Driving Our RV Into Mexico for the First Time with Fantasy RV Tours
Driving Our RV Into Mexico for the First Time with Fantasy RV Tours
Complete trip recap, including top activities and border crossing notes.
By: Kenny & Sabrina Phillips
We have always been interested in traveling, not only in the United States and Canada, but various other countries around the world. Since Sabrina started learning Spanish, she now has a goal of visiting every Spanish speaking country. To get us started on this journey, we decided the first country would be Mexico.
We thought this would be a great trip to do in our Winnebago because it would not be too far and Belle, our small dog, would be able to join us. The only reservation we had was that many people kept telling us they did not think it was safe for us to do. This is where Fantasy RV Tours comes into play.
Why Fantasy RV Tours?
We attended the Winnebago owner rally at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta with Fantasy RV Tours last year (see 2024 information here), and we found out they also did trips into Mexico. We figured this would be the best way for us to experience our first RV trip to Mexico.
Winnebago partners with Fantasy RV Tours to provide guided tours and caravans for Winnebago owners. If you are a GoLife Perks member, you can receive a discount on their offerings created specifically for Winnebago owners. (Learn more here.) However, they also have additional tours available to all RV owners.
If you have read our article about the Balloon Fiesta, then you will know Fantasy RV Tours went above and beyond on that trip to make the experience truly unforgettable and we trusted them to do the same for us on this Mexico trip as well. We also liked the idea that we would be crossing the border in a group instead of solo.
Just like at the Albuquerque event, Fantasy RV Tours took care of everything for the 7-Day Baja Wine & Dine tour. They began by sending us emails before our trip letting us know our points of contact and what we would need to cross into Mexico (such as Mexican vehicle insurance), as well as suggested supplies and checklists for the trip.
Getting Ready to Cross into Mexico
The day before crossing into Mexico we met the group at Potrero County RV Park, where we were able to arrive two days before crossing. There were nineteen RVs making this trip and, after we were set up in our site, we met with the Wagon Masters & Tail Gunners of the group (also known as the ambassadors for the trip). They answered any questions we had about the trip.
We were then taken to the border to get our FMM (Tourist Card) and to a storage facility to drop our Jeep off as we were not bringing it on this trip. The process for filling out our FMM papers couldn’t have gone any smoother, Vic (one of our Wagon Masters) went into the building with us and guided us with what we needed to do.
After we received our FMM card, Vic walked us outside and showed us where we would be crossing the next morning and gave us some simple suggestions to make the crossing go smoothly. It was great to physically see the crossing area to know what to expect the next morning.
After returning to the Potrero Country RV Park, we enjoyed a dinner that was put together by Fantasy RV Tours. This was a nice social event where we were all able to introduce ourselves to the rest of the group and, I have to say, it was a great group of people! At the end of dinner, the ambassadors gave a short presentation of rules of the road in Mexico and how we would all cross in the morning and what to do in case of any hiccups during the crossing. This was also a great time for us to ask any questions about the trip.
With dinner done, we went back to our RV to get it ready for the morning drive. All the sites had water, so we filled our freshwater tank and we also filled two six-gallon water containers. The campground in Mexico would have full hookups, but we wanted to use as little of the water in Mexico as possible as it is not potable, and you do not want to drink it or even brush your teeth with it.
The Morning of The Border Crossing
First thing in the morning, we had a drivers’ meeting where we went over maps and did a radio check (we were all using two-way radios to keep in contact with one another). These radios proved to be very useful to keep in touch and make sure everyone was doing okay.
We all lined up our RVs in the park and did a quick call check to make sure we were all ready to go. One set of ambassadors led the group while the other set remained in the back to make sure everyone made it across.
Once at the border, the patrol officers pointed to each of us to tell us which line to get into. When we pulled up to the checkpoint, we had our passports in hand and answered their questions. They then informed us that they needed to come aboard to search the RV, and they allowed us to remain in the RV for this search. We were expecting the search as we saw them search every RV in line. They even asked some of us to pull to the side to search our bays.
After we got through the gate, we were on our way to the meeting point that Fantasy RV Tours had picked out. This was a pull-off area on the road and was only about seven miles into Mexico. It was large enough to hold all 19 guest RVs plus the ambassadors.
