Ready, set, go! And they’re off! Planning a Baja road trip requires time, research, and most importantly, and a love for adrenaline. Whether you are escaping cold November weather or you consider this to be the superbowl of off-road racing, we want to help you prepare for your big trip! There will be sun, sand, and sabotage and you’ll want to be ready for it all. Not everything about the races will be smooth, but at American Tent we want to make sure you are ready for anything!
What Is the Baja 1000 and Where Did It All Begin?
If you are asking yourself, “What is the Baja 1000?”, let us share with you a little bit of information about one of the most infamous off-road races in the world! Founded in 1967, the Baja 1000 takes place annually on the normally tranquil Baja California Peninsula. The event consists of two races; the point-to-point race from Ensenada to La Paz and the “Loop” starting and finishing in Ensenada. This year the races are taking place between November 15th and November 20th. The main event, the Baja 1000 Course, will commence at 3am local time on November 18th. The event concludes on November 20th with the posting of official race results and an award celebration.
Why Is the Baja 1000 So Popular?
Like many extreme sports, the Baja 1000 attracts adrenaline junkies and their fierce fans. The challenge, the landscape, and the competition are endured by drivers from across the world and all different walks of life. This event will fuel your need for fun!
- Attending the Baja 1000 is an opportunity to talk shop and enjoy yourself with fans from across the world. You may even spot some of your favorite celebrities!
- A race of endurance, there is plenty of time to take photos and explore the course. Watch out for the dirt bikes, ATVs, buggies and custom vehicles that all share this track!
- Spend some extra time in the region before or after the race! Baja is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches and what better way to wind down than with a Pina Colada!
The List of 6 Essential Items for Your Baja Road Trip
Creating your Baja trip checklist might seem more daunting than the road trip itself. International travel can add extra stress and the Baja terrain is home to unique elements to be prepared for. Sometimes it’s about the journey but this trip is about the destination! Below we discuss what you need to be ready.
#1 Documents, Insurance, and Money
Let’s get the paperwork out of the way! International travel requires a little extra thought, but the experience is always worth it. You will need to cross the US-Mexico border which requires multiple forms of identification including a valid passport and drivers license. An FMM card is a tourist fee for those who do not require an extra visa to visit Mexico (this includes US citizens). Be sure to check that you have proper insurance before driving to a foreign country including car and medical insurance. Lastly, make sure to bring plenty of Pesos. It is probably a good idea to exchange more than you think necessary in case of an emergency and remember that businesses may not be able to accept your normal credit cards. Luckily, Pesos are easy to exchange once you return to the US!
You might be thinking that your backpack will be filled with shirts and shorts! We recommend packing for desert weather-which entails wind, dust, and cold nights! Long sleeve shirts and light convertible pants are perfect for what can be unfriendly terrain. Planning to be close to the races? Closed toed shoes might be the safest option! If you are planning to explore the area before or after the race, make sure to pack clothes for the resort! Swim trunks, flip-flops, and sunglasses will be a necessity!
Camping in Ensenada Baja is the best way to experience the race! Sleep near the Sea of Cortez and stay close to the events you don’t want to miss. Baja camping is an affordable adventure and provides extra time to bond with fans from across the world. Ensenada camping requires bringing a tent but this will be easy to pack in your vehicle! This 10x10 pop-up is the perfect addition to your set-up. This tent provides not only shade at the campground but also is the perfect homebase on the course.
#4 Sun Protection
This might go without saying, but the sun in Mexico shines year long and can be strong! Especially for those of us with fairer skin, it is important to pack sunscreen. Since you won’t be flying, you don’t need to worry about fluid restrictions.
#5 Safety Vest
Unfortunately, in the history of Baja racing there have been multiple people who have lost their lives to the sport. This can be a dangerous event and safety is something to keep in mind. If you plan on being close to the racers, wearing a bright colored safety vest can make sure you are visible to the racers and make it easier to find you if you were to need help.
Having a high powered flashlight on hand may prove to be useful on the road trip or while camping. If your car breaks down in the night, you will be thankful to have something more reliable than your phone flashlight. A flashlight will also come in handy at the campsite. From getting up in the middle of the night to run to the bathroom or packing up your things before dawn to prepare for a morning on the track, a flashlight (or two!) will definitely be appreciated by your travel group.
How Do I Get to Ensenada to See the Baja 1000?
The best way to get to the Baja 1000? The open road of course! Planning how to get to Baja racing is easy. If you are lucky enough to live within a comfortable drive of the border, your trip will be even smoother! Another option is to fly to a major airport such as the San Diego International Airport, rent a car, and start heading south. The border may be the busiest and most complicated part of the road trip, but try to be patient while the border patrol manages traffic at one of the busiest border crossings in the world. From Tijuana to Ensenada is less than 2 hours by car. After crossing the border, follow the signs (and your GPS to Ensenada). The roads are generally well-maintained. There will be a couple of tolls due along the way but these will total less than 10$. Be sure to remember the above tips and pack all of the proper documentation. Remember, the road bumps and potholes along the way are just a hint of what is in store for the rest of the week!
Where Can I See the Race Near Ensenada?
There are many ways to enjoy camping in Ensenada Baja California! Whether you're solo or with your family, there are several amazing camping options on the peninsula. One option is a campground with glamping Airstreams! The inside of each Airstream is modern and unique and there is plenty of space outdoors to play. Hoping for something a little bit more rustic? There are also beach camping options! Wheels by day and waves by night, enjoy hearing the water as you rest from the day’s festivities. Consider browsing AirBnB if you are interested in staying on private property for a more authentic or private experience. Lastly, if you are bringing children, consider staying at a campground with a waterpark. There are so many options and you will be sure to find something that is right for your trip. Make sure to book well in advance as the Baja 1000 is a very popular event!
Camping Gear for a Baja Trip
You are just about ready to leave for your big adventure. Here are a few last minute tips for driving and camping Baja. This Baja checklist will make sure you are ready to go for Ensenada camping.
#1 Heavy Duty Tent Stakes
Depending on where you decide to go camping (read above for ideas!), you may need to pack heavy duty tent stakes. Tent stakes will make your homebase stay in place. These stakes may also be useful on the course. Pack a 10x10 pop-up tent for extra shade and stabilize it with stakes. Your new friends will be grateful for a shady spot to watch the race!
#2 Sand Tracks or Burlap Bags
Planning your own off-road adventure? Or driving up close to the beach for the perfect camping spot? Consider packing sand tracks in case your tires start to spin in the sand! The four-wheelers might not be challenged by the terrain but your rental sedan might be. Be prepared with sand tracks or burlap bags so you aren’t left in the dust!
#3 A Shovel and a Bucket
A shovel and bucket may seem like unique road trip items but trust us, they will come in handy! The Baja is well known for its sandy terrain and there is lots of it. You can use a shovel and a bucket to even out your camping spot, transport water or sand, or even wash dishes. These are cheap and easy supplies to find and they will make your camping trip more comfortable!
The Bottom Line
With proper planning, Baja will be a blast! At American Tent, we help adventure seekers of all kinds find the perfect tent for their outdoor escapades - wherever they may roam! Contact us today to find the right tent for your next adventure!