After traveling through the entire US we were itching to get out of the country and Canada wasn’t an option. We heard about other van-lifers traveling through Mexico but we were nervous about our safety. After a few weeks of being on the fence we decided to go. We ended up going on a five week Baja California road trip and we can’t recommend it enough!
In this article, we would like to share with you our adventures on the road, provide a couple of recommendations on the best sights to see along the way and finish with some key tips for your Baja California road trip. Before we do so, let us tell you a little bit about ourselves and why we love Vanlife.
We are Sunny & Luna. Sunny is from Texas and Luna is from California. We met and fell in love while living in NYC. We met through the dating app “Hinge” and connected on our shared passions of music, family and travel. Our love for travel started when we were kids, from family trips and growing up with an outdoor lifestyle. By the time we met in NYC, we were both itching to get out of the concrete jungle and back to nature.
Our inspiration to live the Vanlife came from Sunny’s five year dream of pursuing it. He initially discovered this lifestyle from scrolling on Instagram. However, due to his demanding office job in the city, Vanlife seemed to be a pipedream that would never happen as it required a remote job. It wasn’t until the start of the pandemic that triggered his job to become remote.
Sunny immediately jumped on the opportunity, literally telling Luna the night before that he had found a van to buy the next day in a nearby state. It was a lot to take in but we both jumped onboard excited about the new lifestyle and the idea of disconnecting from the nuances of city life.
We didn’t know how long we would be working remotely. Initially we thought it would only be for three months. Nevertheless, we took the risk and are so happy we did because we have been living in the van ever since!
Highlights & Challenges of Living the Vanlife
It has been over a year since we hit the road and we have no signs of stopping. The main highlight of this lifestyle is the ability to travel and spend time in nature. This has deepened our connection to not just the world but also to each other. We moved into the van as an engaged couple and are now happily married. Vanlife has brought us closer together.
We like to say: “if you can survive Vanlife with a partner, you can survive anything”! The biggest challenge we face from living in a van is the lack of WiFi. We both have Verizon hotspots that generally work well, however we have a limited amount of data which makes doing video work tough.
In addition, we face dead zones which make using phones or computers impossible. This can sometimes be viewed as a positive (and it is). However, we work a lot and so we prefer to have a good connection during the work week – and save those super remote areas to explore on the weekends!
Our Baja California Road Trip Itinerary
We crossed into Mexico at the Mexicali border, drove down the gulf side all the way to Cabo and back up through the west side. We first visited San Felipe in Baja California which offered some incredible beachfront parking spots. Coincidentally, we ended up meeting some other van-lifers and caravanned with a group on our first week there. We highly recommend caravanning if possible. It’s a lot of fun and is likely safer being in a group.
Then we visited Aguas Termales which was an unbelievably incredible experience with hot springs located along the ocean with stunning sunset views. On our drive down we stopped at Guerrero Negro. After that we spent some time at Playa El Coyote and a few other nice nearby beaches.
Continuing down, we passed through La Paz followed by one of our favorite places: Los Barriles. This town is known for their windsurfing and has a wonderful RV travel culture. After that we finally arrived in Cabo San Lucas and fully soaked in the vacation vibe it offers tourists. We ate at plenty of restaurants, got a massage nearly everyday and did water sports like boat riding, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding and poolside day drinking.
We parked our van in a secured parking garage where we felt comfortable leaving our van to freely explore the area. On our way back up we hit Todos Santos and some nearby surf towns, and again back up to La Paz and Guerrero Negro where we got to have a unique whale watching experience that was truly life changing. Before we got back into the States we also spent time in Valle de Guadalupe which is full of amazing vineyards.
Favorite Place in Baja California: Playa el Requeson
Our favorite place in Baja California was definitely Playa El Requeson. We spent four days here and it felt like it was a slice of heaven! It was completely remote and we went without any cell signal or WiFi. This forces you to be completely immersed in your environment which is a small sandbar sitting along the Sea of Cortez with picturesque teal blue water.
The water is calm and warm. We randomly ended up at this location at the same time as another Vanlife couple we met earlier on in our road trip. They ended up getting engaged during our time there. It was special to be part of their love story in the most beautiful location in Baja!
