August 21, 2009

Traveling with your dog in Baja

We have taken our dog Sweet Pickle along in the car from Denver to Santa Rosalia on two trips back and forth in the dead of summer. We have never have had a problem crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in either direction, but we always have his rabies certificate at the ready. Coming through Tijuana this last time we got a green light, but were waved through for inspection anyway, then when they saw the dog we were promptly sent on our way again. We always pack a lunch we can eat along the side of the road, it is too hot at the time of year we have been travelling to leave him behind in the car while we check out some local eatery. He is a good traveler and would rather go on a road trip with us than to stay behind. We find sometimes we get waved through the military checkpoints also when they see we have a dog with us; I guess they don’t want to have to deal with his perceived ferociousness (as in licking you to death). At 60-pounds he is big, so maybe that is what deters everyone.

We always try to get as far as we can in a day. When we leave from San Diego going south into Baja, the Desert Inn at Cataviña is our stop for the night ( then we have 6 more hours to drive the following day to get home to Santa Rosalia). They have a fabulous swimming pool filled with cool spring water set in the middle of a tree-filled courtyard that is surrounded by hotel rooms. It is a real oasis in the midst of an amazing hot desert. At night their generator keeps the air conditioners running. Their restaurant is really good and they don’t stint on the tequila in the Margaritas. If we are driving north, our stop for the evening is the Desert Inn in San Quintin, a modern looking white building with red-tiled roof. It looks right out over the ocean onto a vacant beach, that is great for running a dog. We have talked about staying at the Old Mill there but haven’t yet, the rooms are probably a bit more rustic but the setting is lovely.

It is nice to know there are places you can stay overnight that will take the dog. In a recent discussion in Todos Santos at a cocktail party, we found lots of new places mentioned to stay if you are starting from lower down on the peninsula. In El Rosario Baja Cactus and Mama Espinosas is touted as being a very nice and inexpensive. Guerrero Negro has a go-out-of-your-way-to-eat-there restaurant at the Malarrimo Hotel, but they do not take pets. Again the Desert Inn is recommended by friends. Here in Santa Rosalia the choices are Hotel Francés (historic red lobby is 'papered' in antique bandana cloth print, on the hill serving a great breakfast) Las Casitas (waterfront north of El Morro, no meals available here but great comfortable rooms); and Hotel El Morro (waterfront south edge of town). publishes a list of pet friendly places throughout the Baja peninsula, and based on our familiarity with some of them, their listing seems to be on-target, except for those in Enseñada where every single recommended facility gets really awful reviews on Here we vote for El Rey Sol, a very nice comfortable hotel that also has a wonderful French restaurant just around the corner.

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