We ran into them in Cabo – 20 huge Class A rigs, most 40 to 45 feet, most diesel pushers, most towing toads. They had a Wagonmaster and a Tailgunner, also in large diesel pushers. The Wagonmaster spoke fluent Spanish. They started in Texas, then drove onto the ferries at Topolobampo to Cabo. Their tour was 48 days. The Wagonmaster held meetings each evening regarding the following day’s sites and festivities. One evening in Cabo, they all convened to play Bingo. This was an RV Adventures caravan, and the price tag for the tour was close to $10,000 per rig.
Then, there was us – a rag tag group of misfits – one truck camper, two trailers, two class Cs, one FRED diesel, two Class A diesels, and two gasser Class As. The Baja Amigos – a little too close for comfort to the sweet but naive and clueless “Three Amigos.” We never had meetings. Our radios didn’t work half the time. Our Wagonmaster, while experienced with Mexico in general, spoke not the language and was trying out the Baja Amigos itinerary for the first time too. Our tour price tag was $2,200.
Whatever the experience you would like to have on the Baja, I’m sure there is a tour that can make that happen. Whatever and whichever you decide, here are my tips for picking the company best for you.
Length of Tour: Think about how much you want to drive, and how important tours and activities are to you. Our tour was 28 days. We are reaching the end now, and I am very ready to be done. The longest we stayed anywhere was three nights, in Cabo. The remainder were one- and two-night stays, but staying longer at those locations for a more restful pace would not have been ideal, because there was little or nothing to do there. Perhaps the best solution is to stay longer on your own in a city, picking up the next tour as it comes through. But, if the tours come through every 30 days, I would not want to spend a month in any of the locations we visited!
Size Of Caravan: The smaller, the better. We were promised a total of eight rigs. We started with nine rigs, then picked up one more when a couple from another tour re-joined ours. Ten rigs traveling together is too many. Too long to get fuel, too long for potty breaks, too long pulling over in towns waiting for everyone to catch up because they got stuck at the light. The Adventure Caravan had 20 rigs, but they travel in pods of four. Four provides safety in numbers, help for mechanical difficulties, and the flexibility of fewer rigs.
Staffing: Choose a company that provides a Tailgunner. Period. This tour company does not provide one as a matter of course; we lucked out when the Wagonmaster’s friend volunteered for the position.
Wagonmaster: At a minimum, the Wagonmaster should have previously taken your tour before serving as Wagonmaster. The Wagonmaster should speak fluent Spanish. “When you are searched by the police or military, tell them you don’t speak the language” is not comforting advice from a single-language speaking tour guide in a foreign country.
Local Transportation: Before you decide to leave your toad behind, make sure the company has made adequate provisions for local transportation.
RV Parks: Whether you paid a month’s rent or a fortune for your tour, you will stay in the same RV parks. Be it roads or RV accommodations, Mexico is not set up for big rigs. Boondocking on the beach is preferable to RV parks, with 110 volt outlets, cramped conditions, dust, few trees, spotty or nonexistent Wi-Fi, and Mexican water. I kept a closed system the entire trip, relying on the jenny and batteries and taking on no Mexican water. Now at the end of the trip, the fresh water is kaput, so I am using bottled water for drinking and cooking, re-filled bottles of Mexican water with bleach added for cleaning, and re-filled bottles of Mexican water for flushing the toilet. I shower at RV parks, but many parks have no showers, or no water pressure, or no hot water.
Bottom Line: I would not take another RV tour to Baja. Based on what I have seen I would be very comfortable making the trip on my own or with a couple of friends, but the Baja has shown me all I need to see. As for the tour company, when I chose Baja Amigos I heard they were starting a caravan tour of the mainland, and I thought the Baja trip would be a great way to decide about another tour with them. No. Fucking. Way. I would not feel safe or secure on the mainland with this company.