5 Best Places to Visit on a Baja California Road Trip
- Playa el Requeson – Beachfront living with teal ocean waters
- Los Barriles – Killer windsurfing and RV culture
- Aguas Termales Hot Springs – Incredible hot springs
- Guerrero Negro – For extraordinary whale watching tours
- Cabo San Lucas – Snorkel at Lovers Beach
Roads & Scenery in Baja California
When setting off on a Baja California road trip, you have to be careful of the roads! Baja recently paved the main highways which is a total game changer. We genuinely believe there is no way we would have been able to road trip through Baja before this was done. Most other roads off the main highways haven’t been fixed for years which means lots of potholes!
Expect to be dodging potholes left, right and centre on your road trip. And not just potholes too – look out for wild cows! Be sure to never drive at night because you might accidentally bust a tire in a pothole or wreck your van from hitting a cow. We know that sounds crazy but it’s a genuine risk.
The scenery, on the other hand, is beautiful. Most of Baja is untouched land making for gorgeous, ever-changing landscapes: from stunning beaches to deserts, flatland to rugged islands and volcanic peaks. Get ready to witness thousands of acres of protected land which comes with tons of wildlife.
People, Culture & Food of Baja California
Not only was the scenery and landscape amazing in Baja California but the local people were incredible too. They are people of the land with deep seeded values rooted in faith, family and community. These locals truly understand how to live off the land and have an enormous passion for sharing their culture with others. The overall lifestyle is simple and relaxed.
We spent a good amount of time with our whale tour guide in Guerrero Negro. He worked for a group called Ecotours. It was a wonderful experience learning about his life and his family-run touring business.
Food is a big part of the Baja California culture and we ate a ton while there! After all, our favorite cuisine is Mexican food. We found ourselves eating endless ceviche and guacamole almost everyday. While we were in Guerrero Negro, we stopped at this local walk up restaurant called Birrieria Brianda and asked the chef to make us the best thing on the menu. He cooked up a pork burrito/quesadilla mix and it was absolutely delicious!
Another one of our favorite restaurants was in Cabo called Edith’s. Just be sure to make a reservation beforehand! The vibe, food and service is impeccable. Saving the best for last is a place called Flora Farms. Located near Cabo, it’s a one of a kind farm-to-table restaurant that will certainly change your life. It’s truly unlike anything we have ever experienced.
It’s a collective of cottages, shops, an event space and a restaurant amongst a flourishing farm. Get there early or pre-sign up to get a tour of the grounds before your reservation. Being able to see where exactly your food is coming from is a unique experience. Flora Farms felt like heaven on earth and has inspired us to create a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s an absolute must-visit, so be sure to book a reservation beforehand.
Best Memory from our Baja California Road Trip
Our favorite memory from our Baja California road trip was an evening we spent stargazing at Playa El Requeson. This is a location hours (in every direction) from any WiFi/cell signal or development, making for zero light pollution. Since starting our Vanlife, we have become avid stargazers and this night was by far the best stargazing experience we have ever had.
The sky was very dark because the moon didn’t rise that evening. It was so clear that we could see the depths of the Milky Way from the naked eye better than we ever knew possible. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we took a dip in the ocean at midnight. The water was so warm and welcoming. As we started swimming the ocean turned neon green!
We quickly realized we were swimming with bioluminescent plankton. The entire night felt out of this world and was one of those rare experiences where you feel so filled with love and connected to the universe. It was a deeply gratifying experience. We will have to come back one day for sure!
Tips for your Baja California Road Trip
- Always have cash (Pesos) on you. Not all the gas stations and campsites take cards. Make sure you are prepared so you don’t get stranded.
- Organize some auto insurance for your car, van, caravan, campervan or RV. The guys at Cross Border Coverage are perfect for this.
- Download Google Maps and Translate locally to your phone so you can use the apps while offline. There are huge stretches without WiFi/cell signal. This will allow you to use GPS in dead zones and not get lost.
- Make sure you go during a time with good weather. We went at the end of February to mid-April and the weather was perfect. Don’t go when it’s too hot unless you have a built-in AC in your rig.
If you are worried about safety in Baja, we recommend pre-planning where you will be sleeping along the way and to not drive at night. We felt safer from following these two rules. You can read more tips we followed on our latest blog post: Van Life Survival Guide for Baja Mexico.
Thanks for learning about our time and journey through Baja California, Mexico. We loved having you along for the ride and showing you the realities of Vanlife. Feel free to follow us on Instagram: @sunnylunaliving!