Sunday, July 3, 2011

How Do We Get There?
By Michael

Big milestone: second front tooth lost during first
couple weeks of the road trip. (Road trip offered a
convenient excuse for why it took the tooth fairy two
nights before she could take the tooth during the
night and leave some money.)
We are in familiar territory, no maps required as we drive through California towns we used to live in and travel between. (Though, this familiarity is juxtaposed with the odd sensation of sitting in the car we all associate with our D.C. lives.) Today we’re in the small town of Woodacre. Windy’s folks live here, just a few miles north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
While Puerto Vallarta is still more than 1,600 miles southeast of us (as the crow flies), our route is no longer certain. The original plan was to cross the border at Tijuana, drive south down the Baja peninsula, take the ferry from La Paz to the mainland at Mazatlan, and finish up with a 1-day drive to Puerto Vallarta. Our original thinking was that the Baja route would keep us away from the drug-related violence we associate with the mainland.
But part of our party questions whether this makes sense:
  • Are the mainland toll roads safer because they are more traveled?
  • Is the drug war violence really a problem on these highways?
  • Is there a greater risk of crime on the less-traveled Baja roads?
  • Are the other hazards of the relatively narrow Baja roads (livestock, maniac truck drivers, hairpin turns, washouts) a greater threat?
The other half of our decision-making body doesn’t have first-hand knowledge to answer these questions.
And there are other considerations that we will weigh:
  • The overnight La Paz-Mazatlan ferry is expensive for a car and a trailer.
  • We have friends in La Paz we are eager to see (though we could visit them later in the year by boat when we sail north).
  • One of us has never driven the length of Baja and would really enjoy making that trip.
So if anyone reading this blog has made the trip, using either route, please comment or email to let us know your thoughts. Much appreciated. We plan to leave San Diego for Mexico around July 15 (!).


  1. Michael,

    Visit S/V Third Day's blog and contact Rich and Lori (svthirdday att yahoo dott com). They are pretty familiar with the location as they travel back and forth to CA all the time for business. They're tremendous folks and eager to help other cruisers.

    S/V Kintala

  2. Hi Michael...
    For the past three years we have taken several trips to and from the US via car from La Paz or Santa Rosalia on the Baja side. It is beautiful and the roads are good. Crossing the border through Tijuana from San Diego isn't bad. We don't like to stop Tijuana (prefer Ensenada), so always drive through... except to get tourist Visas at the onset.

    Driving mainland Mexico is awesome! We did a 5 weeks road trip to Melaque in 2006. Gorgeous!! Our only rule: no night driving. Too many animals on the roads. Roads are great, but toll roads add up going all the way down. Hotels aren't cheap in my opinion either. We stayed at Lonely Planet recommended sites or RV places since we had a camper on the back of the truck.

    Having a car down here is great, except you have to store it and then come back for it. Paying for storage can add up. PV has a great bus system. We used it all the time there. We met other cruisers or PV full-timers that offered rides to different places if we had a bunch of stuff to get or heavy boat parts.

    We sold our car after a year in MX... too much hassle.

    Cars and 'toys' that stand out call attention. Fancy, expensive vehicles is like wearing diamonds and a Rolex. Common sense. I am not afraid in MX. Rich on Third Day will say the same thing - I guarantee it.

    Good luck and hope this helps.

    s/v Hotspur


Thank you for taking the time to comment; we look forward to reading your feedback. Don't forget that you may also contact us directly at (please type DEL VIENTO in the subject line)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...