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8/7/16 Road Report - HOLA, my name is William Lee and I'm a member. I've lived in La Paz for 10 years and have driven the Baja 22 times. Over the years I've given you some road reports. I want to give you what we experienced yesterday in our 2 1/2 day drive to La Paz.
First off about 10 miles south of ENSENADA 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.
The next area of contention is in my opinion the most serious. From CATAVINA to the Bay of LA turn off the road is in BAD condition. Massive potholes. Big sections of blacktop missing. There was a serious 18 wheeler truck accident based on the road giving away under his trailer. We noticed small subcompact cars that had hit POT HOLES and destroyed tires and rims. One motorhome had blown two tires within that distance. We actually put both his tires on the roof of our suburban and took him into the next tire repair shop. We stopped and talked to a federal police about the condition of the road while we were at the accident and he basically said call Mexico City.
Last but not least about 10 miles north on Baja one out of La Paz is the most substantial construction. There is 4 bypasses that constitute 11 miles of very rough and rugged bypassed dirt road. Not recommended for motorhomes. I drive a big four-wheel-drive suburban and they were a few holes that we fell into the cause the front suspension to bottom out. 18 wheelers were going 2 miles an hour trying to traverse some of these bypass roads.
Mexico is trying, however it's Mexico. Nothing gets done in a timely fashion. If somebody loses their life due to the poor construction, or bad conditions, it's no big deal. My wife is a Mexican director of education for the kindergarten schools and she deals with the political folks all the time. We've learned the true word of Mañana.
When we left to go up for summer vacation we took the bypass road which is 30 miles above the Bay of LA turn off which takes you over to the GONZAGE BAY, then to San Felipe & Mexicali the bypass road is 19 miles of the fine as talcum powder dust you can imagine. The road is rough and people have blown tires trying to drive too fast. It takes us an hour and a half to traverse 19 miles. The plus side is that once you get over the bypass road you have 75 miles of brand-new road. And no traffic, no buses, no trucks and no cows. Then you pick up the old road which has a lot of dips and some pot holes. We live in calimeas. I guess I should say we have income property up in the San Bernardino area. Taking that route saves us five hours. If you have to go through the normal route and cross at Tijuana, you’ll have all of the traffic from the agricultural areas of SAN QUINTIN, all the buses and traffic of daytime activities. If you go through that route after 10 o'clock at night no traffic.
My apologies for rambling on. I have quite a bit of experience now going up and down. And sure like to help other people avoid some of the pitfalls. If you ever have somebody that is really concerned and wants to talk at length please give him my email address; LEECRAFT01@AOL.COM.
Captain William Lee
APRIL - JUNE 2016 CHUBASCO HOTBOX ERROR - Road Conditions updates in the Baja Hotbox. The road conditions with the 18 miles of incomplete road is not between Mexicali and San Felipe. The incomplete road is south of San Felipe on Mex #5 to its junction with Highway # 1. My wife and I traveled that route early April of this year and there was 24 miles of incomplete road. There were large crews of people and equipment working on the road. Even with the incomplete road this is a shorter, faster route heading south.
SEE UPATED FMM INFORMATION BELOW
6/21/16 Road Report - There is partial closure of Via Internacional just south of San Ysidro border crossing. Travelers heading north will not be affected. Travelers heading south will be redirected to Via Internacional through a nearby entrance. Some of the detour signs may be unclear to follow and not well marked. Passing Mexican Customs, follow the detour signs. The usual Playas/Toll Road exit is still closed due to construction. Follow the Centro/Zona Rio. Stay to the right and follow the ramp to Centro/Paseo de los Heroes. Continue to stay in the right lane. Follow the signs towards Playas de Tijuana/Mex 1 Rosarito. This exit will connect you to Via Internacional toll road. The construction is anticipated to continue for at least a few more weeks.
In San Quintin, the road from Don Eddie's past Lazaro Cardenas Road, about 13 miles, is now paved. This is a long awaited road improvement.
About 12 miles south of Guerrero Negro the road is under construction. Travelers will be detoured on to dirt washboard roads for about three miles.
On Highway 5, between Puertecitos and San Felipe, some of the potholes have been patched. Keep your eyes on the road at all times. Unexpected vados might surprise you and sometimes they are difficult to see ahead.
The dirt road south of Gonzaga Bay, approximately 23 miles, is in better shape. The road goes back and forth onto the new road. The dirt road past the new road, approximately 24 miles, is passable but extremely rough. Be extra careful of rocks of different sizes, ranging from golf ball to baseball size. About twenty bridges are being built. Some of the bridges are small and some are a lot better to navigate through. Expect to see heavy operating equipment due to construction. The road is coming along and is predicted to be completed next year.
