Knifing down from the state of California, Mexico's beautifully desolate Baja Peninsula is a rugged desert wonderland garnished by jaw-dropping beaches and bays. Watch whales breach in the Pacific Ocean on Baja's west side, or wade into the calm, warm waters on the Sea of Cortez on the east. A two-lane strip of well-patrolled blacktop runs 1,000 miles from Tijuana at the border to Los Cabos at the peninsula's southern tip. Here are a few tips for a Baja RV adventure.
1. Plan Ahead
Signs of civilization are few and far between on the Baja Peninsula. Always fill your gas tank when opportunity arises, and make reservations whenever possible. Equally important, you need not only your passport, but also Mexican insurance, a driver's license, a tourist visa (acquired at the border) and a vehicle permit if you plan on taking a ferry to the Mexican mainland.
2. Be Polite
There are numerous army checkpoints throughout the Baja Peninsula. The soldiers are there to look for illegal drugs and guns, and your first stop might be intimidating as most soldiers carry machine guns. However, if you're polite, they'll be polite. Having a specific destination in mind will also smooth your way.
3. Have a High-Seas Adventure
Take some time away from the RV and go nautical. From Laguna San Ignacio or La Paz, embark on a whale-watching excursion for a wonderfully scenic day trip. If you dare, you can snorkel or dive with the sea lions. It's quite a rush when an 800-pound male watches over the playful pups that buzz your facemask.
4. Stop in Mulegé
The oasis of the Baja Peninsula, Mulegé is centered on a lush palm-lined river estuary that's one of the few breaks from rugged desert. Add in a historic Spanish mission, white sand beaches and a laid-back vibe, and the result is one of the best-kept secrets on the Baja Peninsula.
5. Visit La Paz
Southern Baja's capital city of La Paz is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of towns in Los Cabos, particularly party-hardy Cabo San Lucas. La Paz is a slow, sleepy town with a picture-perfect oceanfront promenade and plaza, marinas, great local eateries, and hotels and resorts offering a variety of entertainments.
Also of interest: Everything you need to know about driving an RV.