Why is Baja different? The biggest differentiator of Baja California is that it is sparsely populated, and any crime is mostly contained to Tijuana, and to a lesser extent, Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, just as it would in the larger cities in any country. That being said, we will be visiting Cabo and La Paz on our journey.
So, is it safe? We won’t debate that violence can exist nearly anywhere, though crime rates in the 1000 mile long peninsula of Baja are nothing like they are in the U.S. Travel inherently requires risk. So does living in our home city, or the cities we travel for work. But it is each person’s responsibility to know all they can about their destination, and do what they can to mitigate the risk to fit their comfort level, and travel responsibly, or stay home if that is their choice.
What do we do about our own safety? We speak the language somewhat, and our interactions have shown the locals, including those at the military checkpoints, to be friendly and helpful. We have traveled there previously so we have some familiarity. We receive State Department travel alerts via email informing us of even the most minor travel hazard. We stay in touch with friends who live there at least part of the year. We don’t travel at night and we are always aware of our surroundings. Lastly, crowded cities attract crime, and the nature of our travel lends itself to roads off the beaten path where there are few, if any, other people.
It was said to us recently, that Baja is no longer as “American” as it once was. While we are not sure what that means, it would be disappointing if Baja were as American as anywhere in the States. That would defeat the reason for traveling. There are many areas of Baja, from cities like Tijuana and La Paz, to the many remote beach areas between sea and mountains. For many, for those who like the quiet beauty of Baja, the more remote areas are what they seek. For them, that is what Baja provides...peace, and they are thankful for it. We travel to pursue our insatiable wanderlust and curiosity. The world awaits, and so does adventure.
See you out there!
Chris Patterson and the TMO Team