Baja question

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Baja question

Post by wayne sogl » Tue, 02 Dec 1997 04:00:00


Hi! We're driving down to Cabo next year and I was wondering which would be
the best border crossing (read easiest) to cross into Mexico at. I've read
some of the books and they are either vaque or have conflicting opinions.
We will be arriving from Canada and it doesn't matter to us which crossing
we take.

I remember reading a response to a similar post to mine awhile back and the
responder said that their favorite way to get down was to cross at Tecate,
south to Ensenada on Highway 3, then continue on Highway 1. I didn't pay
too much attention as I wasn't planning on going down at the time but I
believe the poster said it was a relatively hastle free crossing and a
scenic drive. Any comments would be appreciated.
thanks. Wayne & Cassie

 
 
 

Baja question

Post by Mike » Wed, 03 Dec 1997 04:00:00


     The issue isn't usually crossing into Mexico, it's returning to the
USA.  The Mexicans don't even man the border crossing checkpoints from the
US and instead have their immigration and customs posts 50 miles south on
the major highways -- so it is possible to go from San Diego to Ensenada
and back, and never even see a Mexican official.  Tourist cards are only
required when (and if) you leave the 50-mile "free zone."  That said, the
Tecate crossing is by far the most pleasant way back into the USA, with
minimal or no lines for the US officials most of the time.  And Tecate IS a
very nice town which is reached by a very nice scenic drive through Baja's
wine country, and you can stop for a tasting at various vineyards along the
way.  Three other things are important:  (1) Get Mexican auto insurance
BEFORE crossing the border.  Without it, even a very very minor accident
involving no visible damage to anyone or anything could mean long delays
and perhaps even some time in jail; with it, you'll probably have no
problems beyond what you might experience in the US or Canada.  (2) Even
though it's not technically required, carry passports for your group.  If
something goes wrong for any reason, you'll be glad you have them.  (3)
Mexico does not permit foreign minors to travel unless they are accompanied
by BOTH parents, or by a notarized letter of permission from the absent
parent.  Children of violators may be detained while the authorities in
your hometown are contacted to see if something fishy is going on.  If you
have kids with you, each parent should sign and notarize such a letter in
advance, giving the other parent the right to travel with the kids (just in
case something happens to one of you).  



Quote:> Hi! We're driving down to Cabo next year and I was wondering which would
be
> the best border crossing (read easiest) to cross into Mexico at. I've
read
> some of the books and they are either vaque or have conflicting opinions.
> We will be arriving from Canada and it doesn't matter to us which
crossing
> we take.

> I remember reading a response to a similar post to mine awhile back and
the
> responder said that their favorite way to get down was to cross at
Tecate,
> south to Ensenada on Highway 3, then continue on Highway 1. I didn't pay
> too much attention as I wasn't planning on going down at the time but I
> believe the poster said it was a relatively hastle free crossing and a
> scenic drive. Any comments would be appreciated.
> thanks. Wayne & Cassie

 
 
 

Baja question

Post by James M. Lan » Wed, 03 Dec 1997 04:00:00


Mike has most of it right... but there are some things which need
amplification...


>      The issue isn't usually crossing into Mexico, it's returning to the
> USA.  The Mexicans don't even man the border crossing checkpoints from the
> US and instead have their immigration and customs posts 50 miles south on
> the major highways -- so it is possible to go from San Diego to Ensenada
> and back, and never even see a Mexican official.  Tourist cards are only
> required when (and if) you leave the 50-mile "free zone."

Right on about the return being worse at the border than the going...  

Mexico has a randon entry inspection which the guards have no control
over. However "secondaria" is really a breeze. They usually open the
trunk and poke around. I once had to open a box which had battery cables
in it, because through the top, the coiled yellow and black cables were
mistaken for a snake. Over the years, I have been in secondaria about
six times. You will see them, but generally in passing.

And although Ensenada is further than the 50-mile limit, it is exempted
from the tourist card requirement. You can go as far as La Bufadora (an
ocean blowhole) without one.

That said, the

Quote:> Tecate crossing is by far the most pleasant way back into the USA, with
> minimal or no lines for the US officials most of the time.  And Tecate IS a
> very nice town which is reached by a very nice scenic drive through Baja's
> wine country, and you can stop for a tasting at various vineyards along the
> way.  

Right now, the grape harvest is over and the drive is pleasant and
winding in places. But the vinyards are bare. But do stop in the
wineries. If you can spot the Mt, Xanic facilities, it is really worth
while. Most of them also serve excellent food at different times of the
year. But from Ensenada it is slow going compared to the scenic (toll)
highway. Probably the worst part of the Tecate trip is the first 10-12
miles back in the US on the way to Sna Diego. Dangerous road, period.
But as far as the crossing, it is the easaiest... but IS NOT a 24-HOUR
crossing!