One of the attendees had made a wrong turn, but because of the radios the ambassadors were able to get them back on track and at the meeting point. Once we were all accounted for, we all got back on the road and started our four-hour drive to the Clam Beach RV Park, our campground location for our week-long stay in Mexico.
Staying at Clam Beach RV Park in Baja California, Mexico
When we arrived at Clam Beach RV Park, we were able to take any site that was open. So, we chose to pull forward into a site that faced the ocean. All the sites were full hookup sites and we had room to set up our chairs to sit out and look at the water. The RV park had Wi-Fi and a laundry facility that took U.S. coins.
The best part of the campground was the beach access. We were only a few steps away from being able to walk down onto the beach and this became Belle’s favorite part of the trip as we made it a morning routine to walk the beach. We also would try to make it back out on the beach for sunsets and our niece, who we brought along on the trip, enjoyed searching for seashells.
Funny story: Belle does not like water of any kind and when I went into the ocean, she thought it was hurting me or trying to swallow me up and would run towards the water and start biting the small waves that were coming to shore all while barking and trying to scare them away. She was so relieved when I came back on shore and we’re pretty sure she thinks she was able to get the water and waves to release me.
7-Day Baja Wine & Dine Tour Highlights
The campground was also in a good location for the week’s events and activities. Fantasy RV Tours had hired a private tour bus to take us to the wineries, restaurants, and events in town. This was fantastic since we did not have to worry about what we drank as we knew we had a safe ride back home already set up for us. We also had a personal guide on the bus who explained the history and scenery to us as we drove from location to location.
Getting Our First Taste of Mexico
The first restaurant that we went to was Splash, and it was a great way to start the trip. We enjoyed great views of the ocean from their balcony seating area and they had live performers walking around taking requests of songs we would like to hear. The food was great, and we had the best tequila ever: Adictivo Tequila. It is meant to be sipped and not gulped down. It was so smooth and easy to drink, it was great to stand by the rail, sip this tequila, and watch the waves crash into the rocks down below.
This was our first night in Mexico and it really set us up to be in vacation mode. This was also a good time to get to know the people we were traveling with a little better as everyone became a little more relaxed at dinner.
We started the next day by visiting a winery and vineyard, La Casa De Dona Lupe, where we had lunch and a wine tasting. This winery was unique in the fact that they also make specialty jams, such as chocolate banana, chipotle pineapple, and Pina Y Coco to name a few. We also enjoyed walking the grounds and taking in the mountain views.
The bus then took us to L.A. Cetto Winery, where they were observing Dia De Muertos (Day of the Dead), and our tour guide explained the significance of the holiday and how it is a day of celebration and not a day to mourn. Our guide took us on a tour of the winery and showed us how the wine is made, this was then followed by a wine tasting. Sabrina and I thought we appreciated the flavors of the wine a lot more after knowing all of the work that goes into the production.
The next day was a big one as we boarded the bus to go to Ensenada. The bus drove us around the city while our tour guide shared the history of different neighborhoods and landmarks. The bus then dropped us off at the Hotel Riviera del Pacifico where we toured this historic landmark by foot with our guide.
She explained the hotel’s history and some of the famous celebrities who have stayed there. This is also the home of the first margarita, which we were offered as we toured the courtyard. I think we were all impressed with the attention to detail in the building’s woodwork and art.
After the tour, we were brought to the center of town where we were able to explore on our own. Sabrina, our niece, and I had lunch, shopped, went to the fish market and grocery market, then visited the marina.
This might have you wondering if it safe to walk around on your own. We felt that it absolutely is, and everyone was incredibly friendly to us. In fact, Ensenada is one of the ports where cruise ships come to visit. We were asked often by the locals if we were visiting from the cruise ship that was docked.
The only downside to walking the city is you should be prepared to be asked to buy something from every street vendor you walk past. We even had some street vendors come into the restaurant to sell us jewelry, take a photo of us, buy some artwork, or sing a song. The good news though is that they seem fine with taking no for an answer and walking away once they know you are not interested. We actually think they might get in trouble if they harass the tourists.
All in all, this was a great day and we spent about four hours walking around the city. This was also great for Sabrina as she was able to practice a lot of Spanish with the locals.
We then went back to the campground and our Fantasy RV Tours ambassadors made us dinner. We were truly feeling pampered on this trip and really cannot say enough good things about our ambassadors. They were so gracious and made sure we were all having a great time throughout the trip.
