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Driving to Baja Norte from Ajijic, which way is best?


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This November We will be driving from Ajijic to Baja North. Would it be best to stay along northern Sonora or cross at Nogales to Tucson then head west to the San Diego crossing?

We aren't concerned with the crossings as we have a Jalisco plated Mexican made car and are Temporal Residentes. This time we will have a car load of household stuff. Will I be taxed at USA border?

Last week we returned from a road trip through Texas for a vaccine then on to mid Illinois to see family and friends. The only delay was 10 extra minutes crossing into Texas at Laredo. My wife had forgotten that she had packed a couple of apples which she declared so they were confiscated without a fine. Funny that she told the border agent that they probably originally came from Washington state which he got a chuckle about.

So what do you think?

A link to Google maps of northern border.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Nogales,+AZ+85621/@31.1201077,-112.5700204,7.25z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x86d6a7b602bcccef:0x55dc0a7c4ff9d977!8m2!3d31.3403775!4d-110.9342532

 

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I am told that section of Ruta 2 west of Sonoyta is very hazardous and many accidents as well as bandit problems.  I would take the long way around through the U.S. if it were me.  However you might run into complications about your load of household stuff when you recross into Mexico.  Should be no problem on the U.S. side but they may want to look through the stuff for contraband.

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Well from what I see about the ferry crossings it is hit and miss during good times.

So it looks like we will be driving all the way to Ensenada Baja.

Most of what we will have in the car was purchased here in Ajijic or from Amazon MX and we have receipts for almost everything. Hopefully that will make a difference crossing back at Sab Diego.

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15 hours ago, cedros said:

I would take the ferry it is much shorter. I've crossed by ferry twice-no problems. 

How long ago was your last ferry crossing from Guaymas to Santa Rosalía?  It's not the same animal it used to be as is now operating only 3 times a week.... at night. And that's not guaranteed like it used to be. Cost would be north of $200 US for car and 1 person last time I considered doing that.

Sounds like the OP is wanting to go to Ensenada so IMO taking the ferry would take longer, cost more and the sailing time would add about 6 extra hours to the land trip. 

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On 7/9/2021 at 8:49 PM, RickS said:

You might consider crossing back at Mexicali or Tacate instead of going all the way up to San Diego. I think the potentially bad stuff is on Mexico 2 but EAST of Mexicali over to Sonoyta.

 

 

I lived in Mexicali. If you want to stay in Mexico and save a few hours crossing the border twice and many miles you can get off the Mx. 15 at Santa Ana onto the Mx. 2 and go straight towards Mexicali on a good highway. Bypass Mexicali  just a short distance from town and take the Mx. 2D to the Mx. 2  45 miles ahead which joins at the foot of the mountains on the west side of Mexicali and take this called La Rumorosa which is  a divided 4 lane freeway with many curves and hairpin turns to Mx. 3 in Tecate. Take this into Ensenada. It might save you 6 or more hours.

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3 hours ago, RickS said:

How long ago was your last ferry crossing from Guaymas to Santa Rosalía?  It's not the same animal it used to be as is now operating only 3 times a week.... at night. And that's not guaranteed like it used to be. Cost would be north of $200 US for car and 1 person last time I considered doing that.

Sounds like the OP is wanting to go to Ensenada so IMO taking the ferry would take longer, cost more and the sailing time would add about 6 extra hours to the land trip. 

Better than guessing let the OP figure out which route would work best for him. I have never made that crossing.

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On 7/8/2021 at 11:13 AM, Mainecoons said:

I am told that section of Ruta 2 west of Sonoyta is very hazardous and many accidents as well as bandit problems.  I would take the long way around through the U.S. if it were me.  However you might run into complications about your load of household stuff when you recross into Mexico.  Should be no problem on the U.S. side but they may want to look through the stuff for contraband.

 

3 hours ago, AlanMexicali said:

I lived in Mexicali. If you want to stay in Mexico and save a few hours crossing the border twice and many miles you can get off the Mx. 15 at Santa Ana onto the Mx. 2 and go straight towards Mexicali on a good highway. Bypass Mexicali  just a short distance from town and take the Mx. 2D to the Mx. 2  45 miles ahead which joins at the foot of the mountains on the west side of Mexicali and take this called La Rumorosa which is  a divided 4 lane freeway with many curves and hairpin turns to Mx. 3 in Tecate. Take this into Ensenada. It might save you 6 or more hours.

