This road report is for driving Mex 2 from Tijuana to Mexicali and then south on Mex 5 from Mexicali to Laguna Chapala where the highway meets Baja Transpeninsular Highway Mex 1. The drive was made in mid-October of 2015.
Tijuana to Tecate to Mexicali (approx. 2.5 hours)
Chuatemoc to Mexico Hwy 2
Going from Tijuana to Mexicali is fairly straightforward and can be driven via the Toll (Cuota) or Free (Libre) highways to Tecate. Tecate does have some construction in the town center and there is a detour (desviación) to pass on through to Mexicali on Mex 2. Other than that there are a few small areas of construction on the toll roads but they are in good shape and fast and easy to drive. After Tecate, you will drive through the mountains to a place called Rumorosa. There is a toll and right afterwards, will see a sign for Casa de Piedras (House of stone). It is worth it to stop there and see the Casa de Piedras and the incredible views down to Mexicali from there. On to Mexicali is a tight windy downhill road but it is in very good shape. There are many turns and they are heavily marked with a lot of warnings due to a number of accidents in the past. The road surface and signage are great and there several large rest areas with awesome views. Be careful during the winter months as there can be ice and even snow on this highway in the mountain pass.
Rumurosa Casa de Piedras
There are 2 military checkpoints along the way with the first outside of Tecate and the other one just as you get out of the mountains as you are nearing Mexicali. They did not do much else other than asking where I was coming from and where I was going to. Upon entering the Mexicali area expect some bad city streets and a lot of traffic. The signage is good and it is easy to find Mex 5 which is the southern end of California's I-5 and the major border crossings of the two that are in Mexicali.
Mexicali to San Felipe (approx. 2 hours)
Once in Mexicali whether you came over the border at Calexico or in from the west at Tecate or Tijuana you will head south on Mex 5 to San Felipe. This highway is in pretty good shape but the are areas of construction and some pot holes. The biggest concern is if you are driving too fast in the dips (vados) you could bottom out or go flying. These dips are very short and quick and if not careful could cause you to loose control or damage your vehicle. Just keep you speed down and you shouldn't have any issues. San Felipe being so close to the U.S. has been a very popular town with those from Southern California for many years. With the eventual finishing of US I-5 to Mex 5 south to Laguna Chapala, they may be seeing a bit more traffic in years to come. This could easily become the preferred route for those headed further south to Baja Sur as it will be shorter and you can avoid the farm areas around San Quintin.
San Felipe to Laguna Chapala (Mex 1) ( approx. 4-5 hours)
Upon leaving San Felipe the road passes the airport and there are several housing developments and residences in what is called the south beach area. From San Felipe to Puertocitos the surface of the road is not in very good shape. The pavement is obviously old and has been patched a lot and needs work for sure. It can still be driven fairly fast but with caution. Headed south from here the road can also be a bit narrow and has poor shoulders with few areas to turn out so be careful if trailering or driving large rigs or RV's.
Mex 5 Beginning of the End
Leaving Puertocitos you will encounter a very nice new highway. This is obviously the latest part of the road compleated and it has nice pavement, gutters, shoulders and signage. Unfortunately, just south of Cocco Mex 5
I had never driven the Mex 5 section that they are working on finishing from Coco's Corner to Laguna Chapala. This short section is still far from finished and there are many bridges (possibly upwards of 40 according to Cocco) yet to be finished in the last 50 km of the unimproved dirt track.
It is a short section from San Luis Gonzaga south to laguna Chapala but right after leaving the Gonzaga Bay area it becomes a rocky dirt track that can only be driven 15 to 25 miles and hour. I spoke with Cocco whom you must stop in and visit if passing by. He is quite the character. I asked how long he had been living there and he replied with something like 25 years, 3 months and 13 days if I recall correctly. Cocco is a bit of a legend as he moved out there from Tijuana when he lost his leg in an accident on the street in TJ.
He now has lost both legs and lives in a wheelchair but seems to get along just fine. He has cold drinks, some food and some campers there for accommodations. In the past few people other than dirt bikers, off-roaders and the more adventurous traveler's passed by. I asked him when he thought they would be done and he replied in several years. He may be a little negative about the progress but he pointed out there were 3 teams of construction and the northern and southern companies were still working but the middle company had not been paid in a long time and, therefore, were not currently working. The conditions for the workers is some of the toughest with the lack of water and the distances for supplies.f the San Luis Gonzaga area the pavement ends and the approximately 50km stretch to be finished (detour) begins.
They have a lot of heavy equipment out there and do seem to be building the highway to last but there is a lot more to do. I was able to drive it faster than most in my almost empty VW Touareg but if you have any loads, trailers or RV's you will find it a frustrating 15 miles an hour drive. in fact I would not recommend this route for RV's or trailers but as you can see people do make the trip with trailers.e this route. I had heard so many different reports on how long the last section was and in what condition it is. Well, it has not been progressing as fast as many have said and the following write-up along with some pictures should hep you decide if this route is for you or not.
Once through the mountains, there is one last long straight section of poor road you will gladly join the Mex 1 at Laguna Chapala area north of Guerrero Negro (the Baja and Baja Sur border). I had recently posted a drive from Cabo to Tijuana (Road Report 1st week of October 2015) where you will find an up to date report on the rest of Mex1 Baja Transpeninsular highway south to Cabo.
Now that I have driven it for myself I would only recommend this route to SUV's and trucks. Yes, cars or trucks with trailers or RV's can make it but it will be slow and frustrating and possibly damage to your vehicles. I believe it is a faster route even without the last 50km's finished but is it worth it? Well, that can only be answered by you I just wanted to give people an honest review of this route.Mex 5 joins Mex 1