Road trip from RP to Loretto via HWY 5 & HWY 1

EarlM

Junior Member
#1
Hello everyone. We are planning a two day road trip in about a month from Rocky Point to Loretto (Two-thirds down Baja on the Sea of Cortez side). From my research it looks like we can take the coastal highway from Puerto Penasco Northwest to Mexico Highway 5 and then South to Mexico Highway 1.

I have read that the last 15 miles or so that connect Highway 5 to Highway 1 are not yet done and it is an unpaved dirt road through the hills. The last update I could find was from 2015. Does anyone know if there is a Mexican website like a department of transportation that might have an update on this construction project linking HWY5 yo HWY1 and its current status?

We have a 4WD SUV that is fine on bad dirt roads, we'll bring a jerry can of 5Gal of extra gas so our range is around 400miles between gas stations. I will need to get a TIP for the car at Lukeville since we will be leaving the "free zone".

I am wondering if anyone has taken this trip in the past and if they have any advise on the road conditions.
Google says it is about 15 hours total. We plan to split it over two days to avoid night driving with a stop around halfway point.


Any thoughts?
Thanks!
Earl
 

YumaJames

Well Known Member
#2
Hi Earl, I did the trip last year twice. Went from TJ to Cabo but took Hwy 1 the entire way. There are two forums you can follow, the first one is forums.bajanomad.com (Baja Bound), they have a section on road contains in Baja. I don't have an exact website for the second, but google/web search "talk baja Facebook". Long story short 23 miles of Hwy 5 between San Felipe and Hwy 1 are still unpaved, they still have a few bridges to complete so it'll probably we awhile before its's paved. You'll be fine driving those 23 miles with your SUV, its just rough and slow going. Today on the talk baja Facebook page someone posted a video of himself driving his 40 foot diesel pusher RV on that stretch of road. Both are great websites that provide you just about daily updates on Baja road conditions. The rest of Hwy 1 is basically OK, but be careful, its a narrow road with no shoulders, lots of accidents. Guerrero Negro is about midpoint, there's a few hotels there. Lots of big potholes on Hwy 1 just before you get to Guerrero Negro, do not travel that section at night, it'll be so difficult to see the potholes. And they're huge, you can easily bend a rim or do suspension damage on em. Coming from Rocky Point taking Hwy 5 south from San Felipe will save you a lot of time versus driving to Tecate and taking Hwy 3 south to connect you to Hwy 1. Have you been to Loreto? Absolutely gorgeous, I love that town. Its worth driving the crappy road to get there.

Have you considered driving south from Rocky Point to Guaymas, taking the ferry across to Santa Rosalia, then its just a short drive to Loreto from there? That would save a lot of driving time, and you'd miss all the crappy roads. Probably be the quickest way for you to get there. The ferry from Guaymas leaves in the evening and travels at night, so if you left Rocky Point and drove the few hours to Guaymas you could catch the ferry that evening, travel that night via ferry to Santa Rosalia, get off the ferry in the morning and be in Loreto that afternoon.

If you decide to not take the ferry and do Hwy 5 south of San Felipe, you could also spend the night in Bahia de los Angeles. Its about an hour off of Hwy 1, not much in the town, a few hotels and restaurants, but the one hour drive there off of Hwy 1 is beautiful (road is great, fairly new), but most of all Bahia de los Angeles is situated in a gorgeous bay with a mountainous background. Lots of islands in the bay. Fisherman's paradise.

You do not need a vehicle permit (TIPS) for Baja, but you do need an FMM/tourist VISA.

On a side note, a few hours south of Guerrero Negro is a place called San Ignacio. About 1/2 mile off the road at San Ignacio (turnoff well marked) is a old Mission and old town center. Absolutely gorgeous, great place for a quick stop/lunch, or they have a few hotels there also. I totally missed this place on my first trip, but hit it on the second trip. Excellent stop.

Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
 
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EarlM

Junior Member
#4
Thanks YumaJames and Audsley!
We are debating taking the ferry now. Might be a fun adventure, but the long way around also looks to be a fun adventure. I will check the links to see if I can find updated info on the HWY5 to HWY1 construction progress. We have been to Loretto numerous times in the past, but always flew (LAX to Loretto via Alaska Air). I'll post an update when we have completed the trip to let you know how it went.

A question for YumaJames: Are you sure we do not need a TIP on the car? I thought once you left the free zone you needed one. I know the rules for Baja are a bit different. I assume if we do the ferry route we will definitely need a TIP since we will be on the "mainland" side heading South beyond the free zone. We are okay for visas, we'll have tourist visas this trip but are in the process of getting residency.

Another question: Anyone know if the fisherman protests/roadblocks on the Western end of the coastal highway are all back to normal and the road is passable? Don't want to get that far and have to turn around.

Thanks again,
Earl
 

Fabrizio

Junior Member
Forum Supporter
#5
The roadside protest stopped long time ago, went through January,February,March and April and not problem at all.
Easy road just some road construction between Hermosillo and guaymas but no big deal
Fabrizio
 

Jungle Jim

Well Known Member
#6
If "the Western end" refers to the El Golfo area, it was normal three weeks ago. The only evidence of the protest and road blockage was two burn spots on the pavement where trucks were torched and heaps of broken glass on the road.

JJ
 

YumaJames

Well Known Member
#7
I can guarantee you 100% you do not need a TIPS if you are traveling south from Rocky Point to Guaymas, taking the ferry across to Santa Rosalia, then traveling Baja. You only need a TIPS if you are traveling south of Guaymas on the mainland. If fact, I just got back 2 days ago traveling from Yuma, went through Rocky Point, Guaymas, then down to Puerto Vallarta, then returned. When you get a little south of Guaymas there are signs that state you are leaving the "vehicle free hassle zone", then I came to a checkpoint and they only checked my vehicle registration (I had a vehicle permit which I obtained in San Luis, MX, but they did not ask for it). You do not need a TIPS for Baja either. To the best of my understanding and from what I've read online, you only need a TIPS for your vehicle if you are taking the ferry from Santa Rosalia to Guaymas, but you do not need a TIPS if you are taking the ferry from Guaymas to Santa Rosalia. Which to me kinda doesn't make sense, because if you are taking the ferry from Santa Rosalia to Guaymas but not traveling south, why do you need a TIPS? But from what I've read before you board the ferry in Santa Rosalia they make sure you have a TIPS.

Long story short, I guarantee you 100% you do not need a TIPS for anywhere in Baja, and anyplace north of Guaymas. But if you're travelling south of Guaymas or (from what I've read) taking a ferry off of Baja then you need a TIPS.

You can also research or post your TIPS question on the two websites I mentioned on my previous post to confirm.

Sounds like a great trip whether you choose to do land or ferry!
 
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EarlM

Junior Member
#8
Excellent info! Thanks for all the replies.

From what I have read, YumaJames you are correct about the TIPS. Seems a bit odd with Baja being exempt, but I guess nothing is really odd in Mexico when it comes to rules/paperwork. (The residency/immigration process reminds me of the movie "Brazil', need to get my 27B stroke 6 stamped!)

To clarify, yes, "Western end of coastal HWY" was referring to the fisherman protests in El Golfo a few weeks back.

We are leaning towards the drive rather than the ferry. Won't be until mid-May. I'll post a road report update when we have completed the trip. It will not be a round-trip, the return will be straight up HWY 1 to TJ and San Diego. Return trip, two days, no night driving, watch for *giant* potholes (just like in RP!).
 
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