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Old 08-02-2009, 09:44 AM   #1
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Baja Safety.....

Folks

Any first hand info on current saftey in The Baja?

I lived in Mexico for 10 years, visit my buddy in TJ once a month.
My family camped in The Baja for years as a kid, but that was
in the 60's and 70's

I have a healthy respect for the current drama in TJ.
When i see my buddy in TJ, i know the drill.

My wife, dog and i are planning a November trip
(my wife is 90 pounds and a couple of decades my junior)
We dont like crowds, thus the SMB 4x4
Entry at Mexicali, and hugging the Sea of Cortez

I have common sense, and speak pretty good Spanish.

thanx in advance

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Old 10-22-2009, 10:30 AM   #2
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Re: Baja Safety.....

Dont know if you ever got your answer to this, but i thought id chime in. Ive been doing baja for the last 15+ years - solo and with people, and please understand that while mexico is still a 3rd world country with a corrupt government, baja is still pretty safe. All the drama that has been in the news recently with the be-headings, hangings, stuffing bodies in garbage bags, etc... is all within the TJ/Ensenada area and is happening to people associated with the Cartels, or government figures/family of them.
I know of only one case in 2008 where an american family crossed the border at TJ late evening and were stopped just as the toll road starts by "fake" cops who made the family get out and under a blanket and stole their rig and everything inside it. They walked to the border.

Just like anywhere else, common sense goes a long way. The first 100 miles of baja is a garbage dump (no offense to those who like it). Once past ensenada, baja is the coolest place you can experience. Dont cross the border at night, dont drive at night (cows on the road), do your travels in the morning/daytime. If juan-y-law wants to pull you over, put your flashers on until you reach a spot where people are at - lessens the chance for a large mordida or worse - they know the routine.

There are stories of people getting mugged or things stolen at camp areas in northern baja, but most of those stories are from careless college kids acting like stupid americans and most of them ask for problems they recieve.
I personally wouldnt camp anywhere north of El Rosario on the pacific side except for a couple areas due to local drunks that have frequented camp areas, and the east cape is pretty much fine all the way. Camping in a group is always safer. Hell, i feel safer camping in baja than i do at some southern california campgrounds.

So the moral of my story is - do your travels in daylight if in northern baja, staying where other people are at is safer, and most of all - be the courteous american instead of the @sshole that so many become in the land of lawlessness and you probably wont have any issues.


Now you have me dreaming of my next baja adventure...



Quote:
Originally Posted by billwilson
Folks

Any first hand info on current saftey in The Baja?

I lived in Mexico for 10 years, visit my buddy in TJ once a month.
My family camped in The Baja for years as a kid, but that was
in the 60's and 70's

I have a healthy respect for the current drama in TJ.
When i see my buddy in TJ, i know the drill.

My wife, dog and i are planning a November trip
(my wife is 90 pounds and a couple of decades my junior)
We dont like crowds, thus the SMB 4x4
Entry at Mexicali, and hugging the Sea of Cortez

I have common sense, and speak pretty good Spanish.

thanx in advance

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Old 10-22-2009, 10:41 AM   #3
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Re: Baja Safety.....

Hitting The Baja for Thanksgiving

Down the Sea of Cortez to La Paz

Me, Mrs. Wilson and Cooper The Butthead (my dog
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:50 AM   #4
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Re: Baja Safety.....

I concur with JMan. Just avoid the border & the northwest area.

You'll be fine on the Sea of Cortez side.

-- Geoff
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:24 AM   #5
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Re: Baja Safety.....

My Mexican friends say it's dangerous no matter where you go. There's plenty of beautiful places here without putting everything you have at risk.
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Old 10-24-2009, 10:47 PM   #6
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Re: Baja Safety.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by j.whitbread
My Mexican friends say it's dangerous no matter where you go. There's plenty of beautiful places here without putting everything you have at risk.
Beaches where you can drive out on, camp alone on, with no houses in sight -- no people at all? Stay as long as you want?

Life is full of balance and trade-offs.

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Old 10-24-2009, 11:46 PM   #7
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Re: Baja Safety.....

I get it. New van, went to Mexico as a kid, and you want to share that with your wife.

Mexico isn't going anywhere. What's the rush.

If the cautions suggested described any area in the US, would you go there, much less in a 3rd world country. Yes, 3rd world.
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:49 AM   #8
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Re: Baja Safety.....

I don't disagree with your assessment of Mexico, but Mexico is a big place. Like the US, there are trouble spots, but that's not the general case. In the US I also worry about being in the wrong place at the wrong time in most cities. And, like in the US, I don't boondock camp near highways on road-ends strewn with trash. Too many potential visitors.

I can also work myself up in fear when I'm not in Mexico. But when I am out there in Baja, when I'm miles from anywhere, surveying the vastness around me -- when I haven't seen anyone all day, I think: what was I worrying about? It's really hard for me to imagine it's worth anyone's effort to hide out there in the bleak desert and harass the occasional gringo who might wander by every few days.

Sometimes I might see the occasional rancher, fisherman, or gringo camper, but never anyone who worries me.

I wouldn't spend any time up near the border & Tijuana. This is me (pre-SMB days) stopping for a minute along the road from Tijuana to Ensenada. I certainly wouldn't camp here, near the highway, with trash on the ground.




This is where I stop to camp. I can see for miles. No one in sight.




Why not just wait...? I have a magical opportunity in my life now to get out and explore in the Sportsmobile. I could lose my health or financial resources tomorrow. Who knows!? Mexico could regress rather than improve. Take advantage of what you have now!

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Old 10-25-2009, 12:26 PM   #9
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Re: Baja Safety.....

Another reason not to wait: If/when Mexico is no longer 3rd world, Baja will be all condos. That 2nd photo above will be dotted with beach houses. I found ancient dilapidated "for sale" signs there already. They could easily come back.


http://octopup.org/baja2009/bahia-san-rafael

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Old 11-04-2009, 01:21 PM   #10
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Re: Baja Safety.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by j.whitbread
If the cautions suggested described any area in the US, would you go there....
Nope, that's why I stay away from most of SoCal. Places like Compton, Bellflower, Culver City, Torrance, etc. scare the hell out of me. Course that means I miss out on Dizzyland

Quote:
Originally Posted by j.whitbread
Mexico isn't going anywhere. What's the rush.
Yup, doubt Mexico is going anywhere, but it sure is changing. Just as an example, the nice, sleeply road (well, maybe a little bumpy ) down the east side is really getting ruined in a hurry. Here's a couple of photos from a few days ago.




These will be large concrete bridges with full two lanes and the whole mess is paved. The adventure and fun of going to Baja will be lost forever. Still will have its neat places, but never to be the same. Sure won't need a Sportsmobile, just head south in your Mini Winnie.

Went out in the boat yesterday....




Petty soon there will be boats all over. Long will be gone the days of being the only boat on the pond.

If you're not comfortable, stay home, but me thinks you're missing some of the greatest camping available. I've been going down here for almost 40 years and living here a large portion of the year and never had a problem. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

You stay safe j.whitbread
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