Avoiding Baja Surf Trips

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I am San Diego for a couple of weeks hanging with Summer while she helps the crew at her warehouse bust out all of the halloween costume orders she gets hit with starting every September.

When we lived here, the Donkey Patrol Crew would head down to Mexico regularly to avoid the crowded San Diego line ups. It was always a little sketchy, but never worth avoiding the fun weekend trips. Maybe, we would have to pay a cop off $80-$100 to let us out of a bogus speeding ticket or have to deal with some super drunk local guys scoping out your stuff to steal once you left for dinner or fell fast asleep.

These days, things are different. Surfers are being held up at gun point by bandits, robbed by police and the drug cartel killings are getting out of control.

Nowhere is the trauma greater than along the border with the United States, where drug cartels are battling one another for a growing domestic market and the lucrative transit routes north. In Tijuana alone, a wave of gangland killings has left at least 99 people dead since Sept. 26, a death toll that rivals, if not exceeds, that in Baghdad, a war-torn city that is four times as large, over the same period.

Across Mexico, the carnage is impossible to hide, with severed heads and decapitated bodies turning up, sometimes nearly a dozen at a time. There have been more than 3,700 killings related to drugs and organized crime this year, up from about 2,700 last year, the Mexican attorney general’s office said early last week, with Chihuahua the most violent state and the killings continuing in the days since.
Source is NY Times

I am going to avoid Mexico on this trip. I am sure that it isn’t nearly as bad further south in baja or even on the mainland, but avoiding Mexico’s border towns is probably a wise move for a traveler.

2 thoughts on “Avoiding Baja Surf Trips

  1. While it is true there have been Cartel shootings in TJ it is a large city that is trying to fight back an therfore have retaliation. The fact is very few of these shootings happen where tourist go (or should be).
    Rosarito Beach adn Ensenada have cleaned up a great deal since the begining of the year with many nationals and Foriegners on watch patrols as well as real Federal Police watching the highway for any attempted carjackings which have not been reported for months now.
    The T.J police had their guns taken away adn are only allowed to carry them if federal or Army officers are wiht them.
    Yes there are problems but please keep it in perspective. In last year SUPOEDLY there were deaths in Detroit due to hand guns that in the war of Iraq. Also look at the hand gun Deaths in New York city that are great than almost any country on the planet!
    Yes south of Ensenada the crime rate drops incredibly. I live in Cabo and we have very little violence especailly against tourist. But there have been a couple confirmed killings of tourist witin this year which never happend in the past 5 years I have lived here.
    In general if you are not doing drugs or in the non-tourist areas of Los Cabos you will never notice anything other than once in awhile a cop looking for the $20-$40 mordida.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong and you have facts to prove othewise.
    Here is an article that was well researched by us at the begining of the year (http://www.bajainsider.com/baja-california-travel/mexico-travel-warning.htm )and obviously we need to research more to get the current facts on safety in Baja.
    Here is another from Rosarito beach

    Thank you for posintg this and please feel free to comment diectly to me at [email protected] if you like

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  2. James

    I am the first person to say that the press sensationalizes EVERYTHING, so your comment does mean a lot to me. I have had gnarly experiences with the cops in Tijuana where they took everything of mine of value and then gave us an escort out of TJ and told us not to come back.

    I have traveled south of Tijuana many times and have made the S. Calif surfer pilgrimage camping to Cabo a few times…one of which lasted over 4 months with no problem until we hit TJ on the way out.

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