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4/24/2017 Mexico Customs Law - List of items - customs list
4/18/17 Mexico Customs Law – Mexico is now enforcing existing laws regarding bringing meat, vegetables and pets into Mexico. A Mexico organization called SENASICA is in Tijuana inspecting traffic entering Mexico for meat, vegetables and pets. If you have any of these items (fresh, cooked, frozen or canned) they will ask you to take them back to the US or a SENASICA agent will take them. If you have a pet traveling with you an international pet health certificate will need to be presented or you will need to return to the US.
A member crossed at Tijuana yesterday and was stopped. The agents from SENASICA were polite and took all the meat and vegetables that were in the motorhome. The member was given a pamphlet explaining the law.
We will have more information from the pamphlet and SENASICA soon.
4/17/17 Road Report - Mexicali to San Felipe the road is in good condition. San Felipe to Puerticitos there are many potholes in the road and previous repairs that have gone bad again. That stretch of road is tough on any vehicle. There are many dips in the road, termed "vados." Sometimes it's difficult to see these ahead and you might be down in one or airborne before you know it. Driving 40 to 45 mph maximum is advised going through this area. Puerticitos to Gonzaga Bay is the best road in Baja. Just south west of Willard pavement ends and then 24 miles of construction and dirt road on Highway # 5 to junction of Highway # 1 (average 6 – 8 mph).
Tecate to Ensenada the road is fairly good. Through the canyons out of Tecate there are numerous huge rockslides. Ensenada to El Rosario there is a lot of mud and a few washouts. A lot of dust on the highway. El Rosario to Vizcaino the road is full of huge potholes.
Ensenada to San Felipe takes over 4 hours now. Lots of pot holes.
Catavina to the Bay of LA there are severe pot holes. Drive with caution.
On Highway #1 about 2 miles south of Loreto bridges are being replaced and road construction. There are a couple miles of dirt road.
As you approach the La Paz area this is the largest single construction bypass area currently. Some of the bypass road really rough. The dust is like talcum powder.
3/27/17 Road Report - Tecate to Ensenada the road is in great condition and the last 6 miles is now paved.
3/25/17 Road Report - We just returned from our four month excursion in Baja. Weather was delightful all the way to Cabo San Lucas. Wish we could say the same regarding road conditions. We always stay few days at Don Eddies in San Quintin as Tony is always very welcoming. The "new paved road" from highway to Don Eddies is already in bad need of repair with many big potholes! The road out of Catavina both North and South has many miles of potholes and washouts. Makes it very hard to pull an RV with the huge potholes. Road from Loreto to Constitution is in bad shape. We found roads after Ciuadad Constitution in pretty good shape.
In LaPaz we were bilked out of 1000 pesos for allegedly parking in red zone. However the zone was white and the cop pocketed the $50 with no ticket. This also happened to two other sets of friends while we were all staying in LaPaz. We've traveled in Baja many years but this is 1st year of the dishonesty that we have experienced.
All in all, the time was great but we plan to travel to mainland Mexico next year due to the awful road conditions in the Baja.
Thanks to Vagabundos for always arranging our Mex auto insurance and for assisting us with our Mex travel papers.
Bill and Linda from Wyoming
3/22/17 - Beaches and Whales Caravan Feedback - Hola Vagabundos! We are still reveling from our Baja caravan experience! We got home late last week and have finally gotten ourselves, our belongings and our rig spick and span! What an incredible experience! Mike has been motorcycling in Baja for many years, but this was my first closeup view of Baja! Any "fear" I previously had has been erased! We thoroughly enjoyed the trip. What helped to make the excursion as good as it was, was the leadership of Freddie Washington! He is a fabulous person, well suited to be the glue for bringing together 15 different personalities and melding us into a "family" for a month. I consider most of our caravan family new friends for life. The whale excursions were far superior than we ever expected and we were treated with gorgeous weather on all three occasions! Swimming with whale sharks was the highlight for us! Santispac beach was our favorite spot! Aside from a little wind, it is truly a slice of heaven! Mike got to enjoy the itinerary from a whole new outlook in the RV. He saw parts of Baja he's bypassed before on motorcycle trips. He was pleasantly surprised!
