Why you Should Not Take an RV Caravan Tour to Mexico

Why you Should Not Take an RV Caravan Tour to Baja Mexico

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Tom, Indy, and I are about to spend our second winter traveling the Baja peninsula of Mexico. Last year we often encountered RV caravan tours as we traveled, and we couldn’t believe the prices they were charging people just to drive through Baja! If you’re considering camper travel in Mexico here are the reasons why you should NOT take an RV caravan tour.

They are VERY overpriced

The first, and biggest, reason not to take an RV caravan tour to Mexico is that the cost is exorbitantly high. A two week RV caravan tour to Baja costs anywhere from $2,000 to $3,500, and that doesn’t even include gas! Our camper travel in Baja costs us about $1000 per MONTH, and that includes plenty of meals out, camping fees, gas, and some tourist excursions like whale watching.

It is a business model based on fear

How do these caravan companies justify such a high price? They harness people’s fears about RVing in Mexico. That’s it, plain and simple.

There are numerous guides to Baja that will take you step by step through the peninsula. It is not difficult to drive a camper through Baja, the people in Baja are kind and love to see tourists, and as long as you don’t drive at night (due to a lack of street lights) the highways are safe and easy to navigate (there’s really only one highway on the vast majority of the peninsula).

We felt very safe traveling through Baja, but we may never have realized how safe we actually were if we had taken an RV caravan tour.

If you are part of an RV caravan tour you will have trouble meeting other travelers

We saw several RV caravan tours as we traveled through Baja, and besides a few brief conversations with RV caravan tour leaders we never really met anyone that was traveling in them. This is because these caravans will rent out an entire campground for a few days, which means the caravan members rarely have an opportunity to meet other travelers (and there are LOTS of other travelers in Baja).

Of course, if the caravan members did meet other travelers they may be disappointed to learn that they could have visited all the same campgrounds, experienced the same excursions, and had a very similar social experience for just a fraction of the price they paid for the caravan tour.

RV caravan tours miss out on the true cultural experience of Baja

The only locals these caravans encounter are those in the tourist industry (i.e. tour leaders, souvenir salesmen, etc). We regularly noticed that caravan members traveled in groups and avoided areas that locals tend to frequent. My guess is that non-touristy areas felt unsafe to caravan members, so they were nervous about venturing into more authentic Mexican neighborhoods.

Some of the most rewarding cultural experiences in Mexico are outside the major tourist areas. The sad truth is that the tourist areas in Mexico tend to have the highest crime rates, so the idea that it is safer sticking to the tourist areas is an absolute fallacy.

RV caravan tours miss out on the social experience of camper travel in Baja

Baja Mexico is our absolute favorite destination for camper travel. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest is that we met TONS of interesting and diverse travelers there.

Baja is a mecca for North American camper travel including van lifers, European overlanders, RV lifers, cycle tourists, and hitchhiking campers! Aside from the camper travelers Baja is also FULL of nautical adventurers.

We met several travelers who were sailing the entire coastline of Baja on everything from tiny sailboats to huge yachts. Had we taken an RV caravan tour to Baja we would have missed out on meeting the vast majority of these inspiring travelers!

If you are considering camper travel in Baja and need help planning your trip we highly recommend this guide and this Baja travel book, both of these texts were indispensable to our Baja Mexico adventures.

Also, let us help you plan your Mexican road trip! Check out our blog posts on camper travel in Mexico.

Most of the RV camping in Baja is off the grid. Check out my complete guide to RV dry camping and boondocking!

New to camper travel? Or perhaps looking for a gift for the camper traveler in your life? Check out our Top 10 Essential Motorhome Accessories and our recommended camper life gifts/products.

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19 thoughts on “Why you Should Not Take an RV Caravan Tour to Baja Mexico”

  1. Throughout my life I have traveled throughout all of Mexico Via RV’s. I traveled mainland Mexico with my wife and four children in a RV with our three week trip including Copper Canyon. Great trip! Baja was also the focus of many of my former trips to Mexico. I love fishing in Mexican waters and miss it very much. Come forward to 2017 mainland Mexico. Many of the places I once traveled without fear are no longer safe enough for me to take my family down to many places and people I came to love. Drugs cartels have made single family RVing a questionable habit. I hope this is changing for the better. If Baja is becoming safe again that is excellent news.

    1. Thank you for your comment! We would LOVE to see Copper Canyon! We cannot speak personally for the Mexican mainland, as we only RV in Baja (though we do have several friends who RVed the mainland last winter without issue). Our experience in Baja was entirely positive, in nearly 5 months we never encountered a single "scary" situation, and we did not meet anyone else who had either! If you love Mexico you may want to give camper travel in Baja a try 🙂

  2. Can’t really agree with your negativeness on caravans. For those who are wary they are a good way to get yor feet wet and they get you into places you have lot if difficulty getting to in just your RV. Calakmul is an example, Inever woudl have got my RV 40 miles up the jungle road to see those magnificent ruins near the guatemalan border or found the nearby bat cave where 100’s emerge at sunset. They do cost but you are paying for experience. It does depend on the company. Baja Amigos is probably best for Baja and Caravanas de Mexico for the Mainland. They are Mexican owned and know the country and the out of the way places yo would never discover on your own.

