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Old 11-21-2008, 10:14 AM   #1
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Is Baja really that dangerous these days? Surfing dec/jan

Going to Baja December 27th through January 13th on a surf trip on the Pacific side with my girlfriend. Have heard many horror stories about crime there these days. Is it true? Any surfers interested in joining us?
Paolo
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:49 PM   #2
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Paolo,

My wife and I have traveled extensively by road through Mexico over the last 3 years and there are some basic rules you want to follow while driving in Mexico.

1. Never take you eyes off the road. The roads are narrow and just beyond the edge of the pavement may be 3' deep concrete drainage ditch, cliff or other equally undesirable obstacle. There can be livestock or a broken down vehicles around any corner at any time and there is very little margin for error.

2. NEVER DRIVE AT NIGHT! I will say it again. NEVER DRIVE AT NIGHT. There are lots of black cows that wander the roads at night. I know this because we have passed many dead ones, some accompanied by wrecked vehicles. Also at night you are more likely to encounter truckers traveling at breakneck speeds, smugglers or other undesirables.

Never stop for any locals on the road that are attempting to flag you down. Flash your lights and keep on going. If they are gringo's use your best judgment.

It is generally not advisable to camp on remote beaches alone. This is especially true if you are near the US border. You will be much safer if you have two or three rigs.

My last rule is to start looking for a gas (Pemex) station when you reach 1/2 tank. There are occasions where the gas station will have a sign that says they are out of gas but there will be a very friendly guy selling gas from the back of his pickup truck at premium price.

If you follow these rules and always be aware of your surroundings you should be fairly safe. If you are ever somewhere and things start to feel weird the best course of action is just to move on.

You will also want to get Mexican insurance. If you get in an accident in Mexico without it you will get to wait in jail until the police determine who was at fault. If you are found to be at fault you will stay in jail until the damages are paid.

Keep in mind that if our news published every drug related shooting that happened in the USA, Mexico would seem safe by comparison.

John
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:56 PM   #3
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John gives very good advice. However, I will say that the area from Tijuana to Ensenada is a complete mess right now. There have been dozens upon dozens of killings in the last month & a half in this area. It has mainly been the Tijuan area and it has also primarily been drug cartel members and members of the police force who have been killed. However, there have also been a fair amount of innocents involved as well. This has not been the normal Baja situation and it is incredibly sad to see/read. Definitely do not drive at night, especially along this stretch of road.

I would like to think that once you are South of Ensenada, all should be fine (normal Baja).

How far South are you planning on going? There are a couple great surf spots about an hour North of Guerrero Negro (Seven Sisters area). The water will be cold here (mid to high 50's). Once you get south of Guerrero Negro, the water starts to warm up fast. I would love to go but I doubt I will be able to swing it then. However, keep us posted on your plan. Also, if you will be in San Diego on your way down, let me know.
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:24 PM   #4
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If you are going farther South than Ensenada, you might consider crossing at Tecate. The highway from Tecate to Ensenada is very pretty and not as heavily traveled as the coast highway and may be safer. The Tecate crossing is only about 30 miles East of San Diego and is not heavily used so if you cross in the morning there probably won't be any line. The only problem is there are not a lot of signs so it is a little difficult to figure out where to go to get your tourist cards.

Also an added bonus is you don't have to drive though Tijuana.

John
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Old 11-23-2008, 07:07 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the good advice!
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:01 AM   #6
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No thanks, There are so many wonderful destinations in the US and Canada that don't require any paranoia control or living in fear. That's not what I want to do on my vacations.
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:23 AM   #7
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I heard on the radio this weekend that Mexico is the kidnap capitol of the World now, and I think I heard there were over 4,000 murders this year.
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Old 11-24-2008, 04:43 PM   #8
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The US Secretary of State website has travel advisories for many countries including Mexico. Here's the link to Mexico.

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_t ... s_970.html
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey
No thanks, There are so many wonderful destinations in the US and Canada that don't require any paranoia control or living in fear. That's not what I want to do on my vacations.
Amen brother...........

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Old 11-24-2008, 09:53 PM   #10
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Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinions. More importantly, if they are happy, then that's really all that matters. However, on the flip side, you may be missing out on may incredible experiences by not traveling abroad, taking "risks" and doing something out of your comfort zone. I've been many places that others wouldn't consider and I know this has helped shaped the person I am today. Hopefully that is for the better...
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