5/7/16 Road Report - On May 7th, Shanna and I crossed the border at Tijuana on schedule at 7AM. We were greeted by very friendly Mexican Immigration Staff. We had our paperwork in order, Mexican vehicle insurance for my truck, boat and boat trailer. Thanks to you, I already had my TIP Permit for my boat from last year as those are valid for 10 years. We were loaded down with fishing gear and household items that we were bringing down to our friends casa in Loreto. The Mexican Authorities barely looked at us and sent us on our way. They did not search our vehicle at all. They did not stamp our passports or even look at our Tourists Cards, which we purchased in advance through VDM.
We drove to Ensenada via the toll road and it was uneventful and in very good condition. The traffic was light as we were traveling on a Saturday morning. The road went from good to mildly rough when we got into Ensenada. We like taking to Harbor Route and once we pass the harbor, we turned south on HWY 1 and the road became a bit more rough.
Our first Military Check-point was on the top of the hill prior to El Rosario. The young men at the check-point waved us right through and were all smiles. We fueled-up in El Rosario and continued south. This is where the road really became rough. For the next 130 miles, the road was very rough. I have come to expect this and I have always been worried about my boat trailer on these adventures. For this reason, I took my boat trailer to California Trailer Works in Sacramento and had them replace and upgrade my boat support bunks. I also had them replace my nose bumper and upgrade my forward keel support. I am so glad I did this! I have never seen the road this rough, from El Rosario south approximately 130 miles of really terrible roads! This is my 7th trip down driving this road, it sucked!
We arrived at Guerrero Negro at approximately 7PM and our room was waiting for us at the Malarrimo Hotel. Their number is 011-52-615-157-0100 and their email is email@example.com. We had a very nice dinner and our room was very nice. Their staff is awesome and we just love them. The Malarrimo Hotel has security there and we have never worried about our vehicles or our belongings that we take down with us. I always tip the person that works the night shift 100 pesos for making sure my vehicles are safe.
We left Guerrero Negro the following morning on the 8th after a very nice breakfast at the Malarrimo Hotel Restaurant. Approximately ten miles south of Guerrero Negro, we came to a point where a Policia Federal had set-up his own check-point. It was a single officer that had a civilian with him. The civilian was leaning against the hood of the police car while the officer was standing in the middle of the road and directed us to stop. The officer was very friendly and asked us where we were coming from, where we were going and how long we were staying in Baja. After answering all his questions, he looked like he was thinking for a bit and then he asked us if we had a permit for our boat. I told him that I did and he sent us on our way. I have never been asked for my boat permit, except by the Harbor Master in Loreto, and I have never seen a check-point set-up in this manner. I am glad I had my TIP Permit for my boat.
At about 12 miles south of Guerrero Negro, the road was under construction and we were detoured off the road for approximately 2.75 miles on to dirt washboard road. So much for my nice clean boat! We continued across the peninsula and dropped down into Santa Rosalia. As if I thought the road could not get worse!, Holy crap! The mining operation in Santa Rosalia has really destroyed the road. Even the Mexicans were slowing down for the rough road! On the south side of Santa Rosalia, the road became much nicer. On to Mulege' for lunch at Mario's taco house on the ocean side of the road. Best tacos ever! It is a Mom & Pop operation in town at the intersection just north of the bridge at the speed-bump and intersection of a road coming in from the west side of the road. On to Loreto without incident and the road was fine.
I appreciate the help of VDM more than you can possibly know with making sure that I have all the proper documentation for my trip down into Baja.
Respectfully, Dale Hutchins
4/22/16 Road Report - Crossing at Mexicali
Crossing south bound into Mexico through the Eastern Mexicali crossing at the end of Hwy 7. Cross the border and drive approx. 1 kilometer or .6 miles then turn left on calvada Rodriquez Street. Then drive 4 kilometers or 2.6 miles miles (Calzada Rodriquez becomes Novena). Then turn right on Indenpencia go 1.3 kilometers or 1 mile and turn left on Boulevard Venustiano Carronza (which is an industrial commercial street and partly a parkway) drive 10 kilometers or 6 miles on this road it will run into Hwy 5 turn left South.
16.3 Kilometers or 10 miles from that border crossing to Hwy 5.
Use same figures on reverse.
When you leave San Felipe 85 miles north of military checkpoint then turn right Venustiano Coronza go approx. 5 miles NE on Venustiano Coronza turn right onto Inpendencia go 1 mile turn left on Novena then go 2 miles on Novena which turns into Calzada Rodriquez turn right this is an entrance to the border (street is unnamed).
