BAJA BEACHES & WHALES ROUNDTRIP
February - March 2019
The past recent years have seen record numbers of gray whales in the lagoons on the Pacific side of Baja. All indications are numbers are still increasing and 2019 will be even better. The 2018 Caravan found blue whales (the largest animal ever on the planet), humpbacks, finbacks and gray whales. We are amazed that year after year as we have made the trek to Baja to seek the whales, we have not had a trip without an opportunity to actually touch a gray whale in their habitat. For us it is a humbling experience each time we view these intelligent mammals in the place they’ve chosen to birth their calves - as the Mexicans say - the gray whales are Mexican by birth. In one of the most remarkable annual migrations nature offers, Pacific gray whales make the 5,000 mile trip from the chilly feeding grounds of the Arctic to the safety of warm, shallow waters of the Baja Peninsula for their breeding and calving season.
We will introduce you to these two favorite things to do and see in Baja and will take you down to Cabo San Lucas and back to California in both RV’s and passenger cars. We’ll spend some nights on Baja’s best beach campgrounds. During the height of the season, we will experience whale watching with gray whales in Scammon’s Lagoon and another lagoon, depending on timing and number of whales present. These gray whale wintering areas have developed “friendly” mothers who bring their calves right up to the boats and enjoy being stroked. Mostly it’s the babies, pushed to the boat by mama whale, who probably learned the behavior as a baby herself, who seem the most friendly and want to play with us. To connect with these friendly whales from a small panga, looking right into their eye rolled toward you, creates a distinctive awareness of these intelligent creatures, enhances the mind and exhilarates the soul. In Loreto we will search for magnificent blue whales and other whale species like humpbacks and finbacks. In La Paz we’ll seek another incredible gentle giant – whale sharks. Again the 2018 Caravaners were able to swim with the whale sharks - a lifetime experience to be with these gentle giants in the water. Sometimes you have to keep kicking your swim fins pretty fast to keep up with them. The fee per rig with two people is to be determined. Be sure your CB radio or two-way family radio is working. For more information call Vag Headquarters at 800-47-4-BAJA (2252)
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Day 1. From I-5 or I-805 take Highway 94 east. Then 5 miles east of the Tecate turn-off follow the signs to the campground at Potrero San Diego County Park. Park in one of the Vagabundos block of spaces. Wagon Masters Briefing about tomorrow.
Day 2. Drive 5 miles back to the turn-off to Tecate. Park on the U.S. side and walk the short distance across the border to validate your prepaid FMM’s in Immigration (Migracion) or obtain them in Immigration, pay for them at the bank and validate them back at Immigration. Take your passports with you in order to walk back to the U.S. on the east side of the street.
Days 3-4. Heading south again, and after passing El Rosario we will enter the central desert area. This is one of Baja’s most scenic regions with large Cardon Cactus and Cirio trees that are nicknamed Bojums. We will turn-off Highway 1 onto the highway to Bahia de Los Angeles arriving at Daggett’s RV Park and enjoy the magnificent scenery of many islands in the Sea of Cortez. 216 miles, 5.5 hrs.
Days 5-6. We will back track to Highway 1 and drive south to Guerrero Negro to stay at Mario’s RV Park. In the morning we will go gray whale watching in Scammon’s Lagoon. 125 miles 3 hrs.
After lunch we will then drive to San Ignacio and stay at Rice & Beans RV Park and Restaurant and have dinner. 91 miles, 2 hrs.
Day 7. Depending on weather conditions and other information we may opt to take our other grey whale trip to San Ignacio Lagoon. If we do not, we will take a trip to Mag bay later in the tour. At San Ignacio you can visit the lovely town and marvel at what the old padres created. The town square (Zocolo) has huge Indian Laurel trees and a magnificent mission church. You can also visit the museum of ancient cave paintings and enjoy the ambience.
Day 8. We will travel east on Highway 1 and descend the steep grades (Cuesta del Infierno) towards the Sea of Cortez passing the Volcano Tres Virgenes and the copper city of Santa Rosalia. We’ll pull into Villa Maria RV Park in Mulege. 83 miles, 2 hrs.
Day 9. We’ll wander around Mulege to enjoy the beauty of the river, see the quaint town with narrow streets, and visit the old prison where the inmates were allowed to go out and work all day, then return to their cells. There is another mission to visit.
Day 10-12. Heading south we will arrive at Loreto and settle in at Loreto Shores RV Park. 86 miles 2 hrs. The next day we’ll take a scenic drive to the San Javier Mission high in the Sierra de La Giganta, visit the Cheese Factory and have an enjoyable lunch hosted by a local. The next day, if the weather permits we will go blue whale viewing near the islands. If the weather is bad (windy) we will postpone this until our return.
Days 13-14. La Paz will accommodate us for two nights so that we can wander in the city and enjoy the shopping and beauty of the Malecon (along the waterfront) with many statues to enjoy. We will also get to enjoy swimming with the whale sharks. 218 miles, 5.5 hrs.
