Travel in Baja California Sur, Mexico and Safety
The question of safety is at the top of many people’s minds now. Recent news about violence in certain parts of Mexico certainly might give you pause, and a key source of information is the U.S. State Department Travel Advisories page, that covers every country in the world, including information about Mexico.
While people often refer to Baja as one region, there are in fact two states, Baja California State, which is the north half of the peninsula, and Baja California Sur. Our trips take place soley in Baja California Sur (BCS).
Baja California State currently (March 2023) is on the "reconsider travel to" list while Baja California Sur is on the "exercise increased caution when traveling to" list, which means that the U.S. State Department considers Baja California Sur less risky. This is the same ranking as many European Countries including France, Germany, Italy, and others.
During our 2022-2023 season hundreds of Canadians and US Citizens have enjoyed a trip with us in Baja Sur, one of Mexico’s 31 states. Most fly into Loreto directly (served by Alaska Airlines for over 20 years, and American Airlines for 3 years), while some fly to La Paz and a good number fly to Cabo San Lucas airport in the very southern tip of the peninsula. In addition, some people drive from San Diego or Arizona south along the narrow roads of Baja California Sur.
How do we monitor conditions in Baja?
We’ve been operating trips in Baja for over 25 years and have an extensive network of guides and support staff on the ground. With their help we carefully monitor travel conditions in Baja and have the logistical support in place should any of our trips need help.
What does the U.S. State Department say?
The U.S. State Department ranks each Mexico State individually as they few the risks to be very divergent. Baja California Sur is ranked at #2 – “Exercise increased caution” and as mentioned above, this is the same level as many European countries including France, Germany, Italy, and others. Baja in particular is listed as “Exercise Increased Caution” and specifically, the State Department webpage says: “There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Baja California Sur state, which includes tourist areas in: Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, and La Paz.” You can read about all the States in Mexico on the U.S. State Department site, here.
What does the Canadian Government say about Travel to Baja?
The government of Canada travel warnings list MEXICO as “Exercise a high degree of caution” which is also the same level as France, the UK, and other European countries.There are certain states that they indicate you should avoid, and fortunately, Baja California Sur is not one of those. You can read more here.
So how does a person decide it’s okay to travel?
Our best source for travel information in Baja is the people on location that we know. We have a number of guides and other support staff who live and work there and with whom we have a long relationship of friendship and trust. We ask them: "Are you worried about your own family. Should we be concerned about travel to Baja?" Over the past years, the answer is always “No” and it remains so now. In addition, staff from Sea Kayak Adventures’ Idaho office regularly travel to Baja to visit our team in Baja and get a real-time read on current conditions.
Baja Travel Safety Tips
The U.S. State Department maintains a traveler’s checklist, with good information on preparing for international travel. Much of the advice is common sense and practices that are relevant to travel when visiting almost any place or any big city. There are suggestions such as using caution around the use of ATM’s; not driving at night; being aware of your surroundings, especially at bars or clubs; staying alert and not displaying fancy jewelry, etc.
Governments are responsible for the safety of their citizens and if a citizen gets in trouble, they may need to take action. Thus, these warnings should be viewed from that perspective. Travel always has risks, as does life in general. I was reminded of this last year as my wife and I drove from our home into town for dinner. Without warning a deer darted out from across the road, weaving between two oncoming cars and running directly in front of our car. I hit our brakes hard, but hit the deer solidly, killing it instantly and doing some serious damage to the front of our car. Accidents happen so quickly and can happen at any time. Thank goodness it wasn’t a moose!
Our Bubble Journeys
For many people in these times, traveling in a private group is attractive. For that reason, we have designed several new culturally-immersive tours to Baja as part of our Bubble Journeys series. These allow you to travel in your own private group of family and/or friends. We take you to places well off the beaten path where few other travelers go. The trips are a magical mix of time exploring coastal Baja with its huge beaches, mangroves, and wildlife, combined with time in the interior, where hidden villages, mission history, and vibrant cultures welcome us.
Mexico has a wide variety of wonderful attractions including rich indigenous cultures, splendid colonial cities and towns, a delectable culinary scene, architectural treasures, and vibrant, bountiful nature.
Tourism is very important to the Mexican economy, but especially to certain areas, including Baja. For this reason, law enforcement works hard to keep tourists safe. They understand the importance and the economic ramifications of a loss of tourism. All of us have our own tolerance for risk, and the choice to travel or not is strictly a personal one. If you do decide to join us in Baja, rest assured we will do all we can to make sure you are secure and can relax and enjoy the wide-open spaces we visit, usually far from the crowds and often in places where we are surrounded by nature and spending time with friendly locals.
We welcome you to contact us with any questions.