Crossing the Mexican Border
I was blindsided by the nervousness I felt heading to the Mexican border.
For months, we’d researched what was involved in crossing the border; reading blogs, memorizing the items we were and were not allowed to bring through customs, watching YouTube videos (His and Hers Vlogs, a huge thank you to you guys for showing the ins and outs of San Felipe!)
And yet, as the miles dropped off my anxiety increased (Tucker was also hoping for a smooth crossing).
Things had been going our way. After getting the truck stuck in Arizona and miraculously making it out, we headed to Sunbeam Lake RV Resort for our last stay on US soil. There was plenty of work left to be done. Nutmeg needed a clean bill of health from a local vet and we needed to set up car insurance for Baja.
Jesse headed out with Nutmeg for a dinner and vet run while I sorted out the insurance. After researching various insurance options, we decided to book through Discover Baja. They have a yearly fee of $39 per household, and with it comes discounted insurance rates* and access to their extremely helpful staff (thank you, Carol!) for questions. There are assumably more perks, I’ve just yet to use them. *We added up the totals of the three vehicles we needed to insure from three different sites. While some had cheaper options for one or two of our vehicles, the total, yearly fee included, through Discover Baja was the least expensive option.
Because we ALWAYS end up doing things last minute, by 9AM the next morning we we’re still back and forth on weather or not to attempt crossing the border. Our planned crossing was through MexiCali, and everyone we spoke to told us to avoid it at all costs Friday afternoons through Sunday evenings. We were pushing it. So, naturally, at 10 AM we pulled in the slides and headed towards our first international border crossing in the RV.
“I get sweaty when I’m nervous; I shouldn’t have worn pants,” I say as we see signs such as “International Border Crossing” and “Last U.S. Exit”. This was finally real. As we pulled up to the strangely empty gate lines, I knew we were going to get a red light, enlisting us for further inspection. The light turned green, the smiling guard with a large gun smiled and waved us through, and I was glad I kept my pants on. Our worries of crossing the border so late in the morning on a Friday were completely for naught! We saw approximately 7 other vehicles cross through during our time there. The border guards allowed us to park our rig right in front of the permit office so that Jesse pay for and fill out our visitor permits, asking only if we had large quantities of either cigarettes or alcohol.
Our cell phones miraculously transferred to Mexican coverage (TELCEL) without a hitch, and we began navigating towards Victors RV Park in San Felipe. It was a beautiful drive through the mountains. Once in San Felipe, I recommend having an extra pair of eyes to watch out for ALTOS (stop signs), as they’re far from the reflective red we’re used to in the States. After flying through our share of altos, we park at our beachfront home for the next week.
Also staying at Victors RV Park were a few fellow adventurers we’re happy to be able to now call friends.
Andy and Sarah are on a year long trip of travels, and their crazy selves are currently in the middle of the Sea of Cortez as they kayak their way to La Paz from San Felipe. Their blog, AndySara1year.wordpress.com, is full of wit, charm, and photos of their trip.
Fabian and Isabela of Live and Give 4×4 are traveling in their badass BiMobile and already have multiple countries under their travel belts. The four of us watched in awe as Andy and Sarah packed their sea kayak (beans and beer included, of course) and paddled into the waves. Jesse and Fabian, with Isabela and I eagerly agreeing, hatched a plan to head south at the same time and see together what else Baja had in store of us.
Thanks for being part of the Nomad Fest . What a wonderful experience . Larry and I would like to get your updates so we can follow your journey
We would very much like to do the Baha trip. Are the dogs yours? I heard there are issues with bringing in and taking back pets.
Hi Rich! One of the dogs was ours. The only thing we had to do was have her checked at a vet just days before crossing the border. They gave us a specific certificate and that was it. If you go to a vet nearby the border they should understand exactly what you need.
We are going to Ensenada. Do you have any suggestions for crossing in San Diego? Thanks
Hi Joan! From what we’ve heard about the Tijuana crossing, it is very important to get there as early as possible and expect many delays, as this is the main boarder crossing for those traveling on foot. I hope you have an amazing experience and we’d love to hear how your crossing went!