Safety And Health

If the concern that other people have for you over crossing the border and driving in Baja isn’t enough, it’s likely that you’ll hear plenty of people warn you about staying safe and healthy in Baja. 

And while there are sporadic incidents and pockets of violence in Baja just like anywhere else in the world, generally speaking, you are safer in Baja than you are in many US metropolitan areas. 

We don’t believe in jinxes or the power of knocking on wood. But we do believe that doing right, treating others with kindness (especially when we are guests in their country) and avoiding generally unsafe situations will go a long, long way to improving your safety and health while traveling in Baja. 

Aside from a little petty theft here and there (old shoes, an empty propane tank, a half-full container of drinking water), we have not experienced any major crime in all the time we have spent in Baja. 

The Mexican people are incredibly welcoming and hospitable and most know that it is bad for business for crime to affect tourists. In fact, we’ve learned stories in the past of how locals have policed their own neighborhoods and have taken things into their own hands to hold thieves responsible for crimes against tourists. 

And we have had significant health issues arise while traveling in Baja that has led us to seek emergency medical assistance, both for ourselves and for our dogs. 

So it is good to know that there are ways of staying safe and healthy when traveling in Baja. And we’ll cover the big topics in the following sections. 

Health, Hospitals & Pharmacies

Not only are most clinics and hospitals in Baja comparable to those in the US, but also many are above the US standard and offer services at a fraction of the cost. Border cities in particular have taken advantage of US-trained medical and dental professionals to create “medical tourism” opportunities where Americans and Canadians will actually plan trips to Baja just to seek medical attention. 

Whether having root canals and fillings done or seeking alternative cancer treatments not authorized north of the border, travelers have come to expect quality and expertise in healthcare in Baja. 

Additionally, pharmacies are also top-notch and offer everything you could expect to find in your local pharmacy with a few additions you may not have access to back home. Know that pharmacies do have limits and safety protocols in place for controlled substances similar to in the US and Canada. 

But you can also find partnering clinics to assist in diagnosing and prescribing virtually any medication you may want or need. 

A note on prescriptions: If you have prescriptions that you take be sure to account for having enough medicine to last the duration of your trip. While you may be able to find a doctor able to prescribe new medication, we find it is always easier to carry plenty with us. Do be sure to leave it in the original prescription bottle in the event that you are inspected and the officer asks about it. 

We take a large number of daily vitamins and supplements. And when you multiply that out over 4-5 months, it means we carry lots of bottles.

Every time we crossed the border and were inspected we were asked about the nature of the containers. Each time we were able to explain and relate what they were and why we needed them.

EXPERT TIP
If you plan to stay in an area for any extended amount of time, ask the locals or connect with ex-pat groups on social media to determine where they go for medical treatment. 

You never want to plan an illness or accident. But in the event you need medical assistance, it is good to have a phone number and/or address within reach to ensure you have the best care you can receive as promptly as possible.