Taking new Sprinter to Baja Norte

nickbokhoven

Active member
We live in San Diego and recently completed a buildout of a 144 LR and have a Colorado Camper Van installed. I am curious people's experiences going to Baja in an eye catchy rig. Are we fools to take it down through TJ, the toll roads past Rosarito and Ensenda, ultimately getting down to San Quintin to camp in a secure campground? Family of 4, kids 7 & 9. Both kids are proficient at Spanish. Plan would be to only drive during the day. Am I better taking my 2007 Subaru outback down and just getting a motel? I noted that BajaBound insurance will only cover a van up to $100k. I have my listed at $110k, so not super worried there. Any experience, tips, etc. would be appreciated.
 

borabora

Well-known member
I am sorry, I have no information for you. But I hope you go and tell us all about your experience. Hopefully, there'll be more useful feedback in this thread too. I have been going up to Canada the last four years and am thinking of mixing it up.
Are you planning on just filling up before crossing the border and thus avoiding the diesel quality issue by never getting fuel in Mexico?
Best of luck!
 

Bobnoxious

Note to self; stay in der DZ.
I feel compelled to share, Nick and not maliciously intending to throw ice water on you Del Norte Baja dreams, but at this time of civil strife, I strongly advise you to reconsider your plans. The instant you enter Mexico, you become a foreign national with essentially ZERO rights.

Think of how vulnerable your young children, wife and helpless you will feel if the wrong people cross your path.


 

Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
Think of how vulnerable your young children, wife and helpless you will feel if the wrong people cross your path.
I feel compelled to share, Nick and not maliciously intending to throw ice water on you Del Norte Baja dreams, but at this time of civil strife, I strongly advise you to reconsider your plans. The instant you enter Mexico, you become a foreign national with essentially ZERO rights.

Think of how vulnerable your young children, wife and helpless you will feel if the wrong people cross your path.


Yeah, the chances of being mugged, while coming from San Diego will be below 10% than in your home state.
Long years, but I took my big bus conversion past Muledge at this beach campground that cost me $3 a night.
I spend 20 years scuba-diving on 3 continents and sea horse was still a legend for me, when on this beach my son catch one with his foot and we took lot of pictures of it in the pan, before we let it go.
Don't listen to legends or propaganda. There is not many safer place on the planet than Baja.
Mexico beach.jpg
 

Bobnoxious

Note to self; stay in der DZ.
Yeah, the chances of being mugged, while coming from San Diego will be below 10% than in your home state.
Long years, but I took my big bus conversion past Muledge at this beach campground that cost me $3 a night.
I spend 20 years scuba-diving on 3 continents and sea horse was still a legend for me, when on this beach my son catch one with his foot and we took lot of pictures of it in the pan, before we let it go.
Don't listen to legends or propaganda. There is not many safer place on the planet than Baja.
View attachment 154252
The world has changed.
 

Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
The world has changed.
That is for sure. I still remember my visits to Greece, when dinner plate at local restaurants was $1 (ONE) so bottle of Metaxa brandy was $1 as well.
But when currency value can change pretty fast, the cultures seem to stay steady for 1000's of years
You can't change catholic nation into drug dealers in single generation .
 

RVBarry

Well-known member
Tecate is reportedly a nicer and less crowded place to cross than TJ.
 

nickbokhoven

Active member
I am sorry, I have no information for you. But I hope you go and tell us all about your experience. Hopefully, there'll be more useful feedback in this thread too. I have been going up to Canada the last four years and am thinking of mixing it up.
Are you planning on just filling up before crossing the border and thus avoiding the diesel quality issue by never getting fuel in Mexico?
Best of luck!
BoraZBora,
From the forums and research, low sulfur diesel is widely available.
 

nickbokhoven

Active member
TJ and Rosarito are sketchy and would never overnight between the border and Ensenada. We are looking to go to San Quintin. American’s drug addiction and problem are a big contributor to the border violence. We have been out East of TJ the past three years, building mission homes. It is always during the day and return before dark. Never scared as helping people truly in need.
Appreciate the responses.
 

Mr. Bills

2016 170 HR 4x4 Class B Conversion
. . . I am curious people's experiences going to Baja in an eye catchy rig. Are we fools to take it down through TJ, the toll roads past Rosarito and Ensenda, ultimately getting down to San Quintin to camp in a secure campground. . . ?
. . . I strongly advise you to reconsider your plans. The instant you enter Mexico, you become a foreign national with essentially ZERO rights.

Think of how vulnerable your young children, wife and helpless you will feel if the wrong people cross your path. . . .