    1. Hi Paul! It’s good to hear from someone who has had a positive caravan experience, and, like you say, not everyone will feel the same way we do about caravans. Thanks for your comment!

    1. Hi Shawnna! Yes! We met lots of solo female travelers in Baja, and all of them were having a great time. Baja is very traveler friendly, and the culture is warm and family oriented, making it an excellent area to travel as a solo woman.

  3. Calukmal is well worth visiting. We just left our rigs (a delightful French-Canadian couple wanted company from Yucatan to Border) at a roadside restaurant for two nights (as suggested in Church’s Guide). We have a fifth and a Roadtrek for travel. Both are solar autonomous
    Teed and Elaine

  4. Hi Joe! Thanks for offering an alternative point of view on RV caravans in Baja! You make a good point that there are certainly people who would prefer to pay more for the service of having their trip pre-planned/organized for them.

    Santispac is a beautiful beach, we met lots of nice people there over the years! It’s very good to know that you had a chance to "do your own thing" on your caravan. 🙂

  5. Christopher Mendrick

    Hi Brittany, I’m just starting to plan a 4 week trip down the Baja to Cabo and back. Solo 60 year old male with large dog traveling in a 42′ motorhome. I have the capability to two my Hummer. Is April a good time to plan? Should I bring my Hummer? Is it still safe to travel there?
    Christopher in Colorado

    1. Hi Christoper! There’s a lot to consider there. First off, it’s definitely safe to travel there. In fact, the only area of Baja where we’ve heard of petty crime (generally theft of property) is actually Cabo, so we generally don’t travel there. However, I’m sure you could research upscale RV camping in Cabo and find plenty of well secured RV parks. Cabo is such a major tourist hub there’s something for everyone.

      As far as towing your Hummer, I think you’ll want to consider how long you plan to be there and your travel goals. The Hummer would be really fun for exploring some back roads and remote beaches that your big RV won’t be able to go down. Also, with the Hummer you could park your big RV in a gorgeous ocean front site (I recommend Playa Santispac on Bahía Concepción for the most beautiful waterfront sites) and then drive your Hummer into town for supplies, to eat at restaurants, etc. I think towing the Hummer is probably worth it if you want to explore while you’re there.

      There are a few things to keep in mind for April. The pros are: most snowbirds have left or are in the process of leaving so the beaches will be emptier and quieter. Cons: Be sure to take a look at the Easter holiday on a calendar. It’s usually in early April, and the week leading up to Easter is a HUGE holiday in Baja, and the locals all head to the beaches to camp for the entire week. This is generally not a good time to be camping on the beach, and it also means that services throughout Baja will be less available, and closed for some of the week. We’ve been in Baja for the Easter holiday just once and we would probably avoid it in the future.

      So, with this in mind, you could either head down after Easter, or plan your trip to end one week before Easter (which would probably put you in March). The weather starts to get hotter in April, but if you’re planning to beach camp the hot weather won’t be an issue.

  6. Hi! Love the site and all the info you’ve gathered!! I’m planning a roadtrip with my girlfriend on late February and wanted to just take a tent and camp on the places we like (not only camp sites). Is it ok to do so? Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Santiago! Yes, you can tent camp all over Baja no problem. In fact, sometimes when you’re in a tent you can camp even closer to the water. I would recommend having a solid tarp to put under your tent because some of the beaches are full of shells that could damage the bottom of your tent.

  7. We need to rent a RV to visit Baja, but the renters in the U.S. that we contacted, will not let their RVs go to Mexico.

    Do you know if it’s possible to rent a RV in Mexico and from whom?

    1. Hi Chris! This is tricky, and one reason why I generally recommend that people purchase a camper, use it for their Baja trip, and then resell it once they arrive back in the USA. We regularly meet travelers in Baja who are using this strategy to travel Baja by RV. There is one RV rental company in Baja in La Paz (Here’s their link: http://www.gobajarv.com/about-land-vacations-in-baja-sur.htm), but at that time of year La Paz will be scorching hot.

      In general I would discourage visiting Baja in the summer months since you’ll be looking at temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Fall, winter, and spring are the ideal times to visit Baja.

  8. Please replace my previous comment with this:

    We need to rent a RV to visit Baja, but the renters in the U.S. that we contacted, will not let their RVs go to Mexico. Do you know if it’s possible to rent a RV in Mexico and from whom?

    We like to go in July and August, but we found out that we should stick to the north west side because of the heat (we have small kids). Is it too hot to visit in July and August?

  9. Hi, I appreciate your comments about “group tours” but it sounds like you own a camper! I have had trouble finding a camper company where we could travel ourselves In a rented van. Do you have suggestions on how to do that? Thanks!!

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