Tuesday, September 18, 2018

North America's most beautiful drives.


Not for the faint of heart, the drive to Cabo San Lucas from San Diego, down the Baja Peninsula, is one trip that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

IF you have ridden a monster roller coaster then you will likely survive the Baja 1,000 "mile" TRIP from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas.

By U.S.A. standards the road is very narrow.  Most of the road down is 2 lanes; 1 in each direction.  There is no center divider and often no painted middle lines.   For the majority of the drive there is no shoulder on either side.  This drive is not for the faint of heart.

On the other hand, if you drive an 18 wheeler it may not be that bad as you can scare the shit out of everyone else on the 2 lane road.  Although there are tons of breathtaking views there are also many "oooopses" down the side of steep mountains.  i.e.  skeleton remains of different vehicles. The scenic view is beautiful including the many crosses and flowers and shrines to some of those who came before.

if you are in for adventure, take a few days to do this drive.  This is one of the most gorgeous drives in North America. If you drive Baja, take your time and be extremely cautious.  The road can be treachorous.  Drive slowly and you will experience a wonderful display of beauty.

The scenery is breathtaking though if your are the driver you won't have much time to observe as driving the Baja requires 100% concentration. If you are sitting in the passenger seat you may select to be blindfolded.  

All kidding aside, this is a drive that you should do once in a life-time (perhaps towards the end of your life).

Words of Advice

Knowing a little Spanish can come in handy.

Start with a full tank of gas and fill up at every opportunity.

Do not drive at night or you may run into cows and other animals sitting or standing in the middle of the road.

Your average speed will not be the same as when  driving in the U.S.A. as the road goes through many small towns with plenty of speed bumps and school crossings.

Most of the Baja Peninsula is desolate.  With the exception of scattered towns, there is really not much along this 1,000 mile expanse except for mountains, deserts and sparse vegetation.   

It's advisable to have some pesos with you and your drive down.  Most place take dollars, however you will get hurt on the exchange rate.

It is advisable to carry a gas can, with gas in it and even more than 1 spare tire and a bunch of water.

At the U.S.A./Tijuana border make sure to get a tourist card.  If you do not get this card you may have problems crossing into Southern Baja as well as problems returning to the U.S.A..   Make sure when you cross the border to ask where you can get the card.   This isn't that easy as you have to walk 1/4 of a mile to an office, then 1/4 of a mile to another office and then return to the first office to get your tourist visa stamped.  It's a fun welcome to Mexico.

During daytime hours the roads are patrolled by the Green Angels who will help with gas and minor repairs.  At least this is what I have heard though have only seen a handful of Green Angels on my numerous trips up and down Baja.

It is a long drive.  The narrow land, set in-between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific, is mostly arid and desert.  Cactus plants and flowering agave grow right at the rim of the road and back into the land for quite a distance.  The few solitary towns along the coasts are nothing more than lean-to housing and huts.

The rest stops along the highway are simple one room stores with a few scattered tables and large, old-fashioned glass vitrines displaying modern-day edible items for purchase.

The road at times can be great - when it's going straight - but in other places it can be downright dangerous.  

Always cary Mexican car insurance, obtainable at agencies close to the border crossing.  Your U.S. insurance won't work. If you have an accident, failure to do so could result in time spent sampling the hospitality in one of Mexico's jails.

Once you get to Los Cabos,  you'll be grateful that you made the drive.

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3 comments on North America's most beautiful drives.

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By ParentCoach on November 01, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Hilarious. Sounds like a real trip.  I'm certain Tecate and Corona or Tequila have nothing to do with the deposited vehicles at the bottom of the cliffs.     I love traveling in Mexico and especially love the people.  They know how to live.  Siesta, fiesta, siesta.... what a life or should I say, la vida es bella.    

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By Ross on November 02, 2009 at 06:07 am

Sounds like a cool drive, I'll have to try it some time.  How many days does the drive take, and if its more then one where's are good places to stop along the way?

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By TonyBerkman on November 02, 2009 at 10:08 am

@Ross, it's a 2 day drive and some great places to stop along the way.   If you go during whale spawning season, which takes place March - April,  you can take a short detour to the Bay of Magdelana.   Hope on a small boat and go within feet of the whales.  There are also a number of beautiful,   isolated beaches that are perfect for setting up camp for the night as well as some quaint towns along the way where the tacos are delicious and the people amazingly wonderful, kind and friendly.   The incredible part of the drive is the way the road criss-crosses the Peninsula so that at parts you are driving on the Pacific Ocean and others you are next to the Sea of Cortez.  In between you drive through fields of massive boulderes,  through windy mountain roads, with breathtaking views - for as far as you can see.     

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