Baja Hotbox

All dogs must:

  • Be at least 6 months of age at time of entry or return to the United States
  • Have an implanted International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip
    • This must have been implanted prior to any required rabies vaccination
    • The microchip number must be documented on all required forms and in all accompanying veterinary records
  • Appear healthy upon arrival
    • Dogs may not enter the United States if they are carrying a disease contagious to people.
    • Isolation of the dog, veterinary examination, and additional testing, at the importer’s expense, may be required to determine if the dog has a contagious disease and prevent spread if the dog does not appear healthy upon arrival.
  • Have a CDC Dog Import Form receipt
    • This form should be filled out online ideally 2-10 days before arrival; however, it can also be completed right before travel (even in line at the border crossing) if you have internet access. If the information on the form changes before the dog arrives, you must submit a new form and indicate you are making changes to an existing form. All information, including port of entry where the dog is arriving, must be correct at time of arrival.
    • This form requires you to upload a clear photograph of the dog showing its face and body. Dogs that will be less than one year of age at time of arrival should have the photograph taken within 10 days before arrival.
    • There is no charge to importers for submitting this form.
  • Have additional documentation which varies depending on where the dog has been in the 6 months before entering or returning to the United States, or if the dog has a current rabies vaccine administered in the United States
Fishing License

FMM forms are no longer available online. You must apply at the border crossing

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We went all the way to El Pescadero just south of Todos Santos before getting chased north by hurricane Norma, just part of the fun.🤣

Thanks again Scott for your knowledge and friendship. – Vagabundos Rock!😎

—David Lessard

Current Information

07/09/2024 – I entered Baja at the Mexicali East port of entry, final destination, Loreto. The roads were fine, some potholes but nothing out of the norm. 10 miles south of the Bahia de Los Angeles turn off, the road gets really bad. The top layer is asphalt has peeled up and left the road really rough. Hidden inside the rough layers are some deep potholes that have the potential to do some damage. Top speed was 10-15 mph as I’m pulling a small travel trailer. This road condition continues to just north of Jesus Maria. Even the big semi trucks were crawling along.
The bad road took me an hour longer than usual, but slow and cautious and getting to where you’re going is what it’s all about in Baja.
Thinking about having to do it again when homebound, just planning on being safe!

Scott McEwen

2/21/24 – We have had numerous reports of dogs roaming around free on the beaches and around RV parks. Please be cautious with your pets, keep them secure and in your control at all times. Watch out for other animals off leash, as well.

We recently have had some reports that border agents have fined drivers if their pets are not restrained in the vehicle. They have indicated that all pets must be in the backseat of the vehicle and crated or restrained.

October 9, 2023 – We received a report from Vagabundos members, Melanie and Ed, that diesel is not available in Bahia de Los Angeles. Plan accordingly. We will try to keep you updated as we receive updates.

Don’t leave your vehicle unattended during check point inspections. Displaying Vagabundos decals and magnetic signs have benefited Members passing through check points. Request free decals with your renewal or visit our ship store to purchase a set of magnetic signs.

We are seeing an increase in claims involving hitting animals on the road. Another area where extra care is needed is through and south of San Quintin. There is a lot of agriculture traffic and the lanes are narrow. Also, highways are in better condition and traffic moves faster. South of El Rosario the road is in good condition but there is no shoulder.

!Updated Road Reports!

Road Report (3/15/24)

I just returned from the Vagabundos Beaches and Whales Caravan and we found the Baja Highway in relatively good shape. We crossed into Baja at the Mexicali East Port of Entry, traveled south on Mex 5 and Mex 1 to Loreto and returned on the same route.

Mex 5 is in good shape, but don’t get lulled into being non-attentive. South of Puertecitos, the road has dips in the pavement that can surprise you, especially if driving a RV or towing. Also, there are a few deep potholes that can damage your vehicle. Keep an eye out for rocks in the roadway, especially in the deep cuts on the sides of the roadway.  Just pay attention. 

South of the Santa Rosalillita turn off, the roadway takes a turn for the worst. The top layer of asphalt has deteriorated and as a result, it is riddled with potholes. This continues for some distance, almost to Jesus Maria. We were driving RVs or towing trailers, so it was slow going, 30-40 MPH. It is doable, just slow down.

The vast majority of the roadways is in good shape. We did not find any large construction projects or significant detours. Our caravan traveled close to 1500 miles of Baja roadways without any problems or incidents. Go out and have an adventure. 

Scott McEwen
Vagabundos Del Mar

Road Report (10/26/23) – …Highway 1 is in incredible shape with the exception of a few construction zones all the way down to La Paz, after Hurricane Norma. Todd Way

Road report (10/09/23) – We entered at Tecate, and Mexico 3 to Ensenada was good. Ensenada was slow going as usual (road construction/repairs).

Mexico 1 was in good shape…..two or three detours and they were paved. We turned off Mexico 1 into Bay LA. The Bay LA road had several detours as we got close……they were well marked but were dirt. At Bay LA we un-hooked our Baja Bug and headed south. The dirt road going south from Bay LA was miserable! Rough and washed out with VERY rough detours. It only smoothed out at the El Arco turn off near El Barril and was a good dirt road from there to Mexico 1.

Mexico 1 was good all the way to the San Nicolas turn off below Mulege.

