Getting around Baja

Girmantas | Travel | June 02, 2014

I have planned to rent a car for this trip. However, as I’ve mentioned in my last blog entry – car rental got three times more expensive once on the ground in Mexico, thus I had to forget the rental and look for other solutions. After reaching Abreojos with my friends driving north, I was lucky enough to snatch a van!

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The most important feature of the van – it has a bed frame so it’s very convenient to put my windsurf boards down under and sails, masts and other stuff on top of it. The van, obviously had seen a couple dozen of summers and winters, experienced thousands of miles of Baja dirt roads, rusty, but still running! It’s simple to use too: at every stop I have to disconnect the battery, so it doesn’t discharge; the trunk is securely locked by rubber band; the same works for the hood. Last year the hood opened up while on the highway and smashed the windshield, thus now the van has got a new, old, almost clear windshield. On top of that, steering wheel has cruise control buttons!

However, if you decide to travel in Baja with a rental car, take this advice: the price of the car from the one declared on the website may differ from the one at the counter up to 3x times. There’s always some extra „necessary“ insurance and taxes, thus the price stated on your quote is absolutely worthless. The roads are not the best (though, progress is huge in just three years!) and travellers also tend to squeeze the maximum out of the rentals, so the prices are relatively high.

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Public transport in Baja isn’t as developed as for instance in Ecuador. The prices are relatively high, but much bigger problem it that busses go only in between major cities and towns. Most of the surfing is hundreds of kilometres away from the main highway, so you’d still have to try and get there hitchhiking or look for locals who might take you there. The problem here is that most of Baja travellers are fully equipped and ready to live on their own for weeks or even months (as you should as well!), thus every single thing in their car is necessary and there’s hardly any free space around. Of course hitchhiking down south around Cabo San Lucas might be possible – there’s much more tourists as well as locals driving around.

Baja rigs are simply the best way to explore Baja. You have your bed, kitchen, food, water and everything else with you. And there’s plenty of variety of rigs – one hippy travels with his 70’s VW bus, the other surfer from San Diego would drive up to the point in a shiny truck with 19“ spinners on it. The most convenient, though, camperized cargo vans. Lifted 4×4, big wheels, bed frame and kitchen inside. Geeky travellers even add all sorts of accessories from tire pressure control to shower cabin hidden in the door. More and more travellers use solar panels – there’s more than enough sun to provide oneself with electricity.

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Of course, another way of traveling around Baja is private jets. There’s plenty of airstrips around Baja. Salt planes and deserts are converted to airfields and basically every single surf break has it’s own airstrip. And if you can fly in just for a surf session – I’m sure, there’s a truck waiting for you once you land!

While driving in Baja, one should follow some basic safety tips:

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