Our group was very diverse with both rig size and comfort zone driving on the narrow/potholed roads. We don't know if it is possible to match rig sizes, as our smaller rigs (petal hoppers, as Freddie referred to us) could have traveled and parked much faster than the "big boys" in our group.
With Freddie's connections in the Loreto area, we feel we were treated like kings and queens and got a real feel for the hospitality of the Baja people!
All in all, we LOVED everything about the adventure! Thank you to Vagabundos for sponsoring this trip and working so closely with our wagon master Freddie Washington for a trip of a lifetime!
Lori and Mike Wilber
Bahia de Los Angeles trip, Feb 6th thru Feb 13th
Obtained our FMM paperwork thru Vagabundos del Mar. Highly recommended that one gets the proper documentation. In light of recent happenings with protests over gas price increase and such in Mexico, we crossed at San Ysidro at around 4:30 a.m.FMM's are to be stamped at port of entry, so we followed the "Items to Declare" lane which takes you basically right up to the office where that's done. Go to the office with the INM (Instituto Nacional de Migración) sign, and they will direct you from there. At the time we crossed, we were the only ones there, no wait, and the whole process was very easy & took hardly any time at all. We encountered no issues, no protests, or road blockades of any kind, we had smooth sailing.
Road construction was taking place in the area around Santo Tomas, with detours onto sections of dirt roads. Could be messy in case of rain.
Just North of Cataviña, the potholes start cropping up, and are numerous from that point on until Parador/turnoff to Bahia de Los Angeles. Use caution.
The road into Bahia is in good shape, but bridge & culvert construction continues beginning in the section just north of town, as you approach Bahia.
We topped off the fuel tank when we came into town, which is good practice. You never know when there can possibly be issues with fuel delivery, or with electricity. Much more of a rare occurrence these days, but things can happen down the line to South or other spots along the power line route that can interrupt service. Never hurts to be on the safe side. At the time of our visit, both stations had fuel, and the northernmost station on the east side of the road had diesel.
We did not leave ourselves enough time to obtain fishing licenses thru Vagabundos, however, I contacted a friend in Bahia who said you could get them at Casa Diaz.
Not sure as to their availability 100% of the time for certain, but we did buy annual licenses there, which was great.
Our time in Bahia de Los Angeles was very, very enjoyable, and the weather was even good enough for us to go on three fishing trips. Two of those were with Rafael Cuevas, a local with four decades of experience, and who knows his stuff from top to bottom. He really enjoys and cares about what he does, and will go out of his way to help you too. He took us to an area where we might hook up some big ones, and he checked & re-tied our knots for us so we would not lose the lures and a big fish. I highly recommend him without hesitation. Mind you, he is an old school fisherman and guide. You won't see GPS or depth finder on his boat; he doesn't need them, that's how good he is, and well he knows the waters.
For supplies, Mercado Isla, in the middle of town on the east/water side of the road has what you need, including cold beer, vegetables kept under refrigeration, sodas, ice, etc., and at good prices.
On our return trip, we opted to go back thru Tecate. The road was in good shape, with no issues. No wait at the crossing itself, with only two other vehicles going thru ahead of us. They will ask for your passport, so have those ready.
Take advantage of your Vagabundos membership to get all of your documents ready ahead of time (FMM's, car insurance, fishing licenses), as this will speed your trip time and it's a one stop shop; takes a lot off your mind and you can enjoy your trip. Hope yours is as good a time as ours was; had a great trip to Bahia de Los Angeles....
2/17/17 Road Report from Mainland. Crossed at Nogales going to Sayulita. The toll road cost about $50 for a car. The majority of the checkpoints just waved us through. One checkpoint stopped us and was looking for the temporary import permit for the vehicle. Once they checked all the paperwork we were on our way. Gas is about $3/gal.