Stories of American families being raped and murdered in Mexico have circulated for decades. The stories are as overblown today as they were when I first heard them more than 60 years ago. Yes, there are bad people in Mexico just as there are bad people everywhere in the world. No, there aren't more of them in Mexico

My first trip to Baja was in an Airstream trailer in the early 1960's as a boy. My most recent was a month-long overlanding trip driving from Tecate to Cabo San Lucas and return in December 2019-January 2020. I felt considerably safer in Baja a few month ago than in the city of San Francisco and the suburbs of Los Angeles on my way to the U.S.-Mexico border. My encounters with Mexican law enforcement and the soldiers at the military checkpoints were always cordial and professional. Interaction with the people was always polite.

The route you have chosen is well travelled and safe. Just choose the toll road from Tijuana to Ensenada, use common sense when choosing places to stop, don't drive at night, and you and your family will be just fine. If you are worried about your rig, only park in secure areas. I saw many Sprinter-based motorhomes during my last trip, spoke with many owners, and none reported any particular concerns with loss or theft.

The tip to cross the border at Tecate is a good one. Lines are usually short and the time you spend driving through La Mesa to the border crossing will be less than the time you spend waiting in traffic to cross at Tijuana or Otay Mesa. The drive from Tecate through the wine country to Ensenada is also quite pleasant. Think Temecula wine country but more of it. After crossing at Tecate last time and trading stories of wait times at various crossings with other Americans, I doubt I will ever cross at Tijuana or Mexicali again.
 

Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
Its been like that for decades.
In city of Oakland, CA -statistically a person gets killed every 3 days, but it is not worth the news.
Once every 10 years a tourist get robbed in Mexico and that makes huge headlines for 1/2 year.
Tijuana and anything within 2 hr of drive from there is not a place you want to go - especially on weekends.
Go down the Baja and you will really like it.
Even Baja Mexicans are religious and honest people - they will not hesitate to cheat in bussines. So observing fuel pumps is a must. Also bring your own water or top-of the line filtration. I got sick using Mexican ice.
 

nickbokhoven

Active member
Stories of American families being raped and murdered in Mexico have circulated for decades. The stories are as overblown today as they were when I first heard them more than 60 years ago. Yes, there are bad people in Mexico just as there are bad people everywhere in the world. No, there aren't more of them in Mexico

My first trip to Baja was in an Airstream trailer in the early 1960's as a boy. My most recent was a month-long overlanding trip driving from Tecate to Cabo San Lucas and return in December 2019-January 2020. I felt considerably safer in Baja a few month ago than in the city of San Francisco and the suburbs of Los Angeles on my way to the U.S.-Mexico border. My encounters with Mexican law enforcement and the soldiers at the military checkpoints were always cordial and professional. Interaction with the people was always polite.

The route you have chosen is well travelled and safe. Just choose the toll road from Tijuana to Ensenada, use common sense when choosing places to stop, don't drive at night, and you and your family will be just fine. If you are worried about your rig, only park in secure areas. I saw many Sprinter-based motorhomes during my last trip, spoke with many owners, and none reported any particular concerns with loss or theft.

The tip to cross the border at Tecate is a good one. Lines are usually short and the time you spend driving through La Mesa to the border crossing will be less than the time you spend waiting in traffic to cross at Tijuana or Otay Mesa. The drive from Tecate through the wine country to Ensenada is also quite pleasant. Think Temecula wine country but more of it. After crossing at Tecate last time and trading stories of wait times at various crossings with other Americans, I doubt I will ever cross at Tijuana or Mexicali again.
Fortunately we have Sentri passes so the wait time is not as crazy at San Ysidro and Otay. I agrrr Tecate is a good crossing.
 

turbo911

Active member
i would tell you that from my experience of the last 7 years that its safe as there. if you stay in border towns, are flashy, or looking for drugs and or associated lifestyle you can expect bad things. dont drive at night, camp in campgrounds , and be civil. dont wear a make america great again red hat. i cant wait to get back. dont park at secluded beaches overnight until your south of guerro negro. if anything , your rv is suseptibale to being a target if left alone
 

72chevy4x4

Active member
I'm white and not bilingual-no chance I would try that trek.

my BIL who was born and raised in a border town in AZ had made a few trips to some beach town on the Sea of Cortez and had minimal issues. The worst being pulled over by the local cop and having to bribe his way out, but he's mexican/american and can BS his way through a conversation.

best of luck in your travels.
 

Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
Cops in Baja? Spend 4 weeks there and I THINK I saw a cruiser when I passed Police Station in the biggest city.
 

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