Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
999 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Heading down to Baja from Tennessee. END OF DECEMBER
How is border and crowds at that time?

Will come to San Diego first.

Will have my two kids with me.

FJ will not go. I don't want to donate it to a thief down there.

I will be taking my 1998 RAV4 which is quiet capable to handle many terrains. I took it to the Arctic Ocean last year.
I don't want to attract attention in a Voodoo blue FJ.. :rofl:
Got 255k miles on it.. Just got it compression tested.... (130/150, 100/115, 125/140, 125/155)

I know I need a passport.
I will have gas on my roof.
Drive only during the day time. CAN I travel at night? If I have to travel only during the day light hours that will really put me behind schedule !!!!!
Keep to main roads. I have the tendency to go into unknown roads for fun but I must avoid in Mexico. Right?
Follow a caravan of cars if possible.
Have cash stacked inside my socks along with my cellphone.
Have some cash outside for bribes?

Any survival tips are welcome. Thanks !!!

Attaching pic of my rig that will be used for this job.
I have also mounted the traction plates since yesterday. One picture from when I was at the arctic circle last year...

Again.. thank you for any input/advice.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,367 Posts
Your overreacting about crime in Baja. I've done 9 trips there starting in 1970 and the only thing I ever had stolen were fancy valve caps (kids), and a couple of carabiners by soldiers going thru military checkpoints. I travel solo a lot and camp on remote beaches with NO issues. I drive a 15 4Runner all decked out and don't even think about it being stolen. Your more likely to have issues in SD than in Baja. Those people make a living off us tourists and don't want do anything to disrupt that cash flow. Stop listening to the nay-sayers and go have fun.

I would not hesitate to drive the FJ. They have seen plenty of them in all colors.

The only precaution I'd recommend is don't hang out in the border towns. Do your crossing, get your visa and move south pronto. Best crossing is Mexicali East. Avoid Tijuana.

I camped on this secluded beach solo for several days. Often left my rig there and paddled away for hours. No concerns at all. (photo would not upload, I'll try again later)

Ace
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
Hmmm...I just went down to Ensenada(in the city and very rural as well) with a local from down there...a few thoughts: (1) Get car insurance for Mexico, easy enough to do online. Carry proof of it in vehicle for sure. If you get into an accident, file a claim while you are there, not after departing Mexico- as this will nearly nullify the claim in most cases.(2) Hide away valuables from sight when you leave the car, as break ins do happen a fair amount. Crime is a reality. Your plates identify you as an interest (3) Carry passport with you wherever you go; if stolen from vehicle, you wont get out of Mexico easy. (4) I will typically pay a local a few pesos to keep an eye on my car-its not much, but someone is watching whether I pay or not usually. (5) Mexicali entrance and exit is a breeze, (6) Bring purifier for water if staying long as a back up, drink only bottled beverages, and never use ice for drinks anywhere (7) Cell phone coverage was thru MexTel...very unreliable service so just know that. Having a translator App on your Phone is wise (8) Oh yeah, have fun!


Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,367 Posts
As I said earlier cross and head south. Ensenada is not far enough. It's a big city now and does have some crime issues. The advice about ice is old news. I don't drink iced drinks very often but never had a problem.

The only time I've ever gotten sick on food there was from my own cooking.

Drinking bottled water is valid advice but you can also get water at the Agua Purafino (sp?) stations to fill up your jugs or tanks.

Ace
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
Yeah... I mention the ice because there is a temptation to think that because your dining at an upscale restaurant that they have filtered the water for the ice machine. Not likely. I am a bit different than Ace...I don't cook my own grub... I eat lots of local fare and live it up. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
999 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
GREAT !

Basically I am just hearing common sense type of stuff. I have travelled in Asia and Africa. Same deal. Don't flash around cash and use brain. LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,367 Posts
I wrote a lengthy reply and somehow deleted it. But recapping briefly. Whenever your traveling in foreign countries it's good policy to be aware and careful. That applies to most US cities as well. I have not traveled in Africa since 1962 so can't speak to safety there but from what I've read Baja is much safer. Get out in the Backcountry of Baja and you will find they will give you the shirt off their backs. Very friendly and helpful. Most can speak some English, enough to get buy.