Three other things are important:  (1) Get Mexican auto insurance

Quote:> BEFORE crossing the border.  Without it, even a very very minor accident
> involving no visible damage to anyone or anything could mean long delays
> and perhaps even some time in jail; with it, you'll probably have no
> problems beyond what you might experience in the US or Canada.  

Exteremly good advice! I advocate taking the legal representation option
which adds a couple of dollars. Then you have a Mexican attorney
available.

(2) Even

Quote:> though it's not technically required, carry passports for your group.  If
> something goes wrong for any reason, you'll be glad you have them.  

And as always, carry them safely and out of sight.

(3)

Quote:> Mexico does not permit foreign minors to travel unless they are accompanied
> by BOTH parents, or by a notarized letter of permission from the absent
> parent.  Children of violators may be detained while the authorities in
> your hometown are contacted to see if something fishy is going on.  If you
> have kids with you, each parent should sign and notarize such a letter in
> advance, giving the other parent the right to travel with the kids (just in
> case something happens to one of you).

Really important...



> > Hi! We're driving down to Cabo next year and I was wondering which would
> be
> > the best border crossing (read easiest) to cross into Mexico at. I've
> read
> > some of the books and they are either vaque or have conflicting opinions.
> > We will be arriving from Canada and it doesn't matter to us which
> crossing
> > we take.

> > I remember reading a response to a similar post to mine awhile back and
> the
> > responder said that their favorite way to get down was to cross at
> Tecate,
> > south to Ensenada on Highway 3, then continue on Highway 1. I didn't pay
> > too much attention as I wasn't planning on going down at the time but I
> > believe the poster said it was a relatively hastle free crossing and a
> > scenic drive. Any comments would be appreciated.
> > thanks. Wayne & Cassie

--
 
 
 

Baja question

Post by James M. Kozakowsk » Wed, 03 Dec 1997 04:00:00



> Hi! We're driving down to Cabo next year and I was wondering which would be
> the best border crossing (read easiest) to cross into Mexico at. I've read
> some of the books and they are either vaque or have conflicting opinions.
> We will be arriving from Canada and it doesn't matter to us which crossing
> we take.

> I remember reading a response to a similar post to mine awhile back and the
> responder said that their favorite way to get down was to cross at Tecate,
> south to Ensenada on Highway 3, then continue on Highway 1. I didn't pay
> too much attention as I wasn't planning on going down at the time but I
> believe the poster said it was a relatively hastle free crossing and a
> scenic drive. Any comments would be appreciated.
> thanks. Wayne & Cassie

Wayne & Cassie,

Mexicans do man their border crossings into Mexico.  Just drive down
with a loaded pickup or RV and you are likely to end up in the secondary
inspection area.  The border crossing is also the place to have your
visa validated.  Alternatively, you can have your visa validated in
Ensenada, but I've heard stories about delays while the immigration
agents service arriving cruise ships.  I prefer to spend the time at the
border, in Tijuana, which is supposed to be manned 24 hours.  There is
no advantage to taking a detour through Tecate going south.

There are also immigration offices in Santa Rosalia and at the state
border north of Guerrero Negro.  However, you run the risk of being
fined if you cannot establish that you have been in country less than 72
hours prior to having your visa validated.  You can use dated tollroad
receipts to establish your entry time.  In recent months there has been
an immigration officer at the agriculture inspection station at the
state border north of Guerrero Negro.

I do prefer crossing back into the USA through the Tecate crossing.  It
is rare to have even a 20 minute wait, usually there are only 2-5
vehicles in line.  I've even made the 30 mile drive to Tecate rather
than wait in line while returning to San Diego from Tijuana.  I've spent
as much as 45 minutes on the last day of a major US holiday, while
Tijuana crossings had 3-4 hour lines.

Jim Kozakowski

 
 
 

Baja question

Post by synthuse » Sat, 06 Dec 1997 04:00:00



> Check with me mid Jan '98 for an update on Baja as I will be driving to
> lands end and return and will be cataloging specific and comprehensive
> guide information complete with photos.  This will enhance your


Wow I would be interested in photos as I am planning
a Baja video for 1998 and would love to add to my photos.
Maybe we can talk about it? Will check out your site.
Have a nice trip :)

Synthuser
--
"Um... and then I think it goes here. Dee dum dee."

 
 
 

Baja question

Post by cpear.. » Wed, 10 Dec 1997 04:00:00


Check out my Baja Photo page.  Lots of Baja photos.

http://www.aros.net/~cpearson/baja.htm

>> Check with me mid Jan '98 for an update on Baja as I will be driving to
>> lands end and return and will be cataloging specific and comprehensive
>> guide information complete with photos.  This will enhance your

>Wow I would be interested in photos as I am planning
>a Baja video for 1998 and would love to add to my photos.
>Maybe we can talk about it? Will check out your site.
>Have a nice trip :)
>Synthuser
>--
>"Um... and then I think it goes here. Dee dum dee."