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Old 02-07-2021, 01:21 PM   #1
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Mexico?

Looking to plan a trip to Baja in March. The US border is reported to be closed for vehicles that are traveling south for vacation. Yet I am seeing chatter online that people are driving across the border for vacation without issue. Anyone out there with some first or second hand knowledge that would help? Thanks.
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:20 AM   #2
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Things are constantly changing and who knows what itíll be like in March, but we know several who have driven down within the last month or so. Itís a bit confusing when they say itís closed and yet people are still crossing. I think at the least you need to have a destination or a place to go with a reservation....?
Keep in mind they are in desperate need of tourist dollars down there, so I donít think they are turning people away at the border, so it might just come down to using your own discretion and weather you feel itís safe enough to head down at that time. Keep an eye on quarantine requirements for when you return, but again, things change frequently. Case numbers in Baja are relatively low compared to mainland, but I think much of that is due to lack of widespread testing.
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Old 02-08-2021, 11:28 AM   #3
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I am also looking forward to travelling to Baja, as soon as it is safe and in good taste to do so. I have recently joined two facebook groups, TalkBaja and Talk Baja Road Conditions, that has a lot of very helpful (and some not-so-helpful) information. It seems like a great place to start, to learn about fuel conditions, safety concerns, etc.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:30 PM   #4
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A friend of mine just crossed on his way to the southern Baja gulf coast. His info was that the smaller border crossing spots were the best for reduced chance of problems and it did work out for him that way. Crossing in a self converted Mercedes at Mexicali was a wave through. I have another friend that crosses regularly in an older 4wd Ford passenger van at the Tecate crossing and had no problems through all of 2020
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:12 PM   #5
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I have a neighbor who has a house in northern Baja. He goes back and forth practically every weekend and has been doing it for months. Crossing in Calexico.

And I have a colleague who goes down to TJ for lunch all the time.

While I prefer to follow guidelines, I don't think you'll have any issues. Hopefully by then its just "open" anyway.
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:28 PM   #6
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Chris Ridgway just did a trip in his van and I didn't hear of any issues he had.
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Old 02-08-2021, 06:39 PM   #7
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How about getting back in?

Has anyone reported problems returning back into the US after visit to Mexico??
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Old 02-08-2021, 07:39 PM   #8
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We have a house about 25 miles south of San Felipe & go there several times a year. We were down right after Christmas for a couple of weeks & again for a couple of weeks just a few weeks ago.

The one thing about Baja, COVID or not, is it's just too hard to say what will happen at any given crossing at any given time. There are a ton of variables and it's usually more a matter of the individual(s) you deal with and their interpretation of the current laws/rules/guidelines. That being said, most situations don't end up being that big of a deal, or something that can't be fixed.

When we crossed in December, we did get asked if we were traveling for business or vacation. One of their big concerns was how much beer we were bringing into Mexico with us. At the time, they were limiting each vehicle to one case of beer (to them, a case is a 12 pack). Their reasoning was that if you were bringing more beer than that, you were going down for vacation and not business. I believe this is no longer an issue & we weren't asked on our next trip.

There was a second check point a couple hundred yards south of the "official" crossing where they were taking people's temperatures. They took mine, but not my wifes??? Our friends came down the next day and got caught in a 7 hour jam-up at the temperature taking check point & there was no way to get out of it once they were across the border. When we crossed a few weeks ago, this was gone.

I can tell you from experience & several reports from friends & neighbors who have crossed at least a couple of times recently, they are getting much stricter about you having ALL the proper documentation, including Mexican auto insurance that covers the duration of your anticipated stay in Baja. We did hear from a very reliable source that even the military checkpoint at the intersection of Hwy 5 & Hwy 3 was asking to see this. That being said, we didn't get asked either time we went through...

The town of San Felipe just became its own municipality. Something they have been trying to get for about 30 years. I don't know how much this will affect us, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some new/different laws/rules that will make things even more confusing.

What we did notice was they went through the town and replaced all the old faded stop signs & street signs. The stop signs are also, now, roughly in the same place and at the same height throughout the town. It looks like the days of stop signs being virtually any distance from the actual intersection and at any height are gone...

We also witnessed and heard several reliable reports about the new police put in place after the town became its own municipality. While the local municipal police (the cars and trucks are blue & white and say "Policia" on the sides) remain, the "Federalies"(Policia Federal) that drive the dark blue cars & trucks with the big white stripes have been replaced by the new "Guardia General" in all white cars & trucks. Their vehicles look almost identical to the "Guardia National" (National Guard) vehicles that have a black & white checkered stripe somewhere (usually along the bottom sides or above the running boards) on an all white vehicle.

They are using the same police station that the Federalies had been using, so I'm assuming they are also some form of federal police agency, although even the locals I talked to couldn't clarify this for me. I called Carol at the Discover Baja travel club and she had not heard anything about a change in federal police, or anything about the new Guardia General.

Another thing we witnessed and heard several "complaints" about was that the Guardia General seemed to be much more aggressive in their enforcement efforts, especially with traffic violations and speeding. This may settle down after a while, but I'd make sure to follow the posted speed limits for a bit when traveling in and around San Felipe.

We have never experienced, nor have we ever heard of anyone having trouble getting back into the US. We've crossed 4 times since COVID hit and have never even been questioned on our return. That being said...
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:17 AM   #9
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We will be down again for a couple of weeks at the beginning of March. After 25+ years of little to no cell or internet service, we finally (hopefully) have "reliable" cell & internet. I'll try to post an update on the crossing as soon as we get in.
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Old 02-10-2021, 07:54 PM   #10
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Just got back this weekend after 5 days in Baja. No questions on the way across South or crossing back North.
We were pulled over in Mexicali on the way down and told that with two or more people in the car, everyone must be wearing a mask. That was it and on our way.
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