Skip to content

Is There a Better Year To Do the Baja Ha-Ha Than 2022?

Suppose you could both save money and improve your quality of life. The Poobah suggests this is possible — for those who are in a position to do so — by spending a season or two cruising in Mexico.

The difference between the cost of a pleasant standard of living in California and cruising in Mexico can be immense. Can you live comfortably on $1,500 a month, or $2,000 a month for a couple, in California? You can when cruising Mexico. And that would include $125 a month for Starlink, which would allow you to work remotely, Facetime with family and friends, and stream to your heart’s content.

Does working under sail sound appealing?
© 2022

Food is much less expensive in Mexico, no matter whether you’re buying it in a grocery store or dining out. As the Poobah has previously written, his favorite lunch in Mexico, slow-cooked meats that fall off the bone at Paty’s Tacos Quisado in Mita, costs $4. Dinners at the La Cruz Inn, a longtime cruiser favorite in La Cruz, are about $10. And there are plenty of other similar bargain places throughout Mexico. Sure, you can spend more, or even a fortune, on meals, particularly at fancy tourist places, and many cruisers do. But there is no law that says you have to.

Two things that are just as expensive in Mexico as in the States, if not more so: slips at some marinas, and most boat parts. You want to bring the important parts with you from the States.

Fortunately, there are countless places where you can anchor for free in Mexico, no matter if you want to be close to a town or somewhere where you can’t even see a street light. Compare this with the $159 you’d have to pay for one of the moorings in Catalina ($25 service fee plus $67 a night for a minimum of two nights. And you have to leave by 9 a.m.).

Worried about the quality of life? Don’t be.

The winter weather in Mexico is salubrious. Healthy foods — fruits, veggies, and fish — abound, and at much lower prices than in the US.

The other side of health is exercise. There are few better exercises than swimming, and you can get all you want in Mexico. Yes, it’s too cold to swim in the Sea of Cortez from late December until about May, but the mainland is always warm. You can also surf, snorkel, dive, paddle board, play pickle ball, walk, hike, and enjoy many other health-smart activities. Indeed, if anybody wants to amp up their health, there are few places more suitable for doing it than Mexico in the winter.

Ha-Ha surfing
Mexico has many great surf spots.
© 2022

Worried about a social life? Forget that. Cruisers and expats are everywhere from remote anchorages to the cities. Do a Ha-Ha, and you’ll have a dozen new cruising friends by the time you get to Cabo.

Beach parties are plentiful when you’re part of the Baja Ha-Ha fleet.
© 2022

Some people think you have to own a big boat and replicate all the conveniences of home on her to enjoy cruising in Mexico. Baloney.

While some couples have enjoyed cruising Mexico for years on boats as small as a Catalina 27, life on a 32- to 35-footer would be more enjoyable. But you don’t need a boat designed and built for rounding Cape Horn in the winter. Almost any plastic classic built in Southern California in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s is capable, as long as it’s been maintained. Yeah, it would be nice to have a Hylas 54 or similar, but we’ve cruised Mexico on a Cal 25, an Olson 30, twice, and a Freya 39, and had a great adventure each and every time.

While it might be nice to have everything advertised in cruising magazines, here are some of the things the Poobah has cruised Mexico without: radar, AIS, wind instruments, a windlass, a watermaker, air-con, refrigerator/freezer. Now that we’re older, we consider some of these things near-necessities. Specifically, refrigeration and a power windlass. But in many respects, simplicity rules.

Because of Mexico’s light winds, you do want to make sure you have a reliable engine.

The Poobah realizes that not everybody is in a position to take off cruising to Mexico. Kids in school, onsite job requirements, aging parents needing care, etc. But for those of you for whom it is possible, you might want to give it some serious consideration.

After all, what would you rather be doing come December and January, freezing your buns off in the States, or sailing on warm tropical waters with fresh $3 tuna steaks on the BBQ? Paying $50 per person for dinner, or $7.50 for a seafood pizza at a fancy restaurant at the water’s edge? Spending your evenings watching the depressing news on television, or socializing with countless new friends? The Poobah knows his preference.

You can read about and register for the Ha-Ha at The event starts on October 31, and the Poobah hopes to see you on the Ha-Ha and in Mexico.

Leave a Comment

Get Your Copy Now!
In this month's issue we preview the Pacific Cup, cover the Master Mariners Regatta, and share photos and stories of other sailors from near and far. Check it out ...
Open Sailing Series + Youth Champs
The San Diego edition of the West Marine US Open Sailing Series wrapped on June 19 after three days of beautiful racing in the Pacific.