Days 15-18. We will head for the East Cape and Playa Norte in Los Barriles. The drive there will have scenic views in an important section of Baja. During our stay in Los Barriles, you can travel to the Cabo region via your own transportation or take a tourist bus. Cabo has much to offer the tourist. Glass boat rides, golf and plenty of watering holes. 100 miles, 4 hrs.
Day 19. Start our return and overnight at Constitucion at Palapa 206 RV Park and Hotel on the south side of town. 200 miles 5 hrs.
Day 20. We will have an optional morning to take a day trip for Gray Whale watching in Mag Bay if the trip was not taken on day 7. We then head to Loreto to Loreto Shores RV Park 122 miles 3 hrs.
Day 21. There will be pangas from Loreto for blue whales if we didn’t go during our previous stay, weather permitting. If we have time left in the day to make it to Conception Bay we will depart for it in the afternoon. 75 miles 2 hrs.
Days 22-24. Santispac Beach on Conception Bay.
Day 25. Rice & Beans Restaurant and RV park in San Ignacio. 104 miles, 3.5 hrs.
Day 26. Santa Ynez Ranch near Catavina. 248 miles, 6 hrs. We will determine what the weather is like in the San Quintin area and make a decision as to head there the next day or stay put at Santa Ynez. In the morning we will take a nature hike near the vicinity of the campground then head for the San Quintin area weather permitting.
Day 27. At Santa Ynez or head to Don Eddie's San Quintin 114 miles 2hrs.
Day 28. A beach RV park if weather permitting or head to Mona Lisa. 110 miles 2.5 hrs.
Day 29. Head to Mona Lisa RV Park, Ensenada, if not already there. Enjoy our farewell dinner.
Day 30. Crossing the Border point into the U.S. will be determined. 64 miles, 1.5 hrs.
Be sure your CB radio is working. It is useful to also have a family handheld radio for backup.
1. Everyone is responsible for keeping their rig in good running condition. Have vehicles serviced and checked over before leaving home. The following is suggested:
Oil and filter change
Air filter change
Gas filter change
Wheel bearings checked and/or packed
Inspect all hoses under the hood and replace if unduly soft or brittle
Inspect all belts and replace if frayed
Check all fluid levels
Check wiper blades and replace if necessary
Check shock absorbers and replace if necessary
Check and clean battery terminals, check fluid level and general condition
Check front end alignment
Check tires for condition and pressure, including spare
Check turn signals, tail lights and brake lights
Check wheel lug nuts for tightness
2. Inspect trailer and fifth-wheel springs carefully for any cracks or bad bushings. Chances are if they are 8-10 years old and have had considerable use, they will break somewhere that you won’t want them to. If one breaks, the others will soon follow.
3. Suggested spare parts to bring are:
Belt – 1 spare for each one under the hood
Air filter – 1
Tire – 1 one for each size on vehicles and trailers
Jack – 1 heavy enough to lift a corner of your rig
Lug wrenches – 1 for each size nuts on vehicles and trailers
Hitch ball – 1 if pulling trailer
Hoses – 1 for each under the hood
Keys – 1 spare set
Oil – enough for a change, plus extra for emergency
Oil filters – 2
Fuel filters – 2
Flashlights – 2 plus extra batteries
Distilled water for batteries
One trailer springs and shackle
4. In case of breakdown the Wagon Master will assist you to get it going, or will see you to a mechanic. Then it will be up to you. Green Angel trucks provided by the Mexican Department of Tourism travel main highways to help travelers in need. The drivers are bi-lingual and have simple spare parts, tools and radios for obtaining other assistance if needed. Tips are accepted.
1. CB radios and two-way handheld radios will be used for communicating while the caravan is on the road. Be sure to have one of each that works.
2. Leave the Club phone numbers, (800) 474-2252 and (707) 374-5511, with family and friends. We will try to locate you in case of emergency.
3. Arrange for Mexico coverage with your cell phone service provider.
4. Many RV parks in Mexico now have WiFi.
If you have a small vehicle which you tow behind a motorhome it is recommended that you bring it for convenient transportation out of campgrounds.
Mexico is a foreign country that does not have the same standards as the U.S. or Canada as far as services for electricity, water, etc. There will be dry camping and camping with facilities that may or may not work all the time. We recommend you buy purified water. Arrangements can usually be made in campgrounds to buy it from vendors who will pour the five-gallon containers into your rig.
Personal Documents Required
1. Passport for each person.
2. Prepaid Tourist Permit (FMM) properly filled out for each person (can be purchased from Club Headquarters). A passport is required.
3. Current International Health Certificate from your veterinarian for each pet.
4. Valid current registration for each vehicle, trailer and boat.
5. Copy of the title for each vehicle or boat (sometimes the original must be presented).
6. Low-cost Mexican Insurance Liability Policy for each vehicle.
7. Mexican Fishing License for each individual to be involved in fishing from a boat or being a passenger on the boat. These can be purchased from Club Headquarters.