On our return to Bay LA we stayed on Mexico1 instead of repeating the nasty dirt road. The section of Mexico 1 to and by-passing Guerrero Negro was good getting back to the Bay LA turn off. Les Reams

Road Report 6/19/23 – From Tijuana down Mex. 1 prior to the toll road about 3 1/2 miles down is a sink hole so you go down to one lane each way, the first toll booth is unmanned (free toll).

South of Ensenada – 3 lanes merge into 1 lane at around mile 72 and continues until about mile 75. All this said, it took about 2 1/2 hours total time, border through final road construction. Best time to go southbound would be in the morning, as it gets busy around 2:00 p.m., going northbound after around 10:00 a.m. George Conlon

Mexicali is easy. Mexico Highway 5 is in great shape and you miss all the congestion on Mexico Highway 1. Scott McEwen

For current travel, we advise:

Travel with another vehicle in order to have assistance in case of a flat tire or mechanical breakdown. This way you will have someone who can find a tow truck or roadside assistance, if necessary. Before leaving home have your local mechanic go over your vehicle and replace anything that looks worn – belts, hoses, headlights, etc. Bring at least basic spare parts.

Don’t drive at night. It is not safe, if for no other reason than cows are often in or alongside the highway. You might not see one until it becomes a hood ornament. There are many areas of open livestock range along Baja 1. Also, a breakdown may leave you on the pavement with nowhere to pull off to avoid a semi or bus coming at high speed. They do drive all night. There was a big problem for us one time getting on the road late because we were having too much fun at the beach and we thought we knew the road well. Then we found the road we had traveled recently had been repaved but not yet marked. It was a very dark, moonless night with lots of black cows at the edge of the road. That was really white-knuckle driving.

Don’t drive too fast. We may hit 60 mph when we can see a long way ahead, but 50 mph is our usual speed, especially when driving an RV or towing and many of us have been doing that for a long time without any problem. This will give you an edge in reacting to unforeseen hazards. Looking far ahead at oncoming traffic, if you can judge when you will cross paths and estimate speed, it’s better to slow or increase speed and cross paths on a straightaway rather than on a curve or curve and hill.

Drive with your lights on. It is easier to be seen in a passing situation!

Take extra care of blind hills and curves. A tanker truck might be half in your lane, and you have to move over as far as you can to the right.

Fill up with fuel when your gauge indicates half empty. Between El Rosario and Jesus Maria on Baja 1, the distance is about 197.5 miles and there are no gas stations in between.

Carry collapsible red cones and a red flag. We use a water ski red flag, and it has saved us big time in hazardous situations – including on US roads. Keep it where you can reach it in case your vehicle suddenly becomes disabled; set your hazard lights and get away from the vehicle. These days there seems to be more vehicles and people stalled by the side of the road being hit by traffic coming behind them.

Be extra cautious around Mulege, La Paz and around the Cape areas- southern Baja Sur. More accidents seem to be happening there. It might be due to most roads now being four-lane highways and traffic is moving faster. Another area where extra care is needed is through and south of San Quintin. There is a lot of agriculture traffic and the lanes are narrow. South of El Rosario the road is in good condition but there is no shoulder.

But above all, realize that we have been sending caravans down to Baja and all over the Mexican mainland for many years and have never had a problem with anyone else on the highway. We plan our trips to be in an RV park or motel before the sun goes down. We have trailer boat cruises every year and our fishing tournaments continue to be popular. Also, as mentioned, most of our Officers, Directors, Ambassadors-at-Large, and many Members regularly drive the Baja Peninsula with no problems.

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 traveling, find Vagabundos 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 Travel Buddies

Travel Information

Temporary Import Permits:

Vehicle Permits

  • The new fee is $52.20 plus tax. People going to Baja north & south and part of Sonora do not need to have one.
  • Everyone is required to leave a deposit (if you pay by cash or credit card); the deposit is based on the vehicle year. If anyone fails to return their vehicle prior to the expiration date the deposit will be kept.
  • Banjercito will run a check on the vehicle before issuing the permit, if there is any theft report on the vehicle or if it is restricted or prohibited to operate in the US or Canada, the vehicle cannot be temporarily imported.
  • The temporary permit time is based on the person’s immigration status i.e. 180 days for tourist.
  • People traveling in the eastern part of Sonora need to have a Sonora Only Permit.

Boat Permits

  • Temporary Boat Importation Permits (TIP) are required if you are towing a boat of more than 15 feet. Marinas in Mexico have an obligation by law to keep a copy of a tourist visa, vessel TIP, insurance and certificate of documentation on file. The TIP is for recreational or sport boats for all people legally residing outside of Mexico no matter what your immigration status TIP application click here.

Prepaid FMMs and Fishing Licenses

Prepaid FMMS (Visitor Cards)

Vagabundos members can NO LONGER obtain an FMM from our office. All visitors must purchase at border crossing.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO GET YOUR FMM TOURIST CARD and have it 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.

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 procedure for FMMs.

The FMM Tourist Visa price is 687 pesos and it is valid for 180 days, single entry. A copy of a valid passport is required.

FMMs at Tecate: It is easier to park on the U.S. side, walk across to Immigration in the building on your right.

Fishing License

CURRENT RATES (subject to change without notice)

  • Weekly $553 pesos*
  • Monthly $779 pesos*
  • Yearly $1004 pesos*
  • * Plus a handling fee

Prohibited and Permitted Items


PROHIBITED 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.

PERMITTED ITEMS

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.