As I mentioned earlier, they changed all the immigration rules on us while we were on our way south from Ensenada, this meant that I could no longer apply for the long term visa here, and the one I had was running out. Add to that the fact the immigration guy in Ensenada told us that Sabi could renew here tourist visa here in La Paz when we arrived, of course we couldn’t and hers was now expired, we had to start the fun job of renewing both our tourist permits….
We had been told by a few people that you could go to immigration and say you just arrived from the states and try to check in, now this may have worked once upon a time, but we tried twice, showing almost all our paperwork and pleading gringo stupidity, but no, they wouldn’t have a bar of it, so a border run was our only option…
Now neither of us are sure the good Ol’ US and A would let us back in in the near future, lets just say the border run was a little late in the States, so we figured we’d rent a car and head to Ensenada and try our luck with the grumpy immigration guy again.
A quick look at the map showed us about 1300km to Ensenada, and being on a budget, stopping along the way and having to pay for a hotel and a lot of meals wasn’t really on the cards, so we decided on the one stop half way and keep drivin option. Speed limits here are more of a guide line than anything else, its not uncommon to be cruising along at 100 km/hr, past a sign that says the limit is 60 km/hr and be overtaken by a police pickup, with two in the front seat and three more cops hanging onto the roof in the back.
Its surprising how varied a landscape of cactus and rocks can be! That was almost all there was for the majority of the trip, but the types of cactus and number of rocks would change depending on altitude and latitude…
The first night was a quick stop in Guerrero Negro, literally turned off the main road around 8, booked into the second hotel we saw, ate some tacos at the “restaurant” attached, and crashed out, then up at 7am, and off again!
In the process we figured out how to avoid the immigration and bio-security (they make you drive over a hose with a few holes in it to spray the bottom of the car and kill all the bugs, and only charge you 50 pesos!) check point just our of town, go through outside of the hours of 9-5, no body will stop you or try to take your money, only found out about it on our way back south again when we had to pay!
It took 4 hours of desert to get to the next “town” where we could order some breakfast and re-caffinate the driver, luckily the first place we came across, (well the second really, the first was a little tienda (store/dairy) where we stocked up on cookies and water,) was a reasonable looking place, claiming to serve starbucks coffee (?) that only took an hour to get our meals out to us, so a nice break from driving…
Made it to Ensenada some time after that, its all a blur of traffic, topes (random speed bumps, often in the middle of no where with/without signs to warn you) and sugar, took a deep breath and walked into the immigration office….
We handed over our passports, told the nice fat man that we had just arrived from San Diego, and waited to see what would happen… nothing, he stamped us in, we paid the entry fees, and voila, we were legal again, nice change!
Without really enough time to hang out in familiar Ensenada, we turned around and headed back, only making it about 4hours south before dark and the caffine crash kicked in..
This time we had breakfast BEFORE we started driving, and settled in in our seats for another day of cactus, rocks and military check points….
It was disappointing not to be able to take our time along the way, but we plan on visiting a lot of the eastern side of the Baja Peninsula by boat over the next year or so, so it was cool seeing the familiar names from the charts and guides on road signs, and we did get to look at a few of the bays and anchorages as we drove by, going about 12 times faster on land than we would be going at sea, seriously, its like walking everywhere sometimes!