Thank you for the caution about Ruta 2 Maincoons!

AlanMexicali, your route is the preferred one but in your opinion is Ruta 2 very dangerous or just normal for being next to the border?

I have a few months to make the decision and I do want to play it safe but I don't want to be paranoid either. We just completed a driving trip to mid Illinois and back without a single problem. I know each day and route can be different.

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The only way to get from TJ or Mexicali is that highway. It is very busy at times. Some trucks drive too fast and cause accidents. Drunk ranch hands come onto the highway at night without stopping. There are accidents along that route sometimes. Robberies are not a problem. Driving at night might be more problematic than driving during daylight. I would just take it easy. It is a flat staight highway along the desert floor and some drivers drive too fast is the only thing I have ever noticed. Mx. 3 from Tecate to Ensenada goes through Valle de Guadalupe which is wine country and I haven't driven it in a couple of decades but when I did it was beautiful to see everything once you got into the valleys.

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21 hours ago, cedros said:

I would take the ferry it is much shorter. I've crossed by ferry twice-no problems. 

 

1 hour ago, cedros said:

Better than guessing let the OP figure out which route would work best for him. I have never made that crossing.

Huh???

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1 hour ago, AlanMexicali said:

The only way to get from TJ or Mexicali is that highway. It is very busy at times. Some trucks drive too fast and cause accidents. Drunk ranch hands come onto the highway at night without stopping. There are accidents along that route sometimes. Robberies are not a problem. Driving at night might be more problematic than driving during daylight. I would just take it easy. It is a flat staight highway along the desert floor and some drivers drive too fast is the only thing I have ever noticed. Mx. 3 from Tecate to Ensenada goes through Valle de Guadalupe which is wine country and I haven't driven it in a couple of decades but when I did it was beautiful to see everything once you got into the valleys.

OK thanks Alan, pretty normal stuff then 🙃 I hit the hotels before dark so driving at night is a non issue.

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On 7/11/2021 at 4:55 PM, RickS said:

 

Huh???

Put your glasses on  a read it again. There are two different posts. There are 3 ferry crossing. I have not made the  

Guaymas one.

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On 7/8/2021 at 1:28 PM, dennis clark said:

How about the ferry from Mazatlan to La Paz?

Baja Ferries. Someone reports " From Mazatlan to northern Baja the 20-hour journey is much shorter and more cost-effective than it would be to drive all the way back up the peninsula to cross over to mainland in the north." But it can't be checked onout on Google maps.  Large car ferries go fom La paz to Mazatlan and Topolobampo. The ferries have a cafeteria, a large room with seats or private cabins with bathrooms. Interesting trips.

Guadalajara, Jalisco to Ensenada, Baja California - Google Maps

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On 7/8/2021 at 11:13 AM, Mainecoons said:

I am told that section of Ruta 2 west of Sonoyta is very hazardous and many accidents as well as bandit problems.  I would take the long way around through the U.S. if it were me.  However you might run into complications about your load of household stuff when you recross into Mexico.  Should be no problem on the U.S. side but they may want to look through the stuff for contraband.

Something to add about Mexican route 2.  It is a two lane road with large shoulders with dashed lines next to the regular lane.  If a car in the opposite lane is passing someone you are expected to move over to the shoulder.  A bit of a shock until one figures it out. 

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3 hours ago, lcscats said:

Something to add about Mexican route 2.  It is a two lane road with large shoulders with dashed lines next to the regular lane.  If a car in the opposite lane is passing someone you are expected to move over to the shoulder.  A bit of a shock until one figures it out. 

It is the same from Zacatecas to Saltillo if I remember correctly. The ones that don't figure it out quickly aren't here to tell us about it.

Once I saw what was happening it was kind of shocking but it works well and it adds a passing lane for just the cost of wide shoulders.

 

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Actually it's the same throughout Mexico. If one is on a 'wide' 2-lane road OR a 2-lane Cuota one best know this "Mexican driving tradition".  My wife still freaks out when this happens but the good news is that she doesn't travel as much in Mexico as I do.

 

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