Traveling by car or SUV through Baja California may be the best solution to explore the peninsula since public transport is not the most suitable means to visit all the interesting sites of this vast and desert place.
The option of renting a car is ideal, especially if you are 2 or more people, and you can share the cost of rent and gasoline. However, traveling by car in Baja California is not the same as doing it in any European or American city.
Atmospheric events (especially in August when the rains usually arrive) and road conditions are things that require particular attention before getting behind the wheel. Here are some tips:
How to travel around Baja California. What you need to know before getting behind the wheel.
Let’s start with the basic rules of the road in Baja California. First, you drive on the right and pass on the left.
In Baja California, the seat belt is also mandatory in all vehicles and on all roads. Given all the great settings you’ll find, you’ll often want to get out for photos.
The roads are often narrow and do not have much side room to stop the car and even if not many cars pass, it is dangerous to stop in the middle of the road. It is better to wait for the first suitable place to park and not put yourself or others in danger. Safety must be a priority when traveling in Baja California. If you can’t find a place to park, don’t stop.
Another thing you will have to pay attention to are the animals that often cross the road. By animals, we mean large cows, horses or donkeys, not the small roadrunners that are commonly seen. We are talking about large volume animals that, in the event of an accident, can be fatal.
For this reason, we strongly discourage traveling in the early hours of the day or at dusk. At night it is evident that you should not travel.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the topics in this guide on how to travel through Baja California.
Requirements and documents necessary to drive in Baja California
The fundamental requirement to drive in Baja California is the possession of a valid driving license (with Latin characters) for at least one year. All cards issued in the European Union, the United States and Canada are valid in Baja California; an international card is not necessary.
When traveling, it is advisable to always carry your license, passport and a copy of the insurance and vehicle documentation.
Get to know the streets of Baja California
You cannot travel in Baja California without knowing where you are going or without having calculated the time it takes to get where you want. Another thing to keep in mind is that in winter, the hours of light decrease considerably compared to the summer months, so it is necessary to program the itinerary well and calculate the times to go from one place to another, avoiding driving in the hours of darkness.
If you travel with Baja California Travel, we will give you an itinerary that takes into account these aspects and the certainty that you have all the documents in order to travel safely in Baja California.
Travel along the Central Highway
The mythical Central Highway MX1 is a 1,400 kilometer highway that crosses the entire peninsula, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas, passing through the most important cities of Baja California.
Crossing the peninsula on the Central Highway is fascinating but, to do it well, a stay that lasts from 15 to 20 days is recommended to have time to detour as much as necessary to see all the most beautiful and characteristic places.
In a 10 or 12 day trip, you have time to see the cactus valleys and not much else, losing the true essence of Baja California.
The Central Highway is accessible for all types of cars and most of the journey does not present difficulties, although in some sections there may be blind curves or slopes that you must pay attention to. In addition, it is heavily trafficked by transport trucks that often lift gravel and stones, so pay attention to the safety distance.
Traveling in Baja California off the Central Highway
In Baja California, in addition to the Central Highway, there are few paved roads, so driving on dirt roads is common. These roads are secondary, some are in good condition and others in worse, such as those in the inner mountainous area.
To venture, you must bear in mind some fundamental aspects:
- Know that you are driving in isolated, desert territory and that any small problem (even a flat tire) can turn into a much bigger problem.
- Almost all the land outside of the Central Highway does not have mobile phone coverage so it is impossible to contact help during emergencies.
- Have a good experience driving an SUV and know the tricks to get out of any problems that may arise.
- In Baja California, there are no places to rent camping equipment.
- In Baja California, there are no organized camping structures, at most there are campsites for motorhomes, even so, camping is legal everywhere except in protected areas.
Taking a trip through Baja California that allows you to visit the most beautiful hidden places essentially implies hiring a tour operator for Adventure Travel (such as Timelessbaja.com). Thanks to the experience and knowledge of the territory and the necessary equipment, a tour operator will allow you to live an exciting experience in this beautiful place without any risk.
In certain areas there are few gas stations, so you should make sure you have enough gas and anything else you may need.
Normally, almost everyone accepts credit cards, but in some places with poor connection, the terminals may not work, so it is better that you carry Mexican pesos (at least 4,000) with you.
Filling the tank normally costs 1500 pesos and we advise you to choose the Premium Red gasoline.