I eat in Baja restaurants too, but most of my food comes from venders who bring fresh food right to you on the beaches, or purchased in local markets.

One precaution: no guns or ammo can be taken into Mexico. One forgotten case rolling ariund under a seat could get you in trouble with the policia.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,697 Posts
I'd use a dummy wallet for your cash. Usually if there is trouble with local authorities down there while on the road, they'll take everything in your wallet for their time. My co worker travels through Mexico regularly and he brings supplies and goods to his family. He still gets pulled over. That's just how it is and I'd rather lose some change than a big chunk. But I see you'll be stowing your cash so at the very least if you are searched, I wouldn't want the bulk of it on me. Much like everywhere, I get ripped off more by local cabbies than anyone lol. Have a good time!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
I'd use a dummy wallet for your cash. Usually if there is trouble with local authorities down there while on the road, they'll take everything in your wallet for their time. My co worker travels through Mexico regularly and he brings supplies and goods to his family. He still gets pulled over. That's just how it is and I'd rather lose some change than a big chunk. But I see you'll be stowing your cash so at the very least if you are searched, I wouldn't want the bulk of it on me. Much like everywhere, I get ripped off more by local cabbies than anyone lol. Have a good time!
I have heard the same thing, make a duplicate wallet for your travel, and keep the other hidden way. Have your drivers license color copied and laminated at a Kinkos, etc and that way if confiscated, your still good to go. Doubtful they will detect it as fake on quick perusal. Not much of a hassle to do really and worth the effort. Good stuff!

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
999 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I'd use a dummy wallet for your cash. Usually if there is trouble with local authorities down there while on the road, they'll take everything in your wallet for their time. My co worker travels through Mexico regularly and he brings supplies and goods to his family. He still gets pulled over. That's just how it is and I'd rather lose some change than a big chunk. But I see you'll be stowing your cash so at the very least if you are searched, I wouldn't want the bulk of it on me. Much like everywhere, I get ripped off more by local cabbies than anyone lol. Have a good time!
AUTHORITIES?

You are telling me that I will have federales swindle me out of money as well? :grin

I don't drink so I won't be carrying alcohol. No guns. I will carry antibiotic for kids and myself just in case.
Everything else would be just clothes, simple FOOD, emergency supplies like first aid, extra gasoline on my roof etc..etc.


CAN I travel at night? If I have to travel only during the day light hours that will really put me behind schedule.
END OF DECEMBER
How is border and crowds at that time?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
874 Posts
Yup, what Ace said. Last Oct/Nov I spent 30 days driving to Cabo. Camped on remote beaches, solo, only 4 nights in hotels. Fantastic people. Beaches are great. Went through TJ on the way down, and MexiCali on the way back. Worst part of the trip was going through LA. Have a great time. Eat the food! Fish, Enjoy! Go to San Cosme, it's on the way to Agua Verde if you get that far South, say Hi to Julio, nicest people you will ever meet. The Baja Almanac is a must. Also, never had to bribe anybody. Definetly stash your cash, and just keep what you need for the day handy, duh. The water issue is old news, and not an issue in Baja. Can't wait to go back. Planning on it in 2019 October. Locals said the Canadians flood the beaches December, so it will probably be a lot more crowded then when I was there. October, right after hurricane season.
Baja-Almanac.com
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,367 Posts
^^ Yep, that's a man that knows Baja darn well. All this negativity about Baja is BS. But hey, it keeps the timid out of Baja so it's less crowded.

I had a minor accident in Baja about 10 years ago right in front of a cop. I gave the guy I hit 500 pesos for the damage. The cop just smiled and walked back to his post.

My security is minimal. I have a small safe bolted in my truck where my passoort and extra cash stay. I always make sure the cash never gets below what it would take to return to the US. I refresh my cash at ATMs using my credit card. They don't always work and that's one reason my cash stash is kept pretty full. I've often thought about building the bogus wallet but never have.

Crossing the birder late December is a busy time. But each time I've crossed at that same time was quick and easy. Cross early.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
999 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
^^ Yep, that's a man that knows Baja darn well. All this negativity about Baja is BS. But hey, it keeps the timid out of Baja so it's less crowded.

I had a minor accident in Baja about 10 years ago right in front of a cop. I gave the guy I hit 500 pesos for the damage. The cop just smiled and walked back to his post.

