Baja is a FABULOUS adventure. We've been enough times I've lost count. Our latest coach is ULSD and runs fine on Mexi-diesel, tho it accumulates a small soot plume by the tail pipe and needs a regen after about 100 gallons (which the rig does automatically). For us that's about down to Mulege & back.
Baja does not require an importation permit for your rig or toad (rig or trailer if so equipped). If you enter at a Baja port (Tijuana, Tecate, Otay Mesa, Mexicali) there isn't any issue, as long as you don't cross into mainland Mexico by land or ferry, at which point you are subject to the requirements. Vagabundos del Mar
is one travel club that assists w/all paperwork & has current updates on regulations. They also have a quickie get-acquainted-with-Baja caravan, $650 last time I checked, that goes to Cabo (next January 10th or 17th); you can pal up w/somebody to head back or take your time on your own. And they have an extended Baja Beaches & Whales trip Feb 12th to March 11 (dates & costs taken from Vag newsletter). There are other travel clubs that cover varying levels of service also; I'm a Vagabundo by nature.
You'll love the scenery, the food, the culture, the Missions, the whales, the cerveza, the beaches, the climate, and more.
What you hear about crime is greatly exaggerated. Its like the Boston bomber in custody- if he passes gas we will get a detailed forensic report covering every aspect of the emission including decibel reading. There was a murder on the beach south of Mulege a few years back that hit the internet, major papers in San Diego, etc., and lack of progress on apprehension of the killer was speculated to be bumbling lack of concern by police. Turned out the killer was caught in Texas after several weeks, a U.S. citizen. Crime south of Ensenada till you get to the Cabo area is almost entirely pilferage & petty scams that if you pick up your stuff at night & stay alert you will avoid.
There are some common sense rules of the road.
1. Don't drive at night on the highway. I haven't heard of any trouble in middle to southern Baja, but have in Ensenada north. No reason to travel at night if you plan ahead anyway.
2. Don't drive at night on the highway. Cows & mules sleep on the warm asphalt, and they don't wear the DOT approved reflective stripes or set out flares.
3. Don't hang out in parts of Tijuana, Mexicali or Ensenada you are not sure about after dark. Vampires come out.
4. Don't set out to break any distance records; make your daily sojourns manageable & leave by 10am. If you get a flat or have other issues on the road, that leaves time to get to camp by sundown. If you get to camp well before sundown, read a book or go explore.
5. The road has gotten better & better every year, pretty much opposite of California. However
there are stretches of very narrow road starting south of San Quintin. Take it 10mph slower than you would ordinarily go, cuz when you have a truck heading toward you, you will both need to slow down & maintain complete control with your rig's tires very near the edge of pavement to avoid smacking mirrors. This is actually the only drawback to Baja RV'ing that I feel. The lousy electricity in parks, & the spelunking for fresh water (I have whole house RO so we don't even worry about that any more) are part of the experience (talk to anybody who had their electronics fried by bad park power in the U.S. when they were not checking voltage).
6. Take a big sweaty wad of money to enjoy yourself & just in case.
7. Eat out a lot. Good food is cheap in Mexican restaurants, and its just fun. Go high end on occasion, but I find the best stuff is in the middle range of price or lower. Ask around where the best tacos are, and ask a lot of people. Everybody will suggest their own tio (uncle) Pepe's taco stand, and then will also mention the place they go for the best carnitas in town. Best tacos I've ever had were at an open air taco stand in Ensenada recommended by the hotel desk clerk. One of the best meals we've ever had. Period. Had to go next door to the mini mart for a 6 pack, as did all the other patrons; place didn't sell beer & it was all cool by them.
8. When you get to Mulege, ask around for Salvador Castro, he's a guide and can show you the stuff the average illiterate slob on the street tourist never sees. Or from the U.S. dial 011-52-615-153-0232 and book a tour before you cross the border. Cave paintings, remote Missions, etc.
9. Get the AAA Baja book, well worth the money; the best mile-by-mile highway log for the area there is. Also Camping Baja referenced above. Other books of interest
10. Pack a rich sense of adventure, and a readiness to relax when you get way laid. Something will happen that will set you off course. One of the most educational things that is likely is a breakdown requiring local assistance.
11. Mexican hospitality is as rich and fun as any on earth. If you learn even a little Spanish & resolve to communicate, your Mexican counterpart will fall all over him/herself to see that you are getting whatever direction, help, etc. you desire. Mexicans are hugely gregarious once they know you are trying to get their help for whatever small or large assistance.
12. Be polite & relaxed when passing thru military checkpoints. The boys with automatic weapons are doing weekend duty far from home, and they are just as scared of you as you are of them. And they marvel to set foot into a shiny gringo "casa rodante" or rolling house.
Apologies for the length; Baja is 1000 miles long, so it takes a bit of explaining. We're leaving Friday for Mulege for 2 weeks. Hasta luego.