Taking a road trip down the Baja peninsula is an incredible experience – and camping is one of my favorite ways to travel, no matter where I am! Camping means you save money, see more beautiful places, and spend more time outside. This guide is all about camping in Baja – how to find campsites, some of the best places to camp, and some tips for enjoying your stay!
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Table of Contents
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Is Camping in Baja Safe?
One thing that I feel strongly about is the fearmongering that often happens in any discussion around camping in Baja, and just being in Mexico. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of telling someone that you want to visit, and had them gasp in horror and clutch their pearls.
Let’s be clear: most of this is simply racism. A lot of Americans see Mexico as this big, scary “other,” and it’s really important to check yourself and your biases. If someone speaks negatively about Baja, ask them if they’ve ever been. And if they have, ask them if they ventured outside of their resort. Most likely, the people who rant about cartels and corruption truly just don’t know what they’re talking about. Of course, that’s not to say that danger doesn’t exist in Baja – there isn’t a place in the world that’s 100% guaranteed to be safe.
Fearmongering is harmful and not okay, and I hope you don’t let it deter you from taking the trip. And listen, I’ve had the experience of being robbed at gunpoint (not in Mexico) – shit does happen. But, it is safe to camp in Baja.
Of course, there are things to watch out for, just like you would anywhere else. Lock your car doors, be aware of your surroundings, and read about the places you stay. If you feel uneasy, paid campgrounds can feel safer, since they’re more established and usually have other people around. Camping with friends is also a good way to calm any nerves, and it’s fun!
Overall, Baja is a very safe place, and I have felt completely at ease during my trip.
The Best Time for Camping in Baja
The best time for camping in Baja is definitely winter, as the weather is warm and sunny. Summer is definitely hot, so winter offers the best, most comfortable weather for camping, and for visiting Baja in general. Winter is also the most popular time to go, so expect to see plenty of other travelers!
What You Need for Camping in Baja
If you’re camping in Baja, here’s what I recommend bringing with you!
There are different ways to camp in Baja – I took my camper van, which meant I had all of my essentials (bed, cooking stuff, that sort of thing) with me. If you’re planning to bikepack or drive to Baja in a car (that doesn’t double as your house) down, here are some things you’ll need for camping gear!
- Tent – somewhere to sleep! I love my super light Big Agnes Tiger Wall tent, and I also use a footprint to keep the bottom safe & dry.
- Sleeping Bag – make sure you have something warm enough! I use this ALPS Mountaineering sleeping bag.
- Sleeping Pad – an essential for a comfy night of sleep! I have this Sea to Summit pad, but am planning to upgrade to a thicker one, like this Therm-a-Rest pad soon!
- Camp Stove – there’s nothing like having a hot meal at camp. I use an MSR Pocket Rocket stove, which is incredibly small, along with this GSI Cookset.
- Headlamp – a camping essential for after dark.
- Water – there’s plenty of oceanside camping in Baja, but not many places where you can filter fresh water. I recommend bringing some containers to fill (agua purificada only – don’t drink tap water in Mexico!), like this folding water cube.
One great thing to do before you leave for camping in Baja is to download offline maps. You can do this in Google Maps, and it allows you to get directions when you don’t have service – which is pretty often in Baja.
Recovery boards are important for getting out of the sand! If you get stuck on a beach, these help a ton. I bought some cheaper off brand ones, and have used them once and been fine. But, MaxTrax are typically the recommended option and likely would last longer.
Another great tool for driving on the beach is the ability to air down your tires. This increases traction, and helps you drive on soft sand. Having a tire deflator allows you to do that, and then you’ll need an air compressor to reinflate your tires!
You don’t need a Starlink of course, but there’s minimal service in Baja, especially once you get away from the big towns. If you’re working during your trip, this is definitely the best way to ensure Internet access.
It’s also a good idea to look into cell phone plans before you go. Check with your carrier to see if your current plan will work in Mexico. I have Mint Mobile, which allows you to buy roaming credits as needed. This is perfect for me, since I planned to mostly use the Starlink for wifi, and just have the roaming option available if I needed it.
How to Find Camping in Baja
Now, let’s talk about where you can camp in Baja, and how to find campsites!
There is so much gorgeous free camping in Baja. In a lot of places, you can park right on the beach and enjoy the views, all for free! Some places are definitely harder (or impossible) to reach without 4×4, but I was in a FWD Promaster van for my Baja road trip, and had no problem getting to some incredible spots. I’m a big fan of free camping over paid sites, but paying for a spot can get you some amenities.
My favorite way to find free campsites in Baja is iOverlander, which is an app where users can contribute locations. It’s great because people can leave reviews, so that you can be prepared and know if a spot is 4×4 only.
Another option for places to stay during a Baja road trip is paid campsites. These might have amenities like toilets, showers, and wifi, and some people feel safer staying at paid sites. These can definitely vary – some campgrounds have flushable toilets and showers, while others might just have a pit toilet.
Campsites in Baja tend to be about $10 – $15 USD per night, though RV parks are more pricey. Campsites are first come, first serve, and usually will only take cash – if you have the option, I always recommend paying in pesos rather than USD, as it will be a little cheaper. You can find paid campsites on iOverlander as well, and the reviews will usually tell you exactly what to expect!
RV parks can be a good option if you need electrical hookups, and these parks often have amenities like restaurants or pools. One thing to be aware of is that many of them have water, but it isn’t potable – so make sure to ask if you aren’t sure, because drinking tap water in Mexico is definitely not advised. These tend to cost $25-$50 per night.
Hipcamp is similar to Airbnb, but for camping and glamping sites. It’s a really great place to find unique places to stay, and you book sites in advance, which can give some peace of mind as you’re traveling. There are several Hipcamps along the peninsula, and you can get $10 off your first booking! Hipcamps can be anything from parcels of land to put your tent on to cabins and glamping tents.
Ready for Camping in Baja?
Visiting somewhere new and figuring out the logistics can feel intimidating, but as long as you’re prepared and know what to expect, camping in Baja will be a beautiful experience! If you have any questions about camping in Baja, or some advice or recommendations that I didn’t mention, let me know in a comment below.
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