This is part of a series of blog posts about a ten-day trip I recently took south of the border through the Mexican state of Sonora and then back up north (after a ferry trip across the Gulf of California) through the Baja Peninsula.
Day One of the trip: December 25, 2009
The nice thing about traveling on Christmas Day is that most people are at home and not on the road. Me and my travel companions (another adult, two kids and two sock puppets) left Tijuana at 4 p.m. after I picked up a tourist card . This was necessary since I was traveling beyond the border area’s tourist zone. It cost about $20 and I got it at the same Mexicans Customs office where we had to register our car (A Mexican car restricted to circulating in the border zone).
Heading east towards Mexicali takes you through a rock-studded chain of mountains called La Rumorosa that inspires frequent stops for photo shoots. By the time we hit the Mexicali desert, it was nightfall. Crossing into Sonora at San Luis Colorado, we picked up some sandwiches for dinner at an Oxxo (sort of like a 7-11) where the cashier told us there was a new, faster toll road that would take us just two hours to get to our destination, Puerto Penasco.
The new toll road costs about $8.00. Since we were traveling at night, there wasn’t much to see – except for the stars above us and a large number of roadside signs that we seemed to pass every 30 seconds: FOGGY ZONE, WATCH OUT FOR FAUNA, DON’T PASS CARS, KEEP THE ROAD CLEAN, RESPECT NATURE, DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE, NO HUNTING.
My favorite of the bunch…DON’T DESTROY THE SIGNS.
We arrived in Puerto Penasco at 8:45 p.m (Sonora is one hour ahead of California) and as we headed to the downtown area we passed this city traffic sign (above) that made me laugh. The sign includes a banner that basically says “here we take care of tourists.” Yet the multiple arrows heading every which way prompted me to feel tourist trauma: Which road to take?
We managed to find our way to the Hotel Vina del Mar, where our $63 got us a room with an angular view of the ocean.
Total road travel time from Tijuana to Puerto Penasco: 4-5 hours.
Total amount of money spent on five toll roads between Tijuana and Puerto Penasco: $19.20