Mexico Practical Information
Baha people are generally warm and gracious, and visitors often notice how friendly the locals are towards visitors. There is a high regard for children, elders and family units. Expect people in Baha to be very relaxed, and living a ‘go with the flow’ lifestyle. Most Mexicans are not as focused on acquiring wealth and the tradition of ‘siestas’ and ‘manana’ are part of the quest for the good life!
Your Guide/ Driver
All the Pioneer Expedition guides are local. Their first language is Spanish but they will speak good English.
In general guides do not eat with clients; instead they eat separately with the team, (driver, porters etc.). Clients can prefer their own company over meals (especially on honeymoon trips) however if you would like to invite guides to join you for meals this is also fine, and it can be a good way to get to know the guide better and hear about their experiences.
For most of our trips we try and use the same car and driver and we will use best vehicle available, but due to availability standards may vary in different locations. The roads are generally in good shape, however there might be a number of potholes or general storm damage. Some major roads are still under construction so be prepared for unpredicted delays. Please note it is not unusual for police to stop tourist vehicles to view driver documents. Patience is a pre-requisite on an adventure holiday in Baha, but the rewards are very worthwhile!
In Mexico it is customary to leave a tip as a thank you to waiters, porters and guides. 10% is standard In restaurants, bars, and cafes however no tip is frowned upon. Shaking hands, and politely thanking the service provider, is also appreciated.
Your guides are paid for their services, but tipping for good service is appreciated. All tips should be in USD and are at your discretion, but you may find the following suggestions helpful if you decide to reward good service:
Your main guides – approximately $80 – $100 pp for the entire trip for a good guide tip.
Boat driver tip – some are covered already; others will be given a share from the guide tip.
Porters – $1 per bag.
There is a varied and vast choice of food in Baha, including street taco stands to 5 star restaurants. There is also an American influenced cuisine alongside the pre-existing Mexican one. It’s easy to tell the difference, restaurants targeting visitors tend to be more expensive and offer a more diverse menu. Traditional restaurants tend to be cheaper and have more Mexican style cooking. Taquerías are Mexican fast-food joints, everything is made to order and the cuisine is quick and cheap. Generally it’s some spiced cooked meat or vegetables on a tortilla, served on a plastic plate. Taco stands that have a building are considered more sanitary than those serving food on the street. The least expensive meal is the blue-plates specials (comida corrida or menú del día) usually from very simple local restaurants with palapa straw roofs.
The local seafood is excellent. Look for roadside stands offering the catch of the day, you can find marlin, sea bass (corvina), and skate (raya), snapper (huachinango), parrotfish (perico), and crab (jaiba) from the Sea of Cortez. Clams are also a regional delicacy and if you order them served raw, you will be presented with a smorgasbord of toppings including lime, Worcestershire sauce, and any number of tiny bottles of salsa, and salt.
Costs for mid range restaurants are similar to the UK, however you can eat cheaply and well in the local Mexican restaurants.
As with all of our expeditions, we are committed to maximising the benefits to the local communities and minimising the negative impact associated with tourism. We employ local staff, not just to benefit the local economy but also to give you a real sense of Mexican culture. We burn or recycle our rubbish to minimising the impact on the environment.
While our intention is to adhere to the day to day route, a degree of flexibility is built into the itinerary and stops may vary from those suggested. The day to day schedule should be taken only as a general guide. A variety of factors, including adverse weather conditions and difficulties with transportation, can lead to enforced changes. The guide will make any changes where necessary and choose the best option available.
Activities and time at Leisure
Please note that all activities that are not included in your itinerary (and cost) are at your own leisure and risk. At the end of many trips clients have ‘time at leisure’ to enjoy a beach hotel/resort. Many of these hotels will offer activities – boat trips, diving, snorkelling etc. All the activities you choose are at your own risk and have not been assessed by Pioneer Expeditions. Please feel free to talk to us in the office if you have any concerns, or would like additional information.
Be aware of the weight restrictions of your chosen airline. It might be preferable to have a soft bag or rucksack, plus a good sized day sack.
Water and Health
Tap water should not be drunk unless it has been boiled or purified, and avoid ice in drinks. In most hotels and restaurants you will get purified or bottled water; use it for brushing your teeth.
It is recommended that you pack anti-bacterial hand sanitiser and anti-diarrhoea drugs. You should also take precautions against sun burn; so please remember to pack sun protection.
Many restrooms in Baja are operated by septic tanks. If you see a waste bin next to the toilet, throw paper into that bin instead of the toilet bowl to prevent the toilet from overflowing.
USD is widely accepted and are easy to change into Mexican Peso. Credit and debit cards can be used to withdraw cash at banks, bureaux de change and ATM. Credit Cards are accepted at hotels but due to intermittent internet connections in some areas this is not always a reliable payment method. Travellers’ cheques are not widely accepted, but if you do bring them they should be in USD.
The problems at the Mexico-U.S. border have never spread into Baja but ordinary common sense precautions should be taken. Avoid the obvious display of valuables, do not carry or display too much cash, watch out for pickpockets (in busy areas – airports/markets) and avoid walking around late at night.
We recommend keeping a copy of the data page of your passport on you at all times, along with your FMM, just incase the police request proof of your legal status.