Is Baja California Safe?
Baja, Mexico is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit, especially if you enjoy remote beaches, scrumptious fresh seafood and spectacular desert landscapes. The best part is that it’s so accessible to American tourists with many destinations only within a few hours drive south of the border. But is Baja California safe?
If this is your first time traveling to Mexico or maybe your first time taking a roadtrip across the border you might be wondering “Is Mexico dangerous for tourists?”. Thankfully, the answer is a resounding YES!
Is mexico safe to visit?
Despite what you might see and hear from mainstream media, Baja is generally a safe place to travel. You might even find the Baja Peninsula to feel safer than many U.S. cities. Most of the violence that you hear about in Mexico is related to drug trafficking and takes place along its northern border or in isolated incidents in areas with high cartel activity. Tourists and travelers are rarely involved in these violent conflicts but it is still good to be aware of the increased risk when visiting or driving through these areas.
The Baja Peninsula is made up of two Mexican states, Baja California and Baja California Sur. According to the US State Department’s website, U.S. citizens are advised to “reconsider travel” for Baja California due to “crime and kidnapping” and to “exercise increased caution” in Baja California Sur due to “crime”. Yet, millions of Americans travel to Baja Mexico every year. Those precautions are important to take into consideration, but it shouldn’t stop you from traveling there altogether.
Chicago, for example, one of the cities with the highest crime rate in the United States is considered equally unsafe as Tijuana, Mexico. But this fact doesn’t stop many tourists from visiting the city, it just means they are more aware of crime risk as they travel. These warnings are issued with an overabundance of caution since they cross borders. Use common sense and you will likely experience Baja like most tourists do every year, without any crime.
Baja, Mexico safety
If you decide to travel to Mexico, remember that you’re a visitor in a foreign country and there are some precautions to take. The most common safety issue Americans will experience in Baja California is petty crime. Pickpocketing, muggings, corruption and bribery are all concerns to be aware of.
Here are a few common sense rules to follow when traveling through the Baja Peninsula.
- Make copies of your passport, drivers license and other important documents in case they are stolen or lost.
- Keep your valuables secure and out of sight, whether that is in a hotel room, car or RV.
- Pickpockets are common especially in crowded areas. Keep your belongings secured.
- Try to avoid walking around alone at night and stick to well-lit areas.
- Don’t drink too much and always be alert.
- Don’t carry an excessive amount of cash on you, it’s a good idea to divide up your cash and store it in different places in case you are a victim of pickpocketing.
- Don’t make yourself a target with flashy jewelry or expensive devices (phones, big cameras, laptops, etc.)
- Only drive during daylight hours and don’t drink and drive.
- Do not buy drugs in Mexico, the risks are just not worth it.
Mexico driving safety tips
Baja road conditions are not the best. If you are driving through the peninsula, there is only one highway that connects Baja California to Baja Sur called Mexico 1.
This is the route you will follow all the way south until you reach the southern tip where a nicely paved toll road loop exists. Be prepared for lots of potholes, topes (speed bumps), and narrow roads.
Planning to drive to mexico?
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It is best not to drive too fast and only drive during the daylight hours because of these conditions. Some rural areas are open range where cattle frequently cross the highway, another good reason not to drive at night.
Because of the road conditions, we recommend you have good tires before crossing making the trip. The last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of a road in the Baja desert.
Luckily, if the worst does happen there are the Green Angels to the rescue. The Green Angels or Angeles Verdes are a government run, bilingual roadside assistance crew that patrol the highways in green trucks. They can offer mechanical assistance, first aid, basic supplies and towing. Just pull over to the side of the road and open your hood to signal them. The 24-hour toll-free number for the Green Angels is 01-800-987-8224. In case of emergency, you can also dial 078.
The last thing to be aware of when driving through Baja California are the many Military Checkpoints. Don’t be alarmed, these checkpoints exist for your safety and the young men working these checkpoints are generally polite and friendly. Be prepared to step out of your vehicle for them to conduct a quick search for narcotics and weapons. You have nothing to worry about unless you are smuggling these in your vehicle.
Is Baja California safe to visit?
Hopefully by now your answer to the question is Baja California safe is more than answered. And traveling to Baja Mexico is in fact very safe. The locals are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. With the military checkpoints, Green Angels, and a large police presence in tourist areas, visitors have little to worry about. Common sense, avoiding dangerous border areas, and taking a few precautions can make your trip to Baja California safe and fun.
Liz & Dennis
We’re two travel-loving, real estate investing, foodies exploring North America as full-time RV’ers. This blog is where we share our lessons learned, tips and tricks, and favorite places to eat, see, and RV across North America! We hope it helps you find your wanderlust, plan and prepare for RV life, and get out on the road!
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