The real part of our ‘traveling’ journey didn’t start till we hit the Tijuana boarder on September 20th, which commenced our south bound trip through the Baja. We both were going in blind with what to expect from the Baja Peninsula. This was due to the fact that most of the information we could find was based on the most southern portion and Tijuana, not much in between. So our plan ended up that we would follow highway 1 all the way south and stop where we saw fit. We were so excited to start our journey off the right way in Tijuana by throwing down and experiencing all the crazy American stories after a weeks worth of hard work on the car. Well summer is over, everyone is back at school and not out and about on a Wednesday night it turns out, but a great sleep in a real bed was just as good.
After hearing so many things about Mexico and it’s safety from numerous people we eased ourselves into the idea of overlanding and sleeping in our car in Mexico. Only a couple hours south of Tijuana we pulled over and spent the night camping on a gated beach besides an RV park. This was the start to us witnessing how we totally missed their tourist season as we were the only ones there and nobody bothered to come collect our money. This happened for 3 nights on our trip through the Baja, and that’s not to say we didn’t try to pay.
From here we headed south, stopping in the big bustling town of Ensanada for lunch and ending our day driving down quite a sketchy road to the cliff side of a cove we found. There was a perfect flat pad for camping that night, the view and weather was outstanding, it was truly a picture perfect location. (Frederik was totally jealous because it was my turn to drive and this was the first 4×4 road we encounter thus far, so I got to drive his big baby off road before him!)
The Central Baja Desert
We stayed coastal for one more day, entering another ‘beach campground’ where no one came to collect the 100Mex, before we tackled the long middle stretch of nothing but desert. Having no previous expectation for the vegetation or geology of the Baja we were truly blown away. The desert was gorgeous and ever changing. The mountains were huge and constantly becoming greener as we headed south. It was a long 3 day stretch with many miles behind us but we tried to make the most of it.
Mexico is know for its Mayan history and preservation of their many ruins and cave paintings. We were fortunate enough to find a cave painting site along our route. It was truly amazing to dip down through the little hole in the wall and see centuries of story telling artwork. Things I had only seen on museums before. But it really made us wonder how these civilizations lived and thrived out here, in the middle of no where in the desert.
The last stretch of the desert was a bit of a drag, flat and boring, but once we hit Mulegé we were back to coastal views and cliff side camping. We watched locals dive for crabs in the dark so the next day we finally put our snorkeling gear to use. It was beautifully crystal blue water with tons of colourful fish all through the south eastern portion of our drive. The beaches were something from paradise. Vibrant blu, complimented by clean and pristine sandy beaches with green mountainess backdrop. Little palm tree huts lined the beaches making for the perfect getaway. But as perfect as it may seem, don’t be fooled as there are seemingly invisible jellyfish who got us almost every time.
During the day the weather was beautiful the whole way, a nice breeze to keep you from burning up. However when night time came there was not a breeze to be found. This meant Frederik would half lose his shit every night over all the flies, Sand flies and mosquitoes and we would both lay as still as mummies in bed trying to fall asleep in puddles of sweat. Thankfully on the last couple nights before we left the Baja Frederik re-wired the cars fans to work off our battery system at night so we could at least create our own airflow. I still slept with the ice pack. Balandra beach
La Paz was a great city, we bounced around for 5 days between Balandra beach, a hostel and RV park. We have decided, that although we do enjoy eachother company, we want to make an effort to stay in hostels or RV parks to meet people (and smell a bit better). So with a small group from our hostel we took a tour out to the popular Isla del Espiritu Santo. Here they have the largest population of sea lions in Mexico in which you can snorkel amongst! Sadly my Go Pro wouldn’t work but the ocean was thriving with schools of every different colour fish. They, like the few sea lions who were out swimming, came right beside us not bothered by our presence in the least. It was, for the both of us, truly an amazing experience, one of our fabourites and we were blown away by the beauty of it all.
The Boat from Baja to Mainland
It was time to leave, as we had already over stayed a couple days more than intended, so we bought boat tickets out of La Paz on the 2nd of October. Normally in both Canada and Denmark you board maybe 15 minutes before take off, and if you have a reservation you might be required to arrive an hour early to secure it. Well we were required to be at the boat 3 hours before our departure time of 2:30pm. After passing through security the passanger is kicked out of the car and has to walk on while the driver can start driving on the boat at 2 hours before. I sat on the boat for 2 hours waiting for Frederik to walk through the doors as they wouldn’t let me down to the deck to find him. Time kept ticking by, it was 5 minutes till departure and he still was no where to be found and I was freaking out, thinking all the worst things, like that I’d end up arriving at Mexico mainland alone.
As 2:30 hit he walked through the door. He had waited for 2 hours in a line to board the boat even though we were one of the first to arrive. They didn’t like that our gas can was sitting on top of our roof so he was order to go to the back on the line were he removed it and placed it in the car. Then it was a waiting game. If anyone knows Frederik well you know he can never just sit there and do nothing. So what did he do for 2 hours waiting to board the boat? He tore apart our door in attempt to fix our window lock switch so we wouldn’t have to keep shoving aluminium foil into the switch in order to put down our windows.
Well the boat was an hour late to depart so all turned out fine. The ride itself was 6 hours across the Gulf of California to the port of Topolobampo. We arrived at 11pm, and abiding by the golden rule of driving in Mexico, do not drive at night, we pulled off to the side and slept in the parking lot of the ferry. Not the best nights sleep ever with constant trucks loading and reloading but it was free and safe. We are now cruising south through main land Mexico excited to see what it has to offer.