We did it! We finally crossed the Mexican border into Baja! No ropes or tunnels required! We departed home on the first of September and took our time meandering through Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California while waiting out the tail end of hurricane season. Now we’re finally on the “the other side” and the adventures feel like they’re just beginning. Don’t get me wrong, those little pit stops in between were great; seeing friends, experiencing new places, breaking down in the RV a few more times…but Mexico has always been on our horizon and we’re ready to relax, enjoy each other and make some memories.
If you want to read all about what it’s like to cross over from the USA to Mexico, check out Crossing the US-Mexico Border. It’s full of tips for when and where to cross, what documentation you need and what to expect when you arrive.
Where Did We Cross?
We crossed the border at Tecate on Friday morning around 9:30am. It was easy peasy, as far as border-crossings go. We’ve only crossed the border twice, once through Mexicali and now Tecate, so we’re not experts on all border crossings, but both borders we have crossed have proven to be a smooth experience, allowing us to drive right through. We’ve heard and read about nightmare crossings where people experienced long lines, corrupt border guards and additional searches or documentation requests that delayed them for hours. It may have just been bad luck (or the shiny new Mercedes Sprinter Van they were driving) but coming from a family that typically always finds the bad luck, I’d say our successes came from good preparation. We had our ducks in a row, which made our process a breeze. TIP: If your ducks are in a circle, you’ll never get anywhere.
Where to Next?
Ensenada…aka Wine Country! We ventured West on the Mex 3 out of Tecate toward Ensenada and took the Mex1 Toll road North to camp at Clam Beach, about a 30-minute drive which winds along a cliff overlooking the ocean. Clam beach is a little more concrete than we typically like to see in our campsites, but I’d say it’s a great way to ease into the Baja. All sites have hook-ups, and “beach front” vs. “non-beach front” is literally a matter of parking on the other side of an RV that is spending $20 more per night than we are. We are 20 feet from the beach and couldn’t be happier, although I’ve yet to find more than one clam since we arrived.
Our neighbors all seem to be long-term residents here, escapees from either Canada or the US, opting to make Baja their retirement homes, and I can see why. Some have been here so long they’re even growing grass (the kind you water and walk on) and have no less than 20 potted plants sitting outside their RV’s. And we were worried about bringing along and extra propane tank!
The first neighbors we talked to turned out to be the neighbors of friends of ours we met at Pete’s Camp in San Felipe a few years ago when we ventured into Baja for Christmas. They live permanently in San Felipe and come to Ensenada to escape the summer heat.
What is our plan from here?
That’s the best news yet! Over the last month and a half, we had an idea of where we needed to be and it seemed like a “to do” list a mile long. Now that we’re in Baja, our only plans are really NOT to have plans and take each day as it comes. Well, we do know we’d like to cross over to the mainland at some point, but that is months away, so no sense worrying about it now. We’re just going to make our way down the Baja in search of the perfect beach. Ok, I guess that is a plan. I stand corrected!
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Ok, gotta go! The waves are calling and our ducks are all over the place!