Baja California Road Report
The latest reports of road conditions and driving conditions along Mexico's Hwy 1 through Baja California.
We have always recommended Mexican Auto Insurance. Now it is a requirement to drive on Federal Highways in both Baja California and Baja California Sur. Failure to have insurance may only be initially enforced as an 'add-on' infraction in the event of an accident or violation. As little as Mexican Insurance costs, it is silly to go without. Click here to check out our variety of insurance providers.
Our road reports depend on our network of BajaInsider readers to give us the lowdown on the 1000 miles of road between the border and Cabo San Lucas. We also appreciate your pictures! But please, be sure they are taken from the passenger's side!
IN ADDITION TO MEXICAN LIABILITY INSURANCE, IF YOU HAVE A PERMANENT RESIDENCE VISA YOU MUST IMPORT YOUR VEHICLE AND HAVE MEXICAN PLATES TO DRIVE ON FEDERAL HIGHWAYS
When we first began publishing our road reports 10 years ago road conditions could change dramatically, particularly during our rainy season. Today, most of the major vados have been replaced with bridges and four lane road exists near Constitucion and La Paz to Cabo San Lucas and then on to San Jose del Cabo.
Effective January 1, 2011– All cars transiting Baja California were required to carry Liability Insurance.
Effective November 12. 2012 – The Mexican Immigration Law Reform of 2012 requires you to obtain your FMM (tourist card) at the point of entry. The new facilities at the San Ysidro Border Crossing make obtaining your tourist card much easier. Fines will be applied to violators and are rarely waived under the new law.
Effective October 1, 2013 – All cars using federal highways in Baja California Sur will be required to carry liability insurance regardless of origin of the registration.
Effective January 1, 2011 – Cell phone use by the driver is an infraction. In Baja California Sur it is about $800 pesos.
The 4 lane is complete from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas, via Todos Santos. Rough road usually exists in the region between Baja California and Baja California Sur. Any kind of major road detour is the result of construction or rains and by-passes are often in place within 24hrs and paved if need be within days.
Driving Baja is quite simply put, far less of a challenge than a decade ago and not much different than driving many of California's 2 lane highways. One notable exception is the lack of shoulders, but even that is being remedied.
Other Baja Road Report
Baja Road Reports
September 21 & 22
For decades here in Baja it has been common for drivers to turn on their left turn signal to indicate that it is safe to pass. With curvy roads and limited passing areas this was sometime helpful. You had to watch though, because if you got a flash of brake lights too (if they worked) it could really mean a left hand turn, a mess would result if you thought he meant for you to pass.
Recently, trucks have been using the left turn signal to indicate to an oncoming truck where the near side of their truck is. Even dumber... see our slide show to see how well it doesn't work.
LEFT TURN SIGNALS ARE FOR MAKING A LEFT TURN.
A few years ago a bus passed a slow dump truck with a left turn signal illuminated. The southbound bus driver thought he was indicating it was safe to pass. The northbound bus driver thought he was indicting the left side of his truck. (which was correct) Unfortunately, 19 people and both bus drivers died in the 80+MPH head on collision. If you are driving a pickup or camper - you are not a Semi, quit pretending! There are currently driver education programs to help Mexicans kick the habit as well.
Drive safe - don't drive after dark if you can avoid it, a wandering cow makes a terrible hood ornament!
Tijuana to La Paz
Al Marchand - Veteran Baja Driver
1. Tijuana to Ensenada: Drivers still have to use the "free" road to negotiate the bottom third of this section. Traffic will be directed off of the toll road at La Mision and will rejoin at San Miguel next to the toll booth. It was nice to travel the old road once again and the condition of it was excellent.
2. There is bridge/culvert construction about 5 miles north of San Vincente.
3. There is a short section of road construction south of San Quintín near the Old Mill turnoff.
4. There are many potholes in an area from 20 miles north to 20 miles south of Catavina. There is another pothole section as you approach the Bahia de Los Angeles turnoff.
5. There is bridge construction near Nopolo (south of Loreto).
6. The rockslide at the miradornear Juncalito is still being worked upon.
7. The worst part of the journey is the last 6½ miles just north of La Paz.
~ Al M.
August 21, 2014
La Paz after the Rains
Here in La Paz we have had some torrential rains and violent thunderstorms, even to the point of sparking fires along the Malecon. The heavy rains have moved large amounts of dust and dirt into the roadways and left small ponds in the poorly drained areas. As anywhere the rains also cause the pot holes to bloom into existence and there are some truly treacherous ones. Yesterday I saw a late model Lexus blow a tire after failing to avoid one, and in another location an accident resulted from traffic swerving to avoid a road hazard. It is unlikely that road crew will get to all of them soon, and equally likely that they won't even try until these nearly daily drenching's end in the next few week.
La Paz received massive federal grants following our 2012 record rainy season and many of the main roads have been replaced with concrete which holds up much better. However, there are still places where that construction is still underway on some major through fares. It is now on hold, because it is hard to get good pavement laid down when the ground is saturated.
Crews are out daily, cleaning the major roadways by hand and bucket loader but in driving down the Malecon this morning, despite their efforts I could see a cloud of dust in my rear view mirror. This dust is highly contaminated and probably a real bad idea to breath. Open restaurants are suppose to be closed for three days following such events, but since they happen even more often than every three days some of the vendors are returning to business under questionable circumstances. Health officials warn against eating at these open restaurants and swimming is not suppose to be permitted in the Ensenada de La Paz (and anywhere else where run-off creates contamination) Avoid standing water, as it is very likely black water contaminated.
To avoid Dengue Fever outbreaks the city is publicizing efforts to have residents clean up standing water around their homes to control mosquito breeding. No significant increases in Dengue outbreaks have yet been reported, but the common tropical disease has reared its ugly head in La Paz before and runs in 7 year cycles for an unknown reason.
Although this report is specific to La Paz, it is also true of any other locations here in Baja California Sur that have endured these heavy afternoon rains.