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Ever thought about taking your RV across the Mexican border? Not only is this totally possible, I 100% recommend it! RV camping in Baja California sure has been a life-changing experience and we wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.

All that said, there are some things you will want to know before you head down to Baja in your RV. Here are our top tips for visiting this magical place.

Gather Your Paperwork

As is the case with any international trip, you will want to get your paperwork in order before camping in Baja California. A valid passport or passport card is required. Additionally, you will need Mexican liability insurance, and we recommend adding full coverage insurance just to be safe.

If your RV or vehicle still has a lien on it, it is a good idea to obtain a letter of permission from your lender. Lastly, you will need to stop at the border to get an FMM form to legally stay within Mexico for any length of time.

Note: It’s also a good idea to learn about what your roadside assistance offers in Mexico. Coach-Net coverage does extend into Mexico, but it is a bit more limited.

Pack Must-Have Items

Some things are hard to find in Mexico. We found that out the hard way when searching for things like Dr. Pepper, brown sugar (the molasses kind), and a replacement tire for our dolly. Because of this, we recommend that you pack anything you can’t live without, including your favorite foods and drinks. (Just remember that fruits, veggies, and meats can’t cross the border.)

You’ll also want to pack at least one spare tire for every vehicle you take, as the roads are less than ideal in some spots and blowouts are not uncommon. Another important one? A hefty surge protector with an electrical management system in case you encounter a park with less-than-ideal electric hookups.

Stock Your Phone with Apps

There are three things we highly recommend downloading before camping Baja California. These include:

  1. Google Translate — Be sure to also download the Spanish language translations so you don’t need an internet connection to communicate.
  2. Google Maps — Google Maps did a decent job of navigating us all the way down the peninsula. Again, just be sure to download enough maps to cover the entire peninsula so that internet access isn’t necessary for finding your way around. Of course, it’s also good to carry a paper map!
  3. iOverlander — This is the perfect app for finding info on places to stay while camping Baja California.

Think About Internet

Wi-Fi is available at some restaurants and cafes in Baja. However, if you wish to stay connected outside of those places, you must think about how to go about that.

One option is to buy a Telcel SIM card (they call them “chips”) when you arrive. These can be purchased at just about any OXXO convenience store and the cell signal will work in most major cities. Make sure the chip you get is a Telcel one specifically and not an OXXO Cel one, because we ran into that ourselves just after crossing into Mexico.

If you need something even more reliable, I recommend investing in Starlink. Just be sure you have a battery and inverter to run the Starlink hardware!

Don’t Drink the Water

You probably know this already, but it’s worth stating that you can’t drink water straight from the tap in Mexico. You can use tap water to fill your fresh tank, wash dishes, and shower. Just be sure you visit one of the many agua purificada locations to refill drinking water jugs.

Be Prepared for Military Checkpoints

There are military checkpoints along the major highways down the peninsula. If you don’t expect these going in, they can be a bit intimidating. Don’t worry though, there’s nothing scary about these checkpoints. Pull up, roll down your window, and talk to the military personnel there. In some cases, they will ask where you’re headed and then wave you on. In other cases, they will want to search your vehicle.

If your vehicle is searched, simply follow the individual doing the search to ensure they don’t try to snag anything. This is a rare occurrence, but it can happen. If they do try to pick something up, a firm “no” should get them to put it back down.

Get Gas When You Can

In some areas, especially in the northern part of the peninsula, you can drive for miles and miles without seeing a single gas station. Therefore, it is important to fuel up when you do see a station, even if you don’t think you need gas just yet. When it comes to fuel, it’s always better to fill up too often than to risk running out.

Don’t Drive at Night

Our final bit of advice? Don’t drive at night. The roads are very narrow in some places, often with no shoulder and a sharp drop-off on either side, and no median between you and the traffic passing the opposite direction. And since the roads are not lit, it can be difficult to stay in your narrow lane in the dark. Moreover, because of the oncoming traffic and drop-offs, a small mistake could be dangerous.

On top of all that, there are potholes, topes (speed bumps), and animals that like to cross the road unexpectedly. Contending with these things in the dark is much more difficult and dangerous than it is during the day.

About the author: Chelsea Gonzales

Chelsea has the amazing opportunity to take part in full-time RV living and traveling with her tiny tribe. She homeschools her five-year-old son as they travel, and takes full advantage of their unique situation by using the entire world as her son’s classroom. A group of total Disney fanatics, Chelsea and her family often find themselves in the Orlando area in order to visit the Disney parks, but they have also visited over 25 of the 50 states with plans to see many more along the way. No matter where her travels take her, Chelsea enjoys riding bikes, gazing at beautiful sunsets, finding new coffee shops, Irish dancing, and sitting around a campfire with her family.

You can join her adventures through her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander.

Cindy & Steve ~ “My husband and I broke down on the interstate and Coach-Net continually called every 20 min to ensure we were safe. Coach-Net has helped us many times and has been very quick to respond each time.”