Reports of problems in Mexicali with mordida and robbery. The standard is - ask to be taken to the police station to pay your fine. When this has been done recently in Tecate, the tourist has been released. If you experienced a problem call 011-52 (664) 973-0424 and ask Carlos Valenzuela to report the incident in Baja Norte. Be prepared with specific details such as when, where and who.
For breakdowns, flat tires or general assistance in Baja Norte call Department of Tourism by dialing 078.
Fuel Cost in El Rosario - Magna 16.12 pesos/liter - Premium 17.90 pesos/liter - Diesel 17.24 pesos/liter
1/20/17 Baja Direct Wagon Master, Todd and Carolyn Way, and 18 Members are enjoying the sunny weather in Los Barriles. They arrived in Los Barriles on January 16 and are now planning their return home. Only one other rig is planning to return home with the Wagon Master. The other eight rigs have enjoyed their time so much they will be staying longer on their own.
1/18/17 Mainland Fuel Report. Vagabundos Information Safety Net Sources We just received a report from our caravan partners, Caravanas de Mexico, who is on Mainland Mexico now preparing for their upcoming caravans. They encountered some fuel shortages the first of the year but have had no problems for over a week. Space is still available on their February Copper Canyon 2017 caravan and they are taking reservations now. Space is also available on the October Yucatan 2017 trip. Yucatan 2018 is full at this time but if you are interested please contact us as participants may dropout. http://www.rvcaravans.net/index.php https://www.facebook.com/groups/143109509170788/
1/11/17 - The Baja Direct Caravan checked in today while enjoying lunch in Santa Rosalia. They are enjoying the great weather and have not encounteed any problems on the road. They will enjoy the next few days on Santispac Beach.
Member Report - We crossed 1/5 at Mexicali, no Magna there or San Felipe, no problems going south from there thru Bahia San Luis Gonzaga. The last 25 miles of Mex 5 to Mex 1, still in terrible condition. Drove it in 32 foot coach with tow. 2 hours, 18 wheelers, very rough, would not do it again. Looks like at least 2 years to finish. Thomas S. Knox
Fuel and Road Report 1/10/17 - The Baja Direct Caravan is on the road and reporting first hand on the roads and fuel in Baja. Follow us on Facebook or view our Baja HotBox for the latest report.
As of January 9, 2016 - The Caravan Arrived at Don Eddie's in San Quintin and reports:
They crossed the Tecate border around 10:00am with no problems. The gas station at Tecate was closed. The gas station at Ensenada has gas and they have not encountered any problems on the road with protesters. Road construction just south of Tecate and south of Santo Tomas still going on.
Baja Fuel Update 1/8/17 - San Quintin - Reports are that they have premium and diesel, are out of regular. There are long lines - from Don Eddie's in San Quintin.
