Options: Drive or Fly
Word of Caution
Miles of White Sand Beaches,
Just a couple of hours drive South
of the Border.
El Centro, CA - 122 miles
Yuma - 182 miles
San Diego - 240 miles
Los Angeles - 350 miles
Phoenix - 379 miles
It is approximately 240 miles from San Diego to Playa de
Oro and takes about 4 1/2 hours. To get here from
Southern California take Interstate 8 to approximately 9 miles
East of El Centro, California. Take Highway 111 exit south
to Calexico straight to the border crossing into Mexicali.
Follow the signs through Mexicali south to San Felipe on
Highway 5. Playa
de Oro is 6 ½ miles north of San Felipe at km #179.5 on Mexicali Highway 5.
El Centro, CA has several convenient flights and is just two-
hours north of Playa De Oro. Yuma and San Diego are also well-located
for great access to the Baja. Rental cars are available with
reservations. Be sure to get the rental car company's Mexican
A small international airport 12 km south of San Felipe
is accessible by paved road. While it does not as yet service
commercial flights it does accommodate private and charter
aircraft. The airport also has the following infrastructure:
runway, control tower, fuel, terminal, customs and inspection
area, parking and taxi service. The tower frequency is: 118.5
SFE You can clear customs at the airport.
|Maps of Baja, San Felipe, Campos, and Mexicali
on the above maps to bring up larger versions of them. The
Mexicali map shows approximate locations of Costco, Sam's Club, Office
Depot, Home Depot, and a couple of McDonalds. These are just a few of
the companies that feel the time is right to be in Mexico!
|There maybe military checkpoints along the
way. These check points are a part of an agreement and joint
effort between the United States and Mexico to get tougher on
drugs. Their questions will include, "Where are you going?
""Where did you come from?" "Do you have any guns or drugs?"
They may ask to look inside your trunk or RV, suitcases and
glove box. At night, turn on your interior lights. While this
can be intimidating, the important thing to remember is that it
is a routine procedure and they are there to protect all of us.
|Mexican auto insurance is about $12 a day
or may be purchased substantially less on a monthly, semi-annual
or annual policy. You may also purchase auto insurance from
the web as long as the car is in the USA. If you are driving
a rental car, you must purchase Mexican Auto Insurance through
your rental car agency at the time you rent the car. (Not all
rental agencies allow vehicles to be driven into Mexico and
their policy can change city to city. We have found that at
the El Centro, San Diego, Yuma Airports, Enterprise, Dollar
and Avis do allow their cars into Mexico and sell Mexican Auto
Insurance.) Remember, it is illegal to drive in Mexico without
Mexican Auto Insurance.
does not accept or recognize American auto insurance even if
the American insurance company states it is valid in Mexico.
Should an accident occur while driving in Mexico, the authorities
will require proof of Mexican auto insurance. If you do not
have Mexican insurance you may forfeit your vehicle, face huge
fines, and be privileged to see the inside of a Mexican jail.
(This is not to scare you, it's the law - just like having valid
auto insurance in the U.S. is the law here also - Mexico is
just a little stricter, in most cases). You can also buy Mexican
car insurance over the web. Contact us for more details.
|Most restaurants, hotels, gas stations, etc.,
will print the amount due in both U.S. dollars and pesos and
you can pay with either one. Merchants' prices are usually displayed
in pesos. It's a good idea to carry your U.S. currency in smaller
denominations. Often you will save money by paying in pesos
so we recommend carrying both currencies. You can change money
in Calexico or Mexicali at very reasonable rates.
A Mexican tourist card is not necessary
Playa de Oro is located more than 70 miles south of the border.
However to get a tourist card is easy. They are available in
both San Felipe and Mexicali. In Mexicali, stop at the Oficina
de Federal building marked Migracion or Aduana located just
left of the border gates. you will have to pay a fee of approximately
$16 U.S. at a local bank (located close to Immigration), have
the form stamped then bring it back to Immigration for the
final documentation. At Otay, just past the port entry is
a row of offices (similar to an American Strip Mall). A bank
is housed in one of the far units.
US-born citizens will need one of the following proof-of-citizenship
A valid U.S. passport;
A birth certificate issued by a federal, state, county
or city governments agency in whose jurisdiction you were
A photocopy is not acceptable unless the issuing authority
has certified it. Also not acceptable are such documents as
a Record of Birth, Baptismal Certificate, etc. issued by hospitals
Naturalized US citizens will need one of the following:
A valid U.S. passport;
The original Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate
of Citizenship. (Photocopies, notarized or not, are not acceptable.
Neither are wallet-sized naturalization cards - Form 1-179
or other similar documents.)
Single parents traveling with a minor child will need to
have a notarized letter from the absent parent giving permission
to the minor to enter Mexico. Canadians and other non-nationals
need the equivalent identifications.
Once property has been purchased in Mexico a FM3 (Resident
Visa) will become necessary. Playa de Oro will provide information
on what is needed to get the FM3. It may be advisable to open
a Mexican checking account for your own convenience but it
is not a requirement when you actually own property, which
you do in Playa de Oro. Leaseholders and membership holders
must open a checking account to prove investment in Mexico
because a lease or membership is not considered an investment
by the government. This investment requirement is to prove
that you will not become indigent and turn to the government
for assistance or support
Should you encounter car trouble along
the way, DO NOT leave your vehicle. The "Green Angeles"
(Angelo Tourista) travel the 100+ miles between Mexicali and
San Felipe continually. Their sole purpose is to help anyone
stranded along the way and make sure that you and your vehicle
reach an appropriate facility safely. The vehicles are green
- thus dubbed "THE GREEN ANGELS." Because you never
know when problems can arise, we recommend having plenty of
bottled water in your vehicle - the desert can get very hot
Whatever you do, do not attempt to take any type of illegal
drugs or drug paraphernalia into Mexico. Do not transport
guns or ammunition. Do not carry any packages that you do
not know the contents of or given to you by strangers. Know
who your passengers are and what they may be carrying. Whether
male or female, young or old, gun and drug runners and anyone
associated with them are dealt with very harshly in Mexico.
There is no immunity or help from the US Embassy and the Mexican
jails are not a pretty picture.