while together and taught Joe how to really think out here, simpler is better. Hope to go to the Sahara with them one day. They are the desert experts!
Brunch in Loreto with John and Mandi.
Carlos (Spain) and Barbara (Belgium). we needed to spent more time with this interesting well travelled pair. Carlos has a huge stash of books crammed simply into their VW van while pulling the Casita trailer. Hopefully we will meet them again along the PanAm. Loreto.
Great time with Liz, Andy and Nina their dog. An amazing pair of Brits living in British Columbia, Canada. We had so much fun drinking and laughing while lounging comfortably amongst Liz’s rugs and pillows, cooking on Andys wonderful pit fire. The best lounge at Playa San Pedrito! If ever on the Sunshine coast of BC, visit their private island Airbnb.ca/rooms/2530939
Irene and Simon, Swiss Overlanders gave us great tips on how to use our Dutch Oven. They were pros, even baking bread in it! Playa San Pedrito. Check out their rig!
Kevin, Joe and Mali whale watching in Zacatito.
Spent a day with Justin and Roxanne exploring Santiago. Thanks for the tunes!
After 5 minutes talking to this young couple of Québécois, Pierre Étienne and Karine with Kali their dog, we were in love! We ended up delaying our ferry crossing to spend more time with them! Playa El Tecolote.
Patrick and Nicole (Québec). Great couple living their passions! Playa El Tecolote.
Wish we could have spent more time with Renée (Solo Canadian Female Traveller). Great energy! Playa El Tecolote.
The free spirited Cat! Todos Santos. Another great American Solo Female Traveller from Oregon.
The Québécois hospitality at it’s best. Thank you Karine and Pierre Étienne for all the wonderful fish dinners! Playa El Tecolote.
Reinhold, young German traveller just got a partner! We gave him our wicker bag for the gear he had to move to make room for the pup. Todos Santos.
Braii (BBQ) with the South African Bell family a2aexpedition! La Bufadora.
Baja is known for their Fish Tacos. It’s addictive! Fenix Taco, Ensenada. Our first stop in Mexico!
Tamales for breakfast. Oh Yes!
Pollo al Carbon, chicken on the grill with rice, beans, salad and tortillas for 4 people. 125 pesos, about 7 USD. Kikiriki, San Felipe.
Birria is a beef or goat soup that is served in the morning with onions, cilantro, lime, radish and tortillas. Joe’s favorite!
The panaderias (bakeries) are in every town! Santa Rosalia.
José’s tamales, “the best on the beach”!
Home cooking, overland style…
South African Braii (BBQ) with an Argentinean flair, thanks to the Bell Family. a2aexpedition
Joe’s grilled chicken and Josée’s salad, always a winner!
I could not resist buying a fruit and veggie hammock!
Kamala doing the prep for her Indian Curry Chicken and John working on a batch of Margaritas. Can it get any better? Playa El Coyote.
Indian Curry Chicken by Kamala. Thanks to Mandi’s spice rack! Playa El Coyote.
Joe has mastered the art of grilling sitting in his Kermit chair! Christmas dinner, Punta San Basilio.
Our new passion: the Dutch Oven! Ribs grilled and finished in the Dutch Oven! Playa El Tecolote.
When the wind is blowing you have to improvise!
Rib-Eye served in the skillet from Amalia’s restaurant at Rancho Ecologico Sol de Mayo in Santiago. A real treat!
Catch of the day! Thanks to Pierre Etienne and Karine.
Fauna and Flora…
A flock of Pelicans in Bahia de Los Angeles.
The Boojum tree is a bizarre looking tree that grows only in the Sonora Desert of Baja and one small area of Sonora mainland. We were calling it the Dr. Seuss tree.
That’s my favorite photo of the Baja Landscape. Desert, turquoise colored water and the mountain!
I was lucky enough to get to swim with a Whale Shark in its natural habitat near La Paz. What an experience! Definitely checked that one off of the bucket list. Even though I was not suppose to, I had to touch it, that’s how close I was to it.
Also swam with Sea Lions in a colony of 500 in Espiritu Santo Island a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the City of La Paz.
Towns and architectture…
San Ignacio is a true Oasis that sits in sharp contrast to the Baja desert. The date palms and the citrus orchards were planted by the Jesuits who built a mission in 1728.
Santa Rosalia, former mining village with a french influence because of the French owned Boleo Mining Company. The bakery (panaderia) and the Gustave Eiffel metal church are the main attractions. The French owners purchased the metal church that was stored in Brussels and it was reassembled in 1897 in Santa Rosalia.
Loreto was the first Spanish settlement on the Baja California Peninsula. It was founded by the Jesuit missionaries in 1697.
La Paz is the capital City of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. The Malecon (promenade along the waterfront).
Todos Santos is one of the most appealing towns in all of Baja, a mix of locals, fishers, surfers and Gringos and home of the Hotel California.
Everywhere you go in Baja there will be a dog wandering or following you. Joe being a dog lover gets his heart broken in every town. You just want to take them with you. Here’s just a few of the many dogs we’ve encountered, including the hairless Mexican dog.
As an Overlander you are always curious to see other rigs. Here’s a few European rigs we’ve come across in Baja.
Ferry to mainland Mexico…
On February 2, 2016 we boarded the San Guillermo from La Paz to Topolobampo in the State of Sinaloa in mainland Mexico with TMC Ferry, a 12 hour crossing from 9pm to 9am. We were allowed to sleep in our camper, it was a bit of a bumpy ride but it was a pleasant experience overall.