One of the most time consuming task and our biggest ongoing discussion is which route we take, when planning Mexico we thought we would skip Baja. I look back on these discussions and think we must of been completely out of our mind, I blame it on the fact we were still working when these discussions occurred.
We had planned on crossing the border in Texas and heading straight to Monterey a rock climbing Mecca, thankfully my sprained ankle made us re think this plan. Not only were we running out of money and spending a lot in the states we thought it was better to recover chilling out on beaches!
We crossed the border at Calimexico only to be told that we need to head to another broader crossing the Mexicali entrance so we could get our vehicle permit for mainland Mexico. First time driving in Mexico was chaotic to say the least cars everywhere, I now look back at the day and think how far we’ve come.
From there we headed to Playa Hawaii our first stop on the Baja Coast. At this point we had started using iOverlander this is the most used app for anybody living in a van it provides camping spots (free or paid), gas stations, mechanics etc all pinpointed and pair reviewed. Almost every spot we have camped at has been found on this app.
As luck would have it the campsite in Playa Hawaii was closed however the lovely owners let us stay there at a discounted rate with our tent under a palapa. Our first few days in Mexico were bliss having the whole complex including a pool all to ourselves.
We then started the journey south crossing back over to the Pacific side to try and get some surf on the way down. As luck would have it there wasn’t going to be any waves until we hit Todo Santos.
We decided after Playa Hawaii that we would look for free camp spots as Baja was meant to be a haven for this. I remember the first night like it was yesterday living in fear that we would be mugged in the middle of the night, to this day we have only been moved on once in the night. We had unknowingly drove into a gated community so I think it was only right that they wanted these smelly vanlifers to move on. If I was to warn anybody about sleeping in the van and what you would lose hours of sleep over, I’d definitely not the fear of being mugged, it is the fear of not being able to cope sleeping in a sauna for endless nights.
From Ensenada to Baja Concepcion we drove it relatively fast as there wasn’t much to see. Arriving into Baja Concepcion ( sea of Cortez side) was one of my highlight on the way down to the coast, this is an absolute must see in Baja you can camp right on the inlets and the water is extremely clear and great for snorkeling.
It is everything I picture Baja to be. Beautiful calm beaches, little restaurants were you can pick up cheap prawns and fish tacos. We stayed here for a few nights and had our first encounter with a bunch of gringos calling Mexico home. After a night on far to many cerveza’s and mojitos we were convinced we had just met a famous musician. Definitely look back on that story knowing we had the wool pulled over us!
Between surfing, eating, drinking and tanning there wasn’t a lot else we did before we flew and to met Gill and Alan in Cancun.
We manage to put the van in a storage facility right next to the airport giving Buddy a rest while we travelled Mexico and Cuba.
Before heading to Mexico and Cuba we hadn’t met a single van lifer or van life couple on the journey. We had spent most of the time road tripping by ourselves, little did we know how quickly that would change when we got back a second time.