For both when a person is on Novena or Calzada Rodriguez, Cetys is an intersection this is the point at which they change and become the street as they run into each other.
We recommend that you go to googlemaps.com google Mexicali and look to the Eastern part of Mexicali where highway 7 runs into the boarder of Mexicali/California.
President Tony Schuck
3/22/16 Road Report - HOLA TO ALL, well I promise to send you a road report. It was more like the 1st exploration of the Gobi desert. We left La Paz and made it to GUERRERO NEGRO in 10 hours of driving time. Had dinner in SANTA ROTALIA at the Chinese restaurant. Always good safe and inexpensive food. I had given it minor consideration, but was quite wrong inasmuch there was no hotels in town. But every whale watch person was there. We finally found a hole in a wall for 400 pesos. Didn't get bedbug so we figure ourselves lucky. Continuing up the road, approximately 65 miles above the Bay of LA turn off is a little sign that says San Felipe . Also a little sign it says Baja 1. We made the turn and immediately found washboard vibrating everything in the suburban. Ahead of us we could see huge plummets of dust. Not quite sure what that was, however we found out. They are rapidly building huge bridges, culverts and blowing up the sides of mountains to make one heck of a nice highway. One bridge has stanchions of over 150 feet high. Being in the middle of the mountains in the middle of nowhere seeing his big beautiful bridge was quite impressive. So we continued on bouncing and shaking the heck out of everything. Surprisingly about 10 miles in we came to the workers camp area. They had a little cafeteria set up with probably 30 house trailers and a big diesel tank. Everybody lives on-site. We talk to some of them and they were quite nice. We were told that we had 10 miles more to go. Also they said that the next 10 miles was pretty rough. Well he wasn't joking. The right front wheel fell into a big hole and I actually had to give enough throttle to spin the back wheels to get it out of the hole. It was exactly 20 miles to reach the other side. By the time we got there the suburban was no longer green, it was a poor color of brown. Dust everywhere in everything. Once on the other side we hit what will be considered the new highway which is normal with lanes and pull offs. 65 miles of perfectly smooth highway with no cars. No buses. No cows. Not a cow sign anywhere. When we got to Gonzago Bay the old road came in the play. For the next 60 miles we had typical Mexican roads full of dips, potholes and washouts. We were very much impressed with the scenery. The minute we came out of the dirt bypass road there was the Sea of Cortez. Beautiful drive for the next 120 miles. Then we hit San Felipe . Found some good fish tacos and the road to Mexicali. That was a partly four-lane highway eventually coming down to 2. But in very good condition. No cows. No buses. No trucks. What was additionally very interesting was we were there at low tide. So you see this massive area that look like the great Salt Lake. They have a title flow of approximately 10 m as we continued up the highway we then came to the Delta of the Colorado River. That was also interesting because most of the signs and license plates were all Arizona and California. You can buy a cute little house right on the river for 75,000. Finally making it to Mexicali and to the entrance of the border crossing, as usual we got into the wrong Lane. Not until an hour and a half later did we find that we were in the bus and RV Lane. Customs gentleman said that the sign had fallen down and nobody bothered to put it back up. Normally if you stay in the left-hand Lane it's a 30 to 40 minute crossing. Once we crossed from Calexico to Calimesa was a three-hour drive. When we were in San Felipe , we were parallel with san quintin. Already quite a bit ahead of the curve. Also if you look at a map you'll see that the Calexico side is approximately 75 miles closer, or should I say more inward as a border runs on an angle into Arizona. Calexico is parallel with enienada. So taking in the hour 20 minutes of driving 10 miles an hour through the dirt bypass we were still able to make it only a one night stay over. We made it to the RV by 9 o'clock that night. Overall we figured it's a four-hour savings and driving time. I figure we had a total of 18 hours drive time out of the Baja. JACK, I think your car would make it, but you might not feel comfortable doing it. We went slow, some passed us going 20 miles an hour. We saw a couple sub - compact cars bouncing through with no trouble. The drive & the scenery is well worth the hour and a half of terror. Just not sure you guys want to subject your vehicle to that type of treatment. It took me 3 hours to get the suburban clean. No damage to tires or anything else. Just dirt !!!!!! otherwise all is well here in Calimesa weather is nice. Reyna done some shopping. We still have hangups on the escrow about carrying back paper so were not sure where were going to go with this deal. Get yourself a map of Baja and look at it -------------------------BILL / REYNA
3/2/16 Road Report - Check out Member Joe Bono's blog on his trip to Baja. Click here
12/9/15 Road Report - We took the road from Calexico to San Felipe and then on to Gonzaga bay where we had a very nice room and stay at Alfonsinas. The road from Mexicali to Gonzaga Bay was fabulous. The road for the first 40 miles after Gonzaga Bay was the best road we have been on in baja. Then, the last 27 miles to Mex 1 took at least 1 hour and 45 minutes. It was both under construction and terrible. Not to mention traffic on the narrow one lane road was going way too fast. Also semis for the construction which you had to find a wide spot to get around. Once this construction is complete Mex 5 will be the way to go as it was 135 miles shorter from Yuma, Az. to Guerrero Negro than going Mex 1 all the way. Best wishes, Mike and Ann
11/2/15 Tecate - Courtesy of the Ventana View: Heads up people crossing at Tecate! As of October 27 at 9am construction at border. Normally you would go through the border and inspection and go straight through the traffic light, not now, construction! Be warned if you go left at the light you continue past more construction which continues until you end up going up an incredibly narrow and STEEP hill! If you are driving anything bigger than an SUV this is a very dangerous and potentially disastrous way to go, you may have to back down because there is nowhere to turn around. I would highly recommend going RIGHT at the lights because left is a disaster and has no road marking for detours. I don't know what is to the right but it has to be better than going left. Bien Viejo.
