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Driving in southern Baja, Los Cabos to Loreto

Driving in southern Baja, Los Cabos to Loreto

Old Oct 1, 06, 7:09 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: MSY
Programs: BA GfL
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Driving in southern Baja, Los Cabos to Loreto

My friend and I are looking at taking a vacation in Baja in January that would entail us spending about a week in Todos Santos, then another week in Loreto. Looking at the flights in and out of the two towns, it seems that Loreto is sort of a "can't get there from here" kind of place, where as Los Cabos is quite well served by multiple airlines. Given that I am hoping to do this trip on OneWorld miles (starting from PHL), it seems like a much more feasible proposition to fly in and out of Los Cabos rather than trying to fly to/from Loreto.

My issue: if I were going to be in the US or another developed country, I wouldn't think twice about renting a car to drive the approximately 350 km between the two cities so that we could fly in and out of Los Cabos. But:

--I have never been to Baja (or Mexico for that matter)
--My Spanish speaking skills are weak
--I had, shall we say, a "character-building experience" renting a car earlier this year in Costa Rica to drive an even shorter distance
--I'm not sure what the road situation is like after the hurricanes a few months ago.

Given all this, what do FTers knowledgeable about the area recommend? Are the roads decent in this area? Can I rent a 4WD, and should I? How long should I expect this drive to take? (I have read JDiver's excellent overview of driving laws and recommendations in Mexico and plan to print it out before I drive even one mile in a rental vehicle!)
travelmad478 is offline  
Old Oct 1, 06, 9:03 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: STL, CPS
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We drove all over the Southern Baja prior to the recent hurricanes. At that time, the highway from SJD to Cabo to Todos Santos was very good, easy to drive, and quite scenic. We also had no difficulty driving across to LaPaz. We came back to San Jose del Cabo by the interior mountainous road, and it was a little tricky at dusk due to much livestock being on the road. Many are sort of grey in color and hard to see.

I get by great with rudimentary Spanish, I recommend the Rough Guide Phrase Book to Mexican Spanish. I am also learning via Pimsleur CDs.

Find The Gringo Gazette on line. They do articles about this sort of thing a lot. They had an article not to long ago about a Mexican/Baja version of AAA, which might be worth joining for an extended trip.
sonora is offline  
Old Oct 11, 06, 6:52 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
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The road from Los Cabos to Loreto is excellent by Mexican standards: the shoulders may seem a little narrow at first but you'll get used to it. The quickest way is to go North towards Todos Santos (instead of Highway 1 through the Cabo Pulmo area, which is more scenic).

Renting a car from a reputable agency in Baja is not much of a problem. At Los Cabos airport, I'd recommend Avis - Hertz is outside in a strip mall away from the airport.

If you have a 4WD or a high-clearance vehicle, there is a great dirt-road option about 25 miles south of Loreto that will take you to Ciudad Insurgentes to rejoin Highway 1. the lonely planet Baja has information on this - you can make stops at cave painting sights and its pretty cool. I'd do that on the return trip, if possible.

Loreto - at least up until last May when I was last there - has service from LAX on Alaska (not daily). There is also a Hertz at the Loreto airport, which I've had good experience with.
jesus4jets is offline  
Old Oct 11, 06, 3:28 pm
  #4  
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Thanks for your responses. After doing a lot of searching around for options, not to mention discovering a way to fly out of Loreto fairly cheaply, we decided to skip the rental car and let El Greyhound do the long-distance driving. (Well, Transportes Aquila, anyway.) My big question was whether there was a direct bus between Todos Santos and Loreto, and apparently there is. So that makes our lives easier, and cuts out a lot of hours of backtracking.
travelmad478 is offline  
Old Oct 11, 06, 6:10 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Have fun, and give us a shout back afterward and say how it went.

We are planning an east coast of Baja expedition for next year.
sonora is offline  
Old Oct 13, 06, 11:49 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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One other comment related to "renting" a car in Mexico...

To avoid the higher cost of accepting the rental car companys daily 'full-coverage' I chose supplemental insurance.
My own insurance company would not offer supplemental insurance on a rental in Mexico however, the credit card company provided coverage.

It turned out to be a great deal.
A one time flat-rate of $25 that starts on the day you pick up (and use that credit card) and covers up to 42days total.
That option alone saved a couple hundred dollars over the duration of time we were renting a car. [not selling for a credit card company - but not sure if all credit card vendors offer this. in my case it was on my hhilton plat.AmexCard]
underceej is offline  
Old Nov 26, 06, 3:39 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Plane Or Bus To La Paz

Originally Posted by travelmad478
My big question was whether there was a direct bus between Todos Santos and Loreto, and apparently there is.
Iím from Cairns in North Queensland Australia. I fly into LAX 12th Dec 2006 1pm. Going to La Paz Baja California. Looks like I can get a direct flight to La Paz same day for USD$300 or go to San Jose del Cabos the next morning for USD$150. But to get the cheap fare I have to get a hotel in LA. Is the bus a viable option? I canít find the info to confirm. Can I bus to Tijuana and travel overnight to La Paz? Iíve checked the Tijuana-on-line website and it gives Aguila Autotransportes S.A de C.V. (Autotransportes de la Baja California ABC) as going from Tijuana to La Paz. But I canít get a web site for Aguila Autotransportes S.A de C.V. The website for ABC is under construction. I believe I can get a bus (Greyhound) LA to Tijuana.
trane2win is offline  
Old Nov 26, 06, 4:57 am
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Join Date: Jul 2001
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Originally Posted by trane2win
Iím from Cairns in North Queensland Australia. I fly into LAX 12th Dec 2006 1pm. Going to La Paz Baja California. Looks like I can get a direct flight to La Paz same day for USD$300 or go to San Jose del Cabos the next morning for USD$150. But to get the cheap fare I have to get a hotel in LA. Is the bus a viable option? I canít find the info to confirm. Can I bus to Tijuana and travel overnight to La Paz? Iíve checked the Tijuana-on-line website and it gives Aguila Autotransportes S.A de C.V. (Autotransportes de la Baja California ABC) as going from Tijuana to La Paz. But I canít get a web site for Aguila Autotransportes S.A de C.V. The website for ABC is under construction. I believe I can get a bus (Greyhound) LA to Tijuana.
This is a tough one. It depends how much you value the traveling experience of the alternatives. If you are just looking to get to La Paz ASAP and can do it for $300 one/way, this will probably be the best option, as the lodging/transportation costs will approach $150 via either of these options.

1. As you suggested, stay in LA for a day (it is a weeknight, but a hotel at LAX (very boring without a car) or downtown (less boring, and easy to access with flyaway shuttle) might be less than $75 on priceline.

2. Take the flyaway shuttle to Union Station upon arrival ($3). Take amtrak to san diego (about $20, maybe less with discount codes you find in amtrak station). You could either spend the night in SD (fun!) or make your way to Tijuana via the light rail ($2.50) and spend the night in TJ. There may be a a shuttle directly from downtown SD to Tijuana airport for about $15 as well, although I'm not sure if its still running - call (619) 459-3227 or (800) 854-3913 to find out.
Aero California flies Tijuana - La Paz for only $110 including tax, and aeromexico flies for $145 inc. tax.

Have fun!
jesus4jets is offline  

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