Loreto - Reports are they still have fuel, but are not being resupplied as of now. - from Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington
Tijuana-Rosarito: Crossed the border early this am; around 6:30. Driving the free road into Tijuana, every gas station open from the peripheral highway to SENTRI. 5 minutes to cross. Then, Costco for gas, stop to get the mail with a treat at Starbucks. Driving back, around 7:15am via Chaparral easy access. Blvr International to the Peripheral Hwy to the free road to Rosarito. Every gas station open. Some with lines. RendiChicas stations long line of cars queued up. - from Richard Black
Tijuana border crossing is Open - Southbound traffic on Interstate 5 and Interstate 805 has reopened at the San Ysidro port of entry after closing for several hours Saturday evening. The nationwide protests in Mexico over rising gas prices that have spread to Tijuana and other parts of Baja California caused Southbound I-5 and I-805 to close near the border Saturday, according to the California Highway Patrol. The freeways closed around 6 p.m., and traffic was being rerouted to Interstate 905. NBCSanDiego.com News Report Concerning Mexico Fuel Crisis: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Fuel-Crisis-Creates-Long-Lines-at-Tijuana-Gas-Station-409928685.html#ixzz4V95A9EYG
1/4/17 - Road Report - Thought I'd write to let you know that as of yesterday (1-3-17) there were road closures on the main highway 1 running down Baja. The through traffic was completely stopped going both ways in San Quintin and Cabo Colonett. The highway was blocked with tires and rocks by protesters. Also the Pemex stations were surrounded and closed by protesters as well. No gas or diesel was being sold. There were many trucks parked on the side of the highway in both directions awaiting the road to open. We were headed south in our Honda CRV and were able to detour around the closed off highway, but the detours were through river beds and back roads. No RV's would have been able to make the trip as the recent rain made them very muddy and slick in places. We almost ran out of gas as the above stations were closed in both towns by protesters. The police were nowhere to be found. We were lucky as a local told us that the gas station in the southern end of San Quintin (Los Pinos area) was still open and we just made it there. We proceeded to El Rosario and the only gas station there was open and selling gas. We were told that the hwy was blocked at Catavina and Guerrero Negro, but we passed both places today w/o incident and are staying in Viscaino tonight without any problems.
As a further note the hwy just north of Catavina has quite a few pot holes probably helped along by the rain and for two hours south of Catavina there are many pot holes as well, but no detours.
11/1/16 - Road Report - Hwy. 3 just south of Tecate to Ensenada 3 – 4 areas under construction, total of about 5 – 7 miles of dirt road.
In San Quintin, the road off of Hwy 1 (approximately 3 miles) to Don Eddie's and The Old Mill is now paved. This is a long awaited road improvement.
Mexicali to San Felipe the road is in good condition. San Felipe to Puerticitos the road is in good condition. However, there are many dips in the road, termed "vados." Sometimes it's difficult to see these ahead and you might be down in one or airborne before you know it. Driving 40 to 45 mph maximum is advised going through this area.
Puerticitos to Gonzaga Bay is best road in Baja. Just south west of Willard pavement ends, 24 miles of construction and dirt road on Highway # 5 to junction of Highway # 1 (average 6 – 8 mph).
Santos Tomas south there is road construction. Little by little they are widening the road and taking out some of the unsafe bridges. You'll have approximately 10 miles of bypassed dirt road. This bypass area is reasonably in good condition.
Ensenada to San Felipe takes over 4 hours now. Lots of pot holes.
Catavina to the Bay of LA there are some pot holes. Most have been repaired but be careful as they missed filling some.
On Highway #1 about 2 miles south of Loreto bridges are being replaced and road construction. There are a couple of miles driving on dirt road.
About 10 miles north on Highway # 1 out of La Paz is the most substantial construction.
9/26/16 President Tony & Nancy Schuck Road Report - Mexicali to San Felipe the road is in good condition. San Felipe to Gonzaga Bay the road is in good condition. However, from San Felipe to Puerticitos there are many dips in the road, termed "vados." Sometimes it's difficult to see these ahead and you might be in down in one or airborne before you know it. Driving 40 to 45 mph maximum is advised going through this area.
Gonzaga Bay to Chapala (Mex. 1) the last 24 miles are unpaved and rough. That stretch took 2 hours traveling in a car without a towed unit. Below Catavina (Mex. 5 comes into Mex. 1 below Catavina) to about 5 miles before the LA Bay turnoff, there are 15 to 20 miles of real bad potholes, 2 to 3 feet across and 4 to 5 inches deep.
Guerrero Negro to Loreto the road is in excellent shape with just some washouts that have been repaired and not a problem. Road construction in Santa Rosalia is complete.
