Welcome to Mexico! A surprisingly organised US – MEX border crossing led us to the slightly less organised town of Tijuana. Dirt and chaos, woop! Entering Mexico goes as follows:
- Drive towards the clearly Mexican looking hills. You’ll know what I mean when you see them.
- Follow the border signs near Tijuana.
- Red light? Your vehicle will be “inspected”. In reality this means a little chat, preferable in Spanish, with the officer. You share a couple of laughs, they tell you Mexico is an awesome country and you’re good to go.
- Fill out your tourist card and pay the fee in the Banjercito. All offices are in the same area.
- Get your temporary car import form (car ownership docs needed), pay the vehicle import fee and deposit.
- Buy liability insurance.
- Apply your new, shiny registration sticker to your car’s windshield.
And I really mean drive. Tijuana is a loud and dusty place where there is little to see, no more reasons needed to drive straight southwards. Ensenada is an OK-ish town, good for a lazy stroll along the seaside while enjoying the fantastic foodstuffs and music (see above video) during its street festivals. Very good, very good, very goooooodddd!
Most gringos enter Ensenada, enjoy it and return. At first sight, they are right. South of the city there is little to see. More dusty towns and empty desert roads. A stop-over in Bahia de los Ángeles was a disappointment as well. Where are all those beautiful beaches and turquoise coloured waters? Not here, that’s for sure. Enter central Baja California. The same dusty towns (although less of them) and empty roads, but this time lined with a magnificent landscape of smooth boulders and every cactus species you can imagine. Didem’s dreamworld, I guess.
Days of cactus-camping, interspersed with more boring roads, lead us towards the border with Baja California Sur. Here, my dear readers, things get interesting. One advice: follow “The Number One” towards the Sea of Cortez and be amazed.
Those sandy beaches and magically coloured waters we have been looking for? Right here, and to top it all off: no tourists. Actually, no people at all. Your starting point for all this is the town of Mulegé.
Yes, the beach really is pink. And it only gets better between Loreto and La Paz.
Fancy warm, shallow waters with a stingray here and there? Balandra is the place to be. The view from the surrounding mountains isn’t half bad either.
To summarize: skip the north, enjoy the south. Oh, and do a day trip to Isla Espiritu Santo for, perhaps, the most beautiful scenery of the whole peninsula. Skip Cabo San Lucas, though. That’s just an overhyped tourist trap.
An ex-Stena Line (no, they did not remove any of the Flemish/English information signs – I am looking at you, Oostende) ferried us and Suzy safely across the Sea of Cortez. Comfortable beds and complimentary meals included.
See you on the mainland!