10/29/15 Road Report - President Tony Schuck and Vag buddies just arrived in Loreto. They crossed the border at Mexicali and drove Mexico 5 from San Felipe. He said the road is flawless through Puerticitos and Gonzaga Bay. It then starts as bad vibration washboard for 24 more miles until reaching Baja 1 south of Catavina. That 24 mile portion has big dips, loose gravel and rocks the size of golf and tennis balls. It took 2 hours to drive. There are a lot of road construction camps along that stretch of road. One member of the party had driven the road from south to north in May and it was in better shape at that time. The road after reaching Baja 1 from there south to Loreto is in good shape. Tony also reports with the rate of the peso today, there are good bargains for travelers.
10/29/15 Weather - Hurricane Patricia - News from Mexico reports 6 deaths so far, 3,500 homes damaged or destroyed, and 10,000 hectares of crops destroyed. Given the size and velocity of the category 5 storm, it could have been much worse. Credit is given to the alerts that provided the time for people to prepare. (Thanks to Mexico News Daily.)
FMM TOURIST CARDS PLEASE REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE NOW REQUIRED TO GET YOUR TOURIST CARD VALIDATED AT YOUR POINT OF ENTRY. IMMIGRATION WILL NOT ACCEPT THE PREPAID FMM AT ANY OFFICE OTHER THAN THE ONE YOU LISTED ON YOUR APPLICATION. THE FINE IS MUCH MORE PAINFUL THAN STOPPING AND CAN SAVE YOU A TRIP BACK TO THE BORDER.
If you do not get the prepaid FMM 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.
Mexico will enforce rules requiring boaters to have immigration and fishing permits - See more at this Mexico News Daily link.
NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
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 390 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 Application
Fishing licenses are also offered through the office. Non-members can purchase them with a slightly higher service charge one time before having to become a Member.You can get an application at Fishing License Application
11/14/12 - El Chaperall Border Crossing into Tijauna Mexico Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKgKsfl1sn0&feature=plcp
Magna (87 octane) 13.57 pesos/liter, $3.35 /gal; Premium (93 octane) 14.38, $3.55; diesel 14.20, $3.50 scarce at Guerrero Negro. At Catavina Magna Sin and L.A. Bay Junction Magna & diesel from barrels - 5 gal minimum.
Temporary Import Permits:
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
FMM's are for Vag Members only, and are on a first come, first served basis. You can obtain these by filling out an Application and sending it in along with a copy of your passport to our office. Contact us at HQVDM for more information on obtaining these documents call (800) 474-2252.
PREPAID FMM'S (VISITOR CARDS)
These replace the former FMT's. 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.
FMM's AT TECATE: It is easier to park on the U.S. side, walk across to Immigration in the building on your right.
CURRENT RATES (subject to
change without notice)
We are currently out of yearly fishing license.
* Must specify date on weekly and monthly licenses. Annual fishing licenses must be dated within the month of issue.
Requirements for Sport Fishing within 12 miles from seashore
1. Fishing License
You may obtain your fishing licenses through our office. (Every person aboard will need their
To obtain your FMM follow the link https://www.banjercito.com.mx/registroEmbarques/ . This is going to direct you to Banjercito's website where you
To obtain your TIP follow the link https://www.banjercito.com.mx/registroVehiculos/ .
You are not required to have In-water boat liability insurance but it is recommended.
For more information go to http://www.sportfishinginmexico.com/.
PROHIBITED AND PERMITTED ITEMS
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.