%AM, %17 %713 %2015 %09:%Dec

Baja Mexico for Under $36 / Day

Written by  Richard Giordano
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Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the App StorePhotos and Text by Richard Giordano
Desk To Glory (www.desktoglory.com)

Here is the short list for what you need to spend 39 days adventuring through Baja California:

1.  The AAA Map for Baja
This map showed all of the small places that a lot of other maps didn’t.  The scale is perfect for scouting your route, discussing potential campsites with people you meet along the way, and navigating your way south.

2.  “Traveler’s Guide to Mexican Camping” and/or “Traveler’s Guide to Camping Mexico’s Baja” by Mike and Terri Church
This is the go-to guide for anybody we’ve met travelling.  There has been a consensus that both are not 100% accurate.  Some RV parks and campgrounds have gone out of business since publishing.  We only ran into a couple of places that didn’t exist, but make sure to give yourself plenty of time to track down a campsite before the sun sets.  

3.  Insurance
www.bajabound.com has all of the information you need to get through the border.  You can buy your insurance online here as well.

4. $1386

Budget Summary:

Food = $675.73 ($17.33/day)
This includes groceries, eating out, bar tabs, tequila and beer.

Fuel = $353.53 ($9.06/day)
We filled up with 92 Octane whenever possible and paid $1.00/L on average.

Accommodation = $212.13 ($5.44/day)
We camped each of our 39 nights in the Baja.  Eleven of those nights were free camping (bonus!).

Misc = $145.11 ($3.72/day)
Our miscellaneous items were tourist cards, oil and oil filter for the truck, propane tank and propane for the stove, tolls, and batteries for the Delorme InReach.
 
We really didn’t know what to expect when we crossed the border into Mexico at Tijuana.  From the far north to the far south of Cabo San Lucas we found desolate mountains and deserts, warm white sand beaches, and delicious fish tacos.  Grab a map, your preferred method of transportation, a pocketful of cash, and point south.

If you only have a short period of time available, or you want to try out long-term travel on the road, Baja is the perfect place to do it.  Fuel, food, and your favorite beverages are cheap, the local people and travellers alike are extremely friendly, and it’s only an hour away from San Diego.

Baja has a wild west feel to it, and it feels good.  Want to camp for free (or for the equivalent of your favorite latte) on a white sand beach?  You can do it here.  Do you want to drive into the mountains and spend a few nights with the cactus under the stars?  You can that here too.  Do you want to see 800hp trophy trucks blasting through the desert at 100mph?  Well… that’s something you can’t allow yourself not to do.

A highlight of our trip on the peninsula will always be the Tecate Score Baja 1000.

Before the race even started I knew I wanted to come back to Baja for the following year’s Baja 1000.  The atmosphere the night preceding the race was full of anticipation as we chatted with others who had been to races in the past and discussed the best spots from which to spectate.  

The morning of the race started with the wind picking up near Gonzaga Bay.  Our little rooftop tent was getting really hammered by the wind so we packed up at 4:45 am and made it out to the race course near mile marker 330 by 5:30 am.  It was just in time to see the second placed bike blast by us and over the 5 foot high jump.  He had it pinned, pushing for first place.  We missed number one (Honda, as per usual) by mere minutes.

The bikes and quads made their way past us over the next four hours at steady intervals.  We had time to talk to the other spectators, hear their stories, and tell ours.  Some had raced the event, some had chased race bikes, some watch every year, and a few just stumbled across this year’s race and decided it was safer to stay put than to head our on the highway battling race traffic along they way.

We knew that the big money race teams driving trophy trucks started at 9:30am in Ensenada so it was speculated that they would be passing us at about 2:30pm.  Everyone waited with anticipation, watching the horizon for the first cloud of dust.  We soon saw the dust and the bright LED fog lights burning through it.  Then we heard the sweet sound of an 800hp V8 at full song as the first truck blew past us and over the jump at 100+ mph.  From here on out there was truck after truck and buggy after buggy hammering past us and pushing for the finish.

For a comparison, we averaged about 15mph on this exact road one day later.

Sure, as a spectator you only see a couple miles of the 1000 mile race, but the people you meet, the atmosphere surrounding the event, and knowing you drove your own truck to the race is significantly better than watching recaps on YouTube.  

Grab your keys, a friend, and some cash and experience the wonders of Baja for yourself.  You won’t regret it.

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    Photos and Text by Richard Giordano

    Desk To Glory (www.desktoglory.com)

    Additional Info

    • latitude: 32.5250
    • longitude: -117.0333
    Last modified on %AM, %18 %684 %2015 %08:%Dec

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