More Wonderful Restaurants & Wineries
Day five of the trip was probably our favorite day. We went to two wineries and had lunch at King & Queens Cantina. I’m going to start with talking about the lunch (and this really goes for all the food we ate on the trip), everything tasted so fresh and homemade with very different flavors than what we get here in the U.S.
I believe this difference is because they use what I would consider real ingredients like sugar instead of corn syrup and all of their vegetables were locally grown. After a few meals, I looked up the reason why the food tastes so good in Mexico and some say it has to do with the soil in Mexico producing a higher quality of vegetables, fruits, and spices.
The two wineries we visited on this day were The Secret Garden at Casa Frida and Rondo del Valle, both locations provided us with wine tastings and small plates of food that included cheese, chocolate, bread, fruit, and meat. The Secret Garden lived up to its name as you walked down through a tunnel of tall trees then entered into a courtyard surrounded by vegetation. There was also a gift shop located on the property, where we purchased a very cool bottle of tequila.
We really enjoyed our time at Rondo del Valle as we sipped wine, snacked, and looked out at their lavender fields. We purchased a bottle of wine and also received a bottle of wine compliments of Fantasy RV Tours, which I just so happen to be drinking right now while writing this article.
When we returned to the campground the group all got together to play a game of corn hole while we sipped some margarites made by our ambassadors. We were lucky to be on this trip with such a great group of people. I think it helps that we are all RVers. I have often said that RVers are the best people out there and this trip certainly solidified that.
The group was made up of people from all over the country with different backgrounds and ages, and yet we all got along and enjoyed each other’s company. So much so we exchanged numbers to see if we can do a future trip together or just stay in touch.
Our last day of the trip started out with breakfast at the campground provided by Fantasy RV Tours and a relaxing day at the RV park. This was probably Belle’s favorite day as I took her to the beach for a few hours for some off-leash fun. She still wouldn’t get in the water, but she enjoyed running with me and occasionally chasing some birds. She is nine years old now and a bit too slow to pose any threat to them anymore.
We then began to get ready for dinner and took the bus to Finca Altozano. This was by far our favorite meal and we all agreed that Fantasy RV Tours had saved the best for last! All the food was served in a family style fashion, and there were a few times we thought they were done bringing out new dishes for us to try only to be followed up by another great new flavor.
This meal included several appetizers and breads as well as steak that was so tender it fell off the bone, fresh seafood, grilled veggies, and dessert. It was all set in a covered outdoor patio overlooking fields and mountains. If you are planning a trip to Mexico, this is one restaurant you do not want to miss!
Crossing Back into the United States
Our time in Mexico went by so fast that it was hard to believe the trip was over. Before heading out, we gathered first thing in the morning for a drivers’ meeting on what to expect when crossing back into the U.S. Our ambassadors also went over some driving directions and even had a whiteboard set up for some visual illustrations of where to go.
We then returned to our RVs, formed a line, and performed a radio check. All was good and we set off for the border. There were a few hiccups on the way back as we were supposed to have a police escort on the return drive, but we hit some traffic on the way and missed our escort. But with the help of our radios, we were all able to ensure we made it to the border just fine and crossed over.
We felt the border check on the way back into the U.S. was more stringent than going into Mexico as every one of our RVs were searched, including our cargo bays. We were also asked to exit the RV during their search. However, if you are not carrying any fresh meat, fruits, or guns you should have no problems crossing in either direction.
Upcoming Trips with Fantasy RV Tours
Well, this was our second trip with Fantasy RV Tours, and I guess you can say we are hooked as we signed up and put our deposits down to do two more trips with them in 2024. The first being a longer trip into Mexico where we will travel further south into the country and do whale watching. The other is an RV trip to Moab where we will have an off-road Jeep adventure as we tour the trails of the national park.
If you are looking for an easy stress-free way to see Mexico and enjoy taking your Winnebago to new places, then Fantasy RV Tours is certainly for you! Remember, if you are a GoLife Perks member, you can receive a discount on all Fantasy RV Tours for Winnebago owners. For example, they have an 8-Day Taste of Mexico Rally for Winnebago owners planned for 2025!
We would love to hear from you if you have taken a Fantasy RV Tour. Where did you go and what did you think of it?
Take care and safe travels all!
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