My security is minimal. I have a small safe bolted in my truck where my passport and extra cash stay. I always make sure the cash never gets below what it would take to return to the US. I refresh my cash at ATMs using my credit card. They don't always work and that's one reason my cash stash is kept pretty full. I've often thought about building the bogus wallet but never have.

Crossing the border late December is a busy time. But each time I've crossed at that same time it was quick and easy. Cross early.

My last trip to the arctic circle required that I sleep in my car with my kids because the tent was too risky due to bears and other wild life.
I guess I am going to end up doing it again because too many people in Baja in December and we won't find hotels or they will be too expensive and also so nobody breaks into our car.
No worries !!! LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Living in San Diego I visit Baja about once a month with my FJ. Baja is safe if you use common sense. You don't want to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.


Here are some tips from my experience.

- According to my Mexican insurance company, Discover Baja, you are more likely to have the truck stolen in San Diego than Baja.

- The truck is safe but the contents are not. Do not leave valuables in sight. You will end up with a broken window.

- Camping is relatively safe South of Ensenada. The beaches and Arroyos are public property and camping is legal. No need to sleep in the car or a RTT.

- Purchase Mexico auto insurance and FMMs (Forma Migratoria Múltiple) for all travelers. They have recently began taking FMM much more seriously.

- Avoid driving at night. The highways are narrow and the truck drivers and busses run at night. Narrow without shoulders or guard rails. I have been traveling Baja since the 70s and have witnessed many head-on fatalities. In my opinion this is by far the most dangerous thing about Baja. If you are not familiar with the roads do not do it.

- If you plan your gas stops you will be fine (even with the FJ's terrible range) in most areas. Make sure you refuel before the entering either way the gas divide between El Rosario and Jesús María. It is 200 miles across.

- Get a Copy of the Baja Almanac

- Carry tools and a full size spare tire and if you plan on going off road recovery gear.

- It helps to know a little Spanish to get around but its not completely necessary.

- Many US telecom careers now have free calling and data while roaming in Mexico. You need to call them and have them activate for your account.

- Take you time and have a look around the place is very special.

Once you get South of Ensenada you will find that the people are very friendly and warm if you are respectful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
999 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The route has been finalized !!!!!!!!!

It will be just me and my kids.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Wow - this thread is a great resource for Baja and I'm glad I found it.

I am also planning to drive down Baja in late December as the beginning of a planned trip to drive all the way to Tierra Del Fuego. fj40drm, maybe we can meet up somewhere along the way. That looks like a wonderful trip to take with your family.

I'm going to make a big post on this forum soon about the trip (as far as I can tell I'm the first person to do this drive with an FJ - or at least that's blogged about it). In the meantime here's my blog: Home - Ushuaia or Bust, Drive to South America

+1 to worrying too much about crime imo. Baja is probably one of the safest places I'm going to be, at least until I get to Chile - and I'm taking my FJ all the way down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Hey are you on the road? I'm in Ensenada right now. Looking to camp either in La Bufadora for a night, or go straight to Nacional Parque de San Pedro Martir.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
249 Posts
Mexico is totally corrupt from top to bottom! Won't be spending my hard earned money there: but is a beautiful country and people can be warm and friendly: but my time there was many years ago before it got bad and no cartel wars! I'm loathe to travel anywhere without a gun and certainly can't do that in Mexico and advice about checking vehicle carefully before you go, regarding any ammo or components is well advised! Since you will be camping, take a big sharp machete or bolo knife with you. Would be more innocuous as a "tool" and not so likely to be seen as a weapon! If you ever have to use it or any other knife to defend yourself, just resign yourself to fact that you will be cut. If using a knife for self defense, and are willing to do it, DO NOT TRY FOR OBVIOUS STRIKES AT OBVIOUS ATTACK POINTS ON THE BODY, GO FOR HANDS, WRISTS, FOREARMS! If they can't hold weapon, they can't continue to attack. Previous military and LE experience has taught me this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
I'm wandering around in Baja now. From what I've seen and from what everyone has told me - it's very safe. This is not true for all of Mexico - but Baja is very wealthy area relatively speaking. Ensenada might as well have been LA. Everyone has new cars and the latest iPhones. But the Wal-mart(s) don't have camping chairs :(
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top