Travel Buddies Calendar
In keeping with today's internet reliance and the Vagabundos code to travel with a buddy, our Travel Buddies Calendar is now online - a great tool to find a buddy to caravan with. Members traveling to Mexico can post trips, find other members who are traveling, find Vag sponsored events, and use the interactive map. Regardless of your driving experience the easy-to-use calendar will allow you to find a buddy. For more information and to login click on http://www.vagabundos.com/TBC.html
Temporary Import Permits:
PREPAID FMM'S (VISITOR CARDS)
Vagabundos members can obtain an FMM from our office, saving you from having to wait in line at a bank. We now process FMM's online and are now able to email you your FMM. Payment by debit or credit cards only. Card will be charged by Mexican Immigration.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO GET YOUR FMM TOURIST CARD VALIDATED AT THE BORDER WHEN YOU ENTER MEXICO. If you fail to get a valid FMM at the border you will be fined, Mexico Immigration will issue a letter giving you 7 days to exit the country and you will need to return to the US.
If you do not get the prepaid FMM from the Vagabundos office and you plan on getting it at the border, do not ask for a Visa because it is not a Visa, it is a TOURIST CARD. US and Canadian citizens do not need a Visa to get into Mexico, they need a TOURIST CARD.
10/30/13 A meeting was held Thursday, October 17, in San Diego regarding FMMs required for fishing on boats in Mexican waters in the 12 mile zone from land. We received information from the CONAPESCA Office in San Diego as to the new procedure for these FMMs. Mexican officials presented a website in Spanish to process FMMs online at http://www.inm.gob.mx/index.php/page/Pesca_Deportiva_Turismo_Nautico. With this new system in place fishermen will have access to an FMM confirmation without having to stop at any border to validate their FMM. This will not take the place for land or air entries.
The price is 500 pesos and it is valid for 180 days, single entry. The website is in Spanish. Land entry FMMs for Baja crossings can be purchased through the Vagabundos Office. Immigration requires that this service be provided only to Members. A copy of a valid passport is required.
FMM's AT TECATE: It is easier to park on the U.S. side, walk across to Immigration in the building on your right.
FISHING LICENSE APPLICATION
CURRENT RATES (subject to change without notice)
Agricultural items are prohibited If they can carry plant pests or animal diseases.
Fruits and Vegetables All fruit not on the permitted list below is prohibited. Sugarcane is prohibited. Potatoes are prohibited, including Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams. (Exceptions: Cooked potatoes are permitted. Avocados without seeds are permitted, except in California.)
Plants, Seeds, and Soil. Plants and seeds require special permits. Soil and some plants are prohibited. Check in advance with agricultural inspectors. (Exception: Some dried plant parts, such as for medicinal purposes, are permitted.)
Meat and Game Pork-raw and cooked, including sausages, cold cuts, skins, and pork tacos, is prohibited. (Exceptions: Shelf-stable, canned pork and hard cooked pork skins [cracklings] are permitted.) Poultry-raw meat from both domesticated and game fowl is prohibited. (Exception: Thoroughly cooked poultry is permitted.) Game - Check with agricultural inspectors in advance. Other restrictions may apply; check in advance with agricultural inspectors.
Eggs Prohibited. (Exceptions: Boiled and cooked eggs are permitted.)
Live Birds Wild and domesticated birds, including poultry, are prohibited.
To import personally owned pet birds, contact agricultural inspectors in advance.
Straw Generally prohibited. This includes wheat straw, seeds, animal feed, and all articles made from this material.
In addition to the excepted items listed above, many agricultural items are permitted if they pass inspection to be sure they are free of pests, soil and sand.
Fruits and Vegetables Permitted fruits are bananas, blackberries, cactus fruits, dates, dewberries, grapes, lemons, limes (sour), lychees, melons, papayas, pineapples, and strawberries. Vegetables are permitted, except for those on the prohibited list above. Okra, however, is subject to certain restrictions.
Nuts Permitted items are atoms, almonds, cocoa beans, chestnuts, coconuts (without husks or milk}, peanuts, pecans, pinons (pine nuts), tamarind beans, walnuts, and water nuts.