Safety In Baja

The state of Baja California Sur is one of the safest states in Mexico and was specifically omitted from the Travel Warning issued by the Department of Homeland Security. There have been police confrontations in the last 18 months with the arrest of two cartel kingpins at their residences in La Paz. These were planned police 'take-downs' and much of the surrounding populace was evacuated before the arrests began. No one was killed. is not saying there are not problems, crimes and violence in Mexico and even Baja but the crime rate has dropped in northern Baja and Baja Sur has seen very little serious crimes. According to the U.S. Department of State “Travel Warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable.”

Almost all of the events that have occurred in Mexico also occurred in tourist destination in the US during the same time period. The war between the drug traffickers, each other and the government has not targeted tourists at this time. Tourists world wide are often the targets of local crime, because of their unfamiliarity with the locale and propensity for carrying cash and valuables. Travelers should remain alert to their surroundings. Without a doubt, the world wide economic situation has added to petty crimes in tourist areas world wide.

The drug traffic routes are not in Baja. Take a look at this map and you will see that southern Baja is free from the drug traffic.

Thanks to the locals who insist that drugs are not tolerated in Baja we have made some good friends over the years and the Mexican army and the Mexican Federal Police (Policia Federal or "Federales") patrol the roads, (in black below) are very active and friendly in Baja.

On the way to San Felipe you will pass through a "permanent" military checkpoint near the junction of Highways 5 and 3 (km 141)- the Ensenada road. Don't be alarmed. They will ask, sometimes in English but mostly in Spanish, if your have any guns or drugs. Generally they will ask to look in your car or your trailer. The soldiers have been trained to be courteous but firm with tourists. Don’t expect much of the conversation to be in English. Usually their first question will be, “Habla Espanol?” (Do you speak Spanish?) If you don’t, most of the communication will be broken English and pointing. They may ask you, “Adonde va?” (where is your destination?). Conversely, “De donde viene?” is (where are you coming from?).

On the northbound trip, the inspection is much more rigid and you will be asked to get out of the car while it is searched for drugs. On busy weekends (particularly on Sunday afternoons) this inspection process can cause a backup of traffic headed for Mexicali. We have seen lines miles long after an event such as the Baja 250 race.

In addition to the checkpoint at the junction of Highways 5 and 3,there's also a periodic checkpoint near Valley de Trinidad, between Ensenada and San Felipe. Also, there is an occasional checkpoint about 5 miles south of San Felipe, and a checkpoint just north of Gonzaga Bay.

These checkpoints are at the request of the government of the United States in an effort to halt the flow of drugs into the US. An added benefit of the checkpoints is